Two simple sides for your Thanksgiving table

The recipes in this post were developed by Kate Sherwood, The Healthy Cook. Have a comment, question, or idea? E-mail Kate at

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Winter Vegetable Mash

No added fat and no browning are the keys to flavorful yet light-tasting holiday sides like this one, which provides a perfect contrast to rich turkey and dressing with gravy.

Tip: This recipe also works with all sweet potatoes (or yams) or all squash, instead of a mix of both. You’ll need roughly 4 to 5 pounds.

Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 8

2 lbs. sweet potatoes or yams
1 large butternut or acorn squash, halved and seeded
½ tsp. kosher salt (optional)

  1. Using a fork, pierce the skin of the sweet potatoes in a few places. Cook the potatoes and the butternut squash until very tender. (Steam for 20–30 minutes, microwave for 5–7 minutes, or bake in a 375°F oven for 30–45 minutes.)
  2. Cut the sweet potatoes in half. Hold each half in a kitchen towel (so you won’t burn your fingers) and scoop out the flesh into a large bowl. Repeat with the squash into the same bowl. Mash with a potato masher or purée with an immersion blender or in a food processor to the consistency you like.
  3. Season with the salt (if using). Keep warm or reheat in the microwave to serve.

Per serving (¾ cup):

  • Calories: 120
  • Total fat: 0 g
  • Sat fat: 0 g
  • Carbs: 29 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Total sugar: 7 g
  • Added sugar: 0 g
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Sodium: 170 mg

Zesty Cranberry-Orange Relish

This no-cook relish is zingy and refreshing. You can use any type of orange: Cara Caras are a bit sweeter, blood oranges are a bit more tart. Or you can substitute 2 clementines or mandarins or 1 unpeeled apple.

Prefer a more traditional (yet still zippy) cranberry sauce? Use the second set of instructions.

In either case, if you’re using frozen cranberries, don’t thaw them before making the dish.

Time: 5 minutes
Makes about 3 cups

¼ cup sugar
1 12 oz. bag fresh or frozen cranberries
1 whole orange, washed and chopped (including the peel), any seeds discarded

For a no-cook relish: Combine all the ingredients in a large food processor. Pulse until uniformly minced, about 10-12 pulses. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.

For a closer-to-traditional cranberry sauce: Combine the sugar and ½ cup water in a medium sauce pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the cranberries, and simmer until the cranberries soften, about 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Pulse the orange in a food processor until uniformly minced. Stir into the cranberries. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.

Per serving (¼ cup):

  • Calories: 35
  • Total fat: 0 g
  • Sat fat: 0 g
  • Carbs: 9 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Total sugar: 6 g
  • Added sugar: 4 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Sodium: 0 mg
Photo: Kate Sherwood & Jennifer Urban/CSPI.

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