Let’s Talk Turkey

No doubt Thanksgiving will be a bit different this year. This is a time to reflect and be thankful. Serving a delicious meal (even if the guest list is smaller this year), is a great way to enjoy the day.

There is so much delicious food served this time of year.  A little advanced planning can provide a decadent and delicious meal without all the unwanted calories.  Save those calories for the pie! We took some of the headaches out of the planning process.  All of the recipes (shared below) have the calories, fat, carbohydrate, and protein content listed for you.  Why?  Because if you splurge on Thanksgiving Day, do it on a tasty dessert or a holiday-inspired cocktail.  Additionally, we made sure all of these recipes are easy to prepare AND don’t require a list of ingredients you’ll only use once (who does that?).

This year, try some of these mouth-watering side dishes along with your Thanksgiving turkey and vegetables.

Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Roasted Brussels Spouts

Ingredients (makes 6 servings):

1 ½ pounds brussels sprouts

3 TBS extra virgin olive oil

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt and serve immediately.

Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 109, Fat: 7 grams, Carbohydrate: 10 grams, Protein: 4 grams

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Cinnamon

Ingredients (makes 4 servings):

4 Sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

¼ Cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling potatoes after cooked

¼ Cup honey

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Lay the sweet potatoes out in a single layer on a roasting tray. Drizzle the oil, honey, cinnamon, salt and pepper over the potatoes.  Roast for 25 to 30 minutes in oven or until tender.
  3. Take the sweet potatoes out of the oven and transfer them to a single serving platter. Drizzle with more extra-virgin olive oil.

Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 304, Fat: 15 grams, Carbohydrate: 41 grams, Protein: 2 grams

Sauteed Carrots 

Ingredients (makes 6 servings):

2 pounds carrots

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 TBS unsalted butter

1 ½ TBS chopped fresh dill or flat-leaf parsley


Peel the carrots and cut them diagonally in ¼ inch slices.  You should have about 6 cups of carrots. Place the carrots, 1/3 cup water, the salt, and pepper in a large (10-to-12 inch) saute pan and bring to a boil.  Cover the plan and cook over medium-low heat for 7-8 minutes, until the carrots are just cooked through.  Add the butter and saute for another minute, until the water evaporates and the carrots are coated with butter.  Off the heat, toss with the dill or parsley.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 96, Fat: 4 grams, Carbohydrate: 15 grams, Protein: 1 gram

Herb and Apple Stuffing

Ingredients (makes 8 to 10 servings):

16 cups 1-inch bread cubes, white or whole wheat (2 baguettes)

4 TBS unsalted butter (1/2 stick)

2 cups medium-diced yellow onion (2 large)

2 cups medium-diced celery (3 large stalks)

2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored, and large diced

2 TBS chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh rosemary leaves

2 teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup chicken stock

½ cup sliced blanched almonds, toasted, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Put the bread cubes on a 13×18 by 1-inch baking sheet and bake them in the oven for 7 minutes.
  3. In a large saute pan, melt the butter and add the onion, celery, apples, parsley, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Saute for 10 minutes, until the mixture is soft.
  4. Combine the bread cubes and cooked vegetables in a large bowl and add the chicken stock and almonds, if desired.
  5. Place the stuffing into the main cavity of the turkey and into the neck of the bird. Follow cooking times and temp for your size turkey. Make sure stuffing in the cavity is secured by wrapping the legs tightly with string.

Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 370, Fat: 9 grams, Carbohydrate: 61 grams, Protein: 13 grams

Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients (makes 6 one-cup servings)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, smashed

2 fresh sage leaves

2 teaspoons kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 medium canned plum tomatoes

1 medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, halved, seeded, and diced

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, optional


Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, sage, 1 teaspoon of the salt and season with pepper, to taste. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 15 minutes. Raise heat to medium-high, add the tomatoes, and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the tomatoes break up and the onions brown slightly, about 7 minutes. Add the squash and the remaining teaspoon salt, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, about 12 minutes. Add the broth, bring to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, until the vegetables tender, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender, or with an immersion blender. Return the soup to the pot and reheat over medium heat. Stir in the vinegar. Serve the soup in warm bowls with a touch of parmesan cheese if desired.

Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 155, Fat: 9 grams, Carbohydrate: 19 grams, Protein: 5 grams

Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots

Ingredients (makes 8 servings):

1/4 cup olive oil

6 medium shallots, sliced into rings (about 1 cup)

1 1/2 pounds thin fresh string beans or haricots verts, trimmed

1 pound button mushrooms, sliced

6 large cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

3 cups low-fat (1 percent) milk

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Olive oil cooking spray


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add 1/4 cup shallots and cook, stirring, until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining shallots, cooking 1/4 cup at a time. Reserve the oil in the skillet.
  2. Place the green beans in a steamer basket fitted over a pot of boiling water. Cover and steam until bright green and still crisp, about 3 minutes. Heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved shallot oil in a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushroom liquid is evaporated and they begin to brown, about 12 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a bowl. Whisk together the milk and flour until the flour is dissolved. Add the mixture to the skillet and, whisking constantly, bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low, whisking occasionally, until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the green beans, mushroom mixture, 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, the parsley, nutmeg, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  3. Coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon the green bean mixture into the prepared dish and sprinkle the top with the crispy shallots and the remaining 2 tablespoons cheese. Bake until golden on top and bubbling, about 20 minutes.

Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 186, Fat: 9 grams, Carbohydrate: 19 grams, Protein: 9 grams

Sweet Potato-Pecan Casserole

Ingredients (makes 8 servings):

Cooking spray

3 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 5 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1/3 cup honey

1 large egg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Kosher salt

1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar

1/3 cup finely chopped pecans


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mist an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a pot with a large steamer basket in place. Put the sweet potatoes in the basket, cover and steam until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl and let cool slightly. Add the honey, egg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the nutmeg, ginger and 1/2 teaspoon salt; whip with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread the sweet potato mixture in the prepared baking dish.
  3. Mix the brown sugar, pecans and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl; sprinkle over the potatoes. Bake until hot and beginning to brown around the edges, 40 to 45 minutes.

Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 160, Fat: 4 grams, Carbohydrate: 31 grams, Protein: 3 grams

Lemon-Maple Squash


4 pounds butternut squash

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup water

1 lemon (zest the lemon and juice it)

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

4 TBS butter

Pinch salt and pepper


  1. Slice squash into thick wedges and remove the seeds. Place cut-side up in a baking dish.
  2. Combine maple syrup, water, zest and juice from the lemon, red pepper, and the pinch of salt and pepper. Dot with the tablespoons of butter.
  3. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Flip the squash and bake until caramelized and tender, 25 more minutes, basting halfway through.

Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 161, Fat: 6 grams, Carbohydrate: 29 grams, Protein: 2 grams

Hope you enjoy these recipes! Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!!