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7 Healthy Twists On Your Favorite Thanksgiving Dishes

Instead of: Candied Yams

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Serve: Glazed Sweet Potatoes

5 sweet potatoes or yams (about 3 pounds)
Nonstick cooking spray
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoon Smart Balance or other light tubbed butter spread
2/3 cup apricot nectar
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts, optional

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and mist a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Put potatoes in a pot with enough water to cover them by 1 to 2 inches. Bring to a boil and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until tender. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut into 1/2-inch slices and add to the baking dish.
2. Combine remaining ingredients except nuts in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring. (Mixture will thicken.) Pour over sweet potatoes and top with nuts, if desired. Bake for 30 minutes.

Recipe: Lauren Schmitt

Instead of: Mashed Potatoes

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Serve: Mashed Butternut Casserole 

Nonstick cooking spray
3 slices center-cut bacon or turkey bacon
1 1/2 cups chopped sweet onion
1 tablespoon light whipped butter or light buttery spread (such as Brummel & Brown)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
8 cups cubed butternut squash
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 wedges The Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and mist an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Cook bacon according to package directions until crispy, chop or crumble, and set aside. Mist a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Add onion, butter, cayenne pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes, until slightly softened. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue stirring for 20 to 25 minutes, until browned and caramelized. Remove from heat.
3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add squash and cook 10 to 15 minutes, until very tender. Drain and mash in a large bowl. Add garlic, pepper, remaining salt, and cheese, breaking it into pieces and mixing well. Spread mixture evenly in the baking pan and top with caramelized onion and bacon. Bake until dish is hot throughout, about 15 minutes.


Instead of: Boxed Stuffing

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Serve: Homemade Cornbread Vegetarian Stuffing

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon white truffle oil
2 leeks, diced
8 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 celery root, peeled and diced
3 apples, cored and diced
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1/4 cup sherry or port, divided
4 cups crumbled gluten-free cornbread
1 large egg, beaten (can omit for vegans)

1. Heat olive and truffle oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add leeks and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring, until slightly golden. Add celery, celery root, and apple one at a time, cooking for 3 minutes after each addition. Add pecans, seasoning, salt, and pepper and sauté for 2 minutes to infuse the flavors. Pour in 2 tablespoons of sherry and cook another minute. Set mixture aside to cool for 10 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place cornbread in a large bowl and mix in veggies, egg, and remaining sherry. Transfer mixture to a glass baking dish, cover, and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and brown for 10 more minutes.

Recipe and photo: Sally Kravich

Instead of: White Dinner Rolls

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Serve: Whole Grain Flaxseed Rolls

1 cup water
1 cup 2% milk
1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoon)
1/2 cup ground flaxseed, plus 2 tablespoons
2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons salt
Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 tablespoon water
1 large egg white

1. In a large bowl, combine water and milk and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes, until slightly warm. Add sugar and yeast to dissolve and let stand 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix 1/2 cup ground flaxseed, whole-wheat flour, 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, and salt together. Slowly stir dry ingredients into milk mixture to form a soft dough. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding enough remaining all-purpose flour to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).
2. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, then turn so all sides are coated with spray. Cover and let rise in a warm place that’s free of drafts for an hour or until dough is doubled in size. (To check, press two fingers into dough. If the indentation remains, dough has risen enough). Punch dough down, cover, and let rest 5 minutes.
3. Divide dough into 20 equal portions. Keeping them covered to prevent dough from drying, shape each into a ball. Place balls 2 inches apart on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or coated with nonstick cooking spray. Cover and let dough rise 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Uncover rolls and cut a 1/4-inch deep “X” on the top of each roll using kitchen scissors. Combine water and egg white and brush over rolls. Sprinkle remaining flaxseed over top of rolls, if desired. Bake for 15 minutes or until rolls are browned on bottom and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

Recipe: Linwoods Health Foods

Instead of: Canned Cranberry Sauce

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Serve: Rustic Cranberry Sauce

1 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
3 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup water
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 to 2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon course sea salt

Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes, until cranberries start to pop open and become saucy.

Recipe and photo: Dana VanVeller

Instead of: Turkey Gravy

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Serve: Vegan Mushroom Gravy

3 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
1 cup chopped white onion
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 ounces wild mushrooms, trimmed and chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup merlot or other spicy red wine
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons whole-wheat or spelt flour
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, bring 1/2 cup broth to a simmer. Add onion and garlic and cook for about 4 minutes, until onion is translucent. Stir in mushrooms, rosemary, and thyme and cook another 2 minutes, until mushrooms release their liquid and start to become tender. Add wine and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining broth and bring to a simmer.
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together tamari, yeast, and flour to form a thick paste. Add mixture to skillet a teaspoon at a time, whisking constantly to make sure paste dissolves. Bring to a boil and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Season with pepper and serve.

Recipe: Whole Foods Market

Instead of: Pecan Pie

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Serve: Vegan Pumpkin “Cheese” Cake

2 cups walnuts or pecans
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup dried coconut
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups cashews, soaked for 4 hours
1 can pureed pumpkin or 1 1/2 cups raw pureed pumpkin
6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup agave nectar
3 tablespoons coconut water or coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger

1. In food processor, pulse all crust ingredients together until sticky. Press mixture into a 9-inch springform pan.
2. Blend filling ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy. If mixture is too thick, add a bit more coconut water. Pour into crust and freeze for 1 to 2 hours, until firm. Slice while frozen and defrost for 1 hour before serving.

Recipe and photo: Melissa Costello