Today’s post is brought to you by Kate Morin at Greatist.com
34 Healthier Thanksgiving Recipes
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. Though we can’t promise no bickering, this list can help save your Thanksgiving meal. Here you can find all the recipes you could possibly need to prepare a successful dinner for any size family. Most are our own personal creations, but we’ve also included some stars from the kitchens of our very awesome recipe contributors too.
Salads and Starters
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 side dish or starter with a little kick.
With eight simple ingredients and less than 10 minutes of prep time, this spinach and sprouts dish brings a little California sunshine to any dinner table.
Pumpkin just screams Thanksgiving. Start your meal with this simple soup filled with warming spices to get your gourd on.
On a day when nearly every dish is an indulgence, it’s smart to start with something a little greener to fit in 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!)
We can’t get enough Brussels sprouts at Greatist. The addition of pancetta and maple make these healthy little guys just the right amount of decadent (without going overboard on the unhealthy stuff).
Looking for the perfect turkey pairing? Try these roasted Brussels sprouts topped with earthy brown butter for a delicious addition to any Thanksgiving table.
Instead of heavy cream, this version of the classic uses coconut milk to achieve a luscious texture. But it doesn’t taste tropical thanks to all the amazing spices.
Repeat after us: No. Canned. Cranberries. Anyone who can boil water can make this recipe sweetened with honey and orange.
For those who prefer an herbal twist on the side, here is the answer. Plus, there’s no added sugar; the sauce is sweetened with apple juice.
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.
Whether you call it stuffing or dressing, no Thanksgiving would be complete without the holiday staple. And this quick and easy recipe is full of unexpected veggies and can be made vegetarian-friendly.
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.
White, fluffy, and absolutely delicious, these look like mashed potatoes but have loads more flavor and are even creamier (hat tip to the Greek yogurt).
With just three ingredients and less than 20 minutes from start to finish, this roasted asparagus recipe makes one simple, crowd-pleasing dish.
It does take some muscle to chop up a butternut squash. This recipe makes it totally worth the workout. Colorful, sweet, and savory, it requires only five ingredients.
We know, we know, greens aren’t a “traditional” Thanksgiving dish. But take a chance this year, and pick your favorite leaves to toss with a hearty dose of garlic. They taste great and offer an extra-heavy dose of antioxidants!
Another potato replacement, this inventive take uses apples and parsnips to make a similarly colored dish that’s slightly sweet and 100 percent velvety. You may never eat mashed taters again.
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 roasted, they take little effort so you can spend less time in the kitchen.
Not a fan of poultry? Try pork this Thanksgiving. (Yes, you can call it Pork Day if you must.) Plus, the cranberry-pecan stuffing is the bomb.
Taking your first stab at cooking the big bird this year? Don’t even try to enter the kitchen without this simple guide.
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.
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.
Desserts and Drinks
Cookies may never be a health food, but whole-wheat flour, flaxseeds, and pumpkin add more fiber, omega-3s, and antioxidants. And they all go fabulously with chocolate chips.
With only five ingredients and no oven required, this stress-free dessert tastes just as good as grandma’s pumpkin pie.
With a quinoa and apple base, this snack cake is filling enough to kill that dessert craving. And since it’s Thanksgiving, go ahead and serve it à la mode!
Looking for a way to use up all that fall fruit? Try this simple compote for an all-natural sugar fix. Serve with ice cream, fresh whipped cream, or angel food cake for some extra decadence.
Macaroons may not be the first thing that comes to mind on Turkey Day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make these coconutty balls. And they’re so (so!) much easier to make than pie.
Combine two favorite fall fruits and top with a crispy sugary crust for the perfect blend of tart and sweet. It also looks gorgeous, and anyone can make it, even novice bakers.
Peaches, plums, and cherries, oh my! This sophisticated fruit salad gets kicked up a notch with a lemon-lavender syrup. The perfect light dessert.
You might need to wait a few hours after dinner to have room to enjoy these warm, gooey, oat-stuffed apples. Regardless, they’re the perfect way to warm up after that mid-afternoon nap.
What better way to kick off the festivities than a nice, stiff drink? Try this fall take on a traditional summer cocktail. “An apple a day” applies to apple cider too, right?
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.
Wine is always a winner—let’s be honest. But wine slightly warmed with lots of awesome fall spices? That’s a Thanksgiving victory for sure.