You don’t need a turkey at the center of the table to make Thanksgiving a special day! Here are delicious dishes that can take the spotlight at your feast, whether you’re a vegetarian or just hosting a few.
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Use the turkey carcass, leftover dark meat and even leftover veggie sides to whip up this deliciously warming soup.
Recipe:Next Day Turkey Soup
Leftover turkey breast combines with beans, chili peppers, and jack cheese makes a mean chili.
Recipe: Leftover Turkey Chili
Make a delish panini using turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce.
Recipe: Turkey, Dressing, and Cranberry Panini
Combine chunks of leftover turkey with celery, apple, grapes and pecans for a main-dish salad or light lunch.
Recipe: Waldorf Salad.
According to the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, we should all be eating 2 cups of orange veggies each week. Pumpkin pie can help meet these recommendations plus that brilliant orange color provides the antioxidants vitamin A and lutein.
Fatty ingredients like traditional pastry crust, butter, cream cheese, half-and-half, or shortening can sabotage the nutritional value. Mountains of sugar from canned pumpkin pie filling and spoonfuls of sugary toppings can also send calories through the roof. Topped with whipped cream or a la mode, a slice can weigh in at close to 500 calories.
Healthy Pumpkin Pie Tips:
- Use gingersnap cookies for a lighter crust made without partially hydrogenated oils or make your own canola oil pie crust.
- No need for mounds of sugar—let the sweetness of the pumpkin take over.
- Steer clear of sugary or heavily-sweetened pumpkin pie filling. The canned pumpkin puree should have one ingredient; add your own spices from there.
- Serve with one heaping spoon of freshly made whipped cream and fresh fruit like apples, oranges and pears.
- Try Food Network Kitchens slimmed version.
Although a turkey feast is approaching, it’s important to fuel up the morning of Thanksgiving. A well-balanced breakfast will give you enough energy to pleasantly chat with family and friends—no need to be agitated and hungry when you see everyone. Plus, eating breakfast can keep hunger under control and keep you level-headed and ready to make more reasonable choices when it’s time for the big meal.
Quick and simple does the trick. With all the hustle and bustle of last minute holiday prep, there’s no need to slave in the kitchen. Your goal is about a 400-500 calorie breakfast which should include whole grains, fruit, and dairy. Make sure you get in enough fiber to hold you until the holiday meal.
Oats are a whole grain and they’re brimming with fiber and energy-boosting B-vitamins. Cook with skim or almond milk and top with fresh fruit, nuts and spices.
Recipe: Food Network Kitchens’ Hot Chocolate Banana-Nut Oatmeal (pictured above)
There are so many ways to enjoy this protein-rich breakfast favorite. For a fun holiday twist try my recipe which includes whole grains, eggs and dairy using only 5 ingredients.
Recipe: Eggs In a Basket
Meet the tastiest, most nutritious Thanksgiving appetizer around. This easy dish comes together in under an hour and makes delicious use of beautiful poblano peppers. Poblano peppers are mild chili peppers from Mexico, and their spiciness helps to bring out their taste. If you aren’t a fan of spicy foods you can always use bell peppers instead. Flax seeds and veggies offer meaty texture and flavor while quinoa and chickpeas pile on the protein. I added a touch of marjoram for garnish as it adds extra flavor, plus pretty flecks of color. Serve hot out of the oven or bake ahead of time and reheat before your guests arrive. If you have any extra cooked quinoa leftover try my tasty little Quinoa Bites, which make great hors d’oeuvres and are the perfect finger food for kids to munch on.
Strategy #1: Come Hungry, Not Starving
Arrive at your first feast famished and you’ll probably end up over-stuffing yourself. You’ll feel tired (turkey coma?) and can even end up with heartburn. At the next house, you’ll turn down Aunt Mary’s famous pie and insult the whole family (oh, the drama!). Have a small snack about 30-45 minutes before your first stop. A piece of fruit, granola bar or nonfat Greek yogurt will do the trick.
Strategy #2: Enjoy the Conversation
Instead of shoveling food with lightening speed, put down the fork and enjoy chatting with family and friends. This also helps slow down your food flow, enabling you to eat less and leaving room for feast #2.
During last weekend’s Thanksgiving Live show (a live TV event where Food Network chefs cooked an entire Thanksgiving meal on live TV, all while answering viewers’ questions about Turkey Day) many people asked via Facebook and Twitter about how to make gluten-free gravy. Gravy is traditionally thickened with flour, so if you can’t eat flour, are you stuck with watery gravy? The answer is no, and we’ve rounded up the best answers from the show and from the Food Network Kitchens.
Aside from the fabulous flavor, the best thing about grain salad is its versatility. Prepare this recipe for your holiday meal or make it the next day using Turkey Day leftovers. Make it with farro, quinoa, wild rice or any other favorite whole grain.
Even kids will eat Brussels sprouts when they are slathered in a sweet dressing! This recipe is a great way to bring a bit of green to your holiday table. You can enjoy these Brussels sprouts as is, or add them to a medley of Roasted Vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, parsnips and carrots. The sweet aroma from these sprouts will even tempt the pickiest of eaters. You can also toss these Brussels sprouts with quick-cooking quinoa for an easy protein-packed gluten-free side dish.
Turkey Day by name doesn’t sound like the most enticing holiday for vegetarians. Luckily, this meal is all about the side dishes, many of which are meatless, or can be easily adjusted into vegetarian recipes. These healthy recipes are all meatless so will please vegetarian guests, but are so delicious they’ll be favored by meat-lovers as well.
Corn and Squash Pudding (above) This tasty side dish gets a twist with the added bonus of squash. Not only does the squash add a vibrant color and tons of vitamins to the dish, it provides a creamy texture that plays well off the crisp corn kernels.
Quinoa With Garlic, Pine Nuts and Raisins This flavorful, protein-packed quinoa side dish will please everyone at your Thanksgiving feast: It’s gluten-free, vegan and delicious enough that everyone will be asking for seconds.
Curried Spaghetti Squash The secret to this quick-cooking spaghetti squash is the microwave: spaghetti squash cooks in under 20 minutes when you zap it, so this Indian-flavored dish won’t take up any precious oven or stove-top space on Thanksgiving day.