Haylie Duff, host of The Real Girl's Kitchen on Cooking Channel, serves up easy-to-make holiday side dishes that are packed with flavor.

By Kristine Thomason
November 21, 2016
Photo: Eddie Delarosa

The days are getting shorter, temperatures colder, and the holidays have officially snuck up on us. But if you haven't planned out your holiday menu yet, don't stress: Haylie Duff has some ideas for you. Duff, who hosts The Real Girl's Kitchen on Cooking Channel, is a fan of nutritious side dishes that take advantage of fresh seasonal veggies like carrots and Brussels sprouts.

"The holidays are all about indulging, but that doesn’t mean you have to totally bust up all your hard work at the gym by consuming thousands of calories over the course of a couple of days," she told Health over email. "I'm all about healthy decadence. I’m talking healthy dishes that are good for you without sacrificing flavor."

Duff shared a few of her favorite easy-to-make holiday recipes with us below. The best part: They all require just five ingredients or less, saving you precious time in the already-hectic season. So take a deep breath, let go of that holiday stress, and whip up one (or all!) of these satisfying, crowd-pleasing dishes.

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Roasted Sage Carrots


1 pound of small carrots, sliced lengthwise
1 pound of multicolored carrots, sliced lengthwise
1 cup of olive oil
15 sage leaves, plus extra for garnish
Pinch of sea salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash carrots and arrange on a greased baking sheet or tinfoil. Warm olive oil and sage leaves on low in a small pot for 15 minutes. Remove old leaves and drizzle desired amount of oil across the carrots. Chop a few additional sage leaves and scatter across the carrots with a generous pinch of sea salt. Bake for 15 minutes.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Golden Raisins & Almonds


2 cups Brussels sprouts
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup slivered almonds
Drizzle of olive oil
Squeeze of lemon


Parboil (boil water, drop them in and strain almost immediately) the sprouts for 30 seconds. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut sprouts in half. Bring an oven-proof skillet to medium high heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Place the sprouts sliced side down until they get a nice brown color across them. Toss in raisins and almonds and place in oven for 10 minutes with a generous squeeze of lemon and big pinch of sea salt.

Goat Cheese, Cherries & Pistachio Truffles

Photo: Eddie Delarosa


6 oz. goat cheese
1/2 cup chopped cherries
1/2 cup crushed, shelled pistachios


Bring the goat cheese to room temperature. Roll a few cherries and a quarter-size amount of goat cheese in your palm. Roll goat cheese ball in the crushed pistachios. Put on a small plate and chill in the refrigerator.

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Roasted Asparagus


2-3 pounds large asparagus spears
1 shallot
3-5 cloves of garlic
Olive oil
Sea salt


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Trim off dry ends of asparagus. (Note: If you simply bend the asparagus spear, it will naturally snap where it should be trimmed.) Peel and slice shallot and garlic and place in baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add asparagus to the baking dish and toss shallots and garlic throughout. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil and sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on top (the shallot and garlic take longer to soften, so they cook first). Bake asparagus for 10 minutes.

Mushroom Medley


2 pounds shiitake, chantrelle, oyster, cremini, and button mushrooms
Sea salt
Olive oil
Fresh herbs (like rosemary, sage or thyme)


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Drizzle olive oil across a big pan of mushrooms. Shower with sea salt and fresh herbs. Roast for 12 minutes, give them a toss, and roast for a few more minutes. Feel free to cook to your preference (Duff likes hers charred, so she cooks them on the longer side). These are best served right out of the oven.