We love the holidays, but we definitely don’t love feeling overstuffed and uncomfortable after a holiday meal. We wholeheartedly believe that the holiday season can be delicious, satisfying and support our health all at once. During a holiday dinner, the main focus of the meal – the turkey or another bird – is fairly simple to cook nutritiously by using an organic source and using simple seasonings like healthy oils, herbs and sea salt. It’s everything that goes along with the holiday meal, particularly those holiday sides and appetizers, that tend to be loaded with processed foods, excess sugar, inflammatory oils, gluten and various dairy products.
That’s why we’re sharing our 25 best healthy holiday sides and appetizers you can use to brighten up your table and aid your vibrant health at the same time!
And if you’re looking for more holiday recipes, check out these posts:
25 Best Holiday Sides and Appetizers
Sweet Potatoes with Kale + Caramelized Onions
This is one of those easy and healthy holiday sides that everyone in the family will adore.
Maple Cranberry Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are one of those vegetables that many people hate until they’ve had them cooked the right way. With a hint of sweetness from dried cranberries and maple syrup, this recipe is sure to convert the haters.
Chickpea-Free Hummus 3 Ways
Love hummus, but don’t want your guests tooting all evening? Try these 3 bean-free hummus recipes using beets, carrots and zucchini. Of course, they are delicious, but they also make a gorgeous and fancy-looking holiday plate.
Herby Gluten-Free + Vegan Biscuits
Can it be true? Yes! These fluffy gluten-free and vegan biscuits are perfect for your holiday table. You may want to double the batch – otherwise fighting over the last one may ensue!
Vegan Cultured Butter
‘Cause you’ll need something to spread on your gluten-free + vegan biscuits. Plus, you’ll get the awesome benefits of fermented foods.
Celeriac, Apple, and Lentil Salad with Cumin Seed Dressing
This tasty recipes gives you an excuse to eat more celery root – plus, it serves well as a side for meat-eating guests and as a main for the vegans or vegetarians.
Maple Bacon Roasted Butternut Squash
Given the popularity of the Paleo diet, you’re likely going to have a Paleo dieter at your table. This simple, grain-free holiday side is Paleo-friendly and we’re sure that nobody else at the table will complain about the chance to eat organic bacon.
Harvest Wild Rice Salad
By adding bright pomegranate arils, this hearty winter salad immediately becomes festive and will put everyone in a good mood.
Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad
A side dish rich in plant-based protein, as well as more festive ingredients like cranberries, Brussels sprouts, squash and apples.
Berbere Roasted Kabocha Squash with Tahini Dill Dressing
Take advantage of the wide variety of winter squashes and roast ’em up for a sweet and caramelized healthy holiday side dish. Yum!
Green Beans and Golden Beets with Tarragon and Almonds
Skip the green bean casserole this year include this this elegant and light dish as one of your healthy holiday sides + appetizers.
Cranberry Sauce with Blood Orange, Balsamic & Rosemary
Homemade condiments are so much tastier than the canned and store-bought versions – and this fresh cranberry sauce really sings!
The Creamiest Whole 30 Mashed Cauliflower
Everyone at the table will love this creamy, Paleo + Whole 30-compliant side dish (and it has a vegan option). It goes perfectly with cranberry sauce or gravy!
Sweet Potato & Lentil Goulash With Pumpkin Seed Oil
A nutrient-packed one-pot meal that makes a great holiday dish. Candra created this recipe for an assignment in the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program (we have the BEST homework) and we love seeing the delicious results!
Easy Roasted Okra
Okra is an uncommon ingredient in some parts of the world – but if you can find it, roasting it makes it one of those truly delectable holiday side dishes + appetizers.
Maple Dijon Vegan Cheese Ball
Impress both the vegans and the non-vegans with this flavourful vegan ‘cheese’ ball. It’s perfect with your favourite gluten-free crackers or crudites.
Vegan Walnut, Sage + Cranberry Stuffed Holiday Mushrooms
This healthy twist on stuffed mushrooms really takes holiday appetizers to the next level. The next extremely delicious level.
Balsamic Roasted Vegetables
Please make some room in your oven for these easy roasted vegetables. You won’t regret it.
Paleo Cornbread Stuffing
This faux ‘cornbread’ stuffing doesn’t actually have any corn in it at all. Make a batch ahead of time and freeze it to use in this recipe!
Miso Turmeric Zucchini Salad
An easy and refreshing mostly raw salad that is rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients. It’s got great flavour and the oh-so-important crunch factor.
Roasted Artichoke Salad
We love the tangyness of this roasted veggie salad and we know your guests will, too.
Roasted Delicata Squash Tian
This elegant dish will garner many ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ at the table. We like to ditch the cheese on top to make this dairy-free.
Crunchy Plantain Chips
It doesn’t get easier than a one-ingredient recipe (and a little oil and salt). These easy plantain chips have baked and fried options, and are great for munching along with dips or hummus as guests wait for the main attraction.
Golden Turmeric Rice with Raisins
Add some sunshine to your holiday festivities with this 5-ingredient side dish.