Growing up, the holidays were nothing but fun—an energizing yet restorative time to spend with family.
As adults—the stakes are a lot higher. And Thanksgiving, with its very specific, pre-set menu, has the potential to be the highest stress holiday as you aim to please your celiac cousin and your dieting aunt while also satiating your relatives with more traditional and less restrictive tastes.* However, below we’ve listed some of our absolute favorite healthy (and delicious swaps) to ensure that, if nothing else, your meal prep remains drama free.
The Gluten-Free Side: Cauliflower Mash
Cauliflower has recently become the star of healthy swap recipes, and for good reason. The relatively flavorless vegetable takes on the qualities of whatever it’s being paired with; on Thanksgiving, that means butter. This recipe is one of tons of incredible ones on the internet for maximizing the deliciousness of this low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes. In a pinch, though, we’ve been known to soften cauliflower, add butter and salt, and throw it in a blender with some thyme – so if you’re strapped for time, our slapdash method is a viable alternative, too.
The Vegan Entree: Root Vegetable Panzanella
As great as stuffing is, the overly salty, starchy mixture doesn’t always leave us feeling great. A vibrant alternative for those looking to avoid dairy but not sacrifice any of the signature fall flavors need look no further than the root vegetable panzanella. SImply preheat the oven to 450 and roast cubed sweet potatoes and carrots that have been coated in olive oil and sea salt and spread evenly apart (spreading is crucial for ultimate crispiness) for 45 minutes. Toss in a large bowl with torn chunks of french baguette, and enjoy watching all of your guests marvel over how simple and delicious this one is.
The Healthy Dessert Swap
One of our least favorite feelings is enjoying an incredible meal, only to realize we’re too full for dessert. Oftentimes, we still eat it, especially on Thanksgiving, because tradition. But we’ve finally figured out a healthy workaround here that we’re beyond thrilled to share, mimicking the flavors of dessert in a healthy breakfast. We’ve written about our love for carrot cake oatmeal here, but if you want to get even more seasonal, try this pumpkin pie smoothie from Ambitious Kitchen right after your pre-meal Peloton session – we’d recommend subbing Greek yogurt for dairy-free to make this vegan. You’ll feel incredible and fully satiated with fall flavors, without the post-dinner pumpkin pie sugar crash.
Be sure to tag us if you make any of these healthy swaps by using #casadesuna on social media. Bon Appetit!
*While we refer to family throughout this article, we recognize that not everyone is able to (or wants to) celebrate Thanksgiving with their families. So just know that whether you are celebrating with family, friends that are family, or no one at all, all of these tips can still apply and help you put together a meal to remember.