While I understand people who drool just thinking about next week’s roasted turkey and whipped-cream-covered pumpkin pie, my favorite parts of America’s annual Thanksgiving feast are the sides. (Just to rant a bit, I do not understand people who like sweet potatoes swimming in marshmallows and brown sugar. Roast ’em instead with a little garlic and grated fresh ginger – your waistline will thank you.)
Side dishes are a great way to work in more flavors without going crazy on the calories. I’ve associated little trays of carrot sticks, green olives, peperoncini and baby dills with holiday dining since I was a little kid going to my Grandma Miller’s house. For more involved sides, the holidays are a great excuse for going beyond tossed salads. Below are good ones to try. Two use healthy grain, barley and millet; the other couldn’t be easier given its use of canned chick peas. Bonus: The roasted chick peas could be a great snack or accompaniment to your leftover bird.
Toasted barley with mixed vegetables
- 1/2 cup uncooked barley
- 1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
- 1/4 cup chopped carrot
- 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons dried dill weed
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 4 medium green onions, chopped (1/4 cup)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 10-inch skillet and 2-quart casserole with cooking spray. Cook barley in skillet over medium heat about 8 minutes, stirring constantly, until light brown. Stir in remaining ingredients except green onions. Heat to boiling. Spoon mixture into casserole.
Cover; bake about 50 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with green onions.
- 2 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1/3 cup raw millet
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup regular or nonfat plain yogurt
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus the juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup dried or fresh cranberries (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 12-well muffin pan or line with paper liners.
Whisk together the pastry flour, millet, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.
Whisk together the yogurt, eggs, melted butter, honey, lemon zest and juice in a separate bowl until well incorporated.
Pour the yogurt mixture into the flour-millet mixture, stirring just until the dry ingredients are well blended. Stir in the cranberries, if using.
Divide the batter equally among the muffin wells. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes; the muffins won’t brown much, but the tops will be cracked. Serve warm or at room temperature. Cool completely before storing. The muffins can be covered and stored at room temperature for 2 or 3 days, or refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Gluten-free herbed roasted chick peas
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) chick peas or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Pat chick peas dry with paper towels, removing any loose skins. Place chick peas in an ungreased rectangular pan, 15x10x1 inches. Drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with seasonings; toss to coat. Spread chick peas in single layer in pan. Bake 20 minutes; stir. Bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until slightly browned and crispy. Serve immediately.