25 Dairy-Free Holiday Side Dishes
For the lactose-interolerant, holiday spreads can be a war zone that usually involves suffering so you can enjoy your favorites. But most of us are avoiding a simple truth: Enjoyable feasts don't require milk or cheese. The following recipes are free of heavy cream and similarly harsh dairy products, so sensitive tummies needn't worry. As an added bonus, most of these recipes are vegan or only require a few adjustments.
Roasted Broccoli with Pistachios and Pickled Golden Raisins
From the Kitchen of…Rich Landau, Longtime Cooking Light Friend
Rich, chef and owner of Vedge in Philadelphia, offered us this lovely autumn salad, in which bright bursts of sweet-tart raisins accompany each bite of toasted broccoli.
Some version of broccoli, usually laden with cream and cheese, lands on many a Thanksgiving table. But this dish, with its beautifully balanced flavors, is much lighter--and vegan.
Chili-Roasted Acorn Squash
Coat acorn squash slices with a mixture of chili powder, cumin, and paprika before roasting them until tender.
Saran's eye-opening technique here is to pat the tofu dry very briefly, rather than for 20 or 30 minutes. This keeps it moist and creamy inside, and the outside still gets browned. Look for ghee--clarified, toasted butter--at Indian or Asian markets.
Roasted Squash Salad with Bacon and Pumpkin Seeds
Buttery squash, crunchy pumpkin seeds, and smoky bacon make this a fall salad you'll want to enjoy often. Serve with pork chops.
Pole Bean Salad with Ginger-Soy Tofu
Tossed with a bright vinaigrette, tender pole beans and tofu make a hearty vegan dinner. Serve warm or chilled.
Brussels Sprout and Sweet Potato Salad
The side dish of champions, bite-sized sprouts and sweet potato make eating veggies easy and fun!
Lemon-Herb Sheet Pan Roasted Vegetables
A mix of colorful root vegetables may be your star side. Peeled, prechopped butternut squash saves time, but pieces tend to be irregular and small--we prefer peeling and cubing it yourself.
Whole Stuffed Roasted Pumpkin
In this recipe, pumpkin plays a triple role: cooking vessel, serving bowl, and part of the meal itself. Choose a Long Island Cheese pumpkin for its creamy flesh or a Cinderella pumpkin. The hearty stew simmers inside the pumpkin while the flesh cooks and softens. Berbere, a peppery Ethiopian spice blend, richly seasons the pumpkin and stew. Find it at specialty markets or online at penzeys.com.
Mashed Honey-Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Hawaiian Sweet Roll Citrus Stuffing
With bacon and chicken stock, this recipe definitely isn't vegan, but it'll pass the lactose barometer and is sure to please the crowd.
Green Beans with Dried Cranberries and Hazelnuts
From the Kitchen of…Ivy Manning, longtime contributor
"This side dish is positively Pacific Northwest, my stomping grounds. Oregon produces both cranberries and hazelnuts, which I source from local vendors."
Blanch the beans ahead, and store in the refrigerator to eliminate a task from the Thanksgiving Day prep list.
Wild Rice Dressing with Roasted Chestnuts and Cranberries
Swap chicken broth for vegetable stock and switch the butter to make this stuffing vegan.
A simple side of roasted carrots is the breather a crowded table needs--a bit of palate relief (and ease for the cook) that still looks elegant. Use leftover cilantro in turkey chili or tacos.
Garlicky Mustard Greens
"Everyone thinks of collard greens as the traditional green in African American cooking. But mustard greens are also often found in my culture's cuisine," says Bryant Terry, Oakland cookbook writer and author of The Inspired Vegan. Blanching the mustard greens reduces their bitterness, and the toasted garlic chips add earthiness and crunch.
Two-Tone Potato Salad
Pickled onions and cucumber relish add a tangy kick to Emilee Gettle's blue-and-gold potato salad. Because she and Jere Gettle don't eat eggs, they opt for vegan mayonnaise.
Vegan Buffalo Tofu Tot Skillet
This fantastic tater tot dish is slathered in some delicious meatless toppings making this one vegan dish that packs a powerful flavor punch. Reminicient of totchos, this skillet dish is a comfort food item to be reckoned with. This is a big skillet with enough to serve a lot of people alongside your favorite tailgating or appetizer dishes. This dish features a layer of homemade buffalo sauce as well as a rich and creamy dairy-free avocado ranch.
Grits with Creamed Cashews
"I tell people to use true grits, rather than polenta," says Oakland cookbook writer Bryant Terry, author of The Inspired Vegan, because he likes the grits' coarser texture. "I also prefer yellow grits for both color and flavor."
Farfalle with Artichokes, Peppers, and Almonds
Ground almonds take the place of pasta's usual parmesan, making this a good vegan choice. Trim raw artichokes down to the very tender hearts and slice them quite thin, so they're crisp but not chewy.
This dish is sure to make it into your regular rotation: completely satisfying chili that cooks in a fraction of the time it takes to make traditional meat chili. This recipe makes plenty; freeze leftovers for up to three months. Vegan sausage varies widely in taste and texture; we liked the meatiness and mild heat of the Field Roast brand, Mexican Chipotle flavor.
Instant Pot Butternut Squash
Instant Pot Butternut Squash is the easy fall side dish recipe that everyone needs in their repertoire. This simple recipe is similar to your go-to roasted butternut squash, yielding browned edges and a melt-in-your-mouth tender interior, but made in your go-to countertop appliance. Make your own by adding your favorite spices and herbs to the cubed butternut squash.
Farro Salad With Cherries, Corn, and Basil
Meal preppers, meet your new favorite salad. It’s bright and juicy thanks to the cherries, while the farro base keeps things feeling nice and hearty. The almonds bring in a crunch and nuttiness that helps bring everything together. Since it’s super versatile, you could make a batch on Sunday and serve it with arugula and baked chicken for a healthy lunch all week long.
Hoppin’ John Casserole
Get all your New Year’s good luck in one dish with this casserole full of bacon, peas, rice, and collards. The mixture of soft rice with tooth collards and peas, plus chopped bacon makes for a nice variety of textures. It’s great on its own, but it’s also a great side dish for fried chicken or pork chops.
Oscar Wilde famously espoused, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” That is the spirit of this recipe. It isn’t attempting to make chili super low-calorie. It is attempting to mitigate the calories while retaining full pleasure. And it takes advantage of the texture and mild flavor of the current darling of the pantry, riced cauliflower. Readily available in pretty much any produce section of your local grocery store, or easily made by pulsing cauliflower florets in your food processor, this vegetable adds bulk to a chili while cutting the calories from meat literally in half.
Looking for a side that’ll stand out this Thanksgiving? Look no further than these charred, super tender carrots cooked in a spiced harissa oil. Smoky sweet carrots are balanced by brightness from the lemon zest, and the harissa paste mixture helps the carrots achieve a nice spice crust and char in the oven. Reserve some of that oil and drizzle it on at the end for a burst of flavor.