It’s almost Thanksgiving and although our gatherings will be smaller, we can still enjoy some good eats!

A lot of the Thanksgiving foods are high in sugar and saturated fats. I like to add in some healthier options whenever possible.

#1: Pumpkin Soup

On Thanksgiving, I always get hungry in the afternoon. My family usually eats the large meal around 4-5pm. By 1pm, I’m starving.

This soup can be made ahead so all you have to do is warm it up when you’re ready.

I’ve had the Vegetarian Times Complete Thanksgiving Cookbook for years and I’ve made the pumpkin soup many times.

It’s the perfect snack for Thanksgiving and keeps you in the fall mood.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups diced yellow onion
2 cups fresh pumpkin puree or one 15-ounce can pumpkin
6 cups vegetable stock
Salt to taste
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallion
1/2 cup toasted croutons

Heat oil in a 3 1/2-quart saucepan. Add dry spices, stirring to warm, but not browning, about 1 minute.

Add onion, stirring to coat. Saute over medium heat until onion if soft but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add pumpkin puree and stock; stir to mix. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer. Simmer, covered, until soup is slightly thickened and flavors are melded, about 20 to 25 minutes. Salt to taste.

Pour soup into a large bowl. Puree in batches in a food processor or blender. Return to pan. Heat before serving. Garnish with scallions or croutons.

Serves 8.

#2: Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad

This one is SO good! And, it’s pretty, too. It comes from blogger, Iowa Girl Eats.

It makes a lovely side dish for Thanksgiving and brings a little veggies on board.

For dairy free, it’s still quite good without the cheese.

12oz brussels sprouts, tough outer leaves pulled away
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup Fisher Naturals Pecan Halves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup gorgonzola cheese crumbles
1 pear, chopped
2 jumbo shallots, thinly sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette:
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Using a very sharp knife, thinly shred brussels sprouts while holding onto the core end then discard cores and add shredded sprouts to a large bowl with dried cranberries, chopped pecans, gorgonzola cheese, and chopped pears. Set aside.

Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the shallots then fry until golden brown, 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Scoop onto a paper towel-lined plate to drain then repeat with remaining shallots. Sprinkle with salt then let cool slightly.

Add ingredients for Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette together in a jar then shake to combine. Pour over salad then toss to coat. Add fried shallots then toss to combine, and then serve.

Serves 4-6.

#3: Maple & Cayenne Roasted Acorn Squash with Brown Butter Hazelnuts

It’s not easy to find a squash recipe that actually tastes really good.

Here you go with this one from Oregon blogger, Dishing Up The Dirt.

It’s the perfect combination of sweet, salty, and savory.

The first time I made it, I didn’t have any hazelnuts. I used almonds and they worked fine.

You don’t need as much butter as the recipe suggests. I would cut it in 1/2 at least. I also think you could simply toast the nuts and it would still be delicious.

1 medium sized acorn squash, cored and cut into wedges (no need to peel)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
pinch of salt
1/2 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup parsley, minced

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a large bowl toss the squash wedges with the maple syrup, oil, cayenne and pinch of salt until evenly coated. Place the squash in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the oven until tender and caramelized, about 35-45 minutes. Flip the squash halfway through cooking.

While the squash roasts prepare your brown butter hazelnuts. Heat a small dry skillet over medium heat. Add the hazelnuts and cook, shaking the pan often, until they are lightly browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the butter and cook, stirring frequently until the butter is golden brown and flecked with brown bits, about 5 minutes. Pour the hazelnut mixture into a bowl and set aside.

Sprinkle the roasted squash with the brown butter hazelnuts and minced parsley and serve warm.

Serves 4.

Hope these bring some new and healthier options for your Thanksgiving this year. While it might be small, it can still be special.

What are your favorite healthier recipes for the holiday?

Please share them in the comments below.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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