Thanksgiving holiday is soon, so today’s post is about how to keep the holidays healthy while still enjoying yourself and connecting with loved ones. Of course that means I’m sharing some of my favorite vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes. All of your favorite classic Thanksgiving foods are included!
Sometimes people seem to think that the holidays are a time to let loose completely and put their healthy lifestyle on pause for weeks and ultimately feel awful. Others just expect the holidays will be weeks of “missing out”, frustration, avoidance, and feeling deprived.
Does that sound familiar? Which camp are you in? Let me know in the comments below.
Regardless of which side you fall on, neither option is fun and neither one has to be true for you either!
Try Traditional Thanksgiving Foods the Beauty Detox Way
Your traditional holiday foods can be made in a way that allows you to stick (mostly) to the Beauty Detox principles. You can eat delicious food that doesn’t make you feel heavy, bloated or uncomfortable! And you won’t feel “bad” after you eat or feel like you have to “get back on the wagon” after the holidays are over. Thanksgiving will just feel like any other day – only with more connection with your family and loved ones!
Remember, it is a holiday. So if you want to indulge some that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If you can though, try some of these delicious holiday recipes. If you are able to slip in a few healthy plant-based recipes, you’ll feel better.
If you do happen to go overboard, I highly recommend taking my Feel Good Digestive Enzymes to reduce that heavy bloated feeling and my Feel Good Detoxy to keep things regular and flowing the next day. You can also do a post-Thanksgiving cleanse so the rest of the holidays don’t become a slippery slope of weight gain and heaviness.
Start your post-holiday meal cleanse with hot water with lemon. Drink it whenever you like during the day. For cleansing juices and smoothies, I recommend taking them out of the fridge so they get closer to room temperature. The day after a big holiday meal is a great time to do a cleanse.
Now, moving on to a Beauty Detox holiday meal makeover. I’ve reimagined and recreated some of your favorite holiday dishes then taste-tested them for you and they’re so good. You’ll never miss their traditional heavy (and usually unhealthy counterparts)! Why can’t Thanksgiving be a day for celebrating and gratitude, and include health and health-giving foods?
If you aren’t hosting Thanksgiving dinner or making most of the food, I suggest volunteering to take at least one or two dishes to help out. It will be good to know there are dishes you’ll feel better about eating.
Healthy Non-Dairy Thanksgiving Main Entrees
It isn’t written in stone that turkey has to be the main dish during Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve been heading up Thanksgiving for friends and family for years, sans turkey, for years. But I know that some family and friends will want turkey! If that is the case, no need to stress. If part of your family wants to eat turkey on Thanksgiving try to steer them in the healthiest direction possible: free-range and organic turkey.
It’s okay if you choose to eat some turkey too. Choose not to prepare too much (load up on sides and veggies instead!) so you don’t indulge in turkey leftovers for days. I also recommend you bake it, and don’t fry it in oil!
Moving on to the delicious alternative turkey recipes here:
If you’d like more savory main entrees that don’t involve meat (which is what I personally do during the holidays), then a few classic entrees that you can try are my Stuffed Acorn Squash, Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie and Rainbow Stuffed Peppers.
Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
Thanksgiving Stuffed Acorn Squash
Thanksgiving Love Stew
My Thanksgiving Love Stew is also amazing and so easy. Stews are the perfect warming meal and is easy for sharing with the whole family. This is a great one-pot cooking dish to prepare for your guests or bring to loved ones! This dish features squash and beans which are at the heart of harvest for Thanksgiving! I’m sharing the recipe below.
Serves: 8 or more
- 1 large butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil + for greasing baking sheet
- 1 medium sweet onion
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic
- 1 medium red or orange bell pepper
- ½ cup of celery
- 3 medium tomatoes or 1 16-ounce carton of diced tomatoes, with liquid
- 2 cups cooked pinto beans (pre-soaked is best, but if you don’t have time to cook them look for cartons of cooked beans which are pretty common now in health stores)
- 1 cup low sodium vegetable stock, or water
- 1 small jalapeno chili
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- A small handful of fresh cilantro (optional)
- A small handful of parsley
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Finely chop up the onion, celery, and bell pepper. Mince the cilantro, parsley, garlic, and chiles (remove seeds first).
