Food

40 Fast and Easy Dishes for a Healthy Thanksgiving

During their Thanksgiving meal, most Americans consume between 3,000 to 4,000 calories. Yes, you read that right. Unless you are watching your calorie intake, you can… Trista - November 27, 2019

During their Thanksgiving meal, most Americans consume between 3,000 to 4,000 calories. Yes, you read that right. Unless you are watching your calorie intake, you can quickly destroy your regular daily calorie amount (or more) in one meal. 

This number of calories in one meal is unhealthy and harmful for you. Even one meal can weigh heavy on your health. Fortunately, you can still eat all the yummy food you want by making a healthy Thanksgiving meal. There are 40 delicious foods below that you can consider for your next and future Thanksgiving meal. 

Decorate this salad to show off your creativity. Food Network/Matt Armendariz.

Shaved Vegetable Salad

One of the most significant parts about this salad is that you can give it a fancy design to set on your Thanksgiving table. Not only will your guests be amazed by your healthy and tasty options, but they will love your creativity!

Easy to make in under a half-hour, the main ingredients are one medium watermelon radish, two small candy cane beets, red cabbage, crumbled goat cheese, honey, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and any other herbs to add to your salad. 

Sweet Potato Rounds With Herbed Ricotta and Walnuts. The Roasted Root.net

Sweet Potato Rounds With Herbed Ricotta and Walnuts

Most people make these as appetizers to wow their family and guests before they even try their healthy Thanksgiving meal. As a bonus, they are easy and quick to make! You start by slicing a sweet potato, spread a little oil on them, and place them in the oven. 

As the rounds are baking, you make the herbed ricotta spread by stirring the ingredients in a bowl. Feel free to taste the spread so you can add more herbs for the best taste. Once the rounds are done, you spread the herbed ricotta, top with dried cranberries, and enjoy! 

Give your guests a unique dish by making turkey spring rolls. Jennie-o.

Turkey Spring Rolls

Not only are the turkey spring rolls a unique dish for Thanksgiving, but they can help you remember the days of spring, especially if it is a cold Thanksgiving. Make enough for eight servings in under a half-hour. 

Some of the main ingredients are a package of JENNIE-O® Ground Turkey Roll, spring roll wrappers, cellophane noodles, cilantro, basil, and onions. You can also add carrots, celery, and sweet chili sauce for a dip. With only 170 calories per serving, this is a great way to get some healthy turkey in your tummy. 

Cauliflower mashed potatoes look and taste like regular mashed potatoes. The Cookie Rookie.

Cauliflower Potatoes

Potatoes are a favorite for most people, but they are also filled with a lot of starch and not included in a healthy diet. There are a lot of great substitutes for potatoes, such as cauliflower potatoes. Even if you don’t care for cauliflowers, you are sure to like this dish. 

With a garlic and herb taste, these creamy cauliflower potatoes make your mouth water. You also get the same great texture and flavor that you receive from regular mashed potatoes. With 15 minutes to prepare and 2 minutes to cook, they are on your table in no time. 

Surprise your guest with turkey roulade. Fine Cooking/Christopher Hirsheimer.

Turkey Roulade

Make enough for eight servings with this magnificent dish. Turkey roulade involves taking a turkey breast, pounding it down with a mallet, and placing the stuffing you make on top. You will this roll up the turkey breast, tie it together, and bake for about an hour or more. 

There are several ingredients that you can add to make your tasty stuffing. Some of the main ingredients are celery, carrots, sage, Italian sausage, stuffing mix, chicken stock, and Dijon mustard. Surprise your guests with this healthy Thanksgiving entrée. 

Cranberry sauce is a favorite on the Thanksgiving table. Cook Eat Paleo.

3 Ingredient Cranberry Sauce

Making this cranberry sauce will keep you from ever buying the can cranberries again! This cranberry sauce is excellent for anyone who is looking for a healthy diet or following other popular diets, such as Paleo and Keto. 

This sauce is easy and quick to make. It only has three ingredients and takes 15 minutes to put together. You will need fresh cranberries, orange juice, and maple syrup or honey. All you need to do is combine the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat.

