The holiday season is upon us! During this time filled with loved ones gathered to dig into feasts, delectable dishes passed down from generation to generation, and office parties with fancy buffets, it’s no wonder we spend the holidays feeling, well...full. But when you control the menu, choosing to give your body fresh, seasonal foods, you'll leave feeling healthy and satisfied—and without the waistline guilt.
Besides benefiting the environment and local farmers, cooking with in-season foods also tastes better. Enjoy a tasty, healthful holiday season without missing out on traditional favorites by making half your plate colorful vegetables, leaving the other half for protein-rich foods and starches. Here are two of my favorite recipes to keep your turkey company this Thanksgiving (nutritionist loved and foodie approved):
ROASTED BEETS & CARROTS WITH FRESH HERBS
Root vegetables are the perfect starch option for your Thanksgiving plate, and they’re pretty much in season year-round! Colorful beets and carrots are loaded with disease-fighting, youthful glow-inducing carotenoid antioxidants. Bonus: low calorie greens add more fill-you-up fiber. Fresh herbs will leave your home smelling like Thanksgiving. This dish is vegan and vegetarian friendly.
2 bunches fresh beets with greens
10 medium carrots
2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 400° F (if you’re baking something else at the same time, as is often the case at Thanksgiving, this dish can go in anywhere between 350°-425° F; just adjust cooking time accordingly).
Slice off the top edge of the beets, saving the greens. Remove and discard carrot tops. Clean beets and carrots thoroughly. Chop beets and carrots into ½ inch pieces and place in a large bowl. Toss with 2 Tablespoons olive oil, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Spread beets and carrots into a baking dish. Bake for 35-45 minutes, tossing once halfway through.
While beets and carrots bake, prep the beet greens. Remove stems, rinse, and shake excess water off. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté about 1 minute. Add greens, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Toss together, turning frequently until greens are wilted. Remove from heat.
Remove beets and carrots from the oven. Serve with beet greens on top.
MASHED CELERY ROOT
Not your standard Thanksgiving mash! Using celery root gives what appears to be classic mashed potatoes a surprising, flavorful twist. Enjoy this vitamin C and potassium rich root vegetable and the conversation it's sure to start! Vegetarian friendly.
5 celery root bulbs
1 pint skim milk
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper
2-3 Tbs chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
Cut off rough, outer edges of celery root until only inner, whitish portion remains. Chop into 1-2 inch pieces.
In large pot, boil milk. Add celery root and cook over medium-low heat until fork tender (about 10 minutes). Using a slotted spoon, transfer celery root to a large bowl. Reserve milk.
Mash celery root with about 1/4 cup reserved milk, butter, olive oil, salt and pepper (you can also do this in a food processor). Sprinkle with parsley before serving.
Suzanne Hollander, MS, RD
Suzanne practices as a Clinical Dietitian in Los Angeles, where in her free time she enjoys running, hiking, cooking and exploring Southern California (including frequent attempts at the stuffed animal claw machine). Recipes packed with seasonal flavors, conversation-sparking surprises, and easy prep work are her saving graces year-round. Check out her musings on delicious food and healthy living at