Holiday Recipe Alternatives

It’s upon us! Holiday season is just about here. Thanksgiving is next week!

As you plan your dish to pass or your family meal, try out some of Dr. Samelak’s favorite recipes for delicious and healthy side dishes.

Not Your Grandmother’s Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts are one of my favorite holiday sides, but not the flavorless, boiled kind I grew up with. Instead, I love oven roasted, garlic brussel sprouts. They are savory, delicious, and have a great crisp yet tender texture.



Brussel Sprouts, trimmed and rinsed

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Garlic Powder

Finely Ground Black Pepper

Coarse Sea Salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Trim and rinse brussel sprouts, removing the external leaves so that they are tightly packed and the leaves are green. Cut them in half longways and lay them, cut side up, on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. I like to keep them close together so that they are pretty crowded on the sheet.

Drizzle olive oil over the sprouts- enough to cover them without drenching them.

Sprinkle the sprouts with garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste.

Place the baking sheet in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the sprouts are slightly browned at the edges. The side touching the parchment paper should also be browned.

Serve while hot.

These are always a hit at my family gatherings and I can never seem to make enough!

Cauliflower, Garlic Roasted Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are one of the holiday staples. However, they are starchy and can easily spike blood sugar. I love to combine cauliflower and potatoes to add a little more nutrition to the dish, while keeping the same great taste.


1 head of Garlic

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 head of Cauliflower

4 cups of peeled, diced Red Potatoes

Butter or facsimile

Milk or non-dairy alternative

Salt/Pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


Take a head of garlic and slice off the top. Drizzle it with olive oil and wrap it with aluminum foil. Bake until the garlic is translucent and soft.

While the garlic is roasting, steam the cauliflower until it is soft and boil the potatoes until they are fork tender.

Squeeze the garlic out of the cloves. Place the cauliflower, potatoes, garlic, butter, and milk into a stand mixer and whip until smooth. Add salt/pepper to taste.

Real Cranberry Sauce

Forget jellied cranberries or cranberry sauce from a can! You won’t look back once you try this recipe. One thing I love about it is that I can make it as sweet or tart as the audience prefers.berries-1851161_1920


Fresh Cranberries

Apple Cider

Sugar or Agave Nectar to taste


Place a saucepan on the stove and add in rinsed and sorted cranberries. Add in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of apple cider. Turn on the heat to medium and stir continuously until the berries pop. When the berries are all soft, taste the cranberry sauce and begin to add your sweetener of choice by the teaspoon until it is sweetened to taste.

Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools. It will keep several days and is an excellent dish to make ahead of time.

These are a few of my favorite holiday dishes. They trim some of the sugar and starch out of the holiday, while keeping all the flavor.

And, who knows, you may just find that you LOVE brussel sprouts!!!