While the Health Coach in me will always encourage my clients to make Thanksgiving Day MORE about the spirit of the holiday and LESS about the food, even I can recognize the HUGE role that the Thanksgiving Day meal plays on this favorite holiday. With that said, I am so impressed at how our family’s Thanksgiving Day meal has evolved over the years. My favorite memory was last year when my dear uncle sat down with his plate overflowing with food and exclaimed in surprised joy, “WOW! This is almost ALL vegetables!” It truly makes me proud that I am able to talk the talk, walk the walk, practice what I preach and LIVE by example – and NOT have to unbutton my jeans after my Thanksgiving meal – that is the real deal… So prepare yourSelf…what follows is a collection of recipes that will leave you with so many choices that you will have NO EXCUSES for an unhealthy Thanksgiving Dinner! And since there is no way you will be able to make all of these recipes in one holiday, you will have enough leftover for just about every holiday of the Winter season! Some recipes are gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, all of the above OR none of the above. Many of those that are not can very easily be turned into a gluten/dairy/sugar-free recipe if desired. Contact me if you need some guidance or suggestions! First, be sure to download these FREE recipe books!


 IIN’s Gluten Free Holiday Recipe Guide

Eat Well. Be Well. Recipe Guide (2012)

Eat. Love. Live. (With Dessert!) Recipe Guide (2013)

And take a moment to visit NourishingMeals.com – my favorite blog to follow!

