20 Thanksgiving Side Dishes (Healthy, Simple, Gluten Free)



By: The Real Food Dietitians Posted: 11/15/22

We know you’re here because you agree: Thanksgiving side dishes are the best part of the meal! If you’re like us, then every year, you look forward to serving your tried-and-true Thanksgiving side dish recipes, as well as a few new ones to add to the mix.

Collage of Thanksgiving side dishes with text overlay.

When you’re on the search for fresh, healthy, and (most-of-all) delicious recipes to add to your Thanksgiving menu, look no further than these top-rated healthy Thanksgiving sides from The Real Food Dietitians. This collection of delicious and healthy Thanksgiving recipes includes salads, potatoes, veggies, stuffing, and more, each of which will make one of the most wonderful Thanksgiving side dishes to add to your table this year.

Collage of Thanksgiving recipes, kale salad, whipped goat cheese, sweet potato casserole and apple sangria with text overlay.

Need A Thanksgiving Menu?

Make this your easiest Thanksgiving yet with our done-for-you Thanksgiving menu. It includes 7 of our five-star winning recipes, including drink, appetizer, salad, side dishes, and dessert (just add the turkey)! Also, download a complete grocery list, helpful prep timeline, and printable menu cards. Thanksgiving has never been better!

Done-For-You Thanksgiving Menu

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes You’ll Love To Make

Every Thanksgiving table needs something fresh, something roasted, something sweet, and something savory. We’ve assembled our best healthy Thanksgiving side dishes, including fresh salads, roasted veggies, and lots of potato options. Want to skip the decision making, then check out our Done-For-You Thanksgiving Menu featuring everything you need: recipes, grocery list, prep timeline, and even printable menu cards. Prefer to select your Thanksgiving sides a la carte? Then just scroll down through the drool-worthy choices.

Real-Food Holiday Side Dishes

This collection of 20 Thanksgiving side dishes makes it easy to choose exactly what you want to add to your table this year. All of these recipes:

  • are made from whole, real foods
  • include simple directions and photographs
  • are gluten free
  • many are also dairy free, egg free, grain free, vegetarian, vegan, Paleo, and/or Whole30 … or can be easily modified to fit those requirements
  • are made in portion sizes that are easily shareable
  • are made from delicious, easy-to-find, in-season ingredients

Wooden serving bowl with black handles on white background.

We Love This Serving Bowl

We think this gorgeous round dark wood serving bowl is the perfect thing to serve any of these Thanksgiving side dishes, giving them a special place on your table.

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Thanksgiving Side Dishes Everyone Will Love

Overhead view Roasted Brussels sprouts with pecans, cranberries and feta cheese crumbles on a white serving tray.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Balsamic

These perfectly roasted Brussels with bacon will be the talk of your Thanksgiving table. The combination of perfectly roasted garlic Brussels sprouts, balsamic vinegar, crisp bacon, tart cranberries, toasted pecans, and melty feta cheese makes for one of the best Thanksgiving side dishes.

Dairy Free | Egg Free | Gluten Free | Grain Free | Paleo | Vegetarian

Overhead view shallow bowl filled with honey sage roasted root vegetables

Honey-Sage Roasted Root Vegetables

Humble root vegetables, including as carrots, beets, and parsnips, get a nutritious glow-up thanks to the addition to a buttery, sweet, and herbaceous glaze. This recipe makes one of the best, most beautiful, and delicious simply healthy Thanksgiving sides to make your holiday menu shine.

Egg Free | Dairy Free | Gluten Free | Nut Free | Paleo | Vegan | Whole30

Overhead view Harvest salad with quinoa, butternut squash, pomegranate seeds, and apple chunks served in white bowl with wooden serving spoons.

Harvest Salad with Quinoa and Butternut Squash

This gorgeous quinoa and veggie salad is a Thanksgiving side that will impress everyone at your table. It’s full of flavor, hearty, and every bite comes with a mix of sweet, salty, and savory notes.

Egg Free | Gluten Free | Vegetarian

Parmesan herb roasted acorn squash halves on a white platter.

