20 Healthy Side Dishes to Impress

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Last Updated on September 7, 2023 by Chef Mireille

Are you looking for Thanksgiving Side Dishes to Impress? Easter? Or just a weeknight dinner? These 20 Healthy Side Dishes to Impress are so versatile – there is something for everyone.

Although these healthy side dishes can be used for both simple dinners as well as holiday meals, let’s focus on the Thanksgiving table.

So many of the traditional Thanksgiving side dishes are loaded with not the healthiest of ingredients like candied yams, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese and rich gravy.

Sure we all love the cream, butter and sugar, but balance is important. So how about introducing some new recipes to the dinner table this holiday season to balance out all the fat and sugar.

20 Healthy Sides Recipes

Sure I have some more traditional Thanksgiving Recipes posted on this site like Cranberry Sauce, Cornbread Dressing and Pumpkin Pie, but with this collection of the Best Thanksgiving Side Dish recipes, I wanted to give give you some healthier options to balance out your Thanksgiving feast.

There is one thing these healthy side dish recipes don’t compromise on and that is flavor! So check out this collection of tasty recipes using fresh ingredients and they will soon become the favorite side dishes your family will love!

Many times vegans and vegetarians are an afterthought when preparing holiday meals in America, however, the rise of vegans, vegetarians and gluten free people means I can almost guarantee that there is someone that follows one of these diets at many of your Thanksgiving tables.

Many of the common veggie side dishes will still often have bacon, ham or other meat added to it. Although there are some of these below like the Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, there are many options here that are completely meat free, dairy free, gluten free, vegan or vegetarian. Whatever dietary restriction you need to accommodate, you will find in this collection of Best Thanksgiving Sides.

Since this site focuses on helping you Travel your Tastebuds, many of these recipes are globally inspired like Bolivian Cabbage Potatoes and Indian Chole Adraki. But don’t you get bored of the same traditional dishes with your Thanksgiving turkey year after year? After all, variety is the spice of life so lets keep this ideal going when you plan this year’s Thanksgiving Dinner Menu.

Before we get to the side dishes, do check out this collection of Alternative Thanksgiving Menu’s if you’d like to add even more global flavors to your Thanksgiving Menu.

Now let’s take a look at the delicious recipes!

Grain Salads

  • Moroccan Couscous Salad
  • Soba Noodle Salad with Brussel Sprouts
  • Wheatberry Kale Salad
  • Tabbouleh Salad

Green Salads

  • Fig and Mozzarella Salad
  • Roasted Cauliflower Fattoush
  • Beet Carrot Salad

Legume Recipes

  • Senegalese Black Eyed Pea Salad
  • Chole Adraki

Vegetable Recipes

  • Sri Lankan Green Beans Curry
  • Dandelion Quiche
  • Mango Jicama Salad
  • Balsamic Glazed Beets
  • Overnight Herb Roasted Tomatoes
  • ​Brazilian Chayote
  • Harissa Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
  • Ethiopian Gomen Wat
  • Cabbage Foogath
  • Bolivian Cabbage Potatoes
  • Alu Chorchori

There is something for everything in this collection:

  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
  • Gluten Free
  • Carb Free
  • High Protein
  • Low Fat

Healthy Sides for all Your Meals

Grain Salad Recipes

Moroccan Couscous Salad
This grain salad loaded with vegetables and dried fruits achieves the perfect balance of flavor with both savory and sweet notes.
Brussel Sprout Soba Noodle Salad
This Asian inspired Noodle Salad can be enjoyed chilled or at room temperature, made with gluten free soba noodles.
Soba Noodle Salad with Brussel Sprouts in a bowl with chopsticks
Wheatberry Kale Salad
This vegan Kale Wheatberry Salad is a hearty grain salad full of lots of healthy fruit and vegetables with Middle Eastern spices.
Wheatberry Kale Salad
Tabbouleh Salad
Step into the Mediterranean with our Tabbouleh Salad recipe! Packed with flavor and nutrition, this salad is easy to make and a crowd-pleaser.

Green Salad Recipes

Fresh Fig Salad with Orange Emulsion Dressing
A light and refreshing green salad with fresh figs is a perfect compliment to roast turkey.
Fig Salad with Mozzarella Cheese
Roasted Cauliflower Fattoush
This traditional Middle Eastern Salad loaded with fresh herbs and roasted cauliflower made a delicious addition to any holiday meal. Fattoush is the Middle Eastern interpretation of Panzanella Salad.
Roasted Cauliflower Fattoush
Beet Carrot Salad
Beet Carrot Salad screams Fall Salads with dried apricots, nuts and seeds makes a healthy side salad to any meal. Both Vegan and Gluten Free.

Legume Recipes

Senegalese Black Eyed Pea Salad with Tankora Peanut Spice Mix
This Easy Black Eyed Pea Salad is loaded with flavor because of a Senegalese Spice Mix called Tankora, with the primary ingredient being peanuts. Another delicious Vegan and Gluten Free Salad.
Chole Adraki – Ginger Chickpeas
This Indian chickpea recipe is infused with loads of ginger. Another healthy and yet one of the most delicious side dishes.

