It's common knowledge that holidays are a time for indulgence - these are the few weeks of the year when it's considered socially acceptable to eat all of the food without question. Which is great! Except... maybe you want to eat healthier. Maybe you want to stick to the healthy eating plan you've got going on, or maybe you just don't want to feel super full and crappy a few days after Thanksgiving dinner. Whatever the reasoning, it's your prerogative! And if you're looking for healthy Thanksgiving recipes, there are a few great ones out there.
Although I fully encourage indulging on some of your favorite treats this Thanksgiving, I also support (and admire, TBH) the decision to go for a different kind of fare. That doesn't mean you have to skimp on your favorite dishes! You can make healthier versions of a lot of Thanksgiving classics that everyone will enjoy. Or, you can try something different and take advantage of the many, many delicious vegetables autumn has to offer. Whatever your choice is, you might just find a new favorite recipe to add to your holiday rotation — while staying healthy. You can't go wrong with that!
1. Lighter Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple Toasted Marshmallows
OK, so I don't know if I would exactly call this healthy, but it's definitely healthy by Thanksgiving standards. This lighter version of the classic sweet potato casserole was created by Half-Baked Harvest, and it looks just as good as any other version. With lots of warming spices and some fluffy toasted marshmallows, you've got all the components of the perfect holiday dish without the guilt.
2. Baked Parsnip Fries with Creamy Balsamic Reduction
Potatoes are a Thanksgiving classic, but that doesn't mean there isn't room to explore healthier options. Bake some of these parsnip fries from Averie Cooks. Parsnips are an underrated fall vegetable, and baked with salt and corn starch, they become surprisingly similar to regular french fries.
3. Roasted Apple and Pumpkin Farro Salad
A salad for Thanksgiving might sound boring, but not when it's this farro salad from Wholefully. Roasting apples brings out a slightly smokey sweetness, while pumpkin and dried cranberries add to that. Mixed with salty pepitas, walnuts, and hearty farro, it makes a tasty and healthy side dish.
4. Big Holiday Hummus Board with Roasted Root Vegetables
If you're in charge of an appetizer and you're looking for a healthy crowd-pleaser, you can't go wrong with this spread of hummus and roasted vegetables from Half-Baked Harvest. There's three different kinds of hummus: Indian spice, roasted garlic and Parmesan, and pumpkin and goat cheese. Add roasted veggie "chips" and some pita slices, and you've got a simple and delicious option.
5. Whole Wheat Toasted Almond Pumpkin Muffins
Dessert might feel like everyone's time to pig out, but there's nothing wrong with bringing along a healthier option, especially when it's something like these almond pumpkin muffins from How Sweet It Is. They're on the healthier side, but pumpkin and coconut oil keeps them so sweet that no one will notice they're whole wheat.
6. Cauliflower Mash
If you've never tried cauliflower mash, you're missing out. When grated this fine, cauliflower is unrecognizable, and mixed with butter and cheese, it almost seems like real mashed potatoes. This recipe from Simply Delicious doesn't use cheese, but you can add a little if you want.
7. Cider Glazed Roasted Root Vegetables
A great healthy option is a plate of roasted veggies - they're a Thanksgiving staple and they don't require many extra ingredients. This recipe from The Scrumptious Pumpkin uses apple cider for a sweet glaze that will make them a crowd favorite.
8. Chipotle Apple Sweet Potato Salad
No one can complain about a salad that offers as much flavor as this one does! This chipotle apple salad from Love and Lemons has a little bit of spice, lots of sweetness, and some crunchy, tart flavors. The mix makes a great healthy first course or side dish.
9. Chicken and Vegetable Pot Pie with Phyllo "Crust"
Chicken pot pie probably isn't the first recipe you think of when thinking of Thanksgiving, but that doesn't mean you can't make it. If you want a hearty main course that's on the healthier side (and isn't turkey, obviously), make this pot pie from Cooking For Keeps. The phyllo dough crust is a great addition.
10. Easy and Healthy Coconut Curry Pumpkin Soup
If you want something healthy with lots of flavor, make this soup for Thanksgiving. The pumpkin and curry combination from Simply Delicious is, well, simply delicious (sorry, couldn't resist). And it makes for some great presentation.
11. Skinny Chocolate Glazed Pumpkin Cake
Want to make a dessert that's both crowd-pleasing and on the healthier side? This chocolate glazed cake from The Scrumptious Pumpkin is kind of like a pumpkin pie bread with chocolate on top. What could go wrong with that?
12. Broccoli and Cauliflower and Pomegranates with Tahini
Make a Thanksgiving side dish void of any carbs with this veggie option from What's Cooking Good Looking. Sweet pomegranate and salty tahini places nicely with broccoli and cauliflower, and this is also pretty filling.
13. Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Apples
This healthy Brussels sprouts dish from Whitney Bond is also super easy. Sweet apples go perfectly with tart Brussels sprouts, making this something everyone will want to eat.
14. Sesame Kaocha Squash Soup
Doesn't this soup look so pretty? The recipe from Naturally Ella uses perfectly in-season squash with warming spices like ginger and a crunchy sesame topping. It's not made with any cream and is super good for you.
15. Colorful Beet Salad with Carrot, Quinoa, and Spinach
This healthy salad from Cookie and Kate is anything but boring. It's packed with veggies, from beets to carrots to spinach to edamame. Avocado and an herb vinaigrette offer creamy and delicious flavor.
16. Roasted Garlic and Kale Vegan Mashed Potatoes
You can definitely have mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving and still stay healthy, especially with a recipe like this one. This recipe from Whitney Bond uses kale, soy milk, and roasted garlic to make a creamy, delicious dish that's both vegan and good for you.
17. Za'atar Roasted Butternut Squash and Chickpeas with Lemongrass Rice and Miso
If you want to do something different this Thanksgiving, try this roasted dish from Simply Delicious. It's full of Middle Eastern flavors and is so warming and filling without being unhealthy.
18. Brussels Sprouts, Kale and Turkey Bacon Salad
Brussels sprouts and bacon is a pretty popular combination for Thanksgiving, but not everyone digs the usual fare. This salad from With Style and Grace is a healthier twist, made with turkey bacon and kale instead.
19. Lightened Up Fresh Green Bean Casserole
Green bean casserole is a Thanksgiving staple for many, but it's also heavy and not exactly healthy. This version from How Sweet It Is lightens up the classic while keeping it delicious.
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