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Vegetable Sides for the Holiday Meal

There was a time when holiday meals were traditions passed down through generations with not much change to the recipes. Family and guests basically ate the same menu which may have varied if you were European American, African American, or Latin American. And let me not leave out the Italian Americans with a mighty feast of their own. For the Christmas dinner food was plentiful, delicious and filled with calories. Side dish’s and appetizers were window dressing for the main event, the turkey, ham, dressing and assortment of desserts.

Now after years of eating refined and processed foods there are more digestive issues and diet choices to take into consideration. Gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, lactose intolerant, sugar free, and food allergies make up the vast amount of diet considerations when sitting down to plan the holiday menu. Time to shift the focus of the meal to the bounty of delicious vegetable courses that can accommodate your guests and family.

What follows are three vegetable based recipes that are different and exciting yet considerate for the variety of diets attending. One idea is to pass these recipes on to  our guests and have them each prepare a dish to bring and share as part of the holiday celebration.


Yield: 6 – 8 servings

Attractive, delicious and just heavy enough to take the edge off hunger and soak up any alcohol. Replace the baguette with wheat or gluten free bread with crusts removed


1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 can organic white beans

½ tsp. sea salt

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1 ½ Tbs. fresh basil, chopped

1 Tbs. fresh parsley, minced

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

½ cup diced tomatoes

1 baguette sliced into ½ thick slices


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  • Heat oil in a medium skillet and sauté garlic for 1 minute.

  • Add the beans, ¼ cup bean liquid, sea salt, and pepper.

  • Cook 2-3 minutes.

  • Add basil, parsley, and lemon juice, mix well.

  • Mash half of the beans with a fork and set aside.

  • Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and bake about 5 minutes, until crispy.

  • Remove from oven and top the slices with equal amounts of the bean puree and tomatoes.


Yield: 4 servings

Simple, easy, delicious and a very healthy touch to the menu.


1 bunch fresh dandelion greens, kale, and bok choy washed, chopped, and water cooked

1 carrot, sliced thin

½ daikon, grated

1 medium shallot, minced

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Roasted garlic dressing (see below)

Toasted pine nuts


  • Place cooked greens in a large salad bowl with the carrot and daikon

  • .Heat the garlic dressing in a small saucepan over medium heat until warm.

  • Add the shallot and simmer until softened, 3-5 minutes.

  • Pour the warm dressing over the greens and toss until coated.

  • Season with pepper, top with the pine nuts and serve while warm.


Yield: half a cup


1 large head of garlic

4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil divided

2 Tbs. golden balsamic, red wine or coconut vinegar

1 Tbs. lime juice

1/8 tsp. sea salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 400 F.

  • Rub off the excess papery skin from garlic without separating the cloves.

  • Slice the tips off the head, exposing the ends of the cloves.

  • Place the garlic on a piece of foil and wrap into a package.

  • Place on a baking sheet or oven rack and bake until soft, about 40 minutes.

  • Unwrap and allow to cool.

  • Squeeze the garlic pulp into a blender of food processor, discarding the skins.

  • Add the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, salt and pepper.

  • Blend or process until smooth.


Yield: 4 – 6 servings

This recipe is a great replacement for the traditional mashed white potatoes with its own distinctive flavor.


1 rutabaga, peeled and chopped

4 small red potatoes

2 small sweet potatoes

1 head garlic

1/2 stick organic butter

Salt to taste


  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

  • Peel and chop the vegetables.

  • Wrap the garlic in foil and roast until tender, about 20 minutes.

  • In a pressure cooker or large saucepan place the veggies and cover with water.

  • Bring to pressure and cook 10 minutes or simmer the veggies covered, until tender, about 15 minutes.

  • Remove the root veggies to a bowl, saving the water for soup stock.

  • Unwrap the garlic and slice the flat end open by cutting across the top of the garlic head.

  • Squeeze the garlic out of the head and into the bowl.

  • Add the butter to the veggie/ garlic mixture and mash with a potato masher until smooth.

  • Salt to taste and spoon into a baking dish.

  • Return to the oven and cook for another 15 minutes, just to brown on top.

Delia Quigley is the Director of StillPoint Schoolhouse LLC, where she teaches a holistic lifestyle designed to achieve optimal health and well being, based on her 30 years of study, experience and practice. The programs she has created, the Body Rejuvenation Cleanse, Cooking the Basics, and the Ha-Tha Yoga Method, are offered as daily and weekly classes in New Jersey and soon to be on-line.


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