Make this tasty side for your special Thanksgiving meal. Food Network/Tara Donne.

Herb and Apple Stuffing

It is easy to choose the white bread to make this stuffing, but a healthier option is always whole wheat bread. When it comes to herb and apple stuffing, whole wheat bread will give it a better taste that your guests will love. 

Other ingredients are onion, celery, Granny Smith apples, parsley, rosemary leaves, black pepper, salt, and chicken stock. You can also give your stuffing a little extra taste by adding some toasted almonds to the mix. 

This salad is a colorful dish that will become a favorite on your table. Family spice.

Cranberry Orange Quinoa Salad

The Cranberry Orange Quinoa Salad is one of the prettiest dishes to put on your Thanksgiving table. It is also one of the tastiest. Full of vitamins and minerals, you will cut carbs and eat healthy with this salad. 

With a total time of 45 minutes, you can start this dish near the end and make sure it is ready by the time everyone sits down to eat. Some of the ingredients for this dish include oranges, cranberries, grated orange zest, kale, honey, and quinoa. You can always add other fruits and herbs to increase its taste. 

Create the best stuffing with green tea this Thanksgiving. Food Network/Stephen Johnson.

Vegan Stuffing

It is no secret; vegan dishes are a great choice if you want to remain healthy. They focus on healthy fats, such as olive oil and avocado oil, instead of unhealthy fats. This vegan stuffing is one of the best recipes that you can set on your Thanksgiving table. 

You can make this like you would your regular home-made stuffing without the eggs and butter. However, one ingredient you will add that you might seem is odd is green tea. No matter what you think, you need to include the drink. You will be grateful you did on your first bite!

Drop the guilt by making mushroom gravy this Thanksgiving. Oh my veggies.

Mushroom Gravy

People usually use fat from turkey to create their gravy. While this makes it taste good, it is also unhealthy for you as this is not a healthy type of fat. To create a healthy gravy for your Thanksgiving meal, create this fantastic mushroom gravy. 

The juice from the mushrooms along with vegetable broth will make your taste buds wish you would have made mushroom gravy over turkey gravy years ago. Other ingredients include onion, dried sherry, and flour. Create the best dressing for your health in 35 minutes from start to finish. 

You won’t miss the mashed potatoes with this dish. Delish/Ethan Calabrese.

Thanksgiving Cauliflower

You might wonder where the mashed potatoes are at first, but once you try gravy with this Thanksgiving cauliflower, everyone will forget about the gravy. Other than a head of cauliflower, you also need black pepper, garlic, sage, rosemary, and butter. 

But that’s not all! You can’t forget the make the gravy with ingredients like finely chopped cremini mushrooms, onion, all-purpose flour, thyme, and vegetable broth. Pour the cauliflower on top of the gravy and enjoy!

Roasted vegetable Galette is an excellent substitute for anyone looking to skip the meat. Cook Your Dream.

Roasted Vegetable Galette

The roasted vegetable galette serves four to six people and puts a unique dish on your table for Thanksgiving. While you can put any of your favorite vegetables in the dish, the most common ingredients are red onion, garlic, creamy goat cheese, carrots, parsnips, and butternut squash. 

For the crust, you will combine crème fraiche, whole wheat flour, lemon juice, and thyme. With the vegetable mixed wrapped in a tasty crust that you can make a bit on the crispy side if you choose, everyone will want a taste of this new dish. 

Vegan green bean casserole is still quite the treat for any Thanksgiving-goer. Eat the Love.

Vegan Green Bean Casserole

You do not need to be vegan to eat this tasty casserole dish at your Thanksgiving meal. Green Beans are a staple when it comes to most tables during Thanksgiving. While healthy, they are usually made in casseroles that are loaded with unhealthy fats. You can change this by creating a casserole dish that is loaded with healthy fats. 

Some of the ingredients include raw cashews, almond flour, shallots, garlic, vegetable stock, onion, ground pepper, salt, and more. You can make this dish a little more crunchy by adding other nuts. 

