A healthy Thanksgiving might sound like a contradiction. Sure, the entire month of November leads up to preparing a daylong feast extravaganza, but you can still have an easy and healthy turkey day . Here are some easy recipes that are both tasty and healthy.
Chow down with a chowder
A hearty chowder is simple to make and can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to heat and serve your first course. Southwestern Acorn Chowder is a nice choice, packed with seasonal vegetables that add a vibrant burst of fall color to the table. It can even satisfy the vegetarians in your family. Find the recipe for Southwestern Acorn Chowder below. You can also replace the acorn squash with pumpkin for an earthier flavor. Or, try one of a number of other pumpkin recipes .
Roasting, it’s not just for turkey
Another simple dish is oven-baked vegetables . Look for colorful root vegetables and a mix of other in-season produce: long carrots, white parsnips, purple fingerling potatoes, and green squash. Cut the vegetables into large chunks and lightly coat with extra virgin olive oil, a light dusting of Herbes de Provence, and sea salt and pepper to taste.
Roast (or grill outside, if you are in a warmer climate) for 20-30 minutes at 400 degrees. This dish is a low-maintenance but healthy and tasty side dish . Who knows? You may discover you want to incorporate more raw vegetables into your diet .
Secret ingredient: cauliflower
Even this classic dish can be made healthier. Steam a head of cauliflower (traditionally or in a microwave) and then pulverize it in a food processor. Pour into a mixing bowl and add a butter substitute, low-fat milk, and salt and pepper to taste. Whip the mixture together and serve warm . Voila! You have a high-fiber, low-fat cauliflower replacement for mashed potatoes.
Try these healthy Thanksgiving dishes that will save you time, fill you up and won’t leave you or your family feeling bogged down.
Southwestern Acorn Chowder
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cups baked acorn squash (baked pumpkin may be substituted), cut into large chunks
- 1 1/2 cup corn
- 1 red and 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 jalapeño, diced
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil (or olive oil, a lighter option)
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- Salt to taste
Bake squash in oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Once baked and soft, scoop out the squash, separating it from the outer skin.
In a large pot, saute the peppers and jalapeño in the oil until just softened. Stir in corn and chili powder ; cook 3 minutes. Add the broth, squash, lime juice, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
To make it a chowder: Scoop out 1-2 cups of the soup (be sure to include chunks of squash and other vegetables) and pour into a blender or food processor. Puree the cups into a smooth liquid . Pour the liquid back into the pot with the rest of the soup. Stir the soup and bring back to simmer. Your soup should have a thicker consistency, but still be chunky with vegetables.
Serve immediately or store in a container in the refrigerator up to 2 days.