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Trimming the Trimmings

“Thanksgiving man. Not a good day to be my pants.” -Kevin James

Thanksgiving has always felt like the wrap up of Autumn. The last hurrah of falling, colorful leaves and the cozy gathering of family before all hell breaks loose for the end of year holidays and celebrations. In the last-ditch effort of family coziness food takes center stage. Lots of glorious, warm your heart food.

There have been many a Thanksgiving celebration where it was leave nothing left unmade and unstuffed and unfattening. But in these days of trying to achieve a more clean, healthy, natural vitamin rich existence, our Thanksgiving trimmings have evolved into some tasty options for the table. Can you imagine a Thanksgiving celebration where you feel no guilt in what you choose to decorate your plate?

Here are some healthy twists of Thanksgiving classics to help us feel a lot less guilt ridden and a lot more belly full of happiness.

Air fryer or Oven Baked Crispy Potatoes

Instead of using full vegetable oil, use avocado or olive oil. Season a 1lb. bag of baby potatoes, cut in half, with 1 Tbsp. of olive or avocado oil, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and parsley for garnish. The air fryer should be set at 400 degrees and timed for 10 minutes. If not crispy enough for your taste, heat again at 2- minute increments until desired crispness is achieved. A trick to crispier potatoes is to try using canned potatoes. If you prefer to bake the potatoes to desired crispness, set the oven at 400 degrees. Watch the potatoes as they bake so as not to over bake them. Turn every 10 minutes to even bake all around the potato.

Cauliflower Stuffing

A healthy, vitamin rich alternative to bread stuffing. The recipe calls for butter, but you can substitute olive or avocado oil.


4 tbsp. butter

1 onion, chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped or thinly sliced

1 small head cauliflower, chopped

1 c. (8-oz.) package baby Bella mushrooms, chopped

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 c. freshly chopped parsley

2 tbsp. freshly chopped rosemary

1 tbsp. freshly chopped sage (or 1 tsp. ground sage)

1/2 c. low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion, carrot, and celery and sauté until soft, 7 to 8 minutes.

  2. Add cauliflower and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes more.

  3. Add parsley, rosemary, and sage and stir until combined. Pour over broth and cook until totally tender and liquid is absorbed, 10 minutes.

Recipe above courtesy of

Sweet Potato Casserole

Take note of the ingredients. Maple syrup (not sugar), almond milk (not whole milk or cream), adding rolled oats, using coconut sugar. Substituting coconut oil or using olive oil instead.


  • For the potatoes:

  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 large or 5 medium sweet potatoes)

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 1 egg (or can leave out if vegan)

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

  • pinch of allspice

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour or regular flour (if GF, use gluten free oat flour)

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats (gluten free if desired)

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar (or coconut sugar)

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

  • 3 tablespoons melted butter (or sub vegan butter or coconut oil)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. Wash sweet potatoes and use a fork to poke holes in sweet potatoes; about 4-5 pokes per potato used. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet lined with foil and roast for 45 minutes-1 hour or until very fork tender. Allow potatoes to cool for 5-10 minutes. Lower oven heat to 350 degrees F.

  3. Spray a 8x8 inch pan, 9 inch pie pan, or a 1 1/2 quart or 2 quart safe baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

  4. Cut open sweet potatoes and discard the skin, place sweet potato flesh in a large bowl and add in maple syrup, almond milk, vanilla, egg, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt. Use an electric mixer to beat until smooth, adding a splash more almond milk if you want them to be creamier. Pour into prepared baking pan and smooth top.

  5. To make the topping: Whisk together flour, oats, brown sugar, and pecans. Use a fork to stir in melted butter until a nice crumb forms. Sprinkle all over the top of the sweet potato mixture.

  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is slightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Serves 8.

Recipe courtesy of

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta


3 pounds brussels sprouts

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 6 shallots, thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups)

  • 2 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice

  • Kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped


Step 1

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the brussels sprouts until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Cut the brussels sprouts in half lengthwise.

Step 2

In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the shallots and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until lightly browned, 10 minutes, scrape into a bowl.

Step 3

Add the remaining 1/4 cup of oil to the skillet. Add the brussels sprouts, cut side down, and the pancetta. Season with salt and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are browned and tender, 10 minutes. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and shallots and cook, stirring, until warm, 5 minutes. Season with salt, transfer to a bowl and serve.

Recipe courtesy of Scott Conant/

Happy Thanksgiving! Give Thanks in all things! Enjoy your meal!

Photos by: Priscilla Du Preez, Clark Douglas, Massimo Virgilio, Louis Hansel, Franzi Meyer, krakenimages

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