Healthy Christmas Side Dishes

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These recipes can be used at any time of the year but I like them with Christmas dinner because they are …yup, you guessed it….quick and easy!  Traditional carrot recipes call for butter and brown sugar but I’d like to suggest roasting them with just  pure maple syrup, salt and pepper. That’s all you need really – it brings out the natural flavours, it’s calorie smart and the oven does all the work for you.

I used baby carrots so they cooked much faster.  I would suggest you cook regular carrots at 400 F for 35-40 minutes.  Just peel, drizzle with maple syrup and salt and pepper and toss some sprigs of thyme on top.  I cut most of the green off but left a little for a bit of a rustic look.  If you prefer, chop the whole end off.  Your carrots will be glossy and sweet and make a perfectly, easy side dish.

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The second dish is just as easy but has a few more ingredients.  Roasting brussel sprouts, parsnips and butternut squash is a no brainer because they all take about the same amount of time to cook.  Just toss them in some olive oil and salt and pepper and roast at 400 for 35-40 minutes.  Try to cut them up in the equal sizes to ensure even cooking.  I didn’t do such a good job of that here but when do I ever follow my own advice?   You can buy them pre-cut as well to save time.

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Once they are roasted, mix with walnuts and cranberries and serve warm.   For those liking  a little something extra in their veggies, I like to do a Horseradish Dressing that you can drizzle over before serving.  It kicks it up a notch without overpowering the meal.

One of the great benefits of roasting vegetables is that you preserve both the flavour and the nutrients of the vegetable.  The nutrients are not poured down the drain with the water from boiling and there’s no added fat from deep frying – overall, it’s a win/win situation.  And most importantly, you can add that little extra bit of gravy at Christmas time because you’re eating your healthy veggies!  Cheers, everyone.

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Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Squash and Parsnips
Author: Robyn
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8 -10
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 2 cups cubed parsnips
  • 2 cups brussel sprouts, halved
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons of horseradish
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Salt and pepper and coat with olive oil and roast squash, parsnips, and brussel sprouts at 400 F for 35-40 minutes. Turning once to cook evenly.
  2. Add cranberries and walnuts to mixture and serve warm. Drizzle with Horseradish Dressing if desired.


  • Reply
    Abbe @ Abbe's Cooking Antics
    December 10, 2013 at 4:08 am

    Absolutely love this medley of vegetables – Christmas (and any other holidays) can get a bit humdrum when we cook the same thing every year, it’s nice to step it up a notch. My lot love Brussel Sprouts so this may well be on our festive menu 😉

    • Reply
      December 10, 2013 at 5:56 am

      I agree, Abbe and I try to introduce a new dish each year. I thought that was a great idea until last year when one of the relatives said ‘I wonder what kind of weird thing Robyn is cooking this year!” No sprouts for her this Christmas, lol.
      Thanks so much for your kind words and visit. Loving your blog and dishes – beautiful!

  • Reply
    Jen Nikolaus
    December 10, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Roasted veggies are the best! I just roasted a pan of winter squash and potatoes last night with our dinner. This looks amazing! I love all the colors and the variety of veggies!

  • Reply
    December 10, 2013 at 10:48 am

    The best for sure, Jen! I just visited your beautiful blog with all those amazing Christmas cookie recipes. Your photography is stunning and mouthwatering! Thanks for your visit and kind comments.

  • Reply
    December 10, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Gorgeous pictures of beautiful vegetables Robyn! I LOVE how the tops are left on the carrots. Hope you are having a great week : )

    • Reply
      December 10, 2013 at 2:18 pm

      Thanks, Mindy! The light wasn’t cooperating with me that day so it was a challenge, lol. My week is a little hectic, but fun. Hope yours is great too!

  • Reply
    GiGi Eats Celebrities
    December 10, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    What a PRETTY combo!! 🙂

    • Reply
      December 10, 2013 at 2:19 pm

      Thanks, Gigi. Headed over to your blog to see what craziness you are up to!

      • Reply
        GiGi Eats Celebrities
        December 10, 2013 at 8:20 pm

        Ha Ha! Oh it’s CRAY CRAY – LOL! And yes, I say CRAY. lmfao!

        • Reply
          December 11, 2013 at 9:07 am

          Yes, it is…and I love that you say CRAY, lol

  • Reply
    Ai Lin Leow
    December 11, 2013 at 11:01 am

    I was just planning my Xmas dinner menu and deciding between salad or roasted veggies. The husband wanted brussel sprouts, after seeing this post – I guess that is what I am going to make. Like the tip for horseradish dressing. 🙂

    • Reply
      December 12, 2013 at 8:12 am

      I’m so amazed at how many people are eating brussel sprouts, Ai Lin! I think the idea of roasting them has produced a lot of converts – it certainly did with me. Let me know if you try the Horseradish Dressing – I was happy with the way it turned out but horseradish isn’t for everyone, lol.

  • Reply
    December 11, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Hi Robyn, I love roasted veggies. In fact, I am making roasted brussel sprouts for Friday’s dinner party.
    So colorful and healthy too. Love your site sweet friend…..xoxo

    • Reply
      December 12, 2013 at 8:15 am

      Hi Linda,
      I can hardly wait to see your beautiful dishes from your dinner party! For anyone reading this, if you want to see an outstanding kitchen, visit Linda @ for a look at her recently renovated kitchen – gorgeousness!
      Have a great day, WonderWoman! hugs.

