When deciding on the content for this post, I had some trouble. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I knew I wanted to include some of my favorite recipes. My first thought was to suggest some healthier versions of Thanksgiving dishes. The term “Healthy”, however, is a little vague. The definition varies from person to person, but Miriam Webster Dictionary defines the word healthy as follows:
“1. having good health : not sick or injured
2. showing good health
3. good for your health”
Pretty vague, right? Everyone has their own definition of the word, especially when it comes to food. In my opinion, a healthy diet includes one full of veggies (a lot of greens!), and lean proteins such as chicken and fish. I try and stay away from a lot of sugar, especially artificial sugars, and highly processed food. I truly love to cook, and the time spent with friends and family that defines the holidays. That being said, we wanted to share recipes that have nutritional value; some type of healthy vegetable or offer an alternative to processed ingredients that you might be familiar using.
Below are my top 4 Thanksgiving recipes. I did not write these recipes myself, but the women who created them have graciously allowed PVS to include them (and the drool-worthy photos!) today. I can say that I have prepared all of these dishes, more than a few times, and they are DELICIOUS!
1. Loaded Cauliflower Mash Bake by Skinny Mom
When I made this for the first time, I have to admit I was skeptical. I absolutely love mashed potatoes, but after making this, I am a cauliflower convert! Other than being not quite as thick as white potatoes, the taste and texture is very similar. Baking the dish after whipping the cauliflower helps it to thicken up a bit. I chose this recipe because Cauliflower has a much lower glycemic index than potatoes, as well as less carbs. This site is a great resource if you’re interested in more comparisons between the two veggies. I will say that I have substituted turkey bacon, and used shallots in place of green onions. I’m a huge fan of recipes that allow for a bit of creativity like this one.
CLICK HERE FOR THE CAULIFLOWER MASH BAKE RECIPE
2. Quinoa and Kale Stuffed Sweet Potatoes by Leslie Durso
This recipe is packed with healthy goodness including quinoa, kale, and sweet potatoes. At my house, we eat a lot of meatless meals. When I found Leslie Durso’s blog, I was thrilled, because all of Leslie’s dishes are Vegan or vegetarian, and everything I’ve tried has been delicious! After making this recipe for the first time last year, I was hooked. I can’t count how many times I have made it since (and shared the leftovers with my PVS coworkers!). It is hearty, filling, quick to make, and absolutely mouth watering. When I’m serving for a large group like at Thanksgiving, I combine all the potatoes together into one dish (rather than stuffing in the skin as pictured).
CLICK HERE FOR THE QUINOA AND KALE STUFFED SWEET POTATOES RECIPE
3. Fresh Green Bean Casserole by Brown-Eyed Baker
Like Michelle says in her post, the green bean casserole is a classic Thanksgiving dish that most families can’t do without. I remember preparing it as a child as my Thanksgiving dish that I was responsible for. Canned green beans, canned cream of mushroom soup, fried onions, done. Bo-ring. When I hosted my first Thanksgiving, I knew it was time for an upgrade. This is the one dish on my table that has remained EXACTLY the same for 4 years. The slight crunch to the fresh green beans accompanied by the creamy scratch made mushroom sauce is to die for, and a much healthier option than the canned variety. The recipe still calls for store bought onion topping, but Michelle offers a recipe if you prefer to make that from scratch too. Personally, I use store bought topping because the rest of the recipe can be time consuming. I can’t say enough good things about this recipe. I love it!
CLICK HERE FOR THE FRESH GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE RECIPE
4. Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts by Say Yes & Corner Kitchen
Somehow I made it through 28 years of life before trying brussels sprouts. I received some in a meal kit I ordered from peachdish, and now eat them regularly. In addition to being high in fiber, they are loaded with antioxidants and other nutrients. This site explains a lot more of their benefits. A few months ago my brother visited Canada, and returned with a gift for me: a humongous bottle of pure maple syrup. I’d recently seen this recipe, and was dying to try it with the real deal. If you can’t find pancetta, bacon is a good substitute. I’ve made it several times this year, and I’m excited to bring it to the Thanksgiving 2015 lineup!