Cooking a healthy Thanksgiving meal doesn’t have to be boring or bland! This year, give your loved ones a healthy meal that they’ll be grateful to gobble up. These healthy twists on classic dishes will help make your Thanksgiving dinner a little lighter.
3 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 5 medium potatoes), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/3 cup honey
1 large egg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
1/3 finely chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 360 degrees F. Mist an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
- Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a pot with a large steamer basket in place. Put the sweet potatoes in the basket, cover and steam until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl and let cool slightly. Add the honey, egg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the nutmeg, ginger and 1/2 teaspoon salt; whip with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread the sweet potato mixture in the prepared baking dish.
- Mix the brown sugar, pecans and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl; sprinkle over the potatoes. Bake until hot and beginning to brown around the edges, 40-45 minutes.
2 medium butternut squash (2 to 2 1/4 pounds each)
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
4 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup wild rice
1/2 teaspoon mild curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons dried unsweetened cherries
1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
- Cut each squash in half lengthwise and scoop out and discard the seeds. Arrange the halves in a large baking dish, flesh-side up
- Whisk together the vinegar, maple syrup and 2 tablespoons of oil. Brush the flesh-side of the squash halves with some of the maple-oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Put the squash flesh-side down in the baking dish, then brush the skin side with the maple-oil mixture and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Roast until the squash is fork-tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Let the squash rest until cool enough to handle. Scoop some of the flesh out into a large bowl, leaving about 1/4-inch border of flesh all around. Leave the scooped-out flesh in relatively large chunks.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, then add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add the rice, curry powder, cinnamon, cayenne and 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir until the spices are toasted, about 1 minute. Add 2 cups water and bring to a simmer covered, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, 30 to 40 minutes (different brands of wild rice may vary in cooking times; add more water if needed). Remove from heat and add to the chunks of butternut squash along with the remaining maple-oil, cherries, parsley, sage, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
- Evenly stuff the scooped-out squash halves with the filling, then drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and bake, uncovered, until the filling is warmed through, about 30 minutes. Cut each in half crosswise and transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with walnuts and parsley. Serve warm.
1/4 cup olive oil
6 medium shallots, sliced into rings (about 1 cup)
1 1/2 pounds thing fresh string beans or haricots verts, trimmed
1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
6 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
3 cups low-fat (1-percent) milk
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add 1/4 cup shallots and cook, stirring, until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining shallots, cooking 1/4 cup at a time. Reserve the oil in the skillet.
- Place the green beans in a steamer basket fitted over a pot of boiling water. Cover and steam until bright green and still crisp, about 3 minutes. Heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved shallot oil in a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushroom liquid is evaporated and they begin to brown, about 12 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a bowl. Whisk together the milk and flour until the flour is dissolved. Add the mixture to the skillet and, whisking constantly, bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low, whisking occasionally, until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the green beans, mushroom mixture, 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, the parsley, nutmeg, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
- Coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon the green bean mixture into the prepared dish and sprinkle the top with the crispy shallots and the remaining 2 tablespoons cheese. Bake until golden on top and bubbling, about 20 minutes.
16 cups 1-inch bread cubes, white or whole wheat (2 baguettes)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
2 cups medium-diced yellow onion (2 large)
2 cups medium-diced celery (3 large stalks)
2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored and large diced
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup sliced blanched almonds, toasted (optional)
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- Put the bread cubes on a 13 by 18 1-inch baking sheet and bake them in the oven for 7 minutes.
- In a large sauce pan, melt the butter and add the onion, celery, apples, parsley, rosemary, salt and pepper. Sauté for 10 minutes, until the mixture is soft.
- Combine the bread cubes and cooked vegetables in a large bowl and add the chicken stock, and almonds if desired. Mix well.
- Place mixture in serving dish, dot with additional butter and cover.
Bake 35 minutes, uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes.
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