Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

thanksgiving-dinnerThanksgiving is often referred to as the gluttonous holiday. We gather with our loved ones and binge on all that delicious turkey, rolls, stuffing, potatoes, desserts…the list goes on and on. This year make a promise to yourself and your family to cook all the yummy food you love – but the healthier alternative of it. We’re bringing you some recipes that are just like the food Momma cooks, but much better for you. We promise you’ll still love it!

Another good Thanksgiving tip: eat slowly and stop when you’re full to avoid a sick or extra sleepy feeling. There are always leftovers so don’t worry about missing any food!


Roasted Turkey with Balsamic Brown Sugar Sauce

Serves 10


1 whole turkey (about 15 pounds), thawed
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
3 to 4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup water

For the sauce
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup defatted pan drippings
3 tablespoons brown sugar


Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Rinse the turkey inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels. Place the turkey breast-side up on a rack in a roasting pan. Rub the turkey with the oil, a sprig of rosemary and garlic cloves. Place all of the rosemary and garlic inside the bird. Loosely tie the legs together. Place into the middle of the oven.

When the skin is light (after about 1 1/2 hours) cover the breast with a tent of foil to prevent overcooking the breast. Check the doneness after the bird has roasted about 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Turkey is done when the thigh is pierced deeply and juices run clear (180 to 185 F) or when the breast muscle reaches 170 to 175 F.

Remove the turkey from the oven. Let it stand about 20 minutes to allow juices to settle in the meat. Deglaze the pan by adding 1/2 cup water. Stir to scrape up browned bits. Pour pan drippings into a gravy separator. Reserve 1 cup of defatted pan drippings for sauce.

To make the sauce, in a pan or microwave dish, stir together the vinegar, defatted pan drippings and brown sugar. Warm the sauce until the flavor is just released, about 15 seconds in the microwave, or over low heat on the stove until steam “escapes.” Don’t boil.

Carve the turkey and drizzle turkey slices with the warmed brown sugar sauce. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Analysis

(per serving)

Serving size: 5 ounces light and dark meat
Calories 247 Cholesterol 79 mg
Protein 34 g Sodium 78 mg
Carbohydrate 10 g Fiber trace
Total fat 6 g Potassium 378 mg
Saturated fat 1 g Calcium 30 mg
Monounsaturated fat 2 g

Acorn Squash with Apples

Serves 2 (double or triple the ingredients to feed more…)


1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 small acorn squash, about 6 inches in diameter
2 teaspoons trans-free margarine


In a small bowl, mix together the apple and brown sugar. Set aside.

Pierce the squash several times with a sharp knife to let the steam escape during cooking. Microwave on high until tender, about 5 minutes. Turn the squash after 3 minutes to ensure even cooking.

Place the squash on a cutting board and cut in half. Scrape the seeds out of the center of each half and discard the seeds. Fill the hollowed squash with the apple mixture.

Return the squash to the microwave and cook until the apples are softened, about 2 minutes.

Transfer the squash to a serving dish. Top each half with 1 teaspoon margarine and serve immediately.

Nutritional Analysis

(per serving)

Calories 270 Cholesterol 0 mg
Protein 2 g Sodium 140 mg
Carbohydrate 52 g Fiber 5 g
Total fat 6 g Potassium 1,015 mg
Saturated fat trace Calcium 104 mg
Monounsaturated fat 2 g

Pumpkin Soup

Serves 4


3/4 cup water
1 small onion, chopped
1 can (8 ounces) pumpkin puree
1 cup unsalted vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup fat-free milk
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 green onion, green top only, chopped


In a large saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of the water over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Don’t let the onion dry out.

Add the remaining water, pumpkin, broth, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the milk and cook until hot. Don’t boil.

Ladle into warmed individual bowls and garnish with black pepper and green onion tops. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Analysis

(per serving)

Serving size: 1 cup
Calories 72 Cholesterol 1 mg
Protein 3 g Sodium 241 mg
Carbohydrate 12 g Fiber 2 g
Total fat 1 g Potassium 199 mg
Saturated fat < 1 g Calcium 78 mg
Monounsaturated fat < 1 g

Salad greens with pears, fennel and walnuts

Serves 6


6 cups mixed salad greens
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 medium pears, cored, quartered and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Divide the salad greens onto 6 plates. Scatter the fennel and pear slices over the greens. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and walnuts. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Add black pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Analysis

(per serving)

Calories 157 Cholesterol 1 mg
Protein 3 g Sodium 50 mg
Carbohydrate 14 g Fiber 4 g
Total fat 10 g Potassium 391 mg
Saturated fat 1 g Calcium 66 mg
Monounsaturated fat 6 g

Warm chocolate souffles

Serves 6


    • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 6 tablespoons hot water
    • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    • 1 tablespoon canola oil
    • 3 tablespoons all-purpose (plain) flour
    • 1 tablespoon ground hazelnuts (filberts) or almonds
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 3 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 cup 1 percent low-fat milk
    • 4 egg whites
    • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
    • 1 cup raspberries


Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly coat six 1-cup individual souffle dishes or ramekins with cooking spray or coat a 6-cup souffle dish with the spray.

In a small bowl, combine the cocoa and hot water, stirring until smooth. Set aside.

In a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the canola oil and stir to combine. Add the flour, ground hazelnuts and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in the brown sugar, honey and salt. Gradually add the milk and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir into the cocoa mixture. Let cool slightly.

In a large, thoroughly cleaned bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the granulated sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and beat until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the cocoa mixture to lighten it. Then fold the remaining egg whites into the cocoa mixture, mixing gently only until no white streaks remain.

Gently scoop the cocoa egg white mixture into the prepared dishes (or dish). Bake until the souffle rises above the rim and is set in the center, 15 to 20 minutes for individual souffles or 40 to 45 minutes for the large souffle. Cool the souffles on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the top with the confectioners’ sugar. Garnish with raspberries and serve immediately.

Nutritional Analysis

(per serving)

Calories 184 Cholesterol 7 mg
Protein 6 g Sodium 106 mg
Carbohydrate 30 g Fiber 4 g
Total fat 7 g Potassium 248 mg
Saturated fat 2 g Calcium 58 mg
Monounsaturated fat 3 g

All recipes courtesy of Mayo Clinic. <–Click to see more healthy Thanksgiving recipes! Then tell us, what healthy Thanksgiving recipes do you plan to make (or simply eat)?

You may also like:

Eating Well and Feeling Good Throughout the Holidays

Feeding Your Goddess Through the Holidays

Holiday Eating Without the Acid Reflux

© Copyright 2011  Allison Stuart Kaplan LLC

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