It doesn’t matter where Americans are in the world (or even if it’s in your tradition to celebrate Thanksgiving), the holiday is a day to nurture core values of freedom, gratitude, family and friendship. We have been living in Asia for 11 years, far from where the holiday originated, but every year we come together as a family to give thanks.
Above all, Thanksgiving is a way to unite great food and good company. To help you prepare your gathering and feasts, I’ve curated a list of some exceptional healthy Thanksgiving recipes to take out the researching work for you. My tip: Take the time to plan your meal in advance, shop early to avoid the holiday rush, and cook as much as you can ahead of time so you can fully enjoy the evening.
Brining a turkey — soaking it over night in salty water — produces the most lusciously moist meat, not to mention one infused with incredible flavor. You can buy brining solutions, but your guests will be impressed if you make it yourself.
I really believe it’s worth taking the time to brine your turkey to produce that extra special experience for your guests. Follow this great recipe from The Pioneer Woman and you can’t go wrong.
Don’t have the time to brine a large turkey? Try brining a chicken with this recipe from Serious Eats — I swear it tastes just as good!
Curried carrot, sweet potato and ginger soup
Kick off the night and spur your guests into good conversation with this delicious and nutricious soup from Health.com. The curry powder gives it an usual twist while the ginger provides some extra oomph. And the aroma? Simply delish.
Brussels sprouts with brown butter and sage
Brussels sprouts can be a real crowd divider, but this incredible Brussels sprouts with brown butter and sage from Real Simple will even have the haters in the room asking for more.
Cauliflower and leek puree
I love this healthy twist on mashed potatoes from Greatist. Yogurt replaces creams while cauliflower and leak combine in this flavorful puree, providing that creamy mouthful with extra nutrition, and without the weight of the traditional mash.
Dairy-free Caesar salad
I could spend hours on Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows website, full of mouth-watering vegan recipes. This dairy-free Caesar salad is the perfect hearty-but-light salad to have at the Thanksgiving table this year.
Spiced sweet potato wedges
There’s plain potato wedges, and then there’s spicy sweet potato wedges from Paleo Leap. Lather your nutritionally dense sweet potatoes with a morish combo of spices including sage, oregano, thyme, paprika, garlic powder, a grind of black pepper and a touch of cayenne.
Sweet potato gratin
Another healthy twist on the traditional creamy and calorie-dense potato gratin dish from Lisa at My Relationship with Food. In this sweet potato gratin recipe cream is replaced with coconut milk and finished it off with seasoned cornmeal, ticking all the boxes of a great side without the heaviness factor.
Green beans with caramelized onions
Try this healthy take on the traditional green bean casserole by Rachel Ray. No sugar, all taste.
Vegetarian main alternative
Tofu may not sound all that glamorous, but this Thanksgiving tofu recipe from The Kitchn is a creative solution for vegetarians. Buy organic firm tofu and substitute gluten-free bread for the stuffing.