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Zone Living

Breaking down the latest research on Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition
Written By: Dr. Barry Sears, Ph. D | Creator of the Zone Diet

Written by Dr. Sears' Zone
on November 10, 2015


For Thanksgiving, enjoy these Zone-approved side dish recipes: Asian Green Bean Stir-Fry, Asparagus Artichoke Salad, Cauliflower-mash, and Cheesy Squash Casserole.


Zoners don’t have trouble figuring out the protein portion of their meal on Thanksgiving. Turkey is the star of the day. It’s the sides people are worried about. We can no longer have stuffing and mashed potatoes. Even our favorite green beans casserole has all those breaded onion rings in it. Here are some Zone-approved side dishes for your family.


Asian Green Bean Stir-Fry

Yield: 12 servings; Total time: 20 minutes.


  • 2 tbsps sesame oil
  • 4 lbs green beans - (trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes - (or to taste)
  • 2 cups water, boiling
  • 2 cups frozen Chinese-style stir-fry blend - (thawed, Birds Eye makes several)
  • 1 cup black bean-garlic sauce


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add green beans and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring often, until seared in spots, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add boiling water, cover, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes, for tender-crisp or 6 minutes for tender.
  4. Uncover, increase heat to medium high (make sure there isn't too much water in the bottom of the pan)and add stir-fry vegetables and black-bean garlic sauce.
  5. Cook, stirring often, until heated through and most of the liquid has evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.

1 serving contains 3gF/9gC.


Asparagus Artichoke Salad

Yield: 12 servings; Total time: 20 min.
Thick asparagus is easier to roast.


  • 1/2 cup red onion - sliced
  • 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 pounds asparagus
  • salt - to taste
  • pepper - to taste
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 tsps garlic powder
  • 3 pints cherry tomatoes - halved
  • 3 (15-oz) can artichoke hearts canned - quartered, rinsed


  1. In a large bowl soak the sliced onions in lemon juice. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  3. Coat the asparagus spears with olive-oil cooking spray and salt them well.
  4. Place in a single layer in a foil-lined roasting pan and cook for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned and fork tender.
  5. Remove the asparagus from the oven and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  6. Add the asparagus and all the remaining ingredients to the bowl with the onions and lemon juice. Mix to combine
  7. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Thick asparagus is easier to roast. Each serving has 3 grams of fat and 10 grams of carbohydrates. No protein.


Cauliflower-Mash (Faux Mashed Potatoes)

Replace mashed potatoes forever. It is so delicious.
Yield: 12 servings of 2C; Total time: 15 min.



  • 6 16-oz bag frozen cauliflower
  • 3/4 cup Kitchen Basics unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 1/4 cups 0%-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsps Extra-virgin olive oil - drizzle
  • Salt - To Taste
  • Pepper - To Taste


  1. Cook cauliflower with the stock in microwave for 10 to 12 minutes or until cooked but still a bit crunchy, not mushy.
  2. Put all ingredients, except extra-virgin olive oil, into a blender, stick blender or food processor and puree until the consistency of mashed potatoes.
  3. Serve and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.
Cheesy Squash Casserole

Yield: 9 servings; Total time: 60 min.


  • cooking spray - olive oil
  • 2 cups mushrooms - diced
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1/2 cup onions - diced
  • 2 lbs zucchini - chopped
  • 1 3/4 lbs summer squash - chopped
  • 1/2 cup Egg Beaters-whites
  • 3 tbsps plain fat-free yogurt
  • 3/4 cup low-fat Colby Jack cheese - shredded, divided
  • 1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese - divided
  • cooking spray
  • cumin - to taste
  • salt - to taste
  • pepper - to taste


  1. Coat pan with cooking spray.
  2. Add diced mushrooms, garlic cloves, and onions. Sauté until tender. (Add a couple of tablespoons of vegetable stock if needed.)
  3. Cut both zucchini and summer squash into thin slices. Add to a pot with boiling water and cook for approximately 5 minutes. Remove from the stove, drain and put back in the pot.
  4. Add onion/mushroom mixture to the pot.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix Egg Beaters with sour cream.
  6. Coat baking dish with cooking spray.
  7. Evenly distribute half the squash mixture to bottom of pan.
  8. Add half of the ricotta cheese, half of the egg mixture, and half of the shredded cheese.
  9. Layer the other half of the squash mixture on top and use the rest of the ricotta and egg mixture.
  10. Cover with foil and bake at 375°F for 35 minutes.
  11. After 35 minutes, remove foil and add the rest of the shredded cheese.
  12. Cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  13. Turn oven to broil and let broil for 2-3 minutes until cheese topping becomes crusty.
  14. Let cool for 10-15 minutes.

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