Thanksgiving dinner isn’t typically associated with eating healthy. After all, our tables are usually filled with tons of holiday pies. But if you want to include a few lightened-up recipes on your menu this year, these healthy Thanksgiving side dishes will do the trick. Don’t worry, we made sure to include Thanksgiving sides that are full of flavor, so you won’t be missing out on a thing. Look for new twists on green beans, sweet potato recipes, hearty fall salads, and more. Whether you’re looking to add one or two of these healthier dishes to your family feast or you want to create a full healthy Thanksgiving menu, read on to find all our favorite lightened-up versions.
Ahead, you’ll find easy, healthy, and creative ideas to incorporate into your traditional holiday fare, like air fryer Thanksgiving recipes and fall vegetables galore. They’re perfect for a vegetarian Thanksgiving menu. Of course, they would also make for a delicious side dish for your big roasted turkey. Check out the shaved Brussels sprouts salad, wild rice stuffing, air fryer okra, and a fun twist on mac and cheese made with creamy butternut squash. Whichever recipe you choose, be sure to save some room for a few healthy desserts.
Garlic Green Beans
The simple ingredients in this green bean recipe make it lighter than most heavy casseroles. If you want something that’s even lower in fat or calories, use just 1 tablespoon of oil and butter. It’ll still taste delicious!
Get the Garlic Green Beans recipe.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Skip your typical mashed potato recipe in favor of these mashed sweet potatoes instead. They’re a good source of fiber and they’re loaded with vitamin A.
Get the Mashed Sweet Potatoes recipe.
Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad
These days, you can find Brussels sprouts just about everywhere. But have you ever tried them raw in a salad? They’re crunchy and flavorful just like a slaw.
Get the Brussels Sprouts Salad recipe.
Butternut Squash Casserole
Loaded with leafy kale and winter squash, this casserole dish is both hearty and healthy. Look for pre-peeled and chopped butternut squash at the grocery store to make it even easier.
Get the Butternut Squash Casserole recipe.
Air Fryer Potatoes
If potatoes are non-negotiable on your Thanksgiving table, try making them healthier by cooking them in an air fryer. They’ll taste just as crispy as fried potatoes.
Get the Air Fryer Potatoes recipe.
Green Bean Salad
For a healthy twist on this green veggie, turn it into a refreshing salad. The mix-ins, like olives, goat cheese, and roasted almonds, give it a ton of flavor.
Get the Green Bean Salad recipe.
Roasted Vegetables with Pecan Crumble
You’ll get your share of root vegetables with this Thanksgiving side dish—it includes butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots.
Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts
Maple syrup is a natural way of sweetening this holiday side. It also has apple juice but you can swap in chicken stock for a lower sugar alternative.
Get the Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts recipe.
Holiday Wild Rice Salad
Just because you’re serving salad doesn’t mean it needs to be boring. This holiday-inspired dish is loaded with healthy mix-ins, like wild rice, nuts, grapes, apples, and pomegranate seeds.
Get the Holiday Wild Rice Salad recipe.
Air Fryer Green Beans
Sometimes simple is best! And these green beans are the proof. They’re easy, flavorful, and perfect alongside whatever your main course might be.
Get the Air Fryer Green Beans recipe.
Honey-Glazed Carrots and Parsnips
We all know that carrots are good for you—they’re packed with vitamin A. Try giving them the sweet and savory treatment by cooking them with fresh thyme and a touch of honey.
Get Ree’s Honey-Glazed Carrots and Parsnips recipe.
Broccoli Wild Rice Casserole
If you’re unfamiliar with wild rice, now is a great time to try it! It’s lower in calories compared to white rice and it provides a nice, chewy texture to this casserole recipe.
Get Ree’s Broccoli Wild Rice Casserole recipe.
Air Fryer Okra
Any Southern Thanksgiving menu needs to have okra on the table. This version is made lighter by using the air fryer to crisp up the vegetables.
Get the Air Fryer Okra recipe.
Simple Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Using an immersion blender makes this simple soup so creamy. There’s also the addition of coconut milk, which is a great alternative to heavy cream.
Ranch Chopped Salad
This crisp salad comes together in just 20 minutes, so it’s a no-brainer if you want to add something fresh to your holiday menu.
Get the Ranch Chopped Salad recipe.
Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
Instead of a heavy béchamel sauce, this crowd-pleasing side swaps in a creamy sauce made from butternut squash. It’s a seasonal twist on a holiday favorite!
Beautiful Brussels Sprouts
Watch out turkey—this platter of jewel-toned veggies will steal the show! We love the addition of sweet-tart pomegranate seeds for extra color and nutrition.
Get Ree’s Beautiful Brussels Sprouts recipe.
Gluten-Free Wild Rice Stuffing
Looking for a side that will satisfy everyone at the table? This rice-based stuffing is gluten-free but it’s still packed with flavor from the dried cherries, pecans, and onion.
Ultimate Winter Salad
This salad recipe is totally customizable—toss in any shredded veggies you have on hand, add fruit, nuts, cheese, or even roasted vegetables, too.
Get the Ultimate Winter Salad recipe.
Lightened-Up Sweet Potato Casserole
For a savory twist on this classic holiday side, the creamy sweet potatoes are topped with a fresh sage and panko crust. It’s a surprising new addition.