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Holiday Sides With Local Flavor

Food traditions are a big part of the holiday season, and it’s never too late to start a new one.
Executive Chef Andy Pyle of Providence’s Xaco Taco, a BCBSRI customer, says that switching up your holiday side dishes can be as easy as putting an unexpected twist on a local seasonal favorite. “When you’re using local foods and they’re in season, you’re able to eat those foods at their peak flavor,” he says. With Chef Andy’s recipes for delicious, healthy sides, you can feature local flavors at your own holiday table. Enjoy!
Ingredients marked with an asterisk can be found at fall farmers’ markets in Rhode Island or grocery stores featuring local foods. Find a farmers’ market at

Roasted carrots and parsnips with toasted hazelnut dukkah

Give your vegetables a nice crunch with this Egyptian condiment.
Serves 8
Carrots and parsnips
3½ pounds parsnips and multicolored carrots, peeled and quartered lengthwise if large*
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. honey*
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the carrots and parsnips with the butter, oil, and honey. Spread the vegetables in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Roast the carrots and parsnips for about 35 minutes, or until tender. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle generously with toasted hazelnut dukkha.
Nutrition facts: 173 calories, 7 g fat, 8 mg cholesterol, 134 mg sodium, 28 g carbohydrates
¼ cup hazelnuts, toasted
3 Tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
3 Tbsp. coriander seeds, toasted
2 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds, toasted
2 Tbsp. walnuts, toasted
1 Tbsp. cumin seeds, toasted
½ Tbsp. fennel seeds, toasted
1 tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. sugar
Pinch of red pepper flakes
In a food processor, combine all the ingredients and pulse until a coarse spice mix forms. Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Nutrition facts: 62 calories, 6 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 293 mg sodium, 2 g carbohydrates

Sweet potato and chard latkes with cranberry-apple chutney and Greek yogurt

Try this new take on traditional Thanksgiving sweet potatoes and cranberries.
Serves 8
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 large sweet potato, peeled and grated (about 2 cups)*
¾ cup breadcrumbs (preferably panko)
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage*
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp. cayenne
¾ pound fresh rainbow chard, boiled, squeezed dry, and chopped*
1 cup cooked yellow-eyed peas or cannellini beans, mashed
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp. oil
1 cup Greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream for serving
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat 3 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add sweet potato and cook, stirring until lightly browned, for about 10 minutes. Add ½ cup breadcrumbs, sage, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in chard, mashed peas, and egg. Season with salt and pepper.
Using your hands, shape vegetable mixture into eight patties, about ½ inch thick. Coat patties with remaining breadcrumbs. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties in batches (trying not to overcrowd pan) and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter. Top each latke with a dollop of Greek yogurt and cranberry-apple chutney.
Nutrition facts: 143 calories, 9 g fat, 34 mg cholesterol, 195 mg sodium, 11.4 g carbohydrates
The cooking time in this recipe is intended for fresh berries. If you’re using frozen cranberries, don’t defrost them before use. Pick through them, and add about 2 minutes to the simmering time.
¾ cup water
1 cup sugar
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
¼ tsp. salt
12 ounces of cranberries (3 cups)*
2 medium-size firm, ripe apples (peeled, cored, and finely*
Bring water, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and salt to boil in medium nonreactive saucepan (for example, stainless steel) over high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Stir in cranberries and apples, then return to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until saucy, slightly thickened, and about two-thirds of berries have popped open, about 5 minutes. Transfer to nonreactive bowl, cool to room temperature, and serve.
Let sit at room temperature 30 minutes before serving. Chutney can be covered and refrigerated up to 7 days.
Nutrition facts: 143 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 75 mg sodium, 36 g carbohydrates