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Move over, mashed potatoes — make room for these holiday side dishes

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By Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD

“Pass the spinach” — said no one ever at a holiday dinner.

The last thing anyone wants to do at a celebratory meal is worry about getting their daily serving of vegetables. But veggies are a versatile and often overlooked base to a variety of scrumptious side dishes. Think about it: you’ve already got mashed potatoes and green beans on the table, why not shake things up a bit with some unique veggie-forward sides?

Plus, for any vegetarian or vegan family or friends, these tasty sides can be combined to make one tasty meal (so you don’t have to worry about making another main course). Even the carnivores may have more produce on their plate than anything else with these mouth-watering recipes.

Who knows, your guests may even be asking you to pass the veggies this year!

Cumin Roasted Squash with Lemon Tahini Sauce

Uproot Kitchen

This medley of cumin roasted delicata, acorn and butternut squash topped with a lemon tahini dressing adds some Middle Eastern flair to your holiday table. As if those flavor combinations aren’t enough to make your stomach rumble, the whole-wheat couscous and pomegranate arils give this side a nice crunchy texture.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Kara Lydon

Keeping with the squash theme — it is in season after all — this stuffed acorn squash could stand alone as a delectable vegetarian main. It’s bursting with the flavors of fresh herbs, like thyme and rosemary, which contrasts nicely with the sweet squash and cranberries. The farro provides a nutty taste, and the Parmesan cheese adds a savory saltiness, all of which come together for a complex and delicious dish.

Pumpkin Cauliflower Rice Risotto

Nutrition a la Natalie

Don’t be fooled by the look and taste of this creamy risotto (although your guests will be) — it’s basically just fruits and veggies. The velvety texture comes from a mixture of pumpkin, vegetable stock and Parmesan cheese, while the cauliflower serves as the “rice.” Put this out on your holiday table and see if anyone notices that it’s not real rice.

Healthier Sweet Potato Casserole

Life’s Healthy Table

Believe it or not, sweet potato casserole doesn’t always have marshmallows on top. As a matter of fact, it tastes better when it’s free from the gooey camp fire treat. This healthier version of the traditional holiday casserole makes the sweet tubers the star — what a concept! It mixes mashed sweet potatoes with a little bit of orange juice, coconut oil and a dash of brown sugar. In other words, it lets the already sweet root veggie shine.

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