Thanksgiving Recipes

In an effort to make Thanksgiving a little healthier, here are some sample recipes you can try.

» Veggies & Edible Hummus Bowl
» Pear & Cranberry Sauce
» Apple-Shallot Roasted Turkey
» Cider Gravy
» Healthy Thanksgiving Stuffing
» Carrot Mac & Cheese
» Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
» Roasted Butternut Squash
» Green Beans with Almonds
» Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes”
» “Acorn” Cookies
» Pumpkin Pie Bites
» Chocolate Covered Strawberries
» Fall Fruit Salad


Veggies & Hummus Bowl

  • 2 (15.5-ounce) cans no-salt-added chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 cup water (from chickpea can)
  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 Bell Peppers (any color)
  • Carrots
  • Celery Stalks
  1. Place beans and garlic in a food processor; pulse until chopped. Add 1/2 cup water and remaining ingredients; pulse until smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Set aside.
  2. Take one of the bell peppers and cut out the stem, removing the seeds, and creating a hollow pepper. Fill with hummus dip.
  3. Slice the other bell pepper, the carrots, and the celery stalks into sticks no more than 4 inches long.
  4. Put the filled pepper in the center of a plate and lay the veggie sticks around it for dipping.


Pear & Cranberry Sauce
Adapted from

  • 3 large ripe Bartlett pears, peeled
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 4-inch cinnamon stick
  1. Grate pears into a large saucepan, using the large holes of a box grater; take the flesh all the way down to the core but do not get any seeds in the pan.
  2. Stir in water, cranberries, honey, ginger, salt and cinnamon stick; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until the pears break down and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes about 6 servings.


Apple-Shallot Roasted Turkey
Adapted from

  • 1 10- to 12-pound turkey
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus 3 sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, plus 3 sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, plus 3 sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise, divided
  • 1 tart green apple, quartered
  • 3 cups water, plus more as needed
  1. Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 475°F.
  2. Remove giblets and neck from turkey cavities. Place the turkey, breast-side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan; pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Combine oil, chopped parsley, sage, thyme, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the herb mixture all over the turkey, under the skin and onto the breast meat. Place herb sprigs, 6 shallot halves and apple in the cavity. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Add 3 cups water to the pan.
  4. Roast the turkey until the skin is golden brown, 45 minutes. Remove the turkey from the oven. If using a remote digital thermometer, insert it into the deepest part of the thigh, close to the joint. Cover just the breast with a double layer of foil, cutting as necessary to fit. Scatter the remaining shallots in the pan around the turkey. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and continue roasting until the thermometer (or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone) registers 165°F, 1 to 1 3/4 hours more. If the pan dries out, tilt the turkey to let juices run out of the cavity into the pan and add 1 cup water.
  5. Transfer the turkey to a serving platter (reserve pan juices and shallots) and tent with foil. Make Cider Gravy (recipe follows). Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes. Remove the string and carve.


Cider Gravy
Adapted from

  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (or giblet stock)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. When you remove the turkey from the roasting pan, leave the roasted shallots behind. Skim off any visible fat from the pan juices.
  2. Whisk 1/2 cup chicken broth and flour in a small bowl until smooth; set aside.
  3. Set the roasting pan over two burners on medium-high heat. Add cider and vinegar; bring to a boil and cook, scraping up the browned bits from the pan, until the liquid is reduced by about half, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the remaining 3 1/2 cups broth. Increase heat to high; return to a boil, whisking often. Boil until the liquid is reduced by about half, 8 to 12 minutes.
  4. Whisk the reserved flour mixture into the pan. Boil, whisking constantly, until the gravy is thickened, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour the gravy through a fine sieve into a large measuring cup. (Discard the solids.) Season with salt and pepper.


Healthy Thanksgiving Stuffing
Adapted from Spark Recipes

14 ounces herb seasoned stuffing (such as Pepperidge Farm or Arnold)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced apple (any variety)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 2- 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
poultry seasoning to taste (around 1-2 teaspoons)
  • pepper to taste (around 1 teaspoon)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl add bread stuffing, onions, celery, and apples. Toss together and season with pepper and poultry seasoning. Add chicken broth, mixing until thoroughly moistened but not soaked. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  3. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray. Add stuffing mix and cover with foil. Bake 25-35 minutes covered. Uncover and cook additional 10 minutes or until slightly crispy on top.

Makes about 16 servings.


Carrot Mac & Cheese
Adapted from Mom’s Kitchen Handbook

  • 1 pound carrots, peeled (about 4 large carrots)
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 5 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 2 cups packed)
  • 12 ounces whole wheat pasta (about 4 cups dried)
  • 1 1/4 cup low-fat milk
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Slice the carrots very thin, put them in a medium pot and add the water. Bring to a boil, drop the heat so the water boils gently, and cover with a lid. Cook until the carrots are tender enough to mash with a fork, about 25 minutes.
While the carrots cook, bring a big pot of  water to a boil and cook the pasta. Reserve about a quarter cup of the pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta. Put the cooked pasta back into the pot.
  4. When the carrots are tender, put them along with any remaining carrot cooking liquid into a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the milk and puree until silky smooth. You can also do this with a blender.
  5. Stir the carrot puree into the pasta. Set aside about 1/2 cup of the cheese and add the remainder to the pasta along with a few grinds of black pepper. Taste and add more pepper as needed. If the sauce seems too thick, stir in a tablespoon or two of the pasta water.
  6. Transfer pasta to a baking dish that’s about 8 x 11 inches. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake for 20 minutes. If you want the cheese brown and crispy on top, set under the broiler just before serving.

