Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes, Vegan & Paleo Options!

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes, Vegan & Paleo Options!

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes: Appetizers, Sides & Main Dishes

No matter what you look forward to—time with family and friends, football games, the Thanksgiving Day parade—our Thanksgiving celebrations all have one thing in common: the FOOD! A whole lot of deliciousness, and a whole lot of it. Thanksgiving is definitely a day to indulge, and to give thanks for the fact that we can indulge. But, there are plenty of easy ways to make Thanksgiving healthier, and we can indulge in a fuel-filled feast! With these 15 healthy Thanksgiving recipes, you can build a more wholesome Thanksgiving menu for you and your family.

Have a Thanksgiving feast that’s just as delicious and belly-stuffing, but made with ingredients your body will appreciate. Because, as much as I’m grateful for the food itself, I’m also grateful for my health! Food is something to enjoy, AND it’s meant to nourish our bodies. Luckily, these healthy Thanksgiving recipes have the perfect balance of nutritious ingredients and scrumptious flavors! I’m sharing healthy Thanksgiving sides, entrees, and appetizers, along with some healthy Thanksgiving leftover recipes! (For some sweeter ideas to finish off your feast, check out the Healthy Holiday Desserts post!)

These recipes are great if you’re hosting family and friends, or headed to a holiday potluck. And, if you’re a bit intimidated by the cooking and prep for a Thanksgiving feast, these healthy Thanksgiving recipes make things EASY. Learn how to make an easy roast turkey, simple soups that take just minutes to prep, and craveable appetizers with only 3 ingredients! Plus, many of these healthy Thanksgiving recipes are vegan, paleo, gluten-free, and/or nut-free!

Appetizers & Salads

Deviled Eggs

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

Vegetarian  |  Gluten-Free  |  Paleo-Friendly  |  Nut-Free  |  Low Fat

Prep time: 15-20 minutes

A classic appetizer! And, with just 3 ingredients, it’s SO easy to make. By using only half of the hard boiled egg yolks in your filling mixture, you can lighten up traditional deviled egg recipes! To replace those yolks, this recipe adds Greek yogurt (or hummus for dairy-free/paleo!) into the mix for a protein-packed appetizer. Dijon mustard adds a nice flavor boost, and a pinch of paprika gives these deviled eggs an extra kick!

Get the recipe:

Deviled Eggs

Herbed Citrus Olives

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

Vegan  |  Gluten-Free  |  Paleo |  Nut-Free  |  Low Carb  |  Keto

Prep time: 10 minutes

Before the feast begins, let your guests nosh on this simple, fuel-filled snack! The savory flavors of the herbs and the tangy citrus are an irresistible combo. (You may need to make a few batches of the recipe…) Plus, olives are loaded with healthy antioxidants and nutritious fats! Those fats will help to keep everyone satiated until the feast, and this dish is just unbelievably easy to make.

Get the recipe:

Herbed Citrus Olives

Bacon-Wrapped Dates

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

Vegan-Friendly  |  Gluten-Free  |  Paleo |  Low Fat

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 10-12 minutes

Salty, sweet, savory, chewy, crunchy—this appetizer has it all. And, you only need 3 simple ingredients to make it! Just slice open your dates, remove the pit if they’re not pitted, and stuff a couple of almonds inside each. Then wrap each stuffed date with a half-slice of bacon and bake to perfection!. (If you’re not a fan of bacon or want a vegan option, you can just skip the bacon for even simpler salty-sweet treat.) These are definitely best served warm, just be sure to soak your toothpicks in water for about an hour before they go into the oven so they don’t burn!

Get the recipe:

Bacon-Wrapped Dates

Holiday Bean Salad

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

Vegan |  Gluten-Free  |  Nut-Free |  Low Fat

Prep time: 15 minutes

All the deliciousness of a Southwestern bean salad, infused with holiday flavors! Dress this bean salad in olive oil and vinegar, along with fresh parsley and mint for a seasonal taste your guests will love. Bring it to a potluck, or offer it as a wholesome snack to hold everyone over until feasting time. Personally, I’m a big fan of serving this dish as a dip with chips!