Remove stem from the squash and cut in half lengthwise. It that seems like a big chore to you, just cut some slits in the squash (as I often do!), and place whole on a baking sheet (greased with coconut oil). Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until you can pierce through with a knife, with a little resistance. When cool enough to handle, scrape out the seeds and fibers. Slice and peel, then cut into large dice.
Next, heat the coconut oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for another few minutes. Add the pumpkin or squash and all the remaining ingredients except for the cilantro and parsley, and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently, covered, until all the vegetables are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
You can serve fresh, or reduce heat and let stand for a few hours before your meal Just before serving, stir in the minced cilantro and parsley. The stew should be thick and very moist but not soupy; add additional stock or water if needed. Adjust seasonings to your liking. Serve in bowls.
Vegetarian Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Make one, or make all, but all of these side dishes have earned a spot at your dinner table on Thanksgiving day.
Simple Beauty Detox Stuffing
There are two ways to approach this Beauty Detox version of a holiday meal staple. If you prefer it to be a lighter stuffing recipe, leave out the quinoa and egg substitute. If you’d prefer a denser, grainier texture, similar to that of traditional dressing, include the quinoa and egg substitute.
- 1 medium onion
- 1/4 cup celery
- 3 cloves garlic (or less, depending on personal taste)
- 2 Tbs. coconut oil + for greasing
- 2 cups gluten-free bread, cut into small squares
- 1-1/2 tsp thyme
- 1-1/2 tsp sage
- 1-1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 cup of vegetable broth
Ingredients to add for the dressing texture:
- ½ cup quinoa, soaked overnight and cooked
- 2 tbsp Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 1/4 cup hot water
Chop the onion and celery. Mince the garlic. Then, saute these vegetables (garlic, onion and celery) in the coconut oil. Mix bread, vegetables, and herbs in the half cup of vegetable broth.
As a stuffing: Put mixture into 8×8 pan greased with coconut oil and bake on 350 for 30 minutes or until it begins to brown on top.
As a dressing: Before baking, add quinoa and Energ-G/water combo to the mixture. Bake in an 8×8 pan for 30 minutes or until it begins to brown on top.
Better Beauty Cranberry Sauce
Jellied cranberry sauce from a can is loaded with sugar and could contain BPA from the lining of the can. I really don’t recommend eating fruit with your meals, but if you want to make an exception during a holiday dinner, at least trade in the canned stuff for something fresher.
A fast way to make your own cranberry sauce: Heat 2 cups of fresh cranberries on the stove in ½ cup of water and ½ cup of freshly squeezed orange juice. Add a splash of lemon juice. Once they’ve begun to pop (around 10 minutes), stir in honey to taste.
Delish Yam Souffle
This traditional yam or sweet potato dish usually has butter and sugar which steals your beauty energy and leaves you feeling groggy and bloated. A lot of people find this sweet side irresistible, but you can make it just as irresistible only healthier (all that butter is really not necessary!). Here’s my favorite and much healthier version.
- 5 medium sweet potatoes
- 1/4 cup of unsweetened almond or coconut milk
- 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon of ginger
- 1/4 cup of raw honey or coconut nectar
Begin by baking five medium sweet potatoes and scraping the insides out into a bowl. Mash everything up with the unsweetened almond or coconut milk to reach the consistency you want, then add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Put the mixture into a baking dish and smooth it out. Warm the raw honey or coconut nectar and pour over the sweet potato. Serve!
Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
Cauliflower mashed potatoes have been getting a lot of attention recently and for good reason. They can easily take the place of traditional mashed potatoes, and you don’t need butter to get that creamy, delicious texture! My Raw Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes are easy to make, delicious and don’t require any butter (or the time spent boiling potatoes). The flavor and consistency are really similar, though, so maybe you and your guests won’t even feel like you’re missing out on comfort food!
