Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes for the Whole Family

11/14/2019 Nutrition & Recipes Recipes Healthy Eating Health and Wellness Nutrition

It’s time to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving feast that leaves you feeling satisfied and happy instead of lethargic and stuffed with too much sugar and fat. With these recipes, you can make a full Thanksgiving meal that’s healthy and full of all the classic flavors you and your family love.

pumpkin pie

Thanksgiving is a holiday centered around family and food. Everyone joins around a dinner table and eats together in thankfulness. While the most important part about Thanksgiving is gratitude and connection, it helps when there is a table full of delicious food. Not only that, but it can be healthy too.

Most Thanksgiving recipes are loaded with fat, sugar, and calories. But you can still have a delicious Thanksgiving dinner that won’t make you feel like you gained 10 pounds the next day. Or even worse, give you a three-day food hangover because your digestive system is doing so much work to digest the food. These healthy Thanksgiving recipes will have your family and guests asking for more and feeling great afterward too.

Cauliflower & Mushroom Stuffing

While most Thanksgiving dishes are usually carbohydrate-heavy, this stuffing recipe will lighten up your plate and still give you all the delicious flavors of traditional stuffing. It’s grain-free, gluten-free, and vegan—terms you may not often hear when it comes to Thanksgiving dishes. This recipe is loaded with flavor and will have your guests rethinking traditional Thanksgiving stuffing for years to come.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into small florets
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 cups diced portobello mushrooms
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp. fresh sage
  • 1 tsp. Himalayan pink salt

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with foil and parchment paper. Add cauliflower florets to the baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tbsp. olive oil, salt, and pepper, and toss to combine so all the cauliflower is coated in the oil and spices. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes. When finished, remove from the oven and set aside.

Reduce the temperature to 375 degrees F.

In a saucepan over medium heat, add 2 tbsp. olive oil, mushrooms, leeks, and celery. Sauté for about 10 minutes until veggies have softened. Set aside when done.

Using a food processor, add in the walnuts, lemon juice, parsley, thyme, sage, and salt. Then add half of the roasted cauliflower florets. Pour in remaining olive oil. Pulse the mixture until it forms a crumble-like consistency, being careful not to purée the mixture.

In a large baking dish, add in the mixture, sautéed veggies, and the rest of the roasted cauliflower. Mix well to combine and bake in the oven for about 1 hour. Stir the mixture every 15–20 minutes to prevent burning.

Serves 6

Healthy Scalloped Potatoes

Who doesn’t love potatoes? This recipe combines two favorites—mashed potatoes and candied yams—giving you all the potato goodness without the heavy cream of mashed potatoes or the sugar rush of candied yams. It’s also gluten-free and vegan. These Healthy Scalloped Potatoes may soon be your new favorite Thanksgiving side dish.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced thin (approximately ⅛ inch)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1 1/2 cups full-fat coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin purée
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. Himalayan pink salt

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and grease a 9x9 baking dish with a bit of coconut oil.

Create layers in the baking dish with the sweet potato and onions until all the veggies are used up.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the coconut oil. Add in the flour and whisk for about 2 minutes. Add in the coconut milk, pumpkin purée, garlic powder, thyme, and salt. Whisk for about 5 minutes until warm.

Pour the sauce mixture over the sweet potato and onion in the baking dish. Bake in the oven for 45–50 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through. Sprinkle with fresh thyme before serving.

Serves 6

Not-Your-Grandma’s Green Bean Casserole

Ditch the cream of mushroom soup in a can and enjoy this recipe at your Thanksgiving dinner. It’s fresh and flavorful and gives you all the flavorful comfort of a classic green bean casserole without the processed canned soup. It’s also gluten-free and vegan.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 5 cups green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tsp. Himalayan pink salt
  • 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 tbsp. coconut oil. Add in the shallots and cook until they caramelize, about 20–30 minutes. Set aside when done.

As the shallots cook, steam the cauliflower florets until tender and transfer to a blender.

Steam the green beans until they turn bright green, about 5–7 minutes. Transfer to a large casserole dish.

