3 Sensational Side Dishes for Thanksgiving

These healthier side dishes are great additions to the Thanksgiving dinner table.

These sides allow you to offer some healthier options on Thanksgiving, alongside the mashed potatoes and stuffing. Don’t worry- they are just as delicious! All recipes are courtesy of nutrition & weight management MD, Dr. Caroline Cederquist – founder of bistroMD (

Quinoa and Pumpkin Seed Stuffed Acorn Squash


  • 4 medium acorn squash, halved lengthwise with the seeds removed
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon minced cardamom
  • 1/8 tablespoon of turmeric
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup diced apples
  • 1/4 cup dried currants
  • 1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Adjust rack to the middle shelf.
  2. Simmer the quinoa in 3 cups of water to make fluffy, this should take 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. While the quinoa cooks, add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook until softened, stirring frequently, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the carrots, celery, cardamom and turmeric.
  4. Using fresh apples, cut into small dices and soak with lemon juice.
  5. Cover the pan and simmer the vegetables for 5 minutes until they are tender.
  6. In a big bowl, toss together the quinoa and vegetables. Stir in the dried fruit, diced apples, pumpkin seeds, nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Brush the skin of the squash lightly with olive oil. Place the squash, cut side down, in a baking pan.
  8. Pour 1/2-inch of boiling water into the pan and bake for 20 minutes to soften the squash. Move the squash to a plate and set aside until cool enough to handle.
  9. Stuff the squash halves with the quinoa mix, return them, stuffing-up to the pan, and bake until the flesh can be easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife. This should take 30 minutes or less

bistroMD Cranberry Chutney


  • 3/4 pounds tart apples, (chopped)
  • 2 1/4 pounds of cranberries
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper flakes
  • 1/2 pound dark raisins 


  1. Place all ingredients in saucepan.
  2. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes.

bistroMD (Mashed) Cauliflower

A great substitute for mashed potatoes, this dish packs all the flavor of mashed potatoes while slashing carbs and calories!


  • A medium head cauliflower. Trim it and cut into small florets (about 6 to 7 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Low fat sour cream
  • Chives


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cauliflower and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Drain well and transfer cauliflower to a food processor. Add oil and reserved water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and puree until smooth. (Or, mash cauliflower with a potato masher).
  3. Season with salt and pepper and fold in the sour cream. Blend until smooth and then mix in the chives.