Healthy Thanksgiving Menu | MyRecipes

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Lentil Shepherd's Pie

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Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

 

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
Recipe

The bulgur releases just enough starch to bind the lentil- and mushroom-packed filling together. The skin of the potato contains about half the total fiber; we love the rustic edge and earthiness it adds to our creamy tater topper.

Whole Stuffed Roasted Pumpkin

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Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Whole Stuffed Roasted Pumpkin

Whole Stuffed Roasted Pumpkin
Recipe

In this recipe, pumpkin plays a triple role: cooking vessel, serving bowl, and part of the meal itself. Choose a Long Island Cheese pumpkin for its creamy flesh or a Cinderella pumpkin. The hearty stew simmers inside the pumpkin while the flesh cooks and softens. Berbere, a peppery Ethiopian spice blend, richly seasons the pumpkin and stew. Find it at specialty markets or online at penzeys.com.

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Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce

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Photo: Jennifer Causey

Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce

Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce
Recipe

What makes this sauce extraordinary isn’t the orange liqueur, though it rounds out the tart and sweet flavors beautifully. It’s the whole fresh cranberries reserved before cooking and stirred in just before serving. You might think the fresh berries would be too tart without simmering—we did too—but the result is simply outstanding: jammy sauce punctuated by pops of tart, juicy berries. If you prefer not to use alcohol, you can substitute fresh orange juice. Double the batch and use as a breakfast jam or sandwich spread, or spoon warm sauce over frozen yogurt.

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Lemon-Herb Sheet Pan Roasted

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Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Lemon-Herb Sheet Pan Roasted Vegetables

Lemon-Herb Sheet Pan Roasted Vegetables
Recipe

A mix of colorful root vegetables may be your star side. Peeled, prechopped butternut squash saves time, but pieces tend to be irregular and small–we prefer peeling and cubing it yourself.

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Traditional Sweet Potato Casserole

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Traditional Sweet Potato Casserole

Traditional Sweet Potato Casserole
Recipe

This simple casserole uses the same favorite ingredients as its full-fat counterpart but cuts back ever-so-slightly on the amounts used and the portion size resulting in a lower-calorie, equally tasty dish.

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Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing

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Jennifer Causey

Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing

Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing
Recipe

This two-for-one dish of wild rice stuffing and roasted acorn squash is a sure crowd-pleaser. You can cut the stuffed halves into quarters so they don’t take up as much room on the plate. Wild rice takes about as much time to cook as long-grain brown rice, which you can use as a substitute. You can also make the rice ahead and refrigerate. Reheat with a splash of water before adding to the sausage mixture.

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Ginger-Chile Roasted Acorn Squash

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Jennifer Causey

Ginger-Chile Roasted Acorn Squash

Ginger-Chile Roasted Acorn Squash
Recipe

Fresh ginger, red Fresno chile, and pomegranate don’t usually appear on the Thanksgiving table, but we love how they transform simply roasted squash into a dish with tingly heat and pops of color. Leave the sheet pan in the oven as it preheats to jump-start browning, saving roasting time in the oven.

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Green Beans with Dried Cranberries and Hazelnuts

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Photo: Brian Woodcock; Styling: Paige Hicks

Green Beans with Dried Cranberries and Hazelnuts

Green Beans with Dried Cranberries and Hazelnuts
Recipe

From the Kitchen of…Ivy Manning, longtime contributor

“This side dish is positively Pacific Northwest, my stomping grounds. Oregon produces both cranberries and hazelnuts, which I source from local vendors.”

Blanch the beans ahead, and store in the refrigerator to eliminate a task from the Thanksgiving Day prep list.

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Balsamic Cranberry-Onion Jam

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Jennifer Causey

Balsamic Cranberry-Onion Jam

Balsamic Cranberry-Onion Jam
Recipe

This jam is an excellent, refined sugar-free alternative to the traditional, often too-sweet sauce, and tastes even better a day or two after it’s made. Because fresh cranberries are so tart on their own, be sure to use a sweet onion such as Vidalia in the jam. Pair this condiment with your Thanksgiving plate, then use as a sandwich spread for holiday leftovers.