Below is a collection of some of my favorite holiday recipes – as you can see, some are oldies, but goodies. You may follow them to the “T” or simply use them as inspiration to breathe new life into your holiday menu. Buttermilk and Herb Stuffing Muffins From HEALTH Magazine, November 2010 Issue Prep: 15 minutes / Cook: 45 minutes / Total Time: 1 hour / Makes: 10 servings Ingredients Cooking spray 4 Tbsp unsalted butter 2 medium red onions, chopped (4 cups) 3 thinly sliced celery stalks 1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed 1/2 tsp dried rubbed sage 1/2 tsp dried thyme 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1 (8oz) package mushrooms, coarsely chopped (about 3 1/2 c) 1 c lower-sodium chicken broth 1 (12-14oz) package country-style stuffing (cubed with white and whole-wheat bread, such as Pepperidge Farm) 1 c low-fat buttermilk (1%) 2 large eggs Instructions
  1. Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Heat butter in a 4- to 5-quart pot over medium heat until melted; add onion and next 5 ingredients (through pepper). Cook until softened (about 5 minutes), stirring occasionally.
  3. Add mushrooms; cook over medium-high heat until mushrooms are tender and liquid evaporates (about 5 minutes), stirring well. Add broth; simmer.
  4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove pot from heat; stir in remaining ingredients with a fork. Cover and let stand 5 minutes.
  5. Spoon stuffing mixture into 10 cups of prepared muffin tin in mounds; bake in middle of oven until golden on top (about 25 minutes). Let cool in oven at least 15 minutes; remove from tin.
*Note from Jan: To give credit to SELF, I did not alter the recipe above, however, as a Holistic Health Counselor, I have to urge you to check the ingredients on the Pepperidge Farm stuffing before you buy it! Another option is to leave your bread out for a few days to get stale or get some stale bread from the bakery on sale! Butternut Squash Soup From Woman’s Day Magazine, November 1, 2010 Issue Makes about 10 cups / Serves 8 / Active Time: 15 minutes / Total Time: 45 minutes Ingredients 3 Tbsp unsalted butter 1 large onion, chopped 2 large Gala apples, peeled, cored and chopped 3 lb butternut squash, peeled and cubed (8 cups) 1 1/2″ piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced 1 box (32oz) chicken broth 1 c apple cider or juice 1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1/2 c heavy cream Gruyere Toasts 16 slices (1/2″ thick) baguette 2 oz Gruyere cheese, finely shredded Instructions
  1. Melt butter in a 5-quart pot over medium-high heat. Stir in onion and apples; saute 5 minutes or until onion is translucent.
  2. Add butternut squash, ginger, chicken broth, cider, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are very soft. Let cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Heat broiler for Gruyere Toasts. Process soup in very small batches in a blender or food processor until smooth (alternately, use an immersion blender to puree). Return soup to pot and add cream. Season with salt to taste. Warm over low heat, if necessary.
  4. Meanwhile, place baguette slices on foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Take toasts out of oven, turn over and sprinkle each slice with some Gruyere. Broil 2-3 minutes until cheese is bubbly and melted. Serve with soup.
*Note from Jan: In order to keep this recipe vegetarian, I am going to substitute vegetable stock for the chicken broth. Cherry-Cranberry Sauce Serves 8 Ingredients 1 Tbsp unsalted butter 1 piece ginger (about 1″), peeled 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/4 c amaretto 1 bag (15oz) frozen or fresh cranberries 1 bag (10oz) frozen cherries 1/4 c sugar Instructions
  1. Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Cook ginger and cinnamon until ginger becomes fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
  3. Carefully add amaretto and cook until liquid thickens and reduces by half, about 1 minute.
  4. Add cranberries, cherries, sugar and 1/2 c water. Cover and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer until cranberries break apart and sauce thickens, 20-25 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Green Beans with Mixed Mushrooms From Good Housekeeping Magazine, November 2010 Issue Active Time: 30 minutes / Total Time: 45 minutes / Makes: 12 side-dish servings Ingredients 1 Tbsp olive oil 4 sprigs fresh thyme 2 large onions (10-12oz each), thinly sliced 1 clove garlic, crushed with press 8oz cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced 4 oz shiitake mushrooms, stem discarded, thinly sliced Salt and pepper 3 lbs. green beans, trimmed Instructions
  1. Heat covered 7- to 8-quart saucepot of water to boiling on high.
  2. Meanwhile, in 12″ skillet, heat oil on medium-high. Add thyme and onions; cook 10-12 minutes or until browned and very tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute.
  4. Add mushrooms and cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  5. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Remove and discard thyme.
  6. Add green beans and 2 teaspoons salt to boiling water. Cook, uncovered, 8-9 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  7. If making ahead, transfer mushroom mixture to medium bowl. Cover; refrigerate up to overnight.
  8. Transfer beans to resealable plastic bag; refrigerate up to overnight.
  9. When ready to serve, return green beans to saucepot and add mushroom mixture, stirring to combine. Cook on medium until beans are heated through, stirring occasionally.
Hazelnut Stuffing With Mushrooms From “Mariel’s Kitchen: Simple Ingredients for a Delicious and Satisfying Life” by Mariel Hemingway Prep Time: 25 minutes / Serves: 6-8 Ingredients 3 Tbsp coconut oil, divided 1 small yellow onion, diced 2 medium organic carrots, diced 2 medium organic celery stalks, diced 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 1/2 lb medium sized mushrooms (button, cremini, or a mix) 1 c hazelnuts, roasted, skins removed, coarsely chopped* 2 Tbsp chopped fresh sage 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley 2 large eggs, lightly beaten Sea salt Freshly ground black pepper Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease an 8- or 9-inch baking pan with 1 teaspoon of oil.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery, cooking until onions become soft, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and saute just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove vegetables to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  5. Place half of the mushrooms in the bowl of a food processor and coarsely chop. Slice the remaining mushrooms and set aside.
