Quick & Easy Christmas Side Dish Recipes

Find healthy, delicious quick & easy Christmas side dish recipes, from the food and nutrition experts at EatingWell.

Staff Picks

Rosemary-Ginger French 75

Rating: Unrated
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Rosemary and ginger add a flavorful twist to a classic citrusy gin cocktail topped with a little bubbly for a festive libation.

Massaged Kale Salad

Rating: Unrated
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Here a pungent garlicky dressing is infused into kale by massaging the greens and the dressing together with your hands. Any type of kale will work in this kale salad recipe, just remember to remove the tough stems before you start.

Air-Fryer Brussels Sprouts

These super-crispy and browned air-fryer Brussels sprouts with sweet onions and salty bacon--all amped up with bright lemon juice--are sure to be a hit, whether you serve them for a weeknight side dish or as part of your holiday spread for Thanksgiving. This recipe makes enough to serve eight but is easily halved, though once you taste it you may well want a double serving. And if you prefer a vegetarian side, simply omit the bacon.

Roasted Honeynut Squash

Rating: Unrated
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Honeynut squash looks just like mini butternut squash, but on the inside you'll find an even sweeter, deeper orange flesh. This winter squash has only been available at farmers' markets and in select grocery stores for a few years. If you see it, grab a few to try! This simple roasting method enhances the natural flavor of the squash with butter and spices.

Brown Sugar-Glazed Beets

Rating: Unrated
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Try a sweet glaze on beets or other root vegetables to help balance their earthy flavor. This easy recipe will work with steamed carrots, turnips or rutabaga too.

Warm Pear & Spinach Salad with Maple-Bacon Vinaigrette

Rating: Unrated
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Mature, larger-leaved spinach holds up better to the warm bacon vinaigrette than baby spinach in this healthy spinach salad recipe. If you don't want the spinach to wilt, let the dressing cool before tossing it with the salad.

Orange & Avocado Salad

Rating: Unrated
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This colorful salad would be a welcome addition to a Mexican-inspired meal.

Winter Salad with Toasted Walnuts

This salad was one of the favorites chosen from over 1,000 salad recipes for our 30th anniversary issue. In 2004, Deborah Madison waxed poetic about winter ingredients, particularly nuts. “In the chill air of winter, nuts move up to center stage as do their warming, substantial, golden oils--so good with winter salad greens and vegetables, such as shaved fennel, all of which are likely to end up in a salad together,” she says. Madison suggested using a mix of lettuces that balance each other here--a mild, tender variety, such as Boston, with a more intense and sturdy green, such as escarole, for instance.

Lemon-Herb Roasted Beets

Rating: Unrated
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We love how roasting brings out the sweet flavor of beets. Golden beets look especially pretty when tossed with the fresh herb and lemon seasoning mix, but any type of beets will work in this recipe. If you're a lemon lover, be sure to add the squeeze of fresh lemon juice after the beets are roasted.

Spinach Salad with Warm Maple Dressing

Rating: Unrated
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Pure maple syrup, as opposed to artificially flavored and colored “pancake” syrup, is an extraordinary cooking ingredient. Here it adds body as well as rich flavor to the dressing, providing a perfect counterpoint to the smoked cheese.

Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

Make this classic comfort food side dish in an electric pressure cooker, like the Instant Pot, to get the potatoes soft and tender in a jiff! This easy, 5-ingredient recipe is perfect for the holidays because it's all done in one pot and doesn't take up any extra oven or stove space.

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

Rating: Unrated
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This creamy cauliflower mash makes a perfect low-carb stand-in for mashed potatoes. Here we take simple mashed cauliflower and mix in garlic, buttermilk and a touch of butter to create a flavorful side dish that has about one-quarter of the calories of typical mashed potatoes. If you like, vary it by adding shredded low-fat cheese or chopped fresh herbs.

Inspiration and Ideas

Simple Green Salad with Citronette

Frisée and radicchio are both assertive, slightly bitter greens that add color and texture to any salad. Match them with mellower-flavored greens, such as red leaf lettuce, baby spinach or even Boston lettuce.

Lemon-Dill Green Beans

Rating: Unrated
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This lemon and dill vinaigrette is a natural complement to green beans. It's also great tossed with steamed asparagus or drizzled over sliced fresh tomatoes. To make this recipe serve 10, multiply all the ingredients by 2 1/2: Use 2 1/2 pounds green beans, 3 tablespoons dill, 2 1/2 tablespoons each shallot, oil and lemon juice, 2 1/2 teaspoons mustard and 3/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Apple, Fig & Brussels Sprouts Salad

Rating: Unrated
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Salad dressing made from sweet and mellow white balsamic vinegar balances out the assertive greens and Brussels sprouts in this healthy winter salad. If you have one handy, a small mandoline makes it easy to slice the Brussels and apple. To make it a dinner salad, top with shrimp or chicken.