10 Fantastic Clean Eating Alternative Dishes for Your Thanksgiving Meal

Whatever you may serve this coming holiday, you're going to want to check out these 10 fantastic clean eating alternative dishes for your Thanksgiving meal.

It’s no secret that Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holdiay. I’m certianly not one for enjoying all of the traveling and being away from home, but I sure love the cooking and the food! I have much to be grateful for this year. I have a new baby that didn’t get to enjoy Thanksgiving with family last year, we now live right next to my husband’s family and get to see them much more often, we live in a beautiful home, I have a great business that I love, and I get to help with the Thanksgiving meal this year!!


Not to mention the fact that we no longer have to travel for the holidays. I think that may be the best part! Now that we live right next to the family we were traveling to see every holiday, it’s just a hop, skip and a jump over to their house, and we still get to shower in our own showers and sleep in our own beds at night. Whew!

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Most families, like mine, have a set set of Thanksgiving dishes that are served every year, exactly the same way. There’s no deviating from the norm, or even trying out new ingredients. But there are so many fantastic options available to enjoy. With the huge blessing of being able to help with the cooking this year, because of the sheer amount of family that will be coming (did I say my husband has a HUGE family?), we are trying out a new dish or two, along with the one I was assigned, to shake things up a bit.

Cross your fingers for me that it goes well… If your family isn’t quite as strict with the menu, you’ll want to check out some of these delicious alternative options that would be treat served alongside your normal faire. Let me know what you think in the comments if you try any of them out this year!

Whatever you may serve this coming holiday, you're going to want to check out these 10 fantastic clean eating alternative dishes for your Thanksgiving meal.
Photo by Сергей Орловский on Unsplash

Honey Baked Ham

We have used this recipe from Clean Eats 101 many times in our own home, traditionally for Christmastime. We always make sure to purchase our ham nitrate-free from Sprouts so that in addition to all of the yummy healthy ingredients we use to make it, we can rest assured that we aren’t putting any unnecessary chemicals into our bodies. You’re going to love the taste of this amazing ham!

Ingredients:

  • 1-3 lb boneless cooked Ham
  • 1 cup of local honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice (straight from the pineapple)
  • 1 cup of pineapple

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Place ham on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
  3. Insert oven safe thermometer into center of ham.
  4. Bake uncovered for 1-1.5 hours.
  5. In mixing bowl add honey, sugar, molasses and pineapple juice and whisk well.
  6. Last 30 minutes of baking remove the ham and add the honey/pineapple glaze.
  7. Place pineapple rings on top of the ham and place back into oven for additional 30 minutes.
Whatever you may serve this coming holiday, you're going to want to check out these 10 fantastic clean eating alternative dishes for your Thanksgiving meal.
Photo by Campbells Kitchen

Broccoli and Cheese Casserole

The first time I had this yummy casserole for Thanksgiving was ten years ago when I first met my husband. He had invited me to his parent’s house to have Thanksgiving dinner with them. I would never have thought to serve broccoli and cheese at Thanksgiving, but it was a nice treat along with all of the rest of the yummy sides. Broccoli and cheese is definitely a classic!

Ingredients:

  • 2lbs fresh broccoli
  • 6 tablespoons real butter
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cup organic whole milk
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9×13 inch casserole dish with some coconut oil.
  2. Chop and steam your broccoli in a large pot on the stove, in a steamer basket over medium high heat. You’ll want your broccoli to turn bright green and be fork tender.
  3. When finished steaming, pour the broccoli into your prepared baking dish and pour the cheese sauce over the top.
  4. Slide it into the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Whatever you may serve this coming holiday, you're going to want to check out these 10 fantastic clean eating alternative dishes for your Thanksgiving meal.
Photo by The Gracious Pantry

Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese

I have posted this recipe before and gotten a lot of great reviews about it. It’s sweeter than normal, but oh so creamy and cheesy. Yum! Macaroni seems like a really popular choice for many Thanksgiving tables, so it only seemed appropriate to post it here.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 1/2 cups organic whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 8oz cream cheese
  • 16oz elbow macaroni

Instructions:

  1. Add all of your ingredients, except the macaroni to your crockpot and cook on low for an hour. Stir well. I love using the crockpot as that means you don’t have to monitor your food so it doesn’t burn.
  2. In the meantime, cook your pasta on the stove in boiling water under soft.
  3. Drain your pasta and then add it to your crockpot. Mix well.
Whatever you may serve this coming holiday, you're going to want to check out these 10 fantastic clean eating alternative dishes for your Thanksgiving meal.
Photo by Taste of Home

Crockpot Apples and Butternut Squash

Besides my amazing cornbread dressing, this has got to be my favorite Thanksgiving dish. It seems simple enough, but boy does it pack a huge punch. The nice big slices of apple and butternut squash, all smothered with butter and spices make for a really sweet and tangy side dish. You would most certainly not regret serving this one at your Thanksgiving meal.