Savory Herb Roasted Acorn Squash with Parmesan

If you thought that acorn squash could only be made with butter and brown sugar, we’re here to tell you otherwise. Here, crusted thin slices of squash get crusted with herbs and cheese for one of the most unexpectedly delicious Thanksgiving side dishes that everyone is going to love.

Egg Free | Gluten Free | Grain Free | Nut Free | Vegetarian

Creamy maple mashed sweet potatoes in a white serving bowl topped with pecans.

Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Think mashed potatoes, only better. In these soft and creamy mashed sweet potatoes, maple syrup adds a touch of sweetness. A perfect complement to turkey, pork, chicken, and more.

Dairy Free | Egg Free | Gluten Free | Grain Free | Paleo | Vegan

Overhead view creamy mayo-free broccoli salad with bacon served in a white bowl.

Creamy Mayo-Free Broccoli Salad

This fresh remake of an old family favorite salad is one that everyone will love to see on your Thanksgiving side dishes menu. Made with an easy yogurt dressing, fresh broccoli florets, raisins, sunflower seeds, and bacon, it’s even better than you remember.

Egg Free | Gluten Free | Grain Free | Nut Free

Sweet potato casserole in a white baking dish topped with chopped pecans.

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans

When it comes to sweet potato casserole, ditch the overly sweet marshmallow topping in favor of this crunchy maple-cranberry-pecan topping with crispy bacon, too! It’s creamy, crunchy, savory, and sweet.

Dairy Free | Gluten Free | Grain Free | Paleo | Vegetarian | Whole30

Overhead view white casserole dish filled with sweet potato unstuffing, serving spoon in stuffing.

Sweet Potato “Unstuffing” (Made without Bread)

You won’t get any of the “stuffed” feeling, but you will get all of the flavor when you add this delicious sweet potato-based “unstuffing” as one of your Thanksgiving side dishes. Perfect for guests who love the flavor of stuffing, but need to avoid gluten or grains. It’s loaded with a variety of veggies, plus dried cherries, apples, pecans, and fresh herbs.

Dairy Free | Gluten Free | Grain Free | Paleo | Vegan | Whole30

A white bowl filled with loaded mashed potatoes topped with melted cheddar cheese, chives, and bacon, ranch drizzled on top.

Slow Cooker Loaded Mashed Potatoes with Ranch

Cook perfectly fluffy mashed potatoes in your slow cooker, keeping your stovetop free and filling your home with amazing smells. These mashers are truly loaded (with garlic, bacon, chives, Cheddar, and ranch) for a classic Thanksgiving side dish with an elevated feel.

Gluten Free | Grain Free| Nut Free | Paleo | Vegetarian

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Quinoa Salad topped with cranberries and toasted pecans on a white plate with gold fork.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Quinoa Salad with Cranberries and Pecans

Tender quinoa, perfectly roasted Brussels sprouts, toasted pecans, dried cranberries, and shaved Parmesan cheese are tossed in a delicious citrus-thyme vinaigrette, making this a delightful salad addition to your healthy Thanksgiving side dishes. It can be served warm or cold. 

Egg Free | Gluten Free | Vegetarian

Crispy smashed potatoes stacked up on a white plate topped with green chimichuri sauce.

Crispy Smashed Potatoes

Serve the creamy and crispy sweet pan smashed potatoes as an appetizer or side dish at your Thanksgiving feast. With a crunchy, crackled surface, these flattened potatoes pair perfectly with a bright herb-garlic oil.

Dairy Free | Gluten Free | Nut Free | Paleo | Vegan | Whole30

Cheesy scalloped potatoes and ham casserole with broccoli scooped up on a gold spoon over a white casserole dish.

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes with Ham and Broccoli Casserole

A simple and fast method to make a delicious main-dish casserole for your table or a loaded cheesy scalloped potatoes side dish. No need to peel, slice, and layer potatoes when you use frozen shredded hash browns.

Egg Free | Gluten Free | Nut Free

Healthy cauliflower stuffing in a white casserole dish with a wooden spoon.

