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5 Recipes for a Healthier Thanksgiving

5 Recipes for a Healthier Thanksgiving

Ave Woods

Ave Woods, NAKOA Nutritionist

If you are anything like me you have a love-hate relationship with Thanksgiving. You work so hard to stay healthy then the holidays come and all of your self-control goes right out the window. I am not here to take all of the joy out of Thanksgiving but instead provide you with some healthier alternatives that will still satisfy your traditional Thanksgiving cravings and make you feel better about having that extra glass of wine. With my 5 healthy Thanksgiving recipes, I have substituted all of the processed ingredients with nutrient dense whole foods, added more vegetables, and lowered the sugar content. Trust me, you will not be disappointed!

Get ahead of the holiday pounds with these 4 great ways to stay fit this season.

Gluten-free Stuffing

Gluten-free Stuffing
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  • 1 loaf gluten-free bread (such as Udi’s® Millet-Chia bread)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups chicken or bone broth
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 pounds turkey or chicken sausage
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a 3-quart baking dish.
  2. Cut bread into cubes about 3/4-inch square and spread onto a baking sheet.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until crisp, 12 to 17 minutes.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook sausage until golden brown about 7 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside. Cook and stir onions, carrots, and celery in the hot oil until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir sage, thyme, salt, and black pepper into the vegetables. Mix toasted bread crumbs, chicken broth, and eggs into vegetables. Spoon dressing into the prepared baking dish and cover dish.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, uncover, and bake until top of dressing is crisp and lightly browned about 10 more minutes.

Guilt-free Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

Guilt-free Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
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  • 12 sweet potatoes skinned and sliced thin
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 1/3 cup butter (I used earth balance has no milk products in it)
  • 3 cups boiling chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup gluten free baking flour
  • 3 tablespoons chopped rosemary
  • 1 pound of cooked bacon chopped
  • Salt, pepper and paprika to taste


  1. In 2 shallow, well-greased 2 qt casserole dish, layer potatoes, bacon, and onions sprinkling with salt and pepper between each layer.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until well blended. Whisk in chicken stock and chopped rosemary; cook stirring constantly until it boils and thickens.
  3. Pour sauce over potato casserole and sprinkle with paprika to taste.
  4. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes or until potatoes and tender and golden brown.

Cauliflower Mash

Cauliflower Mash Recipe
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  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • Head of garlic, peel, and roast in oven
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh chives, chopped (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Peel all individual garlic bulbs, place in aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil, then seal the foil around the garlic. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cloves are soft.
  2. Meanwhile, place a couple inches of water in a large pot. Once water is boiling, place the steamer insert and then cauliflower florets into the pot and cover. Steam for 12-14 minutes, until completely tender.
  3. Add roasted garlic, salt, pepper, half of the almond milk, half of the cauliflower to a blender or food processor and blend well so that the garlic get fully broken down. Scoop out mixture and set aside. Repeat process for the remaining half of the ingredients minus the garlic except this time blend less, just enough to break down the cauliflower, but still a little grainy and chunky. Combine both mixtures to make the perfect blend. Add chives is desired and any more salt or fresh ground pepper to make perfectly delicious. Serve and enjoy!

Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole Recipe
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  • 1 pound green beans, washed and cut in half
  • 2 Tbsp butter (earth balance)
  • 1 cup finely chopped mushrooms (button, baby bella or cremini)
  • 2 Tbsp gluten free flour
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (I am big fan of garlic but if you are not, only add 1 clove)
  • 1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
  • ⅓ cup nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups crispy fried onions
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add green beans and cook for 5 minutes, then drain and place in an ice water bath to stop cooking. Drain and set aside.
  2. In the meantime, start preparing sauce. In a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat, add butter and shallots and garlic.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and stir. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add mushrooms and season with a bit more salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes more or until lightly browned.
  4. Sprinkle in flour and whisk to stir and coat the veggies. Cook for 1 minute, then slowly add in veggie stock, whisking to incorporate.
  5. Add almond milk and greek yogurt next and whisk to stir again. Season with a touch more salt and pepper bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low to thicken. Cook for 5-7 minutes more, or until thick and bubbly.

Remove from heat and add 1/2 of the fried onions and all of the cooked green beans. Toss to coat well, and top with remaining fried onions.

  • Bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until warmed through and bubbly and slightly browned on top.
  • Leftovers store well in the fridge for up to a few days.

Guilt-free Pumpkin Pie

Guilt-free Pumpkin Pie Recipe
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  • For the crust:
  • 1 ¼ cups almond flour
  • 4 tablespoons melted ghee
  • ½ a teaspoon
  • Pie Filling:
  • 1 can organic pumpkin puree
  • ¾ cups coconut milk
  • ½ organic honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 ½ teaspoons pumpkin spice seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Mix together all of your crust ingredients until dough forms. Then press dough into a pie plate and bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Put aside and let cool.
  3. Add all of the filling ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and all ingredients are well combined. Pour into your cooled crust and bake for 50 minutes. Check by poking with a toothpick in the middle of the filling and if it comes up clean then the pie is ready!
  4. Once filling is set refrigerate for 2 hours. Enjoy!