Thanksgiving gets a bad rap for being an unhealthy, belly-busting indulgence, but the reality is that there are so many ways to work nourishing food into this delicious day. While there is no strict definition of a “superfood”, we give this title to certain ingredients that stand out as extremely nutrient dense. Add them to your holiday meal can be simple, for example:
- Add pureed cauliflower to your mashed potatoes to lower calories and boost nutrition without affecting the taste.
- Use chia seeds to thicken your cranberry sauce naturally, plus it will add fiber and healthy fat.
- Use bone broth in place of chicken stock in any recipe.
- Add pomegranate seeds to the top of everything! From salad to sweet potatoes it will make everything look more festive and this little seed packs a big antioxidant punch.
Side dishes are the perfect place to experiment with healthy ingredients, so here are 3 super easy recipes that where superfoods star. Work these into your meal plan nourish and delight your family!
Pomegranates are kind of the ultimate superfood. I’m drawn to them for their beautiful bright red color and sweet/tart flavor. It’s just a bonus that they are so healthy. They are rich in fiber and antioxidants and one pomegranate contains approximately 50% of your daily recommended vitamin C.
This dish combines pomegranate seeds with fellow superfoods quinoa and watercress. Quinoa boosts high protein content and watercress reins as the most nutrient dense of all leafy greens. Yes… watercress has more nutrients than kale!
This salad makes a refreshing counterpoint to many of the heavier dishes on your thanksgiving table and the sprinkle of pomegranates on top makes it look instantly cheerful! https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/quinoa-watercress-pears-and-pomegranates
QUINOA WITH WATERCRESS, PEARS AND POMEGRANATES
This dish combines quinoa with the delicious flavor combination of sweet pears, tart pomegranate seeds and peppery watercress.
1 cup quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
1 bunch watercress, stems removed and leaves sliced (about 1 1/2 cups packed leaves)
2 ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Combine 2 cups water and quinoa in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until quinoa is tender and all water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Place quinoa in a large bowl with watercress, pears, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, juice and vinegar. Stir to combine, then serve.
Per Serving: 330 calories (110 from fat), 12g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 15mg sodium, 48g carbohydrates, (7 g dietary fiber, 14g sugar), 11g protein.
ZESTY SPICED CAULIFLOWER
As described in this post, cauliflower offers high levels of vitamin C, K and soluble fiber. This vegetable belongs to the brassica (cabbage) family—vegetables in this genus are touted for their health benefits most notably their antioxidant and detoxifying properties.
The recipe below flavors cauliflower with turmeric and cumin. The addition of turmeric turns bland cauliflower electric yellow which will add fun color to your table, but it also boosts nutrition. Turmeric is one of the hottest superfoods right now. It contains curcumin, a substance with powerful soothing and antioxidant properties.
ZESTY SPICED CAULIFLOWER
In this recipe, cauliflower’s earthy flavor is enhanced by the mild bite of cumin and turmeric.
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
6 cups (1-inch) cauliflower florets
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Salt to taste
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add cumin and toast, shaking the skillet often, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add cauliflower, pour water over the top and immediately cover skillet. Reduce heat to medium and cook, tossing the cauliflower halfway through, until tender and water is mostly absorbed, about 10 minutes. Add oil, turmeric and salt, toss well and serve.
Per Serving: 70 calories (45 from fat), 5g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 15mg sodium, 4g carbohydrates, (2 g dietary fiber, 2g sugar), 2g protein.
COCONUT OIL ROASTED SWEET POTATOES
Sweet potatoes get the superfoods title thanks to the variety of nutrients they provide. They are an excellent source of vitamin A and have tons of vitamin C, B vitamins and fiber. Sweet potatoes have long been a thanksgiving staple, but often they are whipped with butter and topped with brown sugar or marshmallows. The recipe here is lower in sugar and lets the natural flavor of sweet potatoes shine. The recipe also adds in coconut oil which makes the superfood lists too.
COCONUT ROASTED SWEET POTATOES
Serves 4 to 6
Coconut oil helps transform these sweet potatoes into a wonderful side dish accented with a sprinkle of freshly grated lime zest.
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 pounds sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
Preheat oven to 400°F. In a small saucepan, melt coconut oil over medium heat. Toss potatoes with oil, salt and pepper together in a large bowl until evenly coated. Spread potatoes in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and toss with lime zest.
Per Serving: 190 calories (45 from fat), 5g total fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 330mg sodium, 32g carbohydrates, (6 g dietary fiber, 10g sugar), 3g protein.