This Thanksgiving, gather your friends and family and serve them, well, sorghum! It won’t send your guests running for the hills — we promise. The recipes we’ve created below are as tasty as they are good for you. But instead of white bread and butter, we’ve added a slew of hearty whole grains to your Thanksgiving. Sorghum (pictured above) powers up a salad amped up by sprouted lentils and spinach while millet stars in a corn-chive casserole. No need to scrap the stuffing. Just lighten up by loading up on veggies and using heart-healthy fats like olive oil. Even the typical waist-busting green bean casserole can be good for you — the secret’s in the gravy.
What would Thanksgiving be without stuffing? If you’re looking for an allergen-friendly recipe or just a delicious new take on this holiday staple, you’ve found it here! I’ve created a sweet stuffing that is perfect for kids and adults alike. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan so you can easily serve this to your entire Thanksgiving table without having to worry about food preferences. If nut-allergies are a problem, you can easily substitute in ground flax seeds for a similar crunch and nutty flavor.
We’re not going to tell you to give up your beloved turkey and stuffing, so you can breathe easy and keep reading. But there are some super simple strategies you can use to help keep calories in check while still enjoying your meal.
We’re counting down to Thanksgiving with a new side dish every day! Thanksgiving turkey would be lost without stuffing (or dressing, if you prefer it that way). But sticks of butter and pounds of sausage are not mandatory ingredients. Instead, combine rich sauteed shiitake mushrooms with in-season butternut squash and sourdough bread cubes for a fresh, lighter take on classic stuffing. Here’s to a new holiday tradition!
Get the recipe: Shiitake-Squash Stuffing
This fall superstar gets hype for making a mean soup. Don’t get me wrong, butternut squash soup is an all-time fave in my house, but there are more ways to dress up this delicious veggie. Here are our top five.
Years ago it was unheard of NOT to stuff your turkey. These days, things have changed because of growing awareness for food-borne illnesses and their risks. The good news is that there’s a way to safely stuff your turkey.
Expecting the whole neighborhood for your big holiday feast? Consider going potluck-style, which takes the pressure off the host, allows different chefs to spotlight favorite dishes and is more budget-friendly for everyone. Here are some easy-to-make suggestions — plus, there’s an especially simple turkey for the host.
Brussels sprouts have a bad reputation, but everyone shared lots of praise — and some yummy serving suggestions — this week. Winter squash also had plenty of fans, and butternut squash seems to be the favorite variety from our informal Facebook poll. Check out our list of favorite comments for great ways to enjoy fall produce — plus, a Thanksgiving stuffing recipe!
Thanksgiving turkey would be lost without stuffing (or dressing, if you prefer it that way). But sticks of butter and pounds of sausage are not mandatory ingredients. Here are a few ways to slim down this holiday favorite and some creative additions to try.
One cup of traditional homemade stuffing made with white bread and no meat contains 325 calories, 16 grams of fat and less than 2 grams of fiber. Toss in piles of bacon or sausage and you’ve added at least 100 to 150 calories a serving. That might not sound like much for a big holiday spread, but keep in mind that this is a side dish — you still want to leave room for turkey and dessert.
If you’re into the boxed stuffing, its not unreasonable — calorie-wise — when you actually stick to the portions listed on the label. A half cup of packaged stuffing is about 160 calories and 4 grams of fat, but most folks eat double that. That said, why even settle for the preservative-filled boxed version when you can create your own easily?
The Lighter Side
If you’re going for traditional stuffing, a few simple swaps can do the trick. Omit the meats or use about a half-ounce per person to add flavor. To maintain moisture, you don’t necessarily need an entire stick of butter; instead halve your butter and up the chicken stock a bit. To add some fiber, use a soft 100% whole wheat bread instead or a combo of white and wheat bread. No matter how you make it, stick to portions that are around a half or a third of cup per person.
Using wild rice, veggies, nuts and even dried fruit can add some pizzazz without too much fat or calories. If you want to take a less traditional route, here are some delicious combinations:
- Sweet potatoes and lentils
- Dates and bulgur (recipe below)
- Apples and cranberries
- Spinach and artichoke
On My Table: Sausage, Dates and Bulgur Stuffing
I pull out this non-traditional stuffing recipe every year and the family raves.
1 cup dry bulgur (buckwheat)
3 cups boiling fat-free chicken stock
12 pitted dates, chopped
2 small turkey sausages, chopped (about 4 ounces)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 large garlic clove, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped celery
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh thyme, chopped
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place bulgur in a large bowl. Pour 2 cups of boiling chicken stock and let sit 15 minutes. Drain out excess liquid. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil and sauté onions until soft and translucent. Add chopped garlic, chopped turkey sausage and sauté until brown. Pour skillet mixture over bulgur and mix. Add chopped dates, chopped celery, chopped parsley, chopped thyme and lemon juice. Mix to evenly distribute. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Place in a baking pan and coat with nonstick spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes until lightly browned.
Nutrition Info (per 1/2 cup):
Total Fat: 5 grams
Saturated Fat: 1 grams
Total Carbohydrate: 45 grams
Protein: 6 grams
Sodium: 366 milligrams
Cholesterol: 9 milligrams
Fiber: 6 grams
November is here and that means it’s time to think turkey. If Thanksgiving means serving up classic dishes, a traditional menu is probably what you’re after. Most folks aren’t counting calories on Turkey Day, but if you’re the chef, you can still serve guests the same seasonal flavors in lighter, more gourmet package. Your family might swear that green bean casserole is a must, but throw in some variety. This spread would feed a family of six to eight (with leftovers!).