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Halfway Homemade: Easy Holiday Side Dishes

By Kara Mayer Robinson
WebMD Feature

On the run this holiday season? Save time in the kitchen with some fun, festive, and fast side dishes to round out your table.

Nutritionist Layne Lieberman, RD, has some ideas.

“Rather than slaving over a hot stove, choose simple, seasonal, and healthy recipes. Use shortcuts when they save time and money. And doctor up prepared foods when it’s worthwhile,” says Lieberman, who is the author of the book Beyond the Mediterranean Diet.

Here are her favorite holiday sides adapted from the book that do exactly that. They’re made with whole grains and seasonal vegetables, so your guests will leave the table feeling satisfied, not stuffed.

Roasted, Hearty Holiday Vegetables

  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts, cut into halves
  • 1 medium cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 6 medium carrots, sliced coin size
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, whole
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread out vegetables in a large roasting pan and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with oregano, salt, and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes. Before serving, drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon good-quality extra virgin olive oil and adjust salt and pepper.

Serves 6

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

Calories: 101

Fat: 3.9g

Carbs 15.7g

Protein 3.9g

Why you’ll love it. “You’ll get delicious, caramelized flavor from the high heat,” Lieberman says. Roasting also protects nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and folate.

Make it easier. Buy frozen veggies. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and strain excess water. This will shorten cooking time to 25-30 minutes.

Creamy Sweet-Potato Custard

  • 3 1/2 cups cooked sweet potato (2 medium potatoes, steamed and cooled, or a little less than 2 15-ounce cans)
  • 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs plus 4 egg whites, beaten
  • 1 cup fat-free milk or almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor until smooth. Spritz a 9-inch, round glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Pour mixture into baking dish. Bake 55-60 minutes or until set. Cool for 1-2 hours. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Serves 8

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

Calories: 108

Fat: 1.3g

Carbs 18.7g

Protein 5.6g

Why you’ll love it. “The texture is so nice. It’s that creaminess we love during the holidays,” Lieberman says. Sweet potatoes pack a nutritional punch. They’re high in fiber and loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium.

Make it easier. Buy canned sweet potatoes. Drain and rinse before using.

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