11 Healthy Sweet Potato Side Dishes for Your Thanksgiving Table
Published on November 15, 2021
By Summer Rylander
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and menu planning is likely well underway. Whether you’re hosting a full spread or visiting friends and family with accompaniments in tow, your contribution to the table can be delicious and healthy — thanks to the magic of sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are exceptionally nutrient-packed, inexpensive, and easy to work with, and there are so many delicious ways to use them that we’re certain there’s a side dish in here that suits your needs. Here are the healthy Thanksgiving sweet potato recipes we’re looking forward to this year:
Grab an extra-sharp knife to create these fancy-feeling Hasselback sweet potatoes. Though admittedly more labor-intensive than tossing whole potatoes into the oven, Hasselback sweet potatoes are impressive in presentation and extraordinary in their texture. Go easy on the butter and enjoy this remarkable side dish that’s totally worth the extra effort. (It’s one of our favorites.)
If you’re looking for a recipe that feels familiar yet a little different, try this sweet potato soufflé. Coconut milk and orange zest add flavorful pizzazz, while the use of a non-wheat flour means you can serve up this treat for gluten-free (and dairy-free) guests.
What could be simpler than tossing diced sweet potatoes with garlic, thyme, and olive oil, then roasting to crispy perfection? This is a crowd-pleasing choice for Thanksgiving (or for a casual dinner during the rest of the cold weather season). Note that this will still turn out great if you use less oil, but we recommend you don’t skimp on the herbs.
It’s easy for classic sweet potato side dishes to tip over into dessert territory. Thankfully, this sweet potato pecan casserole takes the classic concept and gently coaxes it back to the savory side with the use of chili powder and a modest serving of bacon. (Who even misses marshmallows when there’s bacon around?) If you want to reduce the sweetness even further, just skip the addition of maple syrup — no one will be the wiser.
Roasted potato wedges are great for three reasons: 1) They give you baked potato energy without having to commit to throwing a whole potato on your plate. 2) You can prep them in an air fryer or in your regular oven. And 3), you can season them however you’d like. Try rosemary, sage, minced garlic, chili flakes, heaps of black pepper, or a dusting of parmesan — it’s up to you!
While conventional gratins call for heavy cream and piles of cheese, this healthier version proves you can lighten things up without sacrificing great taste. Use low-fat or non-dairy milk in place of cream, stick with parmesan or use a light sprinkling of whichever hard cheese you have on hand, and enjoy this sweet-savory side that is sure to please even the staunchest traditionalists at your table.
Impress friends and family by showing up to Thanksgiving with this pillowy sweet potato gnocchi. The recipe uses the time-honored flavor combination of sage and brown butter, which never fails to pair beautifully with the tender sweetness of a sweet potato. The richness of gnocchi lends itself to small portions — so just a gentle reminder to your fellow diners that this dish is, in fact, a side, so there should be more than enough to go around.
Mashed potatoes don’t have to be an either/or situation: Feel free to keep the conventional version and add these alongside, or go wild and declare this the year of sweet potato mash only. No matter your potato preference, this recipe checks all the boxes for a healthy, satisfying, and optionally vegan side thanks to its use of olive oil instead of butter, and nut milk instead of dairy. As a bonus, oven-roasting the potatoes means you can take a hands-off approach until it’s time to mash and season.
Hanukkah starts just after Thanksgiving this year, so there’s no reason to hold off on the latkes. Crispy shredded sweet potato with onion and garlic? Sign us up. This recipe uses sweet potatoes, almond flour, and minimal oil, which yields a lighter, less-traditional version of latkes. Reach for a high-quality stainless steel pan or cast iron skillet to help make the cooking process smoother.
We’re not going to pretend that fries normally find their way to a traditional Thanksgiving table, but there’s nothing wrong with shaking things up a bit, is there? (If nothing else, these can end up on the kids’ table and there won’t be any complaints!) These simple sweet potato fries turn out crispy and satisfying in the oven, but you can just as easily toss them in the air fryer to make quick work of a crunchy favorite.
Far be it from us to not include a pie when considering Thanksgiving sweet potato recipes. This sweet potato pie manages to be both vegan and gluten-free, but thanks to warming spices and a coconut whipped cream, even the “I don’t care what’s in it” crowd will be asking for seconds.