Get the recipe:

Holiday Bean Salad

Chilled Stacked Salad

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

Vegetarian  |  Vegan-friendly |  Gluten-Free  |  Nut-Free Option

Prep time: 20-30 minutes

This colorful and healthy Thanksgiving recipe looks pretty impressive, but it’s SO simple to make. Just layer your ingredients, one on top of the other, to make a tasty and nutritious start to your Thanksgiving feast! Ingredients like quinoa, red onion, apple, celery, feta cheese, and pecans pack tons of healthy fuel and flavor into this salad. But, you can really use any ingredients that you prefer to make your own lovely layered salad!

Get the recipe:

Chilled Stacked Salad
Side Dishes

Butternut Squash Soup

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

Vegan  |  Gluten-Free  |  Paleo |  Nut-Free  |  Low Fat

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

I love a warm and comforting soup with my Thanksgiving Day meal! This butternut squash soup can be a creamy and nutritious starter for your feast, or it’s the perfect addition to a vegan Thanksgiving meal. If cooking with butternut squash intimidates you, check out my How to Cook Butternut Squash: 4 Ways video! Feel free to change up the recipe to suit your taste—add in any ingredients or flavors that you enjoy! (If you’re looking for a different healthy Thanksgiving recipe for a creamy soup, try this vegan Sweet Potato Carrot Soup.)

Get the recipe:

Butternut Squash Soup

Lemon Garlic Green Beans

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

Vegan  |  Gluten-Free  |  Paleo |  Nut-Free Option  |  Low Carb

Prep time: 10-15 minutes

Cook time: 2-3 minutes

Try this simple twist on a classic green bean casserole! You only need a few ingredients, and it’s a great, fresh side dish to complement the heartier dishes at your Thanksgiving feast. I only blanch my green beans for a few minutes because I love a cold green bean salad with a nice crunch! But, if you prefer them warm, just cook your green beans a bit longer until they’re tender. Slivered almonds are a tasty addition to this dish, or get creative with your favorite mix-ins!

Get the recipe:

Lemon Garlic Green Beans

Stuffing Muffins

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

Vegetarian  |  Nut-Free  |  Low Fat

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Health-ify the stuffing you know and love by choosing healthy, whole-grain breads! (For some guidance, check out the How to Choose Healthy Bread and Make Homemade Breadcrumbs video!) It can be easy to overdo it on stuffing during a Thanksgiving meal, but baking your stuffing into muffin tins can help with portion control. And, you’ll have tasty stuffing muffins that are crisp on the outside, soft on the inside!

Get the recipe:

Stuffing Muffins

Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

Vegan  |  Gluten-Free  |  Paleo |  Nut-Free  |  Low Fat

Prep time: 10 minutes

Prep time: 45 minutes – 1 hour

Sweet potatoes are a Thanksgiving staple in my house, and they’re delicious all on their own. But, roast sweet potatoes up with some maple syrup and cinnamon, and you’ve got a dish that’s bursting with Fall flavors! You only need a few, simple ingredients to make these, and it’s a healthy Thanksgiving recipe delicious enough to enjoy any time of year.

Get the recipe:

Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Vegan Mac & Cheese

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

Vegan  |  Gluten-Free Option  |  Nut-Free Option |  Low Fat

Prep time: 5 minutes

Prep time: 20 minutes

A cheese-less mac and cheese? And it’s low-fat?? How can it be possible?! Most vegan mac and cheese recipes use cashews as a base, which means they contain more fat. But, for a low-fat option, this recipe uses pumpkin puree for creaminess and nutritional yeast for that cheesy flavor! The pumpkin also adds a nice Fall flavor, making this dairy-free mac perfect for your Thanksgiving feast. If I didn’t know this was a vegan recipe, I’d never know there’s no cheese in it! (Use gluten-free pasta for a gluten-free mac.)

