I reached out to a number of friends who are chefs, food bloggers and doctors (yes, some cook!) who I admire and who keep their recipes clean and free of gluten, dairy (although some use butter), corn, excessive sugar and processed food. Many recipes we featured here are paleo-friendly and grain-free. Eating clean can be problematic unless you have a plethora of recipes to choose from. It then becomes so nourishing as you will never feel deprived.
My team and I compiled these wholesome Thanksgiving recipes to help you enjoy the day, and your family may not even notice how healthy their Thanksgiving dinner is. Let us know what you decided to make!
A traditional Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t seem like Thanksgiving without a turkey. My friend Jenny McGruther is a fabulous chef of traditional cooking methods and the author of The Nourished Kitchen.
Her recipes take us back in time when cooking was simple and we used real food only. I tried her slow roast turkey last year and it was a total hit. Following the article is her recipe for a tender, slow-roasted turkey. Substitute ghee for the butter if you are avoiding dairy.
Slow Roast Turkey by Nourished Kitchen
Are you nervous about making this year’s turkey because it’s your first time? This helpful video by my friend Leanne Ely who is a regular TV chef and star will give you the confidence you need to perfectly roast that turkey. The video calls for butter, but you can substitute it with ghee if you don’t do dairy.
How to Make the Perfect Roast Turkey by Saving Dinner
If you are not cooking for a large crowd and don’t want a lot of leftover turkey, this recipe might fit the bill. Stuffed with butternut squash, figs, spinach and spices, you might just want to make this dish throughout the year.
Stuffed Turkey Breasts with Butternut Squash and Figs by Skinny Taste
If you want to serve a non-traditional main course, consider this rich and flavorful lamb roast. Infused with rosemary and served with sweet potatoes and celeriac, this fall dish will make your mouth water.
Rustic Lamb Roast by Hormones Balance
This stuffed acorn squash recipe can be made either as a main course or side dish. Filled with additive-free free sausage, veggies, apples and cranberries, you will enjoy this combination of sweet and savory. You could substitute quinoa for the sausage and have a meat-free selection on your buffet table.
Stuffed Acorn Squash by Elaine De Santos at Healthy Family Meal Plans
With a little bit of sweetness and a bold spicy kick, place this dish on your buffet table for your more adventurous guests. It’s a creative way to incorporate this season’s pomegranates. Use a homemade beef bone broth in this recipe, and omit the peppers if you are avoiding nightshades.
Pomegranate Habanero Shredded Beef by Stupid Easy Paleo [no photo]
Side Dishes & Stuffing
Replace that boring green salad with this crunchy, citrus-y, cruciferous version. Shredded lacinto kale and brussels sprouts are tossed with almonds and cranberries in lemon-Dijon dressing. If you have a thyroid condition, you might want to enjoy a smaller serving.
What the Kale? Salad by Inside By Design
If you’re going to have a green salad on your table, make it this one. Featuring sliced apples and persimmons and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds over your favorite organic salad greens, your taste buds will love the orange-ginger dressing and the crunch of the candied hazelnuts.
Autumn Salad with Apples, Persimmons and Pomegranates by Savory Lotus
You won’t miss potatoes at all when you try this recipe of cauliflower mashed with roasted garlic and ghee. The buttery flavor and creamy texture might just fool you into thinking you’re enjoying your favorite nightshade.
Mashed Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic & Chives by Allergy Free Alaska
Don’t worry, you will not miss out on the gravy this year. This recipe cleverly uses onions and a Vitamix to make a creamy gluten-free gravy.
Herb Gravy by Elana’s Pantry
No more cylindrical-shaped logs of canned cranberry sauce for you – once you try a homemade version, you will walk right past those cans in the grocery store. This chunky sauce is sweetened with maple syrup, apple and orange, and you will taste a hint of clove. This will go perfectly with the Thanksgiving turkey.
Naturally Sweetened Cranberry Sauce by Primally Inspired
This grain-free Thanksgiving stuffing recipe will take some time to make, but it will be worth it. The bread recipe included here calls for Farmer’s Cheese, but Danielle of Against All Grain mentions in the comments that this bread recipe is dairy-free and would work equally well with the stuffing.
Grain-Free Thanksgiving Stuffing by Against All Grain
Forget the cans of cream of mushroom soup and green beans and the container of french fried onions. Use your own vegetable broth, fresh vegetables and cashews (that’s a nice surprise) to make a green bean casserole that will replace that other recipe you always used.
Vegan Green Bean Casserole by Eat the Love
Maybe you love green bean casserole but the previous recipe is a little too complicated. Here is another option from my friend Jen Wittman who is a chef and a thyroid coach. This recipe might be easier to assemble, and it has bacon in it. I’m smiling as I’m writing this as I just got back from Berkeley where I saw a guy with a “Vegan Out, Bacon In” shirt. Yup.