  • Reply
    Barbara Hoyer
    December 12, 2013 at 5:12 am

    I love roasted vegetables; I’ll try your recommendations for dressing them up. Yum!

    If you’ve pinned this, I’d love for you to share your pin with my readers at my #PinterestFoodie linky:

  • Reply
    December 12, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Dear Robyn Thank you so much for your sweet (3) comments 🙂 !

    I just love roasted veggies and the green tops you left on the carrots are lovely!
    I wish you a great weekend, my dear friend.

    • Reply
      December 12, 2013 at 12:57 pm

      LOL, they all went through? Oh, google is playing mind games with me today, Nina! Thanks for your visit. xoxo

  • Reply
    turnips 2 tangerines
    December 12, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Thanks for dropping by The Four Seasons Blog Hop and sharing this fantastic recipe~ In the New Year I am going to try and eat healthier and you definitely have some wonderful recipes for me to try~ Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

  • Reply
    December 13, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Thanks for your visit, Lynn. I’m looking forward to the New Year too – have lots of ideas for clean eating. Really enjoy your party.

  • Reply
    December 13, 2013 at 9:37 am

    I love this recipe – is so healthy with all those wonderful vegetables and ingredients. We all need to be eating more fruits and vegetable this days especially around the holidays when people are more stressed and tend to eat more junk food. Thanks for sharing. Visiting from Real Food Friday Blog Hop.

    • Reply
      December 13, 2013 at 10:33 am

      Thanks for your visit, Marla. I really enjoy the healthy info you share on Google+ each day. Have a great weekend.

  • Reply
    Miz Helen
    December 13, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    What beautiful side dishes just packed with wonderful fresh flavor! Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and enjoy your weekend!
    Miz Helen

  • Reply
    December 14, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    This looks wonderful! I love roasted vegetables, they always have so much more flavor than when they are just cooked!

  • Reply
    December 14, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Mmm, I love roast vegetables! I wonder if I could talk my man into giving them a fair chance.

    • Reply
      December 16, 2013 at 6:30 am

      Lol, he might like them with the horseradish dressing, Natashalh. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Reply
    December 15, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Yum– this looks wonderful. I love roasting veggies– it just does something special!
    Thank you so much for participating in A Humble Bumble’s Healthy Tuesdays Blog Hop! Kerry from Country Living On A Hill

  • Reply
    Carrie From Carrie This Home
    December 16, 2013 at 8:34 am

    I love finding healthy recipes! Would you mind to link this up to my Frugal Crafty Home Blog Hop? Our readers love to see healthy options like this! Thank you!

  • Reply
    December 16, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Dear Robyn, It all looks beautiful and delicious. I love having a roasted vegetable side on the holidays. Wonderful pictures too. Just stopping by from Best of the Wknd. Blessings, Catherine

    • Reply
      December 17, 2013 at 8:45 am

      Thanks for stopping by, Catherine. I just took a peek at your blog and was blown away by the beautiful images. Now to go back for more! Merry Christmas.

  • Reply
    Simple Living Eating (@SimpleLivingEat)
    December 17, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    I’m always looking for interesting ways to add healthy vegetables to my family’s diet. Thanks so much for bringing this by foodie friday.

  • Reply
    Andi @ The Weary Chef
    December 17, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    You got some beautiful carrot photos after all, Robyn! I roast vegetables the same as you, although I have never tried parsnips. I’m going to make roasted carrots tonight and will try maple syrup this time! Thanks for the recipe and ideas 🙂

    • Reply
      December 18, 2013 at 7:52 am

      LOL, I got lucky with a few of them, Andi. I hope you like the maple syrup, it really brings out the flavour. Always a pleasure visiting your beautiful blog and creative recipes.

  • Reply
    December 18, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    This not only looks healthy, but also beautiful!

    • Reply
      December 19, 2013 at 5:57 am

      Thanks so much, Kathy. Merry Christmas!

  • Reply
    December 20, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Robyn, these dishes look lovely. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas! Thanks for sharing at Silver Pennies Sundays. x

    • Reply
      December 22, 2013 at 6:04 pm

      Thanks, Danielle. Merry Christmas to you and yours as well. I look forward to joining for more fun in the new year.

  • Reply
    December 22, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Hi Robyn, I love this recipe, I only had brussel sprouts on hand yesterday, so I tried your method of tossing them in olive oil and salt and pepper and roasting them. After I took them out of the oven, I sprinkled a no salt seasoning which had garlic and a lot of herbs in it. My husband said they were the best brussel sprouts he ever had. Thank you for linking up, I featured your recipe. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

    • Reply
      December 22, 2013 at 6:03 pm

      Oh, I love comments like yours, Mary! I’m so glad he enjoyed them. I think we’re all finding a way to enjoy the dreaded brussel sprouts, lol, and roasting seems to make a big difference in the taste. I’d be interested in hearing the name of the seasoning you used if you want to share.
      And thank you for featuring my recipe again! You are MUCH too kind. Merry Christmas, Mary!

  • Reply
    Roast Turkey on the Grill - simply fresh dinners
    November 16, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    […] I have two recipes that will go beautifully with your turkey –  Maple Roasted Carrots and Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Squash and Parsnips . […]

  • Reply
    Maggie | Omnivore's Cookbook
    December 8, 2014 at 2:01 am

    Simple and delicious! I like roasted veggies and the cranberries made them perfect for Christmas! Never tried horsradish sauce on them but the combination sounds so delicious 🙂
    Maggie | Omnivore’s Cookbook recently posted…Apple Pie CookiesMy Profile

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