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Cranberry-Beet Chutney

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Greg DuPree

Cranberry-Beet Chutney

Cranberry-Beet Chutney
Recipe

For a twist on cranberry sauce this year, try this sweet, tart, and earthy beet-and-cranberry condiment. Toasted whole coriander and brown mustard seeds add warmth and take the chutney into savory territory. The chunky texture is part of the charm here, a great contrast to the mashes and casseroles on the table. Beyond the Thanksgiving plate, you can serve the chutney as a topper for crostini spread with goat cheese or with smoked salmon.

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Sweet Potato Casserole with Pumpkin Seed-Oat Crumble

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Jennifer Causey

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pumpkin Seed-Oat Crumble

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pumpkin Seed-Oat Crumble
Recipe

We use less sugar in this classic casserole and get sweetness instead from fragrant orange rind and vanilla. Turmeric boosts the orange color and adds a subtle earthiness to the sweet potatoes. Instead of an all-nut or marshmallow topping, an oat streusel made with pumpkinseeds adds crunch and contrast to the dish. Evaporated milk has a concentrated dairy flavor without the added sugar of sweetened condensed milk; it will help the potato base to thicken as it bakes.

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Creamed Greens with Farro

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Jennifer Causey

Creamed Greens with Farro

Creamed Greens with Farro
Recipe

This dish takes its cues from classic creamed spinach and raises the bar with braised mixed greens, whole-grain farro, and a crisp panko crust. Hearty yet not heavy, and gorgeous straight out of the oven, this is the kind of side that looks and feels holiday special. Swiss chard and dark, bumpy lacinato kale both wilt down fairly quickly; their texture and vibrancy will stand out once combined with the creamy three-cheese sauce. The farro can be cooked, drained, and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week before Thanksgiving.

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Skillet Green Bean Casserole

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Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Skillet Green Bean Casserole

Skillet Green Bean Casserole
Recipe

We’ve shortened (and lightened) this holiday classic by bringing everything together in one pan and using the stovetop and broiler rather than baking.

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Potato and Parsnip Gratin

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Jennifer Causey

Potato and Parsnip Gratin

Potato and Parsnip Gratin
Recipe

Parsnips add an elegant twist to this classic. Parboiling the slices saves baking time and keeps them from absorbing too much sauce.

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Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

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Photo: Tara Donne; Styling: Alistair Turnbull

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy
Recipe

From the Kitchen of…Diane Morgan, Cooking Light Contributor

“I always make stock well before Thanksgiving in the slow cooker, and then freeze it. This way the gravy is never lacking deep turkey flavor.”

The key to flavorful gravy is a good turkey stock. In November, it’s easy to find turkey wings, which make an especially rich stock. Try this classic gravy; it can be made ahead, cooled, and frozen up to two months. Thaw; then reheat over medium-low, stirring with a whisk.

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Whole-Grain Corn Bread

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Photo: Brian Woodcock; Styling: Paige Hicks

Whole-Grain Corn Bread

Whole-Grain Corn Bread
Recipe

From the Kitchen of…Ann Taylor Pittman, Executive Food Editor

We always cook two pans of corn bread at Thanksgiving: One is done a day ahead as the base for corn bread dressing, and the other goes into the oven at the last minute so it’s hot and crusty at the table. Toasted leftovers get drizzled with honey at breakfast.

Medium to fine-ground cornmeal works well for this corn bread, but you can substitute a coarser grind if you prefer a heftier texture.

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Classic Corn Bread Dressing

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Photo: Brian Woodcock; Styling: Paige Hicks

Classic Corn Bread Dressing

Classic Corn Bread Dressing
Recipe

From the Kitchen of…Ann Taylor Pittman, Executive Food Editor

“Corn bread dressing is something my Mississippi-born soul craves because it’s just so good, and it’s what I grew up with.”

