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8 Healthy & Delicious Thanksgiving Recipes


Stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie… mmm. Thanksgiving is a wonderful, delicious holiday. Unfortunately, your favorite festive meal can pack a ton of calories, fat and sugar. But never fear! We’ve compiled eight healthy recipes that may become your new Thanksgiving favorites. With vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, you’re sure to find something tasty and good for you.

1. Deep Dish Apple Pie

Recipe from Eating Well

Most piecrusts are chock-full of calories, mostly from shortening and butter. This recipe uses whole-wheat flour for a kick of fiber and replaces some of the butter with canola oil to cut back on saturated fat. Enjoy!



  • 1 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 tablespoons ice water


  • 6 cups thinly sliced peeled McIntosh apples (about 2 pounds)
  • 6 cups thinly sliced peeled Granny Smith apples (about 2 pounds)
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground allspice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten, for brushing


To prepare the crust:

  1. Whisk whole-wheat pastry flour, 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.
  2. Cut butter into small pieces and, with your fingers, quickly rub them into the dry ingredients until the pieces are smaller but still visible.
  3. Add sour cream and oil; toss with a fork to combine with the dry ingredients.
  4. Sprinkle water over the mixture. Toss with a fork until evenly moist.
  5. Knead the dough with your hands in the bowl a few times—the mixture will still be a little crumbly. Turn out onto a clean surface and knead a few more times, until the dough just holds together.
  6. Divide the dough in half and shape into 5-inch-wide disks. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Next, make the filling:

  1. Combine apples, brown sugar, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and pinch of salt in a large bowl. Reserving 4 cups, transfer the rest of the apple mixture to a Dutch oven.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the apples are tender and beginning to break down, about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat, stir in the reserved apples and 2 tablespoons flour; let cool for about 30 minutes.

To assemble and bake the pie:

  1. Position a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 425°F.
  2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator; let stand for five minutes to warm slightly.
  3. Roll one portion between sheets of parchment or wax paper into a 13-inch circle.
  4. Peel off the top sheet and invert the dough into a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie pan. Peel off the remaining paper. Scrape the filling into the crust.
  5. Roll the remaining portion of dough between sheets of parchment or wax paper into another 13-inch circle. Peel off the top sheet of paper and invert the dough onto the fruit. Peel off the remaining paper.
  6. Trim the crust so it overhangs evenly. Tuck the top crust under the bottom crust, sealing the two together and making a plump edge. Flute the edge with your fingers.
  7. Combine 1 teaspoon granulated sugar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Brush the crust with egg white and sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar.
  8. Cut six steam vents in the top crust.
  9. Bake the pie on the bottom rack for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375° and continue baking until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, 25 to 35 minutes more.
  10. Let cool on a wire rack for about 1 1/2 hours before serving.

2. Whole Grain Classic Stuffing

Recipe from A Couple Cooks

This healthy spin on stuffing uses whole grain bread, which has more nutrients and fiber than white bread. And by using olive oil instead of butter, you cut back on saturated fat!


  • 1 loaf whole grain bread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 leeks
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 3 cups vegetable broth


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut bread into cubes. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 25 minutes, until browned and toasted.
  2. While the bread is toasting, dice 1 onion and 3 stalks celery.
  3. For the leeks, chop off the dark green stems and the root, then slice them in half lengthwise. Place each leek half cut-side down on the cutting board, then chop it into thin slices (resulting in half-moon shapes). There will be dirt in between each layer of the leeks, so when you’ve finished chopping them, rinse them thoroughly in a colander.
  4. Chop the sage leaves and parsley to make 2 tablespoons each.
  5. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add celery, onion and leeks with a few pinches kosher salt; cook six to eight minutes, stirring frequently, until tender. Remove from the heat and stir in the herbs.
  6. Place the bread cubes and vegetables in a bowl, add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and a generous amount of pepper and mix to combine.
  7. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish. Add 3 cups broth. Cover and bake for 20 minutes.
  8. Uncover and bake for about 25 minutes, until browned.

3. Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Recipe from Leslie Durso

Quinoa is a superfood, packing in important nutrients like fiber and protein. This recipe also uses olive oil instead of butter and butter substitute, which makes this recipe vegan-friendly with no saturated fat.