Get the recipe:

Vegan Mac & Cheese
Main Dishes

Easy Roast Turkey

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

from my How to Cook a Roast Turkey video & my Thanksgiving Day eBook

Gluten-Free  |  Paleo |  Nut-Free  |  Low Carb

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 3-4 hours

Roasting a turkey doesn’t need to be intimidating! This method is easy and fool-proof, so you’re sure to have a tasty turkey on your Thanksgiving table. Plus, this recipe is flexible, so you can change up the ingredients and flavors based on your preferences! Personally, I think thyme, sage, and rosemary give a roast turkey that classic Thanksgiving taste. If you’re cooking a smaller turkey and looking for an even EASIER method, you can adapt this Slow Cooker Whole Roast Chicken recipe for your Thanksgiving turkey!

Get the recipe:

Easy Roast Turkey

Lentil “Meatloaf”

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

Vegan  |  Gluten-Free  |  Low Fat

Prep time: 15 minutes

Bake time: 1 hour

Cool time: 45 minutes

Thanksgiving isn’t all about the turkey. There are plenty of healthy Thanksgiving recipes for a vegetarian or vegan holiday, and this lentil meatloaf is one of them! Made with red lentils, quinoa, and tons of veggies, it’s a great vegan alternative for a hearty Thanksgiving meal. And, it’s a tasty option that family and friends can enjoy, even if they don’t follow a meat-less lifestyle. Classic meatloaf taste, but with NO meat!

Get the recipe:

Lentil Meatloaf

Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

Vegetarian  |  Vegan-Friendly  |  Gluten-Free  |  Paleo |  Nut-Free  |  Low Fat

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour – 1 hour 15 minutes

*Great Thanksgiving leftover recipe!*

There are SO many tasty Fall flavors packed into this chunky and nutritious soup! The wild rice and mushrooms make this soup a bit heartier, and the mushrooms soak up all of those great flavors. Serve this soup at your vegan Thanksgiving, or as a vegan-friendly option for friends or family! And, this is the perfect Thanksgiving leftover recipe—shred some of your leftover turkey and stir it into this comforting soup!

Get the recipe:

Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup

Thanksgiving Leftover Pizza

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

from my Thanksgiving Leftover Pizza video & my Thanksgiving Day eBook

Veg-Friendly  |  Gluten-Free Option  |  Nut-Free  |  Low Fat

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

*Great Thanksgiving leftover recipe!*

Take a pre-made, whole-wheat pizza crust and pile on your Thanksgiving leftovers! (Use a gluten-free crust for a gluten-free option.) You already know the flavors work well together, so build your pizza however you like! It’s a fun and easy way to use up those leftovers. The food doesn’t go to waste, and you won’t have to feel like you’re eating the same meals for a week! (You can also make your own pizza crust if you prefer! I love this easy 2 Ingredient Pizza Dough recipe.)

Get the recipe:

Thanksgiving Leftover Pizza

Pumpkin Curry

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

Veg-Friendly  |  Gluten-Free  |  Paleo  |  Nut-Free  |  Low Fat

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 6 hours

*Great Thanksgiving leftover recipe!*

Make your hectic Thanksgiving Day prep easier with this simple slow cooker recipe! It’s loaded with nutritious veggies, and you could leave out the chicken for a healthy vegetable soup at your feast. The pumpkin puree and coconut milk make this curry so flavorful and creamy! And, this can be another great Thanksgiving leftover recipe—just shred leftover turkey and stir it into your veggie-packed pumpkin curry.

Get the recipe:

Pumpkin Curry

I hope you’ve found some inspiration in these healthy Thanksgiving recipes! Wholesome foods can be just as tasty, and a healthier Thanksgiving feast can still be belly-stuffing and finger-lickin’ good. This season, celebrate your family and friends, your bounty of good food, AND your health!

Check out the Healthy Holiday Desserts blog for the perfect ending to your healthy Thanksgiving feast! You’ll find recipes for healthy pumpkin pie, low fat pie crust, vegan cheesecake, low carb scones, & so much more! 

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

For even MORE healthy Thanksgiving recipes,

check out my Thanksgiving Day eBook!

  • 15 healthy Thanksgiving recipes for an entire menu of delicious options!
  • Health-ified classics, like mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, & sweet potato pie!
  • Nutritional information for each recipe, plus tons of healthy cooking tips!

Healthy Meal Prep for the Holidays!

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Nadia Sheikh About the author

Passionate wordsmith and weirdo, hungry for adventures.