Oh, how I adore Thanksgiving. Family and feasting and giving thanks-what could be better than that?
Here in the US, our Thanksgiving marks the unofficial kick-off to the holiday season, too, so it really is an exciting time.
Thanksgiving is only a couple of days away, and you may be thinking about what is on the menu. If you’re eating Paleo, you might be wondering how you’ll survive this food-focused holiday without your non-Paleo favorites, but have no fear! It’s not as difficult as you might think to survive Thanksgiving as a Paleoista, and I’m going to prove that to you right now!
So, let’s take a look at some favorite traditional Thanksgiving standbys and I’ll give you some Paleo-friendly substitutes.
No need to take turkey off the menu, as you know! You’re free to add as much butter and bacon to that bird as you like! If you’re not sure about how to roast a Thanksgiving turkey, check out this video where I show you exactly how to cook your holiday turkey to perfection.
If you are avoiding gluten as part of a lifestyle choice, and not because of a celiac condition, you don’t have to offend anyone at dinner by skipping out on the famous dressing. By all means, have a bite or two if it won’t do you too much harm! But, if you’re preparing the meal, go ahead and experiment! Dressing doesn’t have to involve bread. Get creative in the kitchen and see what you can do with some pork sausage, diced sweet potatoes, and apples, pecans, cranberries, mushrooms, celery, etcetera, etcetera.
White potatoes are one of those items that can cause debate between Paleoistas-some of us eat them, some of us don’t. A scoop of mashed potatoes isn’t going to send you to Paleo Prison, so if you feel so compelled, go ahead and enjoy a bite. If you’re preparing the meal, see if you can find some purple potatoes to boil and mash to serve on your Thanksgiving plate. Purple potatoes have more nutrition in them than their white counterparts, and they are so pretty on the plate! If you want to avoid spuds altogether, whip up some faux-tay-toes by steaming cauliflower and whipping with butter, heavy cream, and seasonings.
Sweet potato casserole.
By all means, enjoy a sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving this year! Just don’t add brown sugar and marshmallows to it. Peel and slice four or five sweet potatoes and toss them into a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and lemon pepper. Add about half of a thinly sliced red onion on top so it looks like there are pretty purple ribbons on top of your sweet potatoes. Drizzle again with olive oil. Bake at 400 for about 35–45 minutes until everything is golden brown. Even non-sweet potato lovers love this. My own brother was tricked into thinking these were carrots at one Thanksgiving dinner!
Most homemade cranberry sauce is made from sugar with sugar added to sugar and more sugar. But what is Thanksgiving turkey without cranberry sauce? For a delicious Paleo-friendly cranberry sauce, add some fresh or frozen cranberries to a saucepan. Cover the berries with orange juice and add honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar to your taste. Add in lemon zest or orange zest for color and a bit of extra citrusy zing. Once you start making your own cranberry sauce, you’ll wonder why you haven’t always been whipping up this simple sweet dish!
Many gravies involve cornstarch or white flour-neither of those items are Paleo-friendly. Sometimes I like making a simple au jus out of pan drippings, butter, and a bit of chicken broth. But you can find dozens of Paleo gravy recipes online. You may want to start experimenting with recipes now, so you’ll have just the right one down pat for your Thanksgiving dinner.
Here’s something that will make you smile–it’s our BRAND NEW Paleo & Keto Thanksgiving Menus! The menu is yours for F*REE! Just go here and get it sent straight to your inbox.
I use a bit of arrowroot powder to thicken my gravy. You don’t need too much.
I also am thinking of serving baked apples this year in addition to pie for my non-paleo kids.
If you are going to add as much bacon and butter to the bird as you like, be sure it is uncured bacon as sodium nitrate is not healthy stuff. Also grass fed, hormone free butter would be a better choice. Also try roasting the sweet potatoes with the skin on as it is they are much healthier that way and crispier too. Also because much of the carmelization happens in the skin, you will never miss the added sugar. We tried sweet potatoes with the skin on for the first time a few months ago and it was absolutely yummy. Wonder why we hadn’t figured this out sooner… or course if you eat the skin the sweet potatoes need to be organically grown. I guess rice is a Paleo no no but instead of traditional dressing I use wild rice sausage (which I have started making myself) pecans and mushrooms flavored with, herbs, homemade turkey stock and butter. We do not do white potatoes at all since mashed potatoes is not really a Thanksgiving favorite in our house. We do have lots of green leafy stuff though, like collards flavored with smoked turkey and a big salad. Gluten free mac and cheese is more popular for us than mashed potatoes.