When an entire holiday is centered around eating—no, gorging on—traditionally 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 a few scoops of green beans, and hopefully a slice of organic wild turkey to eat in that polite silence, at best.
Whether you're looking for a paleo-appropriate dish this Thanksgiving, or are just interested in whipping up something new in the kitchen, ask your host if you can prepare one of these 13 paleo-approved recipes to share on the buffet line. From sides to mains, we also included breakfast items like a gingerbread smoothie, and pumpkin bread. This is a day of eating, as you know, and with a few minor adjustments, paleo diet followers can definitely still take part.
Here are our favorite paleo Thanksgiving recipes everyone can enjoy.
Pumpkin Pie Keto Bombs
The Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Keto Bombs
Why We Love It: 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, as the recipe adds energy-boosting, plant-based protein powder. They’re made with canned pumpkin, grass-fed gelatin, coconut butter, and maple syrup for a taste that’s sweet and satisfying.
Pro Tip: “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,” Root + Revel says.
The Recipe: Cauliflower Stuffing
Why We Love It: Stuffing may be the hardest thing to resist on Thanksgiving, and Food Faith Fitness makes a low-carb 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.
Pro Tip: “Season with salt if needed, garnish with additional parsley, and devour,” says Food Faith Fitness.
The Recipe: Cauliflower Soup
Why We Love It: As an appetizer, this cauliflower soup recipe from Root + Revel meets all paleo diet 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.
Pro Tip: “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,” Root + Revel says.
Sweet Potato Casserole
The Recipe: Sweet Potato Casserole
Why We Love It: You can’t get through a Thanksgiving feast without a casserole, and this recipe from Food Faith Fitness will make sure of it. This sweet potato casserole features that eponymous ingredient alongside apples, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract, nutmeg, and coconut flour. Top with pecans, ghee, and dates for a tasty bite.
Pro Tip: “Peel the sweet potatoes and apples, and remove the cores from the apples,” she notes. This recipe is also Whole30 diet and vegan-friendly.
Cauliflower Potato Salad
The Recipe: Cauliflower Potato Salad
Why We Love It: Root + Revel also recommends this cauliflower potato salad recipe. 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.
Pro Tip: “I like using a combo of red potatoes and Yukon gold potatoes, but you can really use whatever potatoes you like,” Root + Revel says. “My best advice is to leave the skins on, whatever potato you use.”
Healthy Shepherd’s Pie
The Recipe: Healthy Shepherd’s Pie
Why We Love It: 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 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.
Pro Tip: “Spread the puréed parsnips over the meat mixture creating small ‘swoops’ as you go,” The Modern Proper says.
The Recipe: Apple Crisp
Why We Love It: 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 pecans crumbs, coconut sugar, salt, and melted ghee.
Pro Tip: “Spread the crumbs evenly over top of the pre-cooked apples, making sure to pack some together so you have some large chunks,” Food Faith Fitness says.
The Recipe: Pumpkin Pie
Why We Love It: Those following the paleo diet don’t have to skip out on the Thanksgiving dessert staple since Hello Glow has a recipe that sticks within its bounds. Form a crust with arrowroot starch, coconut, sea salt, and a large egg, make the filling with pumpkin purée and maple syrup, and don’t forget the coconut whipped cream, either.
Pro Tip: "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 Hello Glow.
Pumpkin Bread With Coconut Flour
The Recipe: Pumpkin Bread With Coconut Flour
Why We Love It: 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, maple syrup, and pecans for topping.
Pro Tip: “Bake until the top is brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean,” Food Faith Fitness says. “Let it cool completely in the pan.”
The Recipe: Gingerbread Smoothie
Why We Love It: What’s one way to start the day with a seasonal breakfast? By serving this paleo diet-ready gingerbread smoothie recipe from Root + Revel, which features a frozen banana, organic molasses, unsweetened almond milk, flaxseed, and gingerbread spice blend.
Pro Tip: “I rely on frozen bananas, which also make the smoothie naturally sweet and cold without watering it down with ice cubes,” Root + Revel notes.
Roasted Turkey Breast With Rosemary and Garlic
The Recipe: Roasted Turkey Breast With Rosemary and Garlic
Why We Love It: For a traditional turkey recipe, follow Feasting at Home's roasted turkey breast recipe. Season your bird with olive oil, garlic, and fresh rosemary before popping into the oven for 30 minutes.
Pro Tip: Serve with low-carb cauliflower rice.
Shredded Brussels Sprouts With Bacon and Balsamic Glaze
Why We Love It: The Charming Detroiter's classic Thanksgiving side dish is comforting and toothsome—and not to mention paleo-friendly. Sauté shredded Brussels sprouts with bacon, balsamic vinegar, and walnuts.
Pro Tip: Drizzle with balsamic, and season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.
Roasted Turkey Breast With Blueberry Balsamic Glaze
Why We Love It: High-protein turkey topped with warm and tangy blueberries are a delicious combination and paleo diet-friendly. To make Feasting at Home's recipe, you'll need turkey breast (bone-in, skin on), blueberries, onion, dried figs, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, whole grain mustard, and rosemary sprigs.
Pro Tip: Garnish with leftover blueberries and rosemary.