When an entire holiday is centered around eating—no, gorging on—calorie-laden foods, it can be difficult to follow a certain meal plan that isn’t quite as generous. Most of us don’t want to offend a host or seem ungrateful to other guests, so we often keep quiet about our needs. If you’re following the Paleo diet, then one quick scan of Thanksgiving’s common dishes will leave you with not much more than a few scoops of green beans and hopefully a slice of organic wild turkey to eat in that polite silence.
That’s not very festive or filling.
Instead of crossing your fingers for at least one edible dish this Thanksgiving, or vowing to skip the meal altogether, ask your host if you can prepare one of these 10 Paleo-approved recipes to share on the buffet line. From sides like cauliflower potato salad and cauliflower stuffing to desserts including apple crisps and pumpkin pie, we’re sure you won’t be the only one who is interested in these healthy and delicious options. Plus, we also included breakfast items like a gingerbread smoothie and pumpkin bread so you don’t have to worry about going hungry in the morning, either.
This is a day of eating, as you know, and with a few minor adjustments, you can definitely still take part.
Pumpkin Pie Keto Bombs
Thanks to this Root + Revel recipe, you can snack on these irresistible pumpkin pie keto bombs early in the day—especially if you’re thinking of exercising before dinner. They’re made with canned pumpkin, grass-fed gelatin, coconut butter, maple syrup, and protein superfood for a taste that’s sweet and satisfying. “I also added a scoop of grass-fed gelatin to the mix, which not only helps these fat bombs firm up, but also is full of collagen, which improves your skin’s appearance, reduces joint pain, helps break down proteins, and soothes your stomach lining,” recipe creator Kate Kordsmeier says.
Stuffing may be the hardest thing to resist on Thanksgiving, but Tyler Kiser of Food Faith Fitness makes a healthy version with this still-delectable recipe. Diced onion, chopped celery, minced garlic, and cauliflower mix with ground sage, chicken broth, and sea salt for a spoonful (or 10) that won’t disappoint. “Season with salt if needed, garnish with additional parsley, and devour,” says Kiser.
As an appetizer, this cauliflower soup recipe from Root + Revel meets all requirements. It’s made with cauliflower florets, red pepper flakes, white miso paste, diced onion, and minced garlic for a layered flavor and textured finish that won’t fill you up too much before dinner. “If you like a chunkier chowder, you can leave a few larger pieces, but if you prefer something extra smooth, make sure you blend it thoroughly,” Kordsmeier says.
Sweet Potato Casserole
You can’t get through a Thanksgiving feast without a casserole, and this recipe from Food Faith Fitness will make sure of it. Kiser’s sweet potato casserole features that eponymous ingredient alongside apples, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract, nutmeg, and coconut flour. It’s all topped with pecans, ghee, and dates for a tasty bite. “Peel the sweet potatoes and apples, and remove the cores from the apples,” she notes.
Cauliflower Potato Salad
Root + Revel also recommends this cauliflower potato salad recipe, which is the perfect side to eat during a football marathon. It comes together with the namesake veggie, minced garlic, diced red onion, chopped parsley, organic potatoes, and Paleo mayo in a large bowl—with lots of salt and pepper, of course. “I like using a combo of red potatoes and Yukon gold potatoes, but you can really use whatever potatoes you like,” Kordsmeier says. “My best advice is to leave the skins on, whatever potato you use.”
Healthy Shepherd’s Pie
While shepherd’s pie may not be a traditional Thanksgiving dish, it does have the same comforting, rich flavors of one—especially when you consider this recipe from Holly Erickson of The Modern Proper. Diced carrots, celery, tomatoes, and onion mix with ground beef and cabbage in a mixture that’s then layered with puréed parsnips. “Spread the puréed parsnips over the meat mixture creating small ‘swoops’ as you go,” Erickson says.
Nothing is more satisfying than an apple crisp on a cool autumn evening, and this recipe from Food Faith Fitness is just the thing to make if you want that feeling on Thanksgiving night. It’s made with four large apples, almond flour, ground cinnamon, and lemon juice, and then topped with crumbs of pecans, coconut sugar, salt, and melted ghee. “Spread the crumbs evenly over top of the pre-cooked apples, making sure to pack some together so you have some large chunks,” Kiser says.
Those following the Paleo diet don’t have to skip out on the Thanksgiving staple of pumpkin pie since Lindsey Johnson of Hello Glow has a recipe that sticks within its bounds. The crust forms with arrowroot starch, coconut, sea salt, and a large egg, while the filling is made with pumpkin purée and maple syrup, and don’t forget the coconut whipped cream, either. “To further minimize issues with the filling, let it cool to room temperature then refrigerate. I like to bake pumpkin pies first thing in the morning, allow time for cooling, and refrigerate until ready to serve,” says Johnson.
Pumpkin Bread With Coconut Flour
Start your Thanksgiving morning on the right track with this recipe from Food Faith Fitness, which makes a warm loaf of pumpkin bread using coconut flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, pure maple syrup, and pecans for topping. “Bake until the top is brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean,” Kiser says. “Let it cool completely in the pan.”
What’s one way to start the day with a seasonal breakfast? By serving this healthy gingerbread smoothie recipe from Root + Revel, which features a frozen banana, organic molasses, unsweetened almond milk, flaxseed, and gingerbread spice blend. “I rely on frozen bananas, which also make the smoothie naturally sweet and cold without watering it down with ice cubes,” Kordsmeier notes.