Stuffed butternut squash is a perfect dish to make with or without meat. Pickles and Honey.

Stuffed Butternut Squash

Turn stuffed butternut squash into your main dish for Thanksgiving. One of the best features of this dish is you can choose to add meat, such as bits of turkey or turkey sausage into the dish or leave the meat out. 

Serving up to four people, this dish is filled with tasty vegetables and herbs. Some of the ingredients used include uncooked brown basmati rice, uncooked wild rice, vegetable stock, garlic, butternut squash, lemon juice, and maple syrup. The mixture of ingredients gives you a sweet and savory taste for your holiday meal. 

Trade the bread in your stuffing for cauliflower, and you will never go back to bread. Delish/Parker Feierbach.

Cauliflower Stuffing

One of the biggest reasons there are so many calories in your Thanksgiving meal is because of all the bread that you eat. You can still have your yummy rolls and cut down on calories by trading your bread crumbs in your stuffing for cauliflower. 

With only 90 calories per serving, this dish will make you feel healthier on the first bite. Other than cauliflower, other ingredients include baby bella mushrooms, carrots, onion, celery, sage, and either chicken or vegetable stock. 

This herbed wild rice stuffing is the perfect substitute for your regular Thanksgiving stuffing. Kitchen Treaty.

Herbed Wild Rice and Quinoa Stuffing

Stuffing is always a necessity when it comes to Thanksgiving, and nothing is healthier for you that the herbed wild rice and quinoa stuffing. One of this dishes’ benefits, other than its incredible taste, is it caters to almost any diet. 

Rich in protein, the herb wild rice stuffing is filled with cranberries, fresh herbs, apples, and pecans. While the dish takes about a little over one hour to cook, you can prepare it in under 20 minutes. This helps free up your time for other healthy, tasty dishes to make. 

Looking at these rolls will make you want to try them because the texture looks perfect. My gluten-free kitchen.

Gluten-Free Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls

Everyone loves to see bread at their Thanksgiving table, especially rolls. The problem is that regular dinner rolls can be an unhealthy choice. However, these pull-apart dinner rolls are gluten-free and made for healthy living. 

One of the best parts about these dinner rolls is unlike other healthier options for rolls, they taste like the dinner rolls you are used to. In fact, many people feel they taste better! Furthermore, you do not need a knife to cut through these, and they do not taste like cardboard. 

Place this dish on your Thanksgiving table to wow your guests. The Girl on Bloor.

Instant Pot Butternut Squash Risotto

Instant Pots are a great way to make healthy and quick dishes and meals. One of the best dishes to include in your Thanksgiving meal is this butternut squash risotto that is meant for your Instant Pot. Though, you can find other ways to make this as well. 

The ingredients you will need for this dish include butter shallots, fresh sage, garlic, butternut squash, chicken broth, Parmesan cheese, and wild rice. You can also add some mint or basil leaves on top for a little added color and garnish before serving. 

This pumpkin chutney is an excellent addition to your Thanksgiving table. Eat Well 101.

Pumpkin Chutney

If you still want the taste of pumpkin on your Thanksgiving table, you need to make this pumpkin chutney. You need about a little over one pound of pumpkin or Kuri squash to make four 5.9 size jars. 

Other ingredients include apples, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, sugar, apple cider vinegar, fresh ginger, and a cinnamon stick. If this doesn’t sound tasty already, you can also include raisins and onions to the mixture. You will always want to leave this in your fridge for a while as the flavors will continue to develop. 

These sweet potato skins will become a hit at your next Thanksgiving meal. Pinch of Yum.

Healthy Sweet Potato Skins

The word healthy never sounded so good until you add “sweet potato skins” right behind it. Made in about an hour from start to finish, you can include this dish in your quick Thanksgiving meal recipes. They are stuffed with chickpeas, mashed sweet potatoes, and your favorite cheese. 

Other ingredients include shallot, baby spinach, light cream cheese, butter, and light sour cream for a topping. Place the sweet potato skins in the oven and let them bake for about 40 minutes, Peel the skins when they are done, serve, and enjoy!

