17 Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

A Festive Wholesome Feast

Roast Turkey Breast

The Spruce 

Thanksgiving meals can be a total diet-buster, sending countless Americans to the gym in the days afterward. And while the meal should be a special occasion, it doesn't have to be loaded with fat, sugar, and carbs. If you want to keep your holiday feast on the healthier side, prepare dishes with familiar ingredients like turkey and sweet potato that are lower in calories. The meal will still be special and have all of the flavors you want at Thanksgiving.

  • 01 of 17

    Gluten-Free Vegetarian Rice Stuffing

    Gluten-Free Vegetarian Rice Stuffing

    The Spruce 

    For a gluten-free alternative to traditional stuffing, replace the bread with rice. Flavored with mushrooms and celery, this recipe is also vegan. For an even healthier twist, replace the rice with brown rice, wild rice, or another whole grain. Par-boil the grain first, cooking about halfway on the stovetop, and let it finish cooking in the oven.

  • 02 of 17

    Low-Calorie Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

    Low-Calorie Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

     David Marsden / Getty Images

    Replacing half of the potatoes with cauliflower makes these mashed potatoes more nutritious, but still fluffy. There's no butter or sour cream in this recipe, so it's an especially good-for-you option. Low-fat buttermilk adds savory flavor and creaminess without all of the fat.

  • 03 of 17

    Savory Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

    Savory Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

    Todd Beltz / Stocksy United 

    Made with soy milk and vegetable broth, this silky smooth soup is vegan and gluten free. It has a lightly sweet flavor, thanks to the butternut squash, and it's balanced by savory garlic and onion. It makes a delightful first course for your Thanksgiving meal.

  • 04 of 17

    Roast Turkey Breast

    Roast Turkey Breast

    The Spruce

    If you're including meat for your Thanksgiving meal, then make it a roast turkey breast. When cooked properly, the white meat will be juicy and tender without the added fat of dark meat. Don't overcook it and be sure to let the breast rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.

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  • 05 of 17

    Easy Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Balsamic Vinegar

    Easy Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Balsamic Vinegar

    The Spruce 

    Roasting is the key to preparing flavorful vegetables without adding fatty ingredients like butter, cheese, or meat. Tossed with heart-healthy olive oil and balsamic vinegar, oven-roasted Brussels sprouts are a must for your holiday menu.

  • 06 of 17

    Pumpkin Pie Made With Coconut Milk

    Pumpkin Pie Made With Coconut Milk

     The Spruce

    Coconut oil and coconut milk give this pumpkin pie a crunchy crust and smooth filling without any need for dairy. Adding spices like cinnamon and ginger mean the lower-fat dessert still has the flavors you're looking for. Top with vegan whipped cream (also made with coconut milk) if desired.

  • 07 of 17

    Fennel and Apple Salad With Honey Yogurt Dressing

    Fennel and Apple Salad With Honey Yogurt Dressing

     Stephanie Kirkos

    This fennel and apple salad is a light and refreshing fall starter that's a welcome addition to a Thanksgiving table packed with heavy foods. Apples and fennel are cut into matchsticks and tossed with nuts and a Greek yogurt dressing. It only takes a few minutes to put together, giving you time to prep for other dishes.

  • 08 of 17

    Basic Roasted Pumpkin Seeds With Variations

    Basic Roasted Pumpkin Seeds With Variations

    Diana Rattray 

    Crunchy, nutty roasted pumpkin seeds are a delicious fall treat. Add spices like Cajun seasoning or garlic and Parmesan and serve as a snacky appetizer before your Thanksgiving meal.

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  • 09 of 17

    Pan-Seared Turkey Breast With Lemon and Herbs

    Pan-Seared Turkey Breast With Lemon and Herbs

     The Spruce

    Ideal for smaller gatherings, pan-seared turkey breast with lemon and herbs are a quick and healthy main dish. Skinless and boneless, they're a lower-calorie alternative to the classic whole roast turkey. Browned in a skillet and finished with a squeeze of lemon, they'll come out moist and tender.

  • 10 of 17

    Butternut Squash Rice with Cumin and Slivered Almonds

    Butternut Squash Rice with Cumin and Slivered Almonds

     Anita Schecter

    Butternut squash "rice" is a low carb, gluten-free side dish that's full of flavor. A touch of cumin adds smokiness and slivered almonds add a sophisticated crunch. A food processor makes this dish quick and painless.

  • 11 of 17

    Cranberry Labneh Dip

    Cranberry Labneh Dip

     Anita Schecter

    Labneh is simply strained yogurt, creating a creamy dip that's similar to cream cheese but far healthier. Topped with a homemade cranberry sauce, it makes a festive dip served before the big meal.

  • 12 of 17

    Easy Green Bean Sauté With Garlic (With Variations)

    Easy Green Bean Sauté With Garlic (With Variations)

     The Spruce

    Instead of high-fat green bean casserole, serve sautéed green beans. They're especially delicious when tossed with garlic and you can add a little lemon zest or slivered almonds if you like. Use olive oil instead of butter to make this recipe extra healthy.

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  • 13 of 17

    Vegan Mashed Sweet Potatoes With Coconut Milk

    Vegan Mashed Sweet Potatoes With Coconut Milk

     belchonock / Getty Images

    Sweet potato casserole appears on many Thanksgiving tables, but it's laden with sugar and butter. Make creamy vegan mashed sweet potatoes instead, with coconut milk standing in for dairy. Ginger adds a little kick of fall spice.

  • 14 of 17

    Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffing

    Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffing

    The Spruce 

    Classic stuffing is given a healthy facelift with the addition of protein-rich quinoa and veggies. This recipe calls for less butter than a typical stuffing recipe and vegan margarine can be also be substituted.

  • 15 of 17

    Dairy-Free Vegan Apple Crisp

    Dairy-Free Vegan Apple Crisp

     Gareth Morgans / Getty Images

    Pie may be the standard at Thanksgiving dinner, but a fruit crisp is just as tasty and much easier to make. By swapping pie pastry for a vegan oat topping, you cut down the fat significantly while still serving a treat worthy of a holiday meal.

  • 16 of 17

    Homemade Vegetarian Tofu Turkey With Stuffing

    Homemade Vegetarian Tofu Turkey With Stuffing

    The Spruce 

    For a meat-free main dish that's still a showstopper, make a homemade tofu "turkey" complete with stuffing. You'll need to plan ahead a bit to strain the tofu, but the end result is worth it. Fill will your favorite stuffing recipe and bake any extra in a separate dish and serve on the side.

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  • 17 of 17

    Vegetarian Wild Rice and Mushroom Pilaf

    Vegetarian Wild Rice and Mushroom Pilaf

     lily_rochha / Getty Images

    Rice and mushroom pilaf is a savory, vegan fall side dish that rounds out a Thanksgiving menu nicely. Made with brown and white rice, it's filling and full of fiber. It's even hearty enough to replace stuffing as a gluten-free option.