Recipes: Healthy Thanksgiving sides

Nutritionist Jamie Miller shared these recipes for some healthy alternatives to add to this year's Thanksgiving dinner.

Pear and Blue Cheese Salad

  • 2/3 cup hazelnuts (or walnuts/pecans)
  • 1.5 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 1 bunch arugula
  • 1 Belgian endive
  • 2 ripe pears, such as Anjou, Bartlett, or Comice
  • 2 ounces mild blue cheese (about 1/2 cup loosely packed crumbles)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the hazelnuts on a sheet pan in a single layer. Bake, shaking the pan occasionally, until the nuts are toasted and fragrant, about 7 minutes. Let the nuts cool, and then coarsely chop. Meanwhile, whisk the vinegar and mustard together in a large salad bowl. Season with salt and some pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, starting with a few drops and then adding the rest in a steady stream, to make a smooth, slightly thick dressing. Halve the endive lengthwise, cut out the core, then thinly slice crosswise and add all the lettuces to the bowl. Quarter and core the unpeeled pears and thinly slice; add to the salad. Scatter the cheese and nuts over the salad. Toss the salad gently to evenly dress all the greens. Yields 10 cups.

Sauteed Carrots with Dill

  • 2 lb carrots, peeled and cut diagonally in ¼ inch slices (about 6 cups)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp grass-fed butter
  • 3 tbsp fresh dill

Place carrots, 1/3 cup water, salt, and pepper in a large (10- to 12-inch) saute pan and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 8 minutes, until the carrots are just cooked through. Add the butter and saute for another minute, until the water evaporates and the carrots are coated with butter. Off the heat, toss with dill. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve. Yields 12 servings.

Baked Pear with Walnuts and Honey

  • 4 large ripe pears
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 tsp honey
  • 1/2 cup crushed walnuts
  • optional yogurt, whipped topping, or frozen yogurt, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut the pears in half and place on a baking sheet. You can cut a sliver off the other end so they sit upright. Using a measuring spoon or melon baller, scoop out the seeds. Sprinkle with cinnamon, top with walnuts and drizzle 1/2 teaspoon honey over each one. Bake in the oven 30 minutes. Remove, let cool and enjoy! Top with a dollop of yogurt, whipped topping, or frozen yogurt if desired.