This is the quintessential Thanksgiving side dish in the South. It is made from crumbled corn bread, with no added French or sourdough bread to cut it, so the texture is unique. Loads of aromatics give this dressing its flavor; don’t be tempted to use less.

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Sausage and Chestnut Dressing

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Photo: Brian Woodcock; Styling: Paige Hicks

Sausage and Chestnut Dressing

Sausage and Chestnut Dressing
Recipe

From the Kitchen of…Blakeslee Giles, Food Styling Assistant

“I have fond memories of Thanksgiving in Richland, Georgia, with my grand­mother. Her dressing was to die for.”

We kept all the love Blakeslee’s grandmother poured into her dressing and added chestnuts for texture and earthy flavor. If you aren’t up for roasting and opening your own, find whole roasted chestnuts, in a pouch or jar, in the baking aisle.

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Roasted Grape and Pear Kuchen

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Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Mindi Shapiro and Amanda Widis

Roasted Grape and Pear Kuchen

Roasted Grape and Pear Kuchen
Recipe

Fruit paired with cake is a magical thing, to say the least. Kuchen, traditional German yeast cake, is typically adorned with a variety of crunchy nuts, tart fruits, and creamy cheeses.  A slice of this southern inspired sweet treat will have you reaching for another!

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Sheet Pan Roasted Vegetables

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Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Sheet Pan Roasted Vegetables

Sheet Pan Roasted Vegetables
Recipe

A mix of colorful root vegetables may be your star side. Peeled, prechopped butternut squash saves time, but pieces tend to be irregular and small–we prefer peeling and cubing it yourself.

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Herbed Whole-Grain Yeast Rolls

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Jennifer Causey

Herbed Whole-Grain Yeast Rolls

Herbed Whole-Grain Yeast Rolls
Recipe

Golden whole-grain yeast rolls get a fresh, fragrant hit from a host of seasonal herbs. Make ahead and freeze for up to a month, saving the butter-herb finish for after reheating.

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Salted Caramel Apple Pie

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Jennifer Causey

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Salted Caramel Apple Pie
Recipe

Grated apple is the secret to a syrupy pie filling–it releases more pectin (a natural thickener) than the sliced apples alone. A quick salted caramel intensifies the apple flavor without making the dessert too sweet.

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Herb, Lemon, and Garlic Turkey

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Jennifer Causey

Herb, Lemon, and Garlic Turkey

Herb, Lemon, and Garlic Turkey
Recipe

Instead of a wet brine, this bird uses an overnight dry salt and sugar cure, which concentrates flavor. If you want to leave the skin on, it will add 25 calories and 1g of sat fat per serving.

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Tuscan Turkey

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Photo: Jennifer Causey

Tuscan Turkey

Tuscan Turkey
Recipe

Forget dry, tasteless turkey. A rub of roasted garlic and fresh sage permeates every ounce of the bird, while a Dijon and white wine baste locks in moisture for juicy, tender meat. Save the giblets for our Classic Turkey Gravy.

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Apple Galette with Vanilla Yogurt Drizzle

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Photo: Jennifer Causey

Apple Galette with Vanilla Yogurt Drizzle

Apple Galette with Vanilla Yogurt Drizzle
Recipe

We save on sat fat and make the crust more tender by swapping in low-fat yogurt for some of the butter (use standard yogurt, not Greek-style). Make dough ahead and refrigerate or freeze (just remember to thaw completely before rolling). You can sub the scraped seeds from one vanilla bean pod or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract for the vanilla bean paste.

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Lemon-Thyme Turkey

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Photo: Jennifer Causey

Lemon-Thyme Turkey

Lemon-Thyme Turkey
Recipe

Turkey pros swear by brining for tender, succulent meat. Line a disposable roasting pan with the brining bag before adding liquid and turkey. If it won’t fit in your fridge, nestle in a cooler with ice–the temperature will stay in the safe zone until you’re ready to roast.