Bring this sugar-free cranberry dish to your Thanksgiving table. Sugar Free Mom.

Sugar-Free Cranberry Sauce

One of the reasons cranberry sauce, especially out of a can, is unhealthy is because of the amount of sugar included. This recipe gives you the great taste of cranberry sauce without all of the added sugar. 

Get your Thanksgiving table ready with this cranberry sauce. We all know cranberry sauce is a must-have for your Thanksgiving table. You will need 24 ounces of fresh cranberries, orange zest, water, and Swerve confectioners. You can also include orange-flavored liquid stevia for added taste, but this is not necessary. 

Just looking at this picture makes your mouth water! Its Yummi.

Gluten-Free Pear Walnut Crumble

While you may have never heard about this dessert before, it is one of the best to include with your Thanksgiving meal. When you focus on healthy dishes throughout your Thanksgiving Day, you don’t need to worry about “saving room” for dessert. You can eat as much of the main course and still feel you have enough room in your stomach for this pear walnut crumble. 

Made in under a half an hour, you do not need to worry about missing much of the Thanksgiving Day parade with this dessert. The best part, it is only 489 calories per serving. 

Decorate your healthy pumpkin pie to show off your creative skills. The Girl on Bloor.

Skinny Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie

The truth about Thanksgiving Day pumpkin pie is you can still eat it and consider it healthy with this recipe! The trick is to use all the healthy ingredients as all the calories are hidden in the regular pie crust and sugar. 

So what do you do? All you really need to do is make it yourself (don’t worry, you can do it) and make thinner pie crust and put in less sugar. Will people know? Nope, not at all. In fact, they will think it taste better than any other pumpkin pie!

Give your guests a little something different with this creamy spinach recipe. Woman’s Day/Chris Court.

Creamy Garlic and Herb Spinach

Do you wonder what you can do with the spinach you bought for Thanksgiving? Instead of placing it on the table as part of a regular green salad, you can add a little garlic and herb sauce to it and give your guests something healthy and incredibly yummy. 

Made in under 15 minutes, all you need is one package garlic-and-herb cheese that you will warm up to room temperature. Four ounces of cream cheese, also at room temperature, spinach, salt, and pepper. 

Don’t skip the tea as you watch the famous Thanksgiving Day parade! Woman’s Day/Lucy Schaeffer.

Ginger-Turmeric Cherry Tea

Don’t forget about the drink when you make this ginger-turmeric cherry tea. It is a great addition to have with your healthier dessert or to sit around and catch up on the lives of your family members and friends. 

Made in under five minutes, this tea will help keep you warm if you are dealing with a slightly chilly Thanksgiving Day as you are watching Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. All you need is black or green tea, ground turmeric, black pepper, ground ginger, and tart cherry juice. 

Your guests will go crazy for these stuffed peppers this Thanksgiving. Woman’s Day/Lucy Schaeffer.

Thanksgiving Stuffing Poppers

These stuffed poppers can give your Thanksgiving a little unique kick. With jalapenos, they are a bit spicy but delightful as an appetizer to help ease your guest’s hunger pains. Served with jalapeno cranberry sauce, this appetizer is fit for your Thanksgiving Day meal. Another bonus is these poppers are vegan and gluten-free. 

The stuffing poppers are made from various vegetables and herbs, such as carrots, celery, sage, tamari, chickpeas, onion, and garlic. Of course, your guests can decide to use the jalapeno sauce or not, depending on their own taste buds. 

Don’t skip this wild rice dish on Thanksgiving. Woman’s Day/Chris Court.

Wild Rice and Cherry Pilaf

There is a lot of great healthy alternatives for your Thanksgiving meal. You can eat as much as you want and not worry about putting 3,000 calories into your body. This recipe is a staple when it comes to Thanksgiving because it gives you a delicious cherry taste with wild rice. 

Made in a little over an hour, you can place this dish on your Thanksgiving table in no time. Some of the ingredients include onion, dried cherries, wild rice blend, cinnamon stick, olive oil, and dry white wine. 

