Side Dishes to Elevate your Festive Feast

My Balsamic Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Sage & Maitake Green Beans take traditional holiday fare to the next level. Bold in colors and flavor, these dishes are gorgeous, dressing up any holiday dinner table. Better yet, they are ridiculously packed with goodness. Your body and your dinner guests will thank you!

For more information on the health benefits of these and other recipes, check out my cookbook - My Pinewood Kitchen .
Now, get cookin’!
Balsamic Butternut Squash with Cranberries
Mix up your Holiday sides with this delish dish. It’s easy, vegan, gluten free & festive. Plus it supports a healthy microbiome with easily digestible fiber. Cranberries are a super food for akkermansia a major gut bacteria that aids in preventing & eliminating inflammation. Monk fruit sugar is low glycemic too!
Whatcha’ Do:
3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp thinly sliced fresh sage
1/2 red onion, halved and cut into 14 inch slices
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces 
1 tsp sea salt, divided
1/4 cup water or broth of house
4 tbsp. Monk fruit sugar or honey
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 cup dried cranberries, no sugar added
2 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 
Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add sage; cook & stir for 3 min. Remove sage from pan & set aside. Add onion to pan & sauté until soft. Add the butternut squash, 1/2 tsp of sea salt, & whisk monk fruit sugar or honey & cinnamon in the water or broth; then poor this combo evenly over butternut squash. Cover with lid and steam for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium; cook for 10 minutes without stirring. Add the died cranberries & cook for 5 min. Add vinegar, the remaining 1/2 tsp we salt, black pepper; cook for 10 minutes more until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in the crispy sage.
Sage & Maitake Green Beans
Green Beans are an essential part of our Holiday table. Combing them with mushrooms gives them a powerhouse immune balancing boost. Maitake are my most beloved as they are woodsy in flavor and meld well with sage. Plus the health benefits are through the ROOF. They contain beta glucan, which has immune-supporting effects as well as anti-viral properties. Maitake’ s bioactive polysaccharides support the body in helping ward off pathogens associated with the common cold - which is part of the covid family. I say bump up your green bean casserole & bring on this delish dish loaded with incredible benefits!
*any mushroom can be used and ALL are loaded with health benefits.
1 lb organic green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tbsp vegan butter, ghee or grass-fed butter
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh sage leaves
1 Maitake mushroom, chopped or 1 cup of sliced shiitake mushrooms
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chicken bone broth or vegetable broth
2 tbsp white wine
1 tbsp tamari or coconut aminos 
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper or red pepper flakes

Whatcha’ Do
Cook the beans in boiling sea-salted water for 8 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain and set aside.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter with the olive oil. Add the sage and sauté for 1 minute or until crisp and dark green. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. In the same skillet, add the Maitake mushrooms and garlic; sauté for about 3 min until the liquid evaporates. Add the green beans, tossing to combine . Stir in the broth and remaining ingredients. Stir in the sage just before serving. 



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