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the same saute pan. Add the coarsely chopped mushrooms and cook until mushrooms have given up most of their liquid, about 5 minutes. Place them in the bowl with the vegetable mixture.
  7. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in the same saute pan. Add mushroom slices and cook until mushrooms have given up most of their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add to bowl with vegetable mixture.
  8. Add hazelnuts, herbs, and beaten eggs to vegetables, stirring to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Gently pack mixture into prepared baking pan.
  9. Bake until lightly browned, 20-25 minutes. Serve warm.
*According to the Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, its best to remove hazelnuts’ bitter, brown skin before eating or baking them. To do so, bring a pot of water to boil, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and then the nuts. Boil for 45-60 seconds. Remove pot from the heat. Drain the nuts and place them on a clean terry-cloth towel. Rub the nuts briskly in the towel to remove their skins. Pear, Mushroom and Pomegranate Stuffing From SELF Magazine, November 2010 Issue Serves 8 Ingredients 1 Tbsp olive oil 10oz cremini mushrooms 2 celery stalks, chopped 8 large sage leaves 2 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped 1 demi whole-wheat baguette (about 8oz) cut into 1″ cubes 1 large Anjou or Bartlett pear, cored and cubed 1/4 cup pitted prunes, chopped 1 c low-sodium chicken broth 1 c pomegranate juice Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Cook mushrooms, celery, sage and thyme, stirring often, until mushrooms and celery soften, 6-8 minutes; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer to a bowl; add baguette cubes, pear, prunes, broth and juice. Mix well and let rest until bread absorbs liquid.
  4. Transfer to an 8″x8″ baking dish; cover with foil.
  5. Bake 40 minutes, remove foil and bake until stuffing puffs up, about 5 minutes.
*Note from Jan: In order to keep this recipe vegetarian, I am going to substitute vegetable stock for the chicken broth. Roasted Brussles Sprouts With Apples And Onions From New Living Magazine, November 2010 Issue; Excerpted from “The Vegan Table: 200 Unforgettable Recipes for Entertaining Every Guest at Every Occasion” by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau Serves 6 Ingredients 3 Tbsp olive oil 2 Tbsp melted nondairy, nonhydrogenated butter 5 Granny Smith apples, chopped 2 small-size red onions, cut into 1/4″ wedges 1 tsp salt 1 tsp ground pepper Juice from 1 lemon 1-2 c apple cider (optional) Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Toss sprouts, apples and onions with oil and butter. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
  3. Place on baking sheet, making sure they do not overlap one another.
  4. Bake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. You will know they are ready when the apples and onion are tender and the Brussels sprouts are brown with a bit of black on the outside.
  5. Cook longer, if necessary, until Brussels sprouts become tender, tossing periodically.
  6. Transfer vegetables to a serving dish, cover, and serve as is or keep warm.
  7. In a small pot on the stove or in the microwave, heat apple cider, then pour over vegetables and serve.
Skillet Corn Bread From “The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes Carnivores Will Devour” by Kim O’Donnel Prep Time: 20 minutes / Serves: 6 Ingredients 1 1/2 c cornmeal (preferably stone ground) 1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp sugar (optional) 2 Tbsp butter 1 large egg, beaten lightly 1 1/2 to 2 c buttermilk Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and sugar (if using).
  3. Place butter in a skillet and heat in the oven until the butter just begins to bubble, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, add egg to the dry ingredients and then pour in 1 1/2 cups of the buttermilk. With a fork, whisk together and then switch to using a wooden spoon to combine. If the batter seems dry, add more buttermilk (which lends a custard-like result).
  5. Remove skillet from oven and immediately pour the batter on top of the sizzling butter. Return to oven.
  6. Bake until golden on top, 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven, slice corn bread into wedges, and dig in, with or without butter or honey (or, if you live in the South, sorghum syrup!).
*Kitchen notes: It is highly recommended to use a cast-iron skillet. You can use a baking dish, but the results will be denser and cakier. On that note, a smaller (9-inch) skillet will yield cakier results; a larger (11- or 12-inch) skillet will deliver thinner, crisper results. Any way you do it, it will be delicious. Sweet Potato Biscuits From SELF Magazine, November 2010 Issue Makes 8 Ingredients 1 medium sweet potato (about 5oz) 1 1/4 c whole-wheat biscuit mix 2 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cubed 1/2 c lowfat buttermilk 1/4 tsp ground allspice Instructions
  1. Wrap sweet potato in a paper towel. Microwave on high until soft, 4 minutes. Scoop flesh into a bowl and mash; set aside.
  2. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place biscuit mix and butter in a bowl; rub butter into mix with fingertips until large pea-sized crumbs form.
  3. Add sweet potato, buttermilk and allspice; mix until just combined.
  4. Transfer dough onto a cookie sheet and form into a 12″x4″ rectangle. Cut into 8 rectangles with a serrated knife and separate slightly.
  5. Bake until biscuits are firm to the touch, 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  6. Once cool, store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
*Note from Jan: You can bet I will be cooking my sweet potato the old fashioned way. Try to avoid the microwave if you can, especially since you will most likely be using it a lot to thaw and defrost things during the holidays. Always chew well and enjoy! Have a Happy Thanksgiving 🙂