5 Side Dishes to Serve with Your Pescetarian Holiday Meal

Table set with festive adornments and christmas tree in background

These days, more and more people are looking for alternatives to turkey, and seafood is the perfect option. Going pescaterian can be a delicious and healthy option for those looking to switch up the traditional holiday dinner while ensuring your family is satisfied.

Fish like halibut, cod or Tilapia are fantastic choices to replace the main star of the meal, and other seafood options such as shrimp, prawns or lobster can be creative main dishes, too.

However, many would argue that what truly makes a main dish sing is the array of seasonal side dishes. But how should you approach sides when serving seafood?

The world is your oyster (pun intended). Whether you’re hoping to keep it simple or get inventive in the kitchen, here are a few ideas to inspire your pescatarian sides this season.

Parmesan Broccoli

Garlic parmesan roasted broccoli

This recipe offers relief for those with busy kitchens, requiring only two ingredients and simple seasoning from olive oil, salt and pepper. Parmesan broccoli pairs amazingly with seafood dishes like garlic butter shrimp, grilled cod or Tilapia, or baked salmon. While steamed broccoli is a common holiday side dish, this recipe takes things to the next level: roasting adds a crispy texture and deeper flavor. We recommend adding a squeeze of fresh lemon to enhance the dish, which also happens to be a no-fail ingredient with seafood.

Try the recipe: Parmesan Broccoli from A Couple Cooks

Holiday Slaw

Red Cabbage salad with carrots, apples and pecan nuts

While many holiday dishes tend to be hearty, this slaw helps balance out the flavors on your plate and provides a much-needed burst of zesty freshness. Ingredients like maple syrup and pecans add a bit of sweetness and pair beautifully with white fish. Salads are also a great option for holiday sides because they keep the oven free for your seafood, potatoes and pie, and generally require minimal preparation.

Try the recipe: Christmas Slaw from BBC Good Food

Classic Caesar Salad

Fresh healthy caesar salad

You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel to make a mouth-watering side. Caesar salad is a favorite for a reason: it’s simple to prepare, uses easy-to-find ingredients and pairs well with a variety of foods. Crunchy croutons, umami dressing and bold parmesan hold their own, but these ingredients can also uplift the flavors of all types of fish.

Try the recipe: Caesar Salad from Simply Recipes

Mango Tomato Salsa

Fresh tomato-mango salsa with ingredients

Cranberry sauce might be a holiday favorite when it comes to turkey, but salsa is the clear winner if you’re going pescatarian. Mango tomato salsa is a delicious and colorful option to serve with white fish, shrimp or prawns. Salsa’s versatility can also make your life easier during the holidays—not only can you add a spoonful on top of your main fish dish, but you can make extra to serve as an appetizer with tortilla chips.

Try the recipe: Tomato-Mango Salsa from Kitchn

Lentil Loaf

Lentil loaf in baking pan

If you’re looking for a tasty, plant-based twist on a traditional dish, try this vegetarian lentil loaf. The base ingredients of lentils, walnuts, sweet potato and mushrooms create a rich flavor that’s surprisingly reminiscent of grandma’s famous meatloaf recipe. Seasoned with thyme, salt and pepper, and topped with a ketchup glaze, this dish carries the comforts of seasonal holiday food. This hearty loaf pairs well with milder fish or seafood and is a healthy side dish to add to your pescetarian plate.

Try the recipe: Lentil Nut Vegan “Meatloaf” from The Minimalist Baker

Now that you have some options to pair with your pescetarian holiday meal, we hope you’ll feel inspired and at ease in the kitchen this year. Whoever gets to enjoy your cooking will be pleasantly surprised by the modern take on tradition and appreciate the unique and appetizing alternatives.

Looking for more side dish inspiration? Check out this list of additional holiday recipes.

Photo Credits: sergiophoto / Shutterstock Inc., Nataliya Arzamasova / Shutterstock Inc., DronG / Shutterstock Inc., Evgeny Karandaev / Shutterstock Inc., Pixel-Shot / Shutterstock Inc, Charlotte Lake / Shutterstock Inc