To go along with the turkey and gravies for Thanksgiving, I really wanted a healthy meal with my family. For the sides I decided on a mixture of sting beans and wax beans (they looked great at the Santa Rosa farmers market) and a gluten-free stuffing of some sort. I can’t so anything with bread, so cut-up bread and breadcrumbs were out. We put potatoes in the bird, and I really didn’t want a yam or potato dish with the bird. My husbands’ not a fan of squash (except for pumpkin pies and zucchini bread). I like mixed grain rice dishes, a lot; besides, they are more flavorful and better for you than white rice.

I got all of my vegetables from the farmers market, garlic from Costco and other organic foods from Oliver’s Market and Community Market. I learned from Cuisine at Home to save time and money on garlic by buying the Christopher Ranch (I hope they start carrying the organic garlic soon) peeled cloves from Costco, mincing them in a food processor and storing them in jars. I dehydrated cranberries instead of using sweetened Craisins. I soaked and dehydrated sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and pecans as possible rice additions.

Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffing Adapted from Wild Rice Stuffing
Ingredients                                                                                                      Image Source
1 1/2 C Lundberg Wild Rice Blend
3 C Filtered Water or No or Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
1 T Earth Balance Spread or Olive Oil, optional
Sea Salt of your choice, to taste
1 1/2 tsp – 1 T Savory Spice Shop Sage & Savory Stuffing Seasoning
3 Scallions, trimmed, sliced
1/4 – 1/2 C Pecans, chopped or processed
1/2 – 1 C Cranberries, dehydrated
2 Small Apple, cored, diced
1/2 C Golden Raisins, sun-dried, chopped, optional

Rinse the rice. In a tightly lidded pot, combine rice, water, oil, and salt. Bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer the rice for 30 minutes. Mix the seasonings, onions, nuts and fruit into the rice. Recover and cook the mixture for 20 more minutes. Do not remove the lid. Remove the rice from the stove. Let the rice rest for 10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork or rice paddle to get rid of any excess moisture.

I also found a tasty looking raw vegan version.

Green and Yellow Beans                                                                                           Image Source
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 lb Green String Beans, trimmed, broken into bite-size pieces
1 lb Yellow Wax Beans, trimmed, broken into bite-size pieces
1 tsp Sage and Savory Stuffing Seasoning
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp Black Peppercorns, fresh ground to taste

In a large lidded braiser or saute pan, heat the oil. Add the beans, and place the lid on the pan. Reduce the heat to simmer the beans for about 4 minutes or until they are tender-crisp, stirring occasionally. Add the seasonings, stirring to coat the beans. Cook another 2 minutes or so if you like tender beans.

Note: Asparagus and carrots also go well with string and wax beans. Try to use a variety for more color and flavor.