Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes
Healthy Potato Gratin with Herbs
Inspired by a potato gratin at Restaurant Daniel in New York City, this creamy—but creamless—recipe gets great flavor from thyme and rosemary.
Roasted Carrot and Red Quinoa Salad
Cumin, coriander and cardamom punch up this salad.
Fennel-and-Citrus Salad with Mint
For his light, simple salad, chef Matthew Accarrino mixes grapefruit and orange segments with shaved fennel and a sweet-tart honey-lemon dressing.
Curried Carrot Soup with Tarragon Oil
To make this healthy soup especially tasty, Naomi Pomeroy cooks the carrots with Madras curry powder, ginger and garlic. Before serving, she adds a little bit of Tabasco sauce and a drizzle of tarragon-infused oil.
Roasted Beet Toasts with Horseradish Cream
Top Chef Masters finalist Traci des Jardins creates a gorgeous cold-weather hors d’oeuvre with roasted beets, horseradish cream and rye toast.
Kale & Apple Salad with Pancetta and Candied Pecans
Kale is a marvelous green for salads because it’s hearty enough to handle hefty ingredients like nuts and meat, plus it doesn’t wilt as it sits on the table. When chef Ryan Hardy makes this kale salad for Thanksgiving dinner at Montagna at the Little Nell in Aspen, Colorado, he deep-fries the pecans, but it’s quicker (and less messy) to toast them in the oven.
Jose Garces prepares this turkey in the same style as a traditional Yucatán dish called cochinita pibil, a slow-roasted pork marinated in citrus and annatto paste (made from achiote seeds, the condiment adds an orange hue to foods). Brining and marinating the bird make it especially succulent.
Mashed Winter Squash with Indian Spices
Fragrant Indian spices—coriander, turmeric and black mustard seeds—are a wonderful accent for creamy mashed butternut squash. The squash can be roughly smashed until chunky, or thoroughly mashed until smooth.
Watercress Salad with Verjus Vinaigrette
At Benu, chef Corey Lee fries almonds and peels grapes for his compelling salad. At home, use roasted marcona almonds and unpeeled green grapes.
Root Vegetable Pan Roast with Chestnuts and Apples
This dish is a superb representation of fall flavors: sweet potatoes, chestnuts, maple syrup and apples.
Herb-Roasted Turkey with Maple Gravy
Even though he’s lived in Los Angeles for years, Lee Hefter gravitates to people from the East Coast, who, like him, might have seen the fall foliage every year and watched maple syrup being tapped. “When you grow up with these memories,” he says, “you want to share them.” He thinks adding maple syrup to gravy makes it go better with all the traditional Thanksgiving side dishes.
Green Beans Two Ways
Instead of just steaming or boiling green beans, Katie Workman first sautés them in butter and garlic, then simmers them in chicken broth. For adults, she adds fresh herbs and citrus—both zest and juice—giving the beans a fresh, vibrant flavor.
Celery Root with Apples, Walnuts and Blue Cheese
This delicious winter salad combines all kinds of flavors and textures: crunchy, juicy, earthy, nutty and toasty.
Roasted King Oyster Mushrooms
Thick, meaty slices of king oyster mushrooms are roasted in the oven for a rich, concentrated flavor.
Candied Cranberry Sauce
Cooked with less water and in a wide skillet, tart cranberries get candied in the sugar syrup and remain almost whole.
Lemony Salt-Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
This lemon-scented herb salt makes a great seasoning for everything from roasted white fish to grilled chicken and pork to steamed vegetables—and of course, any kind of potato. Grinding the sage, rosemary and thyme into the salt, rather than just stirring it in, helps intensify and meld the flavors.
Roasted Beets and Carrots with Goat Cheese Dressing
F&W’s Grace Parisi makes a simple, creamy dressing by whisking fresh goat cheese with vinegar and oil; she tosses it with a salad of warm roasted beets and beet greens.
Honey Spelt Bread
Lionel Vatinet sweetens his bread with local honey, which may benefit the immune system and help to combat allergies.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Capers, Walnuts and Anchovies
The key to Michael Symon’s deeply savory side dish is a dressing that includes anchovies, capers, mustard and a little honey.
Indian-Spiced Turkey Breast
Roasting a whole turkey is always tricky, since the breast can dry out while the dark meat finishes cooking. To get around that problem, Melissa Rubel Jacobson roasts turkey breast by itself. With the right amount of cooking, it’s always juicy, especially when marinated in a combination of lemon and yogurt.
Chestnut and Artichoke Roast
This easy kale recipe—a simple braise of olive oil, garlic and chicken stock—is a terrific counterpoint to rich holiday dishes.
Tricolor Roasted Carrots and Parsnips
Sometimes rethinking just means not overthinking. Don’t forget to enjoy seasonal ingredients just as they are.
Brown Rice Salad with Cranberries, Walnuts, Mint, and Feta
This bright brown rice dish can be served warm, or chilled and served as a salad or side.
Yogurt and Apricot Pie with Crunchy Granola Crust
Oats and almonds may both help lower blood pressure; they’re incorporated here in an ingenious granola crust for this sweet-tart pie.
Mashed Sweet Potato Gratin with Smoked Gouda and Shallots
This healthy and delicious gratin is low on dairy, thanks to a combination of sweet potatoes and Yukon Gold potatoes, which create the perfect creamy texture.
Stewed Apples with Chai-Spiced Cashew Cream
These spiced stewed apples are super quick to make and works just as well as a quick breakfast as a healthy dessert.
Creamy Millet with Pumpkin and Sage
Try serving this creamy, naturally-gluten free millet dish at your next fall dinner.
Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Apples
This delicious, super-healthy quinoa salad is a great meal-in-one; it makes an ideal vegetarian option at the Thanksgiving table.
Roasted Pumpkin with Maple Glaze
This recipe makes the perfect Thanksgiving side dish to serve alongside your turkey.
Baked Apples with Currants and Sauternes
Antioxidant-rich apples are one of Clark Frasier's staples for healthy winter desserts. "My father had a problem with high cholesterol, so my mother always baked apples for dessert," he says. Here, he doesn't need to add any fat--just a sweet splash of Sauternes infused with thyme--to enrich the dish.