Skip to Content

NorthShore’s online source for timely health and wellness news, inspiring patient stories and tips to lead a healthy life.

Healthy You

2 Thanksgiving Side Dishes With Cancer-Fighting Qualities

Tuesday, November 23, 2021 11:49 AM

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for what we have, like the company we’re surrounded with and the food in our bellies. While all the home-cooked foods are delicious, they also contain many calorie pitfalls. One of the biggest pitfalls can be the side dishes. Colleen Takagishi, MS, RDN, CSO, CDE, Dietitian at Kellogg Cancer Center at NorthShore, has favorite, simple dishes to complement the turkey.

Not only are these side dishes delicious, but they also have cancer-fighting qualities to them! Butternut squash is rich in fiber, potassium and carotenoids, including beta-carotene, which can decrease the risk for developing certain cancers. Ginger helps easy the stomach of those going through treatment. Additionally, both dishes are easy to make which is helpful for those with busy schedules who are going through treatment.

Roasted Butternut Squash



  • Butternut squash, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of brown sugar or 1 tbsp of organic maple syrup
  • Pinch of fleur de sel (French sea salt)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375⁰ F.
  2. Place the butternut squash on parchment paper.
  3. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, brown sugar or maple syrup.
  4. Add a pinch of fleur de sel.
  5. Roast for 30 minutes or until brown/crispy.
  6. Enjoy!

Ginger Cranberry Sauce



  • 1½ lb fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup fresh ginger
  • 1½ cups water
  • 2 tbsp finely-grated fresh orange zest


  1. Peel ginger and then use a microplane blade.
  2. Assemble ingredients in a heavy sauce pan.
  3. Turn on medium heat uncovered to a simmering boil and allow the sugar to completely dissolve.
  4. Cook while stirring to prevent the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan for about 15 minutes where you will begin to see that the sauce is thickening.
  5. Allow the sauce to cool completely.
  6. Put it in a covered glass bowl overnight.