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Herb-Roasted Carrots

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Jennifer Causey

Herb-Roasted Carrots

Herb-Roasted Carrots
Recipe

A simple side of roasted carrots is the breather a crowded table needs–a bit of palate relief (and ease for the cook) that still looks elegant. Use leftover cilantro in turkey chili or tacos.

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Cheesy Potato Casserole

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Photo: Brian Woodcock; Styling: Paige Hicks

Cheesy Potato Casserole

Cheesy Potato Casserole
Recipe

From the Kitchen of…Kimberly Holland, Associate Digital Editor

In Scottsboro, Alabama, Kimberly’s grandfather is the cheesy potato casserole chef.

Rather than using sodium-loaded canned soup, we made our own creamy sauce to update this dish.

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Classic Herb Stuffing

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Photo: Jennifer Causey

Classic Herb Stuffing

Classic Herb Stuffing
Recipe

A straightforward holiday stuffing calls for great bread; we love the nutty, toasty dimension of a bakery whole-grain loaf. Sauté the onion, celery, and carrot mixture until tender but not browned. The added moisture from the veg will help soften the bread and make for a more cohesive stuffing.

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Double-Crust Apple Pie

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Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Mindi Shapiro and Amanda Widis

Double-Crust Apple Pie

Double-Crust Apple Pie
Recipe

A double crust seals in the apples’ natural juices as the pie bakes for full-on apple flavor. Tossing the apples with apple juice keeps them from browning as you peel and slice them, and it adds a boost of apple flavor.

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Potato and Leek Gratin

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Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Potato and Leek Gratin

Potato and Leek Gratin
Recipe

A mandoline will slice the potatoes quickly and to the same thickness, though a sharp knife will also work. Instead of being buried in cream, the potatoes and leeks are simmered in and drizzled with milk so the potatoes get wonderfully crisp and tender and the cheeses form a melty, golden crust.

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Basic Cranberry Sauce

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Basic Cranberry Sauce

Basic Cranberry Sauce
Recipe

Thanksgiving just isn’t complete without sweet and tangy cranberry sauce. Make this one a few days ahead to serve at your holiday table or to give as a homemade gift to neighbors and friends.

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Sourdough Stuffing with Pears and Sausage

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Sourdough Stuffing with Pears and Sausage

Sourdough Stuffing with Pears and Sausage
Recipe

You might be tempted to leave off the turkey in place of this hearty sourdough bread stuffing that’s packed with carrot, celery, onion, mushrooms, and turkey sausage. Chopped fresh pears adds just a note of subtle sweetness to the savory dish.

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Green Bean Casserole with Madeira Mushrooms

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Photo: Charles Masters

Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole
Recipe

This deliciously updated version of the classic green bean casserole features fresh green beans and wine-infused mushrooms. We just had to keep the fried onion topping, which is arguably the best part.

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Make-Ahead Gravy

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Make-Ahead Gravy

Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe
Skip the turkey drippings and the last minute rush a preparing the gravy with this make-ahead version. Prepare turkey stock then flavor it with sage and thicken with flour and butter. You’ll never miss the fatty drippings!

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Apple-Poblano Whole Roast Turkey

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Oxmoor House

Apple-Poblano Whole Roast Turkey

Apple-Poblano Whole Roast Turkey
Recipe

Go in a Southwestern direction with your turkey this year by brining it in a mixture of apple cider, brown sugar and jalapeño pepper and adding onion, cilantro, apples and poblano chiles to the turkey cavity before roasting.

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Classic Pumpkin Pie

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Photography: Randy Mayor; Styling: Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

Classic Pumpkin Pie

Classic Pumpkin Pie
Recipe

Refrigerated pie dough makes this classic pumpkin pie recipe simple to prepare. This lightened version features egg whites in place of some of the whole eggs and low-fat evaporated milk, but still has the brown sugar and spices you expect from a pumpkin pie.

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Oatmeal Pecan Pie

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Becky Luigart-Stayner

Oatmeal Pecan Pie

Oatmeal Pecan Pie
Recipe

Rolled oats in the filling add heartiness and increase the fiber in this classic Thanksgiving dessert.

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