32 Thanksgiving Recipes for a Healthier Holiday
It's that time of year again: Families gather (and bicker), turkeys get browned on the outside and left accidentally frozen on the inside (whoops), gravy ends up a lumpy mess, and cranberry sauce plops loudly from white-labeled cans everywhere.
Womp, womp. That's why this list is here — to save your Thanksgiving. Here you can find all the recipes you could possibly need to prepare a successful dinner for any sized family. Most are our own personal creations, but we've also included some stars from the kitchens of our very awesome recipe contributors, too.
(Also check it: 33 Vegetarian Recipes Made With Real Food )
Salads and Starters
Creamy Sweet Potato Soup It's official: Soup season is here! Ring in the cooler weather with this super simple creamy sweet potato soup.
Spicy Kale Salad Kale is the perfect hearty fall green to use as a base for any seasonal salad. Try this easy option with freshly grated pecorino cheese and red pepper flakes as a healthy side dish or starter.
Spinach Salad With eight simple ingredients and less than 10 minutes of prep time, this spinach-based salad brings a little California sunshine to any dinner table.
Curried Pumpkin Soup (from Kelli Dunn, The Corner Kitchen)
Pumpkin just screams Thanksgiving. Start your meal with this simple soup to enjoy this classic ingredient with a bit of a twisted flavor.
Arugula Salad with Fennel, Apple, and Pecans (from Kelli Dunn, The Corner Kitchen)
On a day when nearly every dish is an indulgence, it's smart to start the meal with something a little greener just to fit in some of those important nutrients and antioxidants. This combo of arugula with crisp and refreshing fennel and apple is the perfect solution. (The balsamic-dijon vinaigrette doesn't hurt either!)
Hearty Greens with Garlic We know, we know, greens aren't a "traditional" Thanksgiving dish. But take a chance this year and throw these garlicky greens on the table. They taste great and offer an extra-heavy dose of antioxidants!
Brussels Sprouts with Brown Butter and Sage Looking for the perfect Turkey pairing? Try these guilt-free Brussels sprouts for a delicious addition to any Thanksgiving table.
Healthier (Vegan) Creamed Corn Craving a creamy side dish but not keen on all the calories? Try this recipe that uses coconut milk to achieve a luscious texture without all the added fat.
Cranberry-Orange Sauce with Thyme Swap out the jiggly canned stuff for this orange-and-honey sweetened version this Thanksgiving.
Basil Cranberry Sauce Want an herbal twist on the classic cranberry? This is the answer. Plus, there's no added sugar; this sauce is sweetened with apple juice.
Green Bean Casserole This classic side dish is typically anything but healthy. However, this version takes out all the bad stuff by swapping in, well, less-than-bad stuff. Grandma will never know the difference.
Kale and Butternut Squash Stuffing Whether you call it stuffing or dressing, no Thanksgiving would be complete without this holiday staple. And this quick and easy recipe is full of unexpected veggies and can be made vegetarian-friendly.
Cauliflower Leek Puree What’s fluffy and white and absolutely delicious? Mashed potatoes? Wrong! This mashed potato-lookalike is just as delicious and much healthier. Plus, it packs so much flavor there’s no gravy required.
Honey-Orange Carrots Carrots are a great source of beta-carotene, but all too often they’re just plain boring. These carrots are a refreshing change, and because they’re baked, they’re nutrients won’t leach into cooking water.
With just three ingredients and less than 20 minutes start-to-finish, this roasted asparagus recipe makes one simple, crowd-pleasing dish.
Maple and Sage Roasted Squash (from Aylin Erman, Glow Kitchen)
Instead of mashing the starchy side this year, try roasting it! This is an easy way to prep winter squash that goes perfectly with Thanksgiving turkey.
Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts (from Kelli Dunn, The Corner Kitchen) We can't get enough Brussels sprouts at Greatist. The addition of pancetta and maple make these healthy little guys just the right about of decadent (without going overboard on the unhealthy stuff).
Apple-Parsnip Mash (from The Corner Kitchen)
Sick of mashed potatoes? Try this inventive take! Apples and parsnips make a similarly colored dish that taste nothing like the classic whipped white stuff.
Pumpkin Cheddar Muffins (from Katie at the Kitchen Door)
Savory muffins sound weird — we know. But trust us. This combo of pumpkin puree and cheddar bring life to otherwise bland dinner table bread options.
Quinoa and Sweet Potato-Stuffed Mushrooms These sweet potato and quinoa stuffed mushroom caps are just as filling as a hunk-o'-turkey and can be enjoyed by anyone around the dinner table— meat eaters or not.
First Timer's Guide to Cooking the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey
Taking your first stab at cooking the big bird this year? Don't even try to enter the kitchen without this simple guide.
Herb-Stuffed Turkey Breast
Hosting Thanksgiving can be a hassle. And wrestling a 20-pound turkey can make things extra stressful. Take this less-traditional route and choose a smaller piece of the bird— the breast— for a creative (and equally delicious) main dish.
Cranberry Pecan-Stuffed Pork Chops (from Kelli Dunn, The Corner Kitchen) Not a fan of poultry? Try pork this Thanksgiving. Yes, you can call it Pork Day if you must. Plus, this cranberry-pecan stuffing is bomb.
Desserts and Drinks
Baked Apples You might need to wait a few hours after dinner to enjoy these warm gooey oat-stuffed apples. Regardless, they're the perfect way to warm up after that mid-afternoon nap.
Healthier Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies A less guilty version of the classic pumpkin-and-chocolate combo! These treats are a great way to satisfy that sweet tooth without having to serve a full-on dessert.
Quinoa Apple Cake With a whole quinoa and fresh apple base, this snack cake is perfect to satisfy any sweet tooth and filling enough to kill that dessert craving. And since it's Thanksgiving, you can serve it à la mode without too much guilt!
Harvest Fruit Compote Looking for a way to use up all that fall fruit? Try this simple, healthy compote for an all-natural sugar fix. Serve with ice cream, fresh whipped cream, or angel food cake for some extra decadence.
Healthier Coconut Macaroons Try these lightly sweet pure coconut macaroons for an easy way to statisfy that sweet tooth without going off to sugar-coma land.
Peach Rosemary Crisp You’re in for a real treat with this dessert combining the natural sweetness of juicy peaches with a savory twist. A welcome substitute for classic apple crisp.
Fruit Salad with Lemon-Lavender Syrup Peaches, plums, and cherries, oh my! This sophisticated fruit salad gets kicked up a notch with a lemon-lavender syrup. The perfect light dessert.
No-Bake Pumpkin Custard With Thanksgiving around the corner, this pumpkin dessert is a must-make! With only five ingredients and no oven required, it’s a stress-free dessert that’ll taste just as good as grandma’s pumpkin pie.
Apple Cider Margaritas What better way to open the festivities than a nice, stiff drink? Try this fall twist on a traditional summer cocktail. “An apple a day” applies to apple cider too, right?
Cranberry-Pear Crisp (from Katie Morris, Katie at the Kitchen Door)
Another welcome twist on the classic apple crisp. Pears and fresh cranberries make this dessert the perfect blend of sweet and tart.
Hot Mulled Wine (from Katie Morris, Katie at the Kitchen Door)
Wine is always a winner — let's be honest. But wine slightly warmed with lots of awesome fall spices? That's a Thanksgiving winner for sure.
What kind of Thanksgiving recipes are you still on the hunt for? Share in the comments below and we'll try to find you the perfect fit, or tweet the author @ksmorin!