Keto-Friendly, No Sugar and Gluten-Free Recipes You Can Be Thankful for This Thanksgiving
By Chef Lynn Michelle
Photography by TR Love, TR Media World
It’s hard not to get excited about what is undoubtedly one of the biggest, most festive, food days of the year—Thanksgiving! But just because you’re cutting out carbs or sugar this year doesn’t mean you have to cut out flavor—or fun—from your bountiful harvest dinner.
The good news for those following a keto diet and/or watching their carbs and sugar intake or trying to generally eat healthy is the centerpiece to most Thanksgiving dinners is a perfectly prepared, right-from-the-oven, zero carb and keto-approved turkey—even the dark meat. Although the “main event” may be something you can dig into without guilt, what about all of those delicious side dishes that have undoubtably been a part of many happy harvests in the past? And, equally important for many of us who literally live for leftovers … is there a way to make leftovers from your holiday meal into even healthier harvest celebrations in the days following Thanksgiving—going beyond the typical turkey sandwich to create dishes that truly delight your health-conscious family long after that last piece of fat-free/sugar-free pie?
There are a number of tips and things you can do to make your Thanksgiving dinner keto-friendly, gluten-free and sugar-free this year. Many involve simple substitutions. Skip the mashed potatoes, substituting them for well-seasoned, flavorful mashed cauliflower. But what about that green bean casserole that has been a part of your family tradition for years? Load up on the green beans, but skip adding any flour to thicken the recipe (you’ll never even know it’s missing). And fill those serving bowls on the table with all types of low-carb veggies like spaghetti squash, mushrooms and Brussels sprouts (you can add the bacon!), which not only will fill the table with perfect side dishes, but bring a bounty of health benefits, as well.
The following recipes are some of my favorites for a healthier harvest, both at Thanksgiving and all year long. From my Fall Harvest Salad, which is filled with tons of healthy ingredients and topped with a pumpkin-based dressing, to a healthy take on leftovers and a perfect addition to your FriendsGiving celebration this year with a Leftovers Flatbread Pizza, these dishes will leave you and your guests happy and healthy and, of course, thankful.
Friendsgiving Leftover Gluten-Free Pizza
Vegan | Vegetarian | Gluten-Free
Gluten-free pizza crust, store bought
Olive oil, enough to coat pizza crust
1 small Garlic clove, minced
¾ cup Cranberry sauce
2 cups Leftover turkey, coarsely chopped
¼ cup Mixed colored peppers, thinly sliced
Butternut squash spirals
¼ cup Red onion, thinly sliced
1 stalk Celery, sliced
Toasted pumpkin seeds
Brie Cheese (optional for non-vegan)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place gluten free pizza crust onto a baking sheet. Sauté celery, peppers and onion (these may be leftover from stuffing). Lightly cover the crust with a thin layer of olive oil and minced garlic, and bake for 3 minutes until slightly brown. Remove from oven and spread cranberry sauce over the entire pizza, then top with turkey, sautéed onion, celery and pepper mixture, butternut squash spirals and toasted pumpkin seeds. Add Brie cheese, if desired. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden, making sure not to over bake the crust.
Roasted Cornish Game Hens
Gluten-Free | Sugar Free | Keto | Pictured Top
2 Cornish game hens
1 cup fresh Cranberries, washed and whole
2 Tbsps fresh Lime juice
1 Orange, cut with rind into small wedges
1/4 cup Water
Apple, core, keep skin on and cut into small wedges
4 Garlic cloves, peeled
2 sprigs fresh Rosemary
2 sprigs fresh Thyme
2 sprigs fresh Sage
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste
Curry powder, to taste
½ cup Butter, softened
Preheat oven to 425°F. Remove innards from chest cavity of each hen. Rinse and dry each hen and place onto a roasting pan. Rub each hen with ¼ cup of softened butter and season to your liking with salt, pepper, garlic powder and a dash of curry. Generously season inside the cavity, as well. Make a lime water bath by combining 2 Tbsps. Lime juice with 1/4 cup water. Put apple slices in the lime water bath to prevent browning. Stuff the cavity of each hen with the garlic cloves, cranberries, orange and apple wedges and sprigs of thyme, rosemary and sage. Place the roasting pan in oven and roast for 50 minutes, or until the hens are golden brown and internal temperature is 165° at the thickest part of the thigh and the juices run clear.
Fall Harvest Salad with Pumpkin Goddess Dressing
Vegan | Vegetarian | Gluten-Free | Sugar Free | Keto | Serves: 6
6 cups Kale, chopped
1 pkg Cherry tomatoes
1 medium Cucumber, diced
2 cups Snap peas, ends sliced off
1 bunch Radishes, sliced
½ Butternut squash spirals or small chunks
½ Fennel, sliced thin
¼ Cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 small Red onion, sliced thin
8 Brussels sprouts, cut in half
3 Tbsps Apple cider vinegar
1 cup Pumpkin purée (canned or fresh)
2 Tbsps Olive oil
1 tsp Monkfruit sweetener
1 tsp Garlic, minced
½ tsp Sea salt
½ tsp Dried thyme
¼ tsp Cinnamon
1½ cup of Veganaisse, regular mayonnaise, or plain Greek yogurt
For Salad: Put all the vegetables into a large bowl and gently toss together. Place in refrigerator (can be prepared ahead of time).
For Dressing: Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor, and blend on high for 45 seconds or so. Place mixed salad on a plate, drizzle with dressing and top with toasted walnuts.
Cranberry Apple Crisp
Vegan | Vegetarian | Gluten-Free | Sugar Free
2 Tbsps fresh Lime juice
4 cups fresh Cranberries, washed and sliced
1 tsp Splenda
1 large Apple, peeled, cored, chopped
2 Tbsps Gluten-free flour
¼ cup Splenda
½ cup Gluten-free flour
½ cup Gluten-free oats
1/3 cup Butter, or vegan butter, softened
¾ tsp Ground cinnamon
¾ tsp Ground nutmeg
Vanilla or cinnamon ice cream (vegan, if preferred)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease bottom and sides of 8-inch square pan with shortening. Mix cranberries, apples, lime juice, Splenda and gluten-free flour and place in greased pan. In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients until well mixed, then sprinkle over apple mixture. Bake about 30 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and cranberries and apples are tender when pierced with a fork. Serve warm with vegan or regular ice cream.
Chef’s Note: Bake on a foil covered pan for possible overflow—the baking pan will be filled, but the cranberries and apples will bake down.
Chef Lynn Michelle is a personal chef located on Hilton Head Island serving the entire Lowcountry. Whether it’s preparing healthy, gourmet family style meals, or expertly creating elaborate dinner parties, Chef Lynn and her team do it all— planning, shopping, cooking and clean up. Cheflynnmichelle.com 843-422-5480