Vegetable Recipes

Sri Lankan Green Beans Curry
​This alternative to the classic green bean casserole uses coconut milk instead of canned cream of mushroom soup for a healthier green bean recipe. Not the most traditional of green bean recipes, but just as tasty.
Boonchi Curry - Sri Lankan Green Bean Curry
Dandelion Quiche
This crustless quiche is made with fresh dandelion greens, spinach and cheddar cheese to satisfy the cheese lovers.
Cheesy Dandelion Einkorn Savory Brownie
Mango Jicama Salad
This simple vegan salad of mango and jicama is loaded with smoky flavor, using smoked paprika.
Smoked Paprika Mango Jicama Salad recipe
Balsamic Glazed Beets
The perfect side dish to compliment any meal. Delicious roasted beets coated with a flavor infused balsamic glaze.
Balsamic Glazed Beets
Overnight Herb Roasted Tomatoes
This is a great recipe to conserve on time. Just takes a few minutes of prep and then stick it in the oven overnight for sweet, juicy delicious tomatoes that make the perfect side dish.
Slow Roasted Tomatoes, Overnight Roasted Tomatoes
Xuxu Bahia Style – Brazilian Chayote
A quick veggie stir fry infused with malagueta peppers, dried shrimp and peanuts.
Xuxu, Chayote Stir Fry
Harissa Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
Harissa, bacon and fresh herbs elevates ordinary roasted brussels sprouts to something extraordinary and makes it one of the best side dishes you will want to enjoy on a regular basis.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Harissa
Ethiopian Gomen Wat Recipe
Ethiopian Style Collard Greens are loaded with so much flavor due to the use of Niter Kibbeh, a spiced ghee that brings whatever you cook it in, to the next level. Perfect comfort food!
Ethiopian Gomen Wat Recipe
Cabbage Foogath – Goan Vegetable Stir Fry
An easy way to add some veggies to your table, this quick Indian stir fry with cabbage, sweet peas and coconut is both delicious and healthy.
Cabbage Foogath
Bolivian Style Cabbage Potatoes
This simple side dish is a great addition to any meal. Cabbage, potatoes, bell peppers and serrano peppers may sound like just a few simple ingredients, but they combine into a very flavorful side dish.
cabbage and potato side dish on a plate
Alu Chorchori
This simple potato recipe is ready in just about 15 minutes and best of all its vegan, healthy and delicious.
bowl of stir fried potatoes

Don’t forget to visit the RECIPE INDEX with over 1000 recipes from around the world including lots of Vegetarian Recipes and Gluten Free Recipes!

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Reader Interactions


  1. Well I think you have something for everyone in this delicious collection of recipes. Thanksgiving is just a “filling” meal, it is nice to have some healthy choices in the mix of all the food.

  2. I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year for the first time and have been debating what to make. Thanks for putting together so many delicious-looking recipes! This is a huge help.

  3. Fennel and ginger cauliflower sounds so yummy! We don’t have Thanksgiving here, but I might need to make my own kind of Thanksgiving anyway because everything looks so delicious.

    • Thanksgiving is more about family and good food than to celebrate any history especially if you understand what atrocities have been done to Native Americans you would prefer not to celebrate the history of the holiday. No matter what country you are in you can always celebrate family and food!

  4. Thank you for sharing this post, I am in the process of planning for Thanksgiving dinner and this list is very much helpful! Especially the balsamic glazed beets recipe.

  5. Superb collection of recipes from global cuisines. This post is a keeper and quick guide for any dinner or lunch party planning . Such a wide variety to choose from.

  6. What a great selection of sides with so many vegetarian options too!! And everything explained so well. The Shri Lankan Green beans is the one I will try as soon as I get some green beans.

  7. Mireille a wonderful selection of vegetarian side dish options not only for Thanksgiving but any festival. Its sometimes frustrating to see that much thought is not given to prepare something different for vegetarians at a party.

  8. Wow you have such a variety of side dishes. Loved the Kashmiri cauliflower with fennel n ginger. These can be used anytime not just thanksgiving…Will definitely try a few

  9. wow … this is not just for thanks giving but for any party / potluck too ! Loved the cabbage foogath and the wheat berry salad (which I think barley can substitute)… great collection, Mir !

  10. Mir! I was constantly thinking of just pumpkin and apple dishes this is a wonderful idea. I love the fact that you have added grain salads too the menu. This is yum and something I will definitely appreciate even in my everyday meal.

    • Like all countries, America is regional and so there are a great variety of recipes that are also considered traditional depending what part of the country you live in. Regardless, Thanksgiving is about much more than apples and pumpkin. Lots of vegetables dishes are also traditional for Thanksgiving like green beans, corn and brussel sprouts.

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