Makes 4 to 5 servings.


Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
Adapted from

  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Rinse and scrub potatoes to remove any dirt and pat dry with a towel. Using a fork, poke holes in potatoes. Place in the oven directly on the top rack and place a sheet pan or sheet of foil on the rack below to catch any drippings. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until potatoes are soft to touch with a fork. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Keep oven on.
  3. Cut a slit along top of potatoes from top to bottom. Using a spoon, gently scoop out flesh and set aside in a small bowl. (Sweet potatoes skins aren’t quite as tough as traditional russet potatoes, so be careful not to rip the skin while removing flesh. It’s okay to leave a little potato behind in the skins too—aim to scoop out about 75 percent of flesh.) Add yogurt, maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg to potatoes, and mash to combine.
  4. Gently spoon mixture back into shells. (If desired, you can wrap up potatoes in plastic and store in the refrigerator for up to one day to cook later.) Place potatoes on a sheet pan and squeeze to reclose as much as possible. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until warm.

Makes 4 servings.


Roasted Butternut Squash
Adapted from

  • 1 butternut squash – peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ground black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Toss butternut squash with olive oil in a large bowl. Season with black pepper.
  3. Arrange coated squash on a baking sheet.  Roast in the preheated oven until squash is tender and lightly browned, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.


Green Beans with Almonds
Adapted from  Food Network

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt
  • Toasted slivered or sliced almonds
  1. Steam (or boil in a covered pan over 1/2″ water) green beans for about 3-5 minutes, until tender.
  2. Toss beans in melted butter, salt and almonds.


Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes”
Adapted from Whole Foods Market

  • 1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets (about 6 to 7 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cauliflower and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid and then drain well and transfer cauliflower to a food processor.
  2. Add butter and reserved water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and puree until smooth. (Or, mash cauliflower with a potato masher). Season with salt and pepper and serve.


“Acorn” Cookies
Adapted from

  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 24 dark chocolate candy kisses (such as Hershey’s Kisses®), unwrapped
  • 24 mini vanilla wafer cookies (such as Nilla®)
  • 24 butterscotch chips
  1. Smear a small amount of peanut butter onto the flat bottom of a candy kiss.
  2. Press onto the flat bottom of the vanilla wafer.
  3. Smear a little more peanut butter onto the flat bottom of a butterscotch chip, and press onto the rounded top of the cookie.
  4. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Set aside to dry, about 30 minutes.

Makes about 8 servings.


Pumpkin Pie Bites
Adapted from Lauren Conrad

  • Butter-flavored cooking spray
  • 3/4 cups all-natural, whole-grain, crunchy, high-fiber, low-sugar cereal (like Kashi 7 Whole Grain Nuggets)
  • 2 tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 large egg whites
  • 15-ounce can (1-¾ cups) pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 2-½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-¼ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 32 teaspoons whipped topping, divided (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 11″ x 7″ glass or ceramic baking dish with spray.
  2. Add the cereal to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a chopping blade. Process it for 15-20 seconds, or until the cereal is crushed. Transfer it to a small mixing bowl and add the maple syrup and cinnamon. Mix them until well combined (the mixture should be slightly sticky). Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Using a small piece of parchment paper, gently press down on the cereal mixture, spreading it evenly across the bottom of the baking dish. Bake the crust for 7-9 minutes, or until it is slightly browned. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, add the egg whites to a large mixing bowl. Using a sturdy whisk, lightly beat them until they bubble very slightly. Still using the whisk, stir in the pumpkin, agave, and flour until well combined. Stir in the vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and salt and continue mixing until well combined. Pour the filling over the baked crust. Using a rubber spatula, spread it into an even layer.
  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry (a few crumbs are okay). Transfer the dish to a wire cooking rack, allowing it to cool to room temperature. Carefully cut 32 pumpkin “bites” (3 cuts along the width of the pan, 7 cuts along the length, creating 4×8 bites).
  5. Just before serving, top each bite with 1 teaspoon whipped topping, if desired. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Adapted from

  • 4 ounces high-quality dark chocolate
  • 24 strawberries
  1. Microwave chocolate in a small bowl on Medium for 1 minute. Stir, then continue microwaving on Medium in 20-second intervals until melted, stirring after each interval. Or place in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water. Stir until melted.
  2. Dip strawberries in the melted chocolate.


Fall Fruit Salad
Adapted from Simply Recipes

  • 3 persimmons, peeled and cut into 1/2-1 inch pieces
  • seeds from one pomegranate
  • 1 granny smith apple, peeled and cut into 1/2-1 inch pieces
  • 8 fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
  • 2tsp lemon juice
  • 1tsp honey
  1. Gently toss all of the ingredients together.

Keeps for at least a couple of days in the refrigerator, but best eaten same day it is made.