Ingredients:

  • 4-5lb butternut squash
  • 4 apples of your choice
  • 1/2 cup real butter, melted
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons pink Himalayan salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Start by cutting your butternut squash in half and removing the seeds. Peel it and cut it into large 1/2 inch pieces.
  2. Now cut each of your apples in half and use a melon baller to core them. Cut them lengthwise into 1/2 inch circles.
  3. In a small bowl, combine your melted butter, sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon.
  4. Layer half of your butternut squash slices into the bottom of a large crockpot, followed by half of the apple slices.
  5. Pour one-half of your sauce over the top.
  6. Then do it again, layering, squash, and then apple, and finally the rest of your sauce.
  7. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 6-7 hours.
Whatever you may serve this coming holiday, you're going to want to check out these 10 fantastic clean eating alternative dishes for your Thanksgiving meal.
Photo by Cooks Country

Creamed Corn

I absolutely love this recipe, modified from the one on A Sweet Pea Chef. Corn honestly doesn’t last very long in this house. When we have an opportunity to pick it ourselves or get it on sale at Sprouts for 10 for $1, we go crazy. And this recipe goes great with my Homemade Corn Casserole!

Ingredients:

  • 4 fresh ears corn, preferably
  • 4 tablespoons real butter
  • 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream

Instructions:

  1. Heat butter over medium heat to melt in a saucepan.
  2. Slice all the kernels off of your shucked corn cobs.
  3. Add the flour, salt and sugar to the butter in the saucepan and stir to combine.
  4. Add the corn. Stir and cook 1 minute.
  5. Add the cream and cook an additional 5-8 minutes to thicken.
Whatever you may serve this coming holiday, you're going to want to check out these 10 fantastic clean eating alternative dishes for your Thanksgiving meal.
Photo by Serious Eats

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Yum! Brussel sprouts are my favorite. So many people say them don’t like them, but I’m under the impression that they just haven’t tasted them prepared properly before. I love them, and my kids love them. I would serve them a lot more often if I could. These yummy tidbits are sure to make a splash at any Thanksgiving meal.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds brussel sprouts, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • Pinch pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F and line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Chop your brussel sprouts and toss them with your minced garlic, coconut oil, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. When the oven is hot, divide your brussel sprouts evenly between both trays, shaking to distribute them into a single even layer. Slide the pans into the oven.
  4. Roast your brussel sprouts for about 20 minutes, until they are brown and tender, tossing your sprouts on the pan halfway through cooking.
  5. Immediately after removing them from the oven, drizzle them with balsamic vinegar and shake to coat them all evenly.
Whatever you may serve this coming holiday, you're going to want to check out these 10 fantastic clean eating alternative dishes for your Thanksgiving meal.
Photo by Kitchen Treaty

Wild Rice Casserole

I don’t know about you, but I love wild rice. And this recipe, modified from Kitchen Treaty, is amazing with tons of yummy Fall flavors mixed into it, perfect for your thanksgiving table. You’ll get hints of sweet cranberries, the crunch of pecans and the fantastic health benefits from everything else. Your meal will surely be lacking without this delightful creation.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 medium Granny Smith apples
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons thyme
  • 1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups uncooked wild rice blend
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 cup raw pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/4 cup sage

Instructions:

  1. Place a large pot over medium heat, and melt your oil.
  2. When hot, add the onions and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the apples, garlic, thyme, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for one more minute.
  4. Stir in your broth and bring it all to a boil.
  5. Stir in the wild rice blend and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, until the rice is tender, about 35 minutes.
  6. Stir in the quinoa and cover again. Cook until the quinoa is tender, about 15 more minutes.
  7. Finally, stir in your cranberries, pecans, parsley, and sage.
Whatever you may serve this coming holiday, you're going to want to check out these 10 fantastic clean eating alternative dishes for your Thanksgiving meal.
Photo by Taste of Home

Hashbrown Casserole

My husband is the crazy fan for hash browns over here. He has tried making them a number of times and has struggled to get them just right. But with this great recipe from 100 Days of Real Food, he can have as much as he would like without having to worry about burning them on the stove. He smothers his in ketchup. How do you like your hash browns?

