Nutrition & Recipes

The Health-Conscious Cookbook: Nutritious Thanksgiving Recipes

The Health-Conscious Cookbook: Nutritious Thanksgiving Recipes
Thanksgiving is a great time to celebrate family, traditions … and food. But feasting with your family doesn’t mean you have to throw your health out the window.

There are plenty of ways to swap in nutrients without compromising flavor. Using fresh ingredients, grains high in fiber, and healthy spices are ways to boost the nutrient level of your feast. Check out these five recipes—healthier versions of traditional Thanksgiving fare.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Potatoes

Swap out sweet potatoes covered in marshmallow and swap in this tasty and healthy dish.


  • 1 large (or 2 medium) butternut squash
  • 1 large sweet potato (not to be confused with a yam)
  • 6-8 tablespoons melted butter, ghee, or earth balance spread
  • Agave (2-4 tablespoons, depending on how sweet you like it)
  • 2-4 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • Sea salt to taste

Remove seeds, cut ends, and peel squash (you can leave skin on if it’s organic—it's very nutritious and will soften when you cook it.) Cut into chunks—doesn't really matter what size. Cut sweet potato into same size chunks—leave skin on (it's healthier that way.) Put on baking sheet or pan.

Add melted butter or ghee, salt, and agave and roll all ingredients together. You should do this with your (clean) hands. Partly because it's fun to get your hands dirty. Partly because it will allow everything to be distributed more evenly.

Roast on 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. You'll know it's done when the squash is soft and the glaze begins to caramelize. Make sure to mix things around a few times while it's cooking.

Vegan Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes”

Thank you, Bess O'Connor, for sharing this recipe!

Don’t let the title fool you. This recipe is delicious and nutritious, and offers a colorful spin on traditional mashed potatoes.


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion (chopped small)
  • 1 clove garlic (freshly pressed)
  • 1 medium/large cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1/4 cup almond milk, hemp milk, or coconut milk
  • 3 ounces Daiya—chive and onion cream cheese style spread (vegan)
  • 1/3 roasted red pepper (chopped small)
  • 1/3 roasted orange pepper (chopped small)
  • 1/3 roasted yellow bell pepper (chopped small)
  • Freshly ground himalayan sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium. Add chopped onion to skillet and heat until golden brown. Add in garlic and bell peppers and heat for 7 minutes. In another large saucepan place cauliflower florets and cover with cold water.

Bring to a boil and cook until cauliflower is tender when pierced with a fork. Drain cauliflower and place back into saucepan over low heat until dry. Using a food processor, hand mixer, or potato masher, add in almond/hemp/coconut milk and cauliflower until desired consistency. Add Daiya cream cheese to the mashed cauliflower until combined. Add in the onion, garlic, and bell peppers and stir together. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I can’t say these cookies are totally healthy or low in calories, but they are packed with vitamin A, fiber, and iron … and they’re gluten-free.


  • 1 cup canned organic pumpkin puree (15 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon almond or coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1 1/2 cups tapioca flour
  • 2 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon pure, organic vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two cookie sheets with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, cream together pumpkin, sugars, butter, and egg. In a small dish, dissolve baking soda into milk. Set aside. In a separate bowl, stir together flours, baking powder, salt, and spices. Add baking soda mixture to flour mixture.

Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, stirring until just combined. Be careful not to overmix or the batter will get tough. Add vanilla extract, chocolate chips, and walnuts. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Green Beans With Almonds


  • 1 pound of green beans
  • 1 pound of wax beans (these look like white string beans)
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1/2 cup toasted almond slivers
  • 6-8 garlic cloves
  • Lemon juice from half a medium lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and coriander to taste

Mince garlic and sautee in pan. Add onions and cook half-way. Toast almonds with a little oil in separate pan. Mix everything together with beans. Put flame on low and cover. Add lemon juice, salt, and coriander. Cook until beans are soft, although keep a close watch if you like them a little crunchy!

Mashed Sweet Potato Casserole Topped With Caramelized Bananas

This is a much healthier way to cook sweet potatoes than cooking them with heavy cream, refined sugar, and marshmallows. I'll probably swap out the brown sugar for agave and the chicken soup for veggie broth. Other than that, it looks creative and delicious...

  • 3 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons butter or ghee
  • 1 cup organic vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 large bananas, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and roast until tender, about 1 hour. Remove from heat and let them cool until cool enough to handle. (Keep oven at 350 degrees).

Peel and mash sweet potatoes in a bowl until smooth. Stir in the butter, vegetable stock, salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Transfer to a casserole dish. Cover the surface of the potatoes with the banana slices by laying them on top, slightly overlapping in concentric circles. Sprinkle the coconut palm sugar evenly over the top. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is browned and your kitchen smells delicious.

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