Green Bean Casserole
Instead of soggy green beans doused in cream of mushroom soup and smothered with fried onions, try sautéing fresh onions and garlic in a few tablespoons of vegetable broth, then tossing them with fresh green beans. Throw in a splash of tamari for even more flavor. Sprinkle with almond slices, sea salt and pepper to taste. They’ll be light, crunchy, and delicious without clogging the body and making everyone want a post-feast nap!
Healthy Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes
Save room for dessert! With these healthy versions of your holiday favorites, you’ll want to save plenty of room for dessert.
Raw Pecan Pie
You’ll love my Raw Pecan Love Pie recipe. Who can resist a dessert after such a glorious holiday feast? The pecan pie recipe is perfect because it doesn’t contain fruit that will just sit on top of that mountain of food in your tummy and ferment. Plus, pecan pie is a must-have during the holiday season!
Dreamy Cacao Avocado Mousse
serves 4 to 6
- 4 ripe avocados
- 1/3 cup coconut nectar
- 1/2 cup cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Pinch of nutmeg
In the bowl of a blender or food processor, blend avocado until smooth. Add all other ingredients, blending until mixture is uniform. Chill for about 2 hours in the fridge or half an hour in the freezer.
Vegan Crunch Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookies
- 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats, divided
- 3/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon of stevia
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup pure coconut nectar or honey
- 3.5 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons almond milk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup raisins
Process 1 cup of the oats in a food processor until coarsely chopped into a fine powder.
In a large bowl, stir the ground oats, the remaining 1 cup rolled oats, flour, stevia, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
In a medium bowl, stir together the coconut nectar, melted coconut oil, almond milk, and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture on the oat mixture and stir until combined. Stir in the raisins.
Take about 2 tablespoons of dough, roll it into a ball, and then press down on it with your hand to flatten it on the baking sheet. Space cookies a couple of inches apart. Repeat until you have about 16 cookies.
Bake for 12-13 minutes at 350F or until the cookies are golden brown on the bottom. Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 3-4 mins before placing cookies onto a cooling rack for 15 minutes.
Vegan Vanilla Latte
My Vegan Vanilla Latte is a great choice instead of coffee or egg nog. This light drink is refreshing after a long day and will warm you towards the end of your night, just in time for bed!
- 12 oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Stevia, to taste
Measure out a mugful of unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Heat your mugful of unsweetened vanilla almond milk in a pot to warm it up. Don’t boil! Pour the milk back into your mug, then add 1 tsp. of cinnamon and stir. Sweeten as desired with stevia. Sip slowly and enjoy it!
Remember to Enjoy Yourself and Give Thanks!
We’ve all had the experience of stressing about what you’re going to eat during the holidays and battling either the temptation to give in and stray from your diet — or the fear of being labeled “weird” because you’re bringing your own food.
I hope this roundup of some of my favorite holiday recipes proves that neither is necessary or worth worrying about! It’s fine to have a little traditional fare if that is important to you when connecting with family. However, you now also have several holiday-friendly recipes that taste amazing, even to those who aren’t accustomed to eating this way. So whether you’re hosting, or going to eat with friends or family, I recommend preparing one or more of these dishes and perhaps a salad, so that you’ll have plenty of healthy options.
Even if you’re not in total control of the menu and all the ingredients that go into each of the dishes, try not to worry or obsess over every little detail. Relax and enjoy the time with your family and friends. The holidays are a time to loosen up and just enjoy life. If you mess up, just forgive yourself and promise not to do it again the next day when there are leftovers.
The holidays are a time to show kindness, even to yourself. Remember that there will be many days over the next month and a half for you to try out these recipes and make this one of your healthiest, happiest holiday seasons ever.
Good luck — and don’t forget to leave a comment below if you try one (or more) of the recipes shared here and share photos of anything you make! :)