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons real butter
  • 1/3 cup oniondiced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups organic whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, freshly grated
  • 4 cups of shredded baking potatoes, patted dry

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9×9 square baking dish with some coconut oil.
  2. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt your butter. Cook the diced onion until it softens but does not brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Throw in the minced garlic and cook while stirring for 1 more minute.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium low and whisk in the flour. Continuously stir until the flour darkens but is not burnt, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Whisk in the milk, salt, and pepper until it slightly thickens, about 1 minute.
  5. Turn the heat off and, using a spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the grated cheese until it melts. Fold in the hash browns until evenly coated.
  6. Transfer your mixture to the prepared baking dish, being careful to push the thick mixture down on top into one even layer.
  7. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes uncovered, and then turn the heat up to broil for 3 to 4 minutes or until the top turns golden brown.
Whatever you may serve this coming holiday, you're going to want to check out these 10 fantastic clean eating alternative dishes for your Thanksgiving meal.
Photo by Food Network

Honeyed Carrots

This is one of those dishes that disappears first on our family’s table. Notice I used whole carrots for this dish. Honestly, we don’t even peel them because much of the nutrients in carrots are found in the skin. Simply wash and scrub them and you are ready to roast! They always taste much better than the chemical soaked baby carrots you find in stores as well. Give them a try this year! You’ll be surprised.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound small carrots
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons honey, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the carrots in a single layer on the baking pan.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together your coconut oil, honey, and salt and melt it in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  4. Pour the honey mixture over your carrots and toss to coat them.
  5. Place them in the oven and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the carrots are tender and browned. Roasting time may vary depending on the size of the carrots.
Whatever you may serve this coming holiday, you're going to want to check out these 10 fantastic clean eating alternative dishes for your Thanksgiving meal.
Photo by Foodgawker

Homemade Whole Wheat Rolls

I can’t tell you how good these are. They take a little bit of time to make, only because you’ve got to give them plenty of time to rise, but it’s so worth it! They are soft and fluffy and oh so delicious. We make these homemade rolls for many occasions, one of those being Thanksgiving.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 cup real butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup raw honey, melted
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup lukewarm water

Instructions:

  1. Grease a 9×13 inch casserole dish with some coconut oil.
  2. Pour the 2 tablespoons of yeast into your 1/2 cup of warm water. Mix gently and let sit. It may start to foam.
  3. In a large bowl, add 2 cups of flour and your salt and mix.
  4. Then add your butter, honey, eggs, and water and mix again. The recipe specifies lukewarm water so it doesn’t solidify the butter and honey again. ‘
  5. Mix in your yeast and water mixture, and finally add in the last 2 1/2 cups of flour. Mix with a large spoon until you can’t anymore.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and finish combining with your hands. Pop back into the mixing bowl, cover and let it rise for 1 hour.
  7. Now, pull it out of the bowl and split into 24 different rolls.
  8. Place each roll into your prepared casserole dish. Cover and let rise again for an hour.
  9. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  10. When the oven is ready, bake your rolls for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are brown.
Whatever you may serve this coming holiday, you're going to want to check out these 10 fantastic clean eating alternative dishes for your Thanksgiving meal.
Photo by Libby Penner on Unsplash

Whatever you choose to make for your Thanksgiving meal this year, I’m sure it will turn out great. I personally look forward to all of the Thanksgiving meal classics like green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, cornbread dressing and homemade cranberry sauce, but it’s always fun to add in something extra just for the fun of it every year.

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If this is all stressful for you, or you’re not big on cooking like I am, don’t try to bear the burden alone. See if you can split up the meal with a few trusted family members, or have a few show up early to help you cook. No one will blame you for getting a little help with such a big meal.

I’m so excited, and Thanksgiving Day is right around the corner. I hope you love these dishes, or get some inspiration for some that would really make your meal great from these ideas. Good luck! And have fun!

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Whatever you may serve this coming holiday, you're going to want to check out these 10 fantastic clean eating alternative dishes for your Thanksgiving meal.

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