Don’t miss out on these sweet potatoes this holiday season. Delish/PARKER FEIERBACH.

Sweet Potato Salad

Can’t get enough of the sweet potato recipes, but want to make them a little healthier? This sweet potato salad is a great option. Eating it straight from the oven (of course, you want it to cool a bit, so you don’t burn yourself), you will never feel that regular potato salad tastes that great again. 

With six servings made in under 40 minutes, this salad will make your whole table wonder where this dish has been their entire lives. Other than sweet potatoes, you can add carrots, cranberries, onion, and crumbled feta. 

Skip the green salad and make this holiday roasted vegetable dish. Delish/PARKER FEIERBACH.

Holiday Roasted Vegetables

Not into placing a green salad on your Thanksgiving table because you want something unique, and you feel like you eat a salad all the time? Holiday roasted vegetables are a great treat to place on your table that will make people think they are eating a healthy and tasty salad. 

Made in under a half-hour, this four serving dish includes carrots, Brussel sprouts, balsamic vinegar. Olive oil, thyme, pecans, and no much more! You can even add in your own favorite vegetables and herbs to make the dish even better. 

This pecan pie tart is an excellent substitute for your regular Thanksgiving pies. Lexie’s Clean Kitchen.

Pecan Pie Tarts

This pecan pie tarts give you the same great flakey crust you love with your pies. It will also give you the same taste so that you won’t miss the sweets. Free of refined sugars, you are sure to get rave reviews from your guests about your excellent pecan pie tarts. 

Gluten-free pie dough is the best to use, but you can also use any other healthy pie dough. Other ingredients include coconut sugar, salt, butter, pecans, eggs, vanilla, salt, and maple syrup. To make the pie tart tastier, you will decorate the top with extra pecans. 

Make this rich butternut squash soup for your guests this holiday season. Food Network/Tara Donne.

Butternut Squash Soup

This soup has such a rich taste that people will think it is like any other soup and made with cream. However, it is a much healthier option as it uses squash and other great ingredients to give it a great taste. 

Made within an hour, your guests can eat this soup before or during the Thanksgiving meal. For six servings, you want a two to three-pound squash, six cups of chicken stock, one onion, nutmeg, two tablespoons of unsalted butter, and ground pepper. 

Gorgeous apple pastries are a perfect new addition to your Thanksgiving table. The Love Nerds.

Apple Rose Pastries

Show off your cooking skills and creativity with these apple rose pastries. Shaped like a rose, you will wow your guests with their taste and design. Another bonus includes getting the same great taste from other delicacies but eating something fit for your health. 

Spending 10 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to bake, you can make these pastries as a delicious and gorgeous dessert as you enjoy a meal with your guests. The ingredients include a sheet of puff pastry, apples, apple butter, cinnamon, and lemon juice. 

This herb-roasted turkey breast can be marinated overnight for a stronger taste. Food Network.

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast

Some people simply need to have turkey for their Thanksgiving meal. If this sounds like you, this herb-roasted turkey breast is a healthy choice. The total time for this dish is 2 hours and 40 minutes, meaning you will not need to get up early to start your turkey. 

While you can use your favorite herbs as a seasoning, some of the most commonly used herbs are dry mustard, rosemary, sage, thyme, olive oil, lemon juice, and some white wine. No, the wine isn’t technically to drink, but I won’t tell if you pour yourself a little glass. 

Get your pumpkin pie filling with these delicious pumpkin pie cupcakes. My Whole Food Life.

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Don’t give up your pumpkin pie because you want to eat healthier. There are many ways to fulfill your pumpkin pie cravings with healthier options. Using bananas, spices, and coconut sugar, you will recreate the pumpkin flavor you desire. 

Not only does the pumpkin pie filling taste like regular pumpkin pie, but the same texture. You can create a yummy topping to go with the cupcakes and not have to work hard in a hot kitchen making your pie. Taking only five minutes to prepare and 25 minutes to bake, you do not need to make these ahead of time. 