In a skillet over medium heat, add the other 1 tbsp. of coconut oil and sliced mushrooms. Sauté mushrooms until soft. Add half to the casserole dish and half to the blender with the cauliflower. Also add water, salt, and nutritional yeast to your blender with the cauliflower and mushrooms and blend until a creamy consistency is reached. Pour mixture over the green beans in the casserole dish. If you like a creamy casserole, use all the sauce. If you like your casserole to be drier, you won’t need all the sauce. Mix the sauce with the green beans and top the mixture with caramelized shallots.

Cover the casserole dish with tin foil. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven when finished and top with slivered almonds.

Serves 6

Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash

If you aren’t a fan of cooking a whole turkey, or eating it, this recipe is for you. It calls for ground turkey, which is easier to prepare and more cost-effective. The turkey is deliciously seasoned with a medley of spices and spinach, all packed nicely into an acorn squash bowl. It’s pretty to look at and even better to eat. You’ll be rethinking that big turkey on the table after you make this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 3 acorn squash
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey
  • 3 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. Himalayan pink salt
  • 4 cups baby spinach, chopped

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with tin foil and parchment paper.

With each acorn squash, slice the pointy tip from the bottom so it sits flat. Slice each squash in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Brush the inside with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30–45 minutes until brown.

While the squash cooks, add 1 tbsp. olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add in your ground turkey and season with chili powder, oregano, cumin, and salt. Cook the turkey through, breaking it apart as it cooks. Add in chopped spinach and stir until wilted.

Remove the acorn squash from the oven and add the ground turkey mixture to each one.

You can top with your favorite hot sauce if desired.

Serves 6

Mini Pumpkin Pies with Coconut Cream

Pumpkin pie is a classic Thanksgiving component. And what’s a holiday meal without dessert? It’s totally possible to be healthy and eat dessert too. Especially with recipes like this one for mini pumpkin pies that aren’t loaded with sugar and heavy cream. It’s a healthy version of your favorite Thanksgiving dessert and is gluten-free, dairy-free, and 100 percent satisfying.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup roasted almonds
  • 1 cup roasted cashews
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. Himalayan pink salt
  • 2 1/4 cups pumpkin purée
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. arrowroot powder
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 cups full-fat canned coconut milk, extra cold

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Using a mini muffin pan, line each pan with muffin cups or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Pulse the almonds and cashews in a food processor until broken down. Add in the egg, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Pulse again until it forms a crumbly consistency like dough.

Add a small amount of dough to each muffin cup and press down and around the sides to form a cup. It should be thin but firm in the muffin pan.

Make the pumpkin filling by mixing together the pumpkin purée, almond milk, arrowroot powder, and pumpkin pie spice. Spoon the filling into each cup and bake in the oven for about 40–45 minutes.

Let the mini pies cool and then refrigerate for about 6 hours until firm or overnight. Before serving, make the coconut cream. Scoop out the thick cream from the can of coconut milk and add to a bowl. Using a hand mixer, mix on high speed until thick and fluffy. Top each mini pie with coconut cream.

Serves 6 (two mini pies per person)

With these recipes, you can make a full Thanksgiving meal that’s healthy and full of all the classic flavors. Serve Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash accompanied by Cauliflower and Mushroom Stuffing, Healthy Scalloped Potatoes, Not-Your-Grandma’s Green Bean Casserole, and Mini Pumpkin Pies with Coconut Cream to round it off. Everyone at your table will enjoy these yummy dishes and feel fully satisfied that they are celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday with a bounty of delicious food and blessings.


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About the Author

Lauren Venosta

Clinical Nutritionist & Personal Chef
Lauren Venosta is a Clinical Nutritionist & Personal Chef based in the Bay Area, CA. She runs her practice, total body nourishment , where she helps motivated men and women to regain their energy and feel great in their body. Practicing a food-as-medicine approach, she helps her clients utilize the healing powers of food to nourish their bodies. With nutrition counseling and custom meal plans, her clients experience results that last for the long-term. No crash dieting or feeling deprived, her programs focus on building healthy lifestyle habits and incorporating whole foods. She works with clients all over the country via online...Read more