These are three of my favorite healthy hacks for three Thanksgiving staples – mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce. They have all the best qualities of the originals, with none of the downside.
I looooove to eat! But I hate feeling stuffed. The thing that always bugs me about Thanksgiving, is that there are usually 10 different types of carbs, all baked, and one protein – the bird. Which leads to feeling very very heavy and full. Yuck.
I would rather have fewer dishes, make them lighter, while super tasty and delicious so I can savor them in moderate amounts and still have room for dessert!
Healthy Thanksgiving Sides
This “potato” recipe is full of protein and fiber, and tons of nutrition. I have nothing against potatoes – love’em! But I would rather have my carbs for dessert. This dish is light and airy and low cal.
3 cups cooked white beans (two 15 oz cans – Eden brand is best, or 1 cup dry)
2 cups celery root – peeled, medium dice
4 cups cauliflower – chopped roughly into chunks
1 T roasted garlic
1 tsp herb salt – I use Herbamare for the best flavor
1 T olive oil – optional
- if using dry beans make sure to soak and cook them ahead of time, if using canned beans, drain, rinse and place on top of the steaming veggies to heat
- roast a bulb of garlic in the oven until soft*
- steam celery root and cauliflower until soft (celery root on the bottom)
- make sure the veggies and beans are well drained with no excess water and then put everything into a food processor and process until fluffy and smooth
- can be kept warm in the oven if necessary
*To roast the garlic: preheat the oven to 400F, remove the loose papery outer layer, cut about 1/4 inch off the top of the bulb – just enough to expose the cloves, drizzle 2 tsps of olive oil over the cuts and rub in, wrap in tin foil, and bake for 30 minutes – or until the bulb is soft. To use just squeeze the cloves out of their skins.
Porcini and Red Wine Gravy
makes 3 cups
Gotta have a nice thick rich gravy, and since my T-day is usually vegan, this can be tricky! The recipe below is pretty easy, and packed with deep rich umami flavors because of the caramelized veggies, mushrooms, and wine.
2 cups onions – diced
2 cup carrots – diced
2 T olive oil and a little extra if needed
1/2 tsp salt
- sauté veggies/salt in olive oil over medium high heat in frying pan, let them brown, stir to deglaze, and repeat until caramelized, adding olive oil as needed
2 cups water
1 cup red wine – something rich and ripe
3-4 T Bragg Liquid Aminos
2 T porcini powder – you can find this on Amazon, or in gourmet and health food shops.
- mix the water and other ingredients together and pour over the browned veggies
- stir until thickened and let simmer for 30 minutes, or until veggies are soft
- place in a blender and pulse until smooth – thin if necessary with a little water, adjust seasonings and serve
serves 8 easily – makes 1 1/2 cups
Cranberry sauce is such a tradition! I have a certain fondness for the canned sugary loaf of red stuff we ate only on T-day in my childhood. But at this point I would never eat the stuff! This is a really beautiful dish loaded with nutrition and a whole range of flavors.
2 T maple syrup
1 tsp salt
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup clementine segments – cut in half so you can set the wet side down on the mold
2 T chives – finely chopped
1 T red onion – finely chopped
2 T orange rind – finely chopped
2 tsp parsley – finely chopped
- bring the cider, agar flakes, salt and maple syrup to a boil and stir until the flakes have completely dissolved
- turn the flame off and add the cranberries
- place in a blender and pulse until smooth
- arrange the clementine segments in the bottom of a 3 cup (24 oz) mold
- sprinkle the chopped herbs, orange rind, and onions over the clementines, and then pour the cranberry mixture over that
- refrigerate for 1 hour or more – turn out onto a decorative plate to serve
- you may need to warm the outside of the mold to release the aspic onto the plate