Spice up your salad with a few little apples. Taste of Home.

Roasted Apple Salad with Spicy Maple-Cider Vinaigrette

Salads are always a great choice to have as the first course or a side to your meal. You can definitely spice up your salad with this recipe. The number of apples you use is up to you, but the more you add, the better they taste!

Other ingredients to use are maple syrup, Sriracha chili sauce, cider vinegar, crumbled goat cheese (or your favorite cheese), and chopped pecans. While pecans give the salad a distinctive added taste, you can also substitute these for a different nut. 

Let this spaghetti squash lasagna change the dishes you make for Thanksgiving. Fat Free Vegan.

Spaghetti Squash Pesto Lasagna

This spaghetti squash lasagna will make anyone wish they had placed it on their Thanksgiving table sooner. On the first bite, you will not believe that the dish isn’t filled with cheese or cream because of its texture and taste. 

You receive the richness from this lasagna from the cashew cheese sauce. The main ingredients you will need are spaghetti squash, mushrooms, low-fat spaghetti sauce, garlic, non-fat dairy milk, lemon juice, and dry mustard. If you want to cut the fat content, even more, you can leave out the cashews from the cheese sauce. 

Nothing says Thanksgiving quite like these four special words: cranberry, apple, maple, crisp. Woman’s Day/Chris Court.

Cranberry Apple Maple Crisp

Who doesn’t like the delightful taste of apple crisp or apple pie for a little dessert during Thanksgiving? For many people, it is sometimes one of the best dishes. This cranberry apple maple crisp doesn’t just give you the taste you desire, but it is a healthier option as well!

Made in about an hour from start to finish, you can create this last so your guests get to eat it warm or earlier so it can cool to room temperature. Either way, it is delicious! 

Keep your turkey by making this healthy marinade. Home Cooking Adventure.

Roasted Turkey

Turkey lovers are not forgotten. Many people simply need to eat their turkey at Thanksgiving but would love to have a healthy option. One of these options is making a healthy marinade for your turkey and then roasting the meat. 

No more than ten minutes to prepare the marinade, you will never want to turn your attention to the traditional ways of making a turkey again. Ingredients you use for the marinade include balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, your favorite dried herbs, garlic powder, and paprika. 

This alternative Thanksgiving side dish is beyond delicious. Home Cooking Adventure.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus

Best known as an appetizer, but you can also use it as a side because of the amount of protein it gives. Not only is this dish healthy, but it follows a lot of the current diet trends of today, such as the Paleo and Keto. 

Another great benefit is you can make this dish in under 15 minutes with only three ingredients! You need to have at least six prosciutto slices or strips, 12 asparagus spears, and a bit of ghee for pan-frying. If you want to make this dish even healthier, you can bake the asparagus. 

Stuff yourself with these tasty stuffed pumpkins. Whole Foods.

Mini Stuffed Pumpkins

Mini stuffed pumpkins will not only make your mouth water, but it will give your table a Thanksgiving and fall look. Known as a unique dish, your guests will be amazed by the creativity of your healthy holiday meal. All you need to do is cut the top off of four mini pumpkins, mix the ingredients, cook, and enjoy. 

While people usually have pumpkin for their Thanksgiving dessert, mini stuffed pumpkins make for a great entrée. Stuffed with honey, uncooked wild rice, dried cranberries, pecans, orange zest, and freshly squeezed orange juice, you will become stuffed as well. 

Sources:

“How Many Calories Are in Thanksgiving Dinner?” Consumer Reports. November 2018. 

“18 Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes Guests Will Want to Gobble Up.” Meghan Alfano. Brit Co. November 2015. 

“35 Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes Made for Second Helpings.” Emily Racette Parulski. Taste of Home. 

“20 HEALTHY THANKSGIVING RECIPES” Taylor Stinson, The Girl on Bloor. 

“31 Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes To Make Your Meal A Smidge Lighter.” Sienna Livermore and Madison Flager. November 2019. 

“17 Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes To Gobble Up This Holiday Season”. Woman’s Day. November 2019. 

Advertisement