Being "good" during the holidays just got a whole lot easier with these seasonal standouts. Updated ingredients are transformed into old-fashioned textures, satisfying both your inner child and your sensible adult.
The slightly nutty flavor of the sprouts have a complement in the sweet red grapes. Use walnuts for a bit of heart-healthy omega-3s, or substitute almonds or pecans instead.
Because it contains no butter or cream, this stand-in for mean mashed potatoes is lower in fat and calories, and is a good choice for vegans. Adding pureed white beans gives a silky texture, and doubles the amount of protein compared with traditional spuds.
This flavorful dish is nutritious, too. It's packed with disease-fighting antioxidants, and uses a lightened up bechamel sauce, for richness with less fat.
"Brussels sprouts were always a favorite of mine, but my mother would steam them so they were a little limp by the time they got to the table," says Catherine McCord, founder of the kid-friendly recipe site Weelicious, who created this side dish.
"Shredding makes them beautiful and lacy so they're not damp little orbs of cabbage. I added poppy seeds and garlic for nutrition."
Amy Pennington, creator of GoGo Green Garden and Urban Garden Share and author of "Urban Pantry," made over a favorite Thanksgiving recipe from childhood -- her mom's mashed rutabaga.
"I've made it vegan, and instead of mashing it together with a bunch of butter and bacon fat, as my mom did, I used a nut cream, which makes the rutabagas velvety in and of themselves," she says. "It's much healthier, but it still feels really filling and lush."
Peter Berley, former executive chef of Angelica Kitchen in New York City and author of "The Flexitarian Table," created this healthier version of a traditional family favorite.
"My mom liked to combine apple, celery, raisins, and walnuts with some mayo," he says. "My recipe is a postmodern expression of that. The apple is tart; the celery has a saline minerality; and the sunchokes provide earthiness."
Thanksgivings at Anna Lappe's house were always healthy. "It wasn't like there were sweet potatoes with marshmallows!" says the cofounder of the Small Planet Institute and author of "Diet for a Hot Planet."
"My mother [author Frances Moore Lappe] doesn't eat meat, so she wanted to make a stuffing that wasn't just discarded bread stuffed in a turkey. Here, the interesting flavors and texture come from her combination of herbs, the dried fruit, the nuts -- and the juiciness of all the onions."
Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer, creators of the seasonal recipe series "Canal House Cooking," developed this side dish in order to showcase a beautiful hollowed-out pumpkin.
"There's some olive oil in there, but it's really just a wholesome recipe, deliciously prepared. We love the combination of the preserved lemon and the pimenton -- it adds that richness of flavor without bringing in extra fat."
With just a modest amount of pure maple syrup, this version retains all the expected sweetness of the familiar dish.