  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp butter substitute (like Earth Balance)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cups kale, broken into small pieces
  • ½ cup toasted slivered almonds
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Bake the sweet potatoes on baking sheet at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until fork-tender. 
  2. Cook the quinoa in the vegetable broth.
  3. Sauté the onion in the butter substitute and olive oil with a pinch of salt until soft. 
  4. Add in the kale, almonds and cranberries and sauté until the kale is soft, about 3 minutes. 
  5. Add the finished quinoa to the frying pan and mix together.

4. Gingered Pears and Parsnips

Recipe from Food Network

A delicious late-fall side dish, these pears and parsnips are sweet with a kick. With only a little bit of butter but a ton of flavor from the ginger and lemon, no one will be able to tell that these are so low in calories!


  • 2 quartered Bosc pears
  • 3 sliced parsnips
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • A few slices of ginger
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Water


  1. Combine Bosc pears and sliced parsnips in a skillet with 1/2 cup each white wine and chicken broth, 2 tablespoons butter, the juice of 1 lemon, a few slices ginger, 1 bay leaf and a pinch each of sugar and red pepper flakes.
  2. Partially cover and boil until the liquid evaporates and the pears brown, about 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in a splash of water.

5. Vegan and Gluten-free Pumpkin Bread

Recipe from The Detoxinista

This bread, perfect for your vegan or gluten-free guests, is sure to please every diet: buckwheat flour adds protein to this dessert, and coconut oil is a great source of healthy fat. Can’t get enough pumpkin? Check out these seven healthy pumpkin recipes for fall!


  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the buckwheat flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and baking soda, then stir in the pumpkin puree, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and water.
  3. Finally, add in the apple cider vinegar, which will help the loaf rise when it reacts with the baking soda.
  4. Transfer the batter to the lined loaf pan, and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Allow to cool completely before slicing and serving.

6. Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast

Recipe from Food Network

Turkey, the quintessential Thanksgiving entrée, gets a healthier spin with this flavorful recipe. The dry mustard and herbs provide a mouthwatering flavor. Even dark-meat lovers are sure to love this lighter turkey breast!


  • 1 whole bone-in turkey breast, 6 1/2 to 7 pounds
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup dry white wine


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place the turkey breast skin side up on a rack in a roasting pan.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice to make a paste. Loosen the skin from the meat gently with your fingers and smear half of the paste directly on the meat. Spread the remaining paste evenly on the skin. Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.
  3. Roast the turkey for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until the skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest and meatiest areas of the breast. If the skin is over-browning, cover the breast loosely with aluminum foil. When the turkey is done, cover with foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Slice and serve with the pan juices spooned over the turkey.

7. Spicy Parmesan Green Beans and Kale

Recipe from Food Network

Kale, a celebrity of the health foods world, gets paired with mushrooms and green beans for a healthy, spicy side dish that goes perfectly with whole grain stuffing. Simply omitting the Parmesan makes this side vegan-friendly as well.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1/4 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered (about 14 mushrooms)
  • 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and slice into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch kale (1/2 pound), rinsed, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan


  1. Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about four minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms, green beans, salt and pepper and cook for two minutes.
  4. Add the wine and continue cooking until the green beans are almost tender, about five minutes.
  5. Add the red pepper flakes and the kale and continue cooking until the kale has wilted, about four to five minutes.
  6. Add the lemon juice and the Parmesan cheese. Toss to coat and serve immediately.

8. Cranberry Cherry Relish 

Recipe from Elana’s Pantry

Your traditional cranberry sauce (especially if it comes from a can) is likely full of sugar—but this relish is sweetened with stevia plant extract and orange juice. Paired with cherries, this relish is a fresh spin on your favorite sweet side dish.


  • 1 8-oz package fresh cranberries
  • 1 10-oz package frozen cherries
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 10 drops liquid stevia


  1. Place cranberries, cherries, orange juice and stevia in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat.
  3. Simmer about 20 minutes, until berries have burst and sauce has thickened.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

With these delicious, healthier takes on classic Thanksgiving dishes, you can have your pie and eat it too—without compromising taste! 

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