Green Bean Casserole by Jen Wittman, featured on Your Best Thyroid Life
This beautiful side dish is as delicious as it is colorful. Roasted brussels sprouts and butternut squash are tossed with a tangy dijon mustard dressing. You’ll also get small bursts of sweetness from dried cranberries. Yum!
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Squash with Dried Cranberries and Dijon Vinaigrette by Blogging Over Thyme
My friend Carrie Vitt is a talented chef who also had Hashimoto’s and reversed it by overhauling her diet. Today she runs a wonderful paleo-friendly blog called Deliciously Organic (and check out her two books).
Sweet Potato Casserole by Deliciously Organic
And, another one from Carrie Vitt of Deliciously Organic. Since persimmons are in season now and many people don’t really know what to do with them, this is a great opportunity to add a little variety to the dinner table.
Persimmons Cranberry Sauce by Deliciously Organic
You will not have to miss out on the rolls this year. These gluten-free Hot Cross Buns uses coconut rather than wheat flour. Note that this recipe does include yeast.
Paleo Hot Cross Buns by The Paleo Mom
You can indulge in this dairy- and gluten-free pumpkin pie. Its crust is made from almond flour and dates, and coconut milk is subbed for dairy, and you don’t even need to bake it.
Raw Pumpkin Pie by Hormones Balance
Think of pumpkin pie without the crust. Made with coconut milk and sweetened with maple syrup, this is nice, light dessert to finish your Thanksgiving meal.
Pumpkin Custard by Balanced Bites
Take a few simple ingredients, throw them into the Vitamix, pour the batter into a pan and enjoy when it’s out of the oven. This sweet potato bread recipe is wheat- and dairy-free.
Sweet Potato Bread by Alexandra Jamieson
And Carrie Vitt has something for us here again.
Pecan Pie without Corn Syrup by Deliciously Organic
You didn’t know that making whipped cream was so easy, did you? The fact that you can make a dairy-free version to top all your desserts will blow your mind.
Whipped Coconut Cream by Rubies and Radishes
If you’re not a big fan of pumpkin, try this gluten-free apple raisin crumble. What’s great is that you can make this in your slow cooker and serve it hot after your Thanksgiving meal. This recipe was shared with me by Dr. Mariza Snyder, who has written a fantastic cookbook with a number of slow cooker recipes that are low on the glycemic index.
- 1 lb granny smith apples, peeled and cored
- ½ cup golden raisins
- 2 tsp melted butter
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ cup oat flour
- ⅓ cup almond meal
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, very cold and cut into fourths
- Cut apples into ½- inch pieces and add to a mixing bowl.
- Add melted butter, lemon juice, raisins and spices and toss until the apples are evenly coated.
- Add to the bottom of your slow cooker in an even layer.
- In a separate bowl, combine the crumble topping ingredients and using a fork or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour to create small lumps.
- Evenly spread crumble topping over the apples, cover and cook on low for 4 hours or on high for 2 hours. Remove lid after the allotted time to allow for the crust to harden and dry a bit.
If you think that you can no longer have cheesecake because you’ve given up dairy, this version will fool you into thinking you really are enjoying a slice of cheesecake.
Pumpkin “Cheese” Cake by Dr. Ritamaire’s Vibrant Living Blog [no photo]
Finish off your meal with this caffeine-free substitute for coffee or hot chocolate. Make it with coconut milk (or even almond milk) to keep it dairy-free.
Carob Cinnamon Delight by Trudy Scott
In case you have not had enough of pumpkin and want to use some leftover pumpkin (roasted or puree), this is one quick recipe to deploy this favorite fall vegetable as a afternoon drink or even breakfast.
Balancing Pumpkin Smoothie from Hormones Balance
Keeping your immune system strong during the holidays
My friend and colleague Jessica Drummond who runs the Integrative Women’s Health Institute has an interesting recipe to keep your immune system up during the holiday season. The truth is: for some of us this can be a lonely or frustrating time of dealing with family nonsense, managing logistics and… figuring out how to make food work for everyone.
Plus, let’s face it: there will be much more sugar than the usual. Added stress and sugar can suppress the immune system and this is how many people come down with colds and flues during the holiday season. This recipe is here to rescue you. If you expect lots of stress and want to have a bit of a sugar feast, I recommend drinking it every other day, even if you are feeling well.
Have a Healthy Holiday Smoothie by Integrative Women’s Health Institute
One last thing. If setting a formal table is not your forte and you want to impress your future-in-laws, this article from Leanne Ely will help: “The Perfect Thanksgiving Table Setting.”