Healthy Cauliflower Stuffing

Thanksgiving often brings together people with different diet requirements, allergies, preferences, and sensitivities. It can be hard to find Healthy Thanksgiving recipes to please them all – until now. This grain-free, plant-based, veggie-packed stuffing has all the flavor of traditional bread stuffing that everyone can enjoy.

Dairy Free | Gluten Free | Grain Free | Paleo | Vegan | Whole30

Crispy garlic ranch roasted potato halves on parchment sprinkled with dill weed and flaky sea salt, ranch dressing in a small bowl on the side.

Crispy Garlic Ranch Roasted Potatoes

For a show-stopping Thanksgiving potato side dish, try these crispy, buttery halved and roasted potatoes seasoned with herbs, onion and garlic. Serve them with a side of ranch dressing for dipping or drizzling.

Egg Free | Gluten Free | Nut Free | Paleo | Vegetarian | Whole30

Kale salad on a white plate with dried cranberries, pepitas, apple slices, and carrot ribbons.

Massaged Kale Salad

Hearty winter veggies, harvest fruits, and crunchy seeds pack a flavorful punch in this Thanksgiving sides recipe. The kale can be massaged up to three days in advance and refrigerated until you’re ready to toss it with the remaining ingredients and serve. The colors and textures in each bite will have you and your guests coming back for seconds.

Dairy Free | Egg Free | Gluten Free | Grain Free | Paleo | Vegan | Whole30

Brussels sprout salad with citrus vinaigrette served in a black bowl topped with bacon and red onion.

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

The best shaved Brussels Sprout Salad you’ll ever eat! Thinly shredded Brussels stand in for lettuce and get adorned with toasted almonds, dried cherries, crisp bacon, and an easy citrus vinaigrette. Perfect as a holiday side dish or as a main-dish salad when paired with cooked chicken.

Dairy Free | Egg Free | Gluten Free | Grain Free | Paleo | Whole30

Cinnamon Apple Sweet Potato Bake in a white casserole dish, topped with pecans.

Cinnamon Sweet Potato Apple Bake

Made with just six ingredients, this savory-sweet side dish features cinnamon- and maple-flavored sweet potatoes, apples, and pecans. It’s so simple, but always one of the healthy Thanksgiving sides that everyone raves about.

Dairy Free | Gluten Free | Grain Free | Paleo | Vegan

Broccoli cauliflower salad in a clear glass bowl with two wooden spoons for serving.

Broccoli Cauliflower Salad with Bacon

This flavorful and fresh salad makes the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving side dishes. It’s made with florets of broccoli and cauliflower, grapes, red onion, sunflower seeds, and an easy dairy-free dressing.

Dairy Free | Gluten Free | Grain Free | Nut Free Paleo | Whole30

Roasted sweet potatoes on a baking sheet with red onion, bacon pieces, and maple syrup drizzled over top, a wooden spoon scooping up serving.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Maple and Bacon

Sweet potatoes, red onions, and bacon get perfectly caramelized when they roast together on a sheet pan. Then add the flavor addition from a simple maple vinaigrette, and even your veggie-snubbing uncle will be asking for more. The next day, pair any leftovers with a fried egg. Delish!

Dairy Free | Egg Free | Gluten Free | Grain Free | Paleo | Nut Free | Vegan

Close up overhead view sweet kale salad in clear glass bowl topped with dressing and dried cranberries.

DIY Sweet Kale Salad Kit

Here’s one of our favorite Healthy Thanksgiving recipes inspired by the popular store-bought sweet kale salad kit. It comes together with kale, shredded Brussels sprouts, broccoli slaw, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, goat cheese, and a delicious poppy seed-yogurt dressing.

Gluten Free | Grain Free | Nut Free | Vegetarian

Glass storage container with lids stacked on each other.

Our Favorite Glass Storage Containers

Keep leftovers in these easy-to-use airtight glass containers for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Shop Storage Containers Here

Pin It Now & Make Them Later

Collage of Thanksgiving side dish recipes, harvest quinoa salad, sweet potato casserole, roasted Brussels sprouts quinoa salad, and sweet potato unstuffing in a casserole dish, with text overlay.

For ultimate success, we highly recommend reading the tips in the full blog post above. All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish a recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words. Link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!

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