This year will be my 4th totally paleo Thanksgiving! I have always loved Thanksgiving, but I honestly love the paleo versions of those staples even more than I loved the originals.
I will say though, it's NOT fun when you follow a new recipe on Thanksgiving and it ends up being a complete dud.
I mean that really sucks.
I do a ton of the cooking on the big day partially because I clearly have dietary restritions that I don't expect anyone to accomodate but it's also because I love having an amazing home cooked paleo meal. I don't often spend this much time in the kitchen making facy paleo dishes so it's really the one day/time of year that I can not only have delicious fancy paleo food for myself, but ALSO sharing with family and loved ones healthy AND delicious food!
Yes it's a lot of work and I do tend to get stressed, but I also think it's worth it every single year.
I also learn more and more every year. SOme recipes I've used every year while others are hit or miss. The good news is that I can share my experiences with you here now so if you decide to have some healthy paleo versions of traditional Thanksgiving food you can do so with confidence knowing that EVERYONE at the table will be able to enjoy it!
First and foremost, you have to prepare beforehand. Making everything on the day of is just not worth the stress, and might not even be physically possible.
Here's my 2016 Paleo Thanksgiving Plan full with links to some of my FAV recipes!
Monday: Make sure plan is organized and ready to execute with cushion in case of unplanned events. Gather recipes and make master shopping list. Clean house & do any last decorating so you don't have to stress about it later. Wash dishes and clean kitchen so everything is ready to use in the coming days. If you're doing a brine for your turkey then start it today!
Tuesday: Buy all ingredients, thaw Turkey, chop veggies for stuffing & bake paleo bread for stuffing. Put Coconut cans in the fridge to separate.
Wednesday: Bake pies: I've made a ton of other pies in years past, but this year I'm keeping it simple and just making two. Pecan Pie & Pumpkin Pie. I'm trying a new recipe this year but I'll list a few below that I've used in the past! Prep veggies to go in turkey and take out turkey pan. Finish making Paleo Stuffing (it states better the next day IMO)
Thursday: GAME DAY! Wake up early to prep turkey & put it in the oven. Make the rest of your dishes and heat up foods you made the day before.
Main Meat Dishes
Nom Nom Paleo - last year was the first time I used this recipe, and I'm using it again this year because it was phenomenal! I didn't spatchcock the turkey, I just baked it like you would a normal turkey, but I followed the rest of these directions exactly. Stupid Easy Paleo - I have brined my turkey multiple times with multiple brines, but I prefer the first method I listed here much better! Plus it's honestly WAY easier! Primal Palate - If you do brine or otherwise marinate your turkey then you can use this method to cook it up!
Glazed Ham: Paleo Leap - If you're into having other meats on Thanksgiving or just not having turkey then you could totally do this. Not really my thing at all since I like turkey. But you know... Options.
Paleo Porn -I have made this for the past two years, and I'll be making it again for a third year. I didn't like the recipe I used the first year at all, I'm not even going to post it here. Waste of money and just tasted BLEH. Balanced Bites -I haven't made this one but a friend of mine has and she said everyone loved it... But again I have not tried this personally so it's hard to say.
This is similar to what I do, Jane's Healthy Kitchen however, I line my turkey roasting pan with onions on the bottom. I then blend those onions with the pan drippings and it's insanely delicious and SO easy! I also cut up and boil the giblets separately and add them in after blending.
Balanced Bites - not the meatballs on this page, just scroll down to the cranberry sauce. This is very tart but you can up the maple syrup to make it sweeter, and personally I loved it! It's a great leftover also!
Green Bean Casserole:
Eat The Love - My sister in law makes the green bean casserole every year and this is the one she made this past year! The other one was from a book so the recipe isn't available online! But this one was good so I'd def try it out if you like green bean casserole without all the nasty stuff it typically includes!
Cassidy's Craveable Creations - My sister in law also makes the rolls every year and this is one of the recipes she's used! The Wheatless Kitchen - She also made some delicious herb sage rolls one year and I believe this was the recipe she used. I might have been a different one though! Since I might be wrong on the recipe front I'd recommend you use the first one I listed here to be safe.
Martha Stewart - I've made a slightly different version of this and it was great! This recipe is really close to it so I'd imagine it's equally good. I would add some extra bacon fat or duck lard or butter or ghee to it beforehand but besides that I think it's a winner! Balanced Bites - I honestly wasn't a huge fan of this recipe, I'm not gonna lie. And to me using another appliance when the counter tops are already crowded is a bit of a hassle. This year I'm baking my sweet potatoes for 1hr at 450 then I'm going to pan fry them in coconut oil with some cinnamon. Then I plan to throw them into a baking dish and bake them with a tad bit of cinnamon and maple sugar on top at 350. Very easy and simple. (I'll hopefully post the full recipe tomorrow)
Mashed Potatoes & Cauliflower:
The Paleo Ballerina - Yep I use my own recipe for mashed cauliflower here and it's awesome. Plus it's super easy so I would def make this!!
Paleo Plan - If you prefer regular mashed potatoes then use this recipe! You can always make both and see which one people like better! You might be surprised by the result!
Beachbody Recipe Blog - this is similar to my own recipe for butternut squash (which also hasn't hit the blog yet) but the only changes I'd make is it use bacon fat or coconut oil, and also to add granulated garlic, oregano, and even some dried parsley or basil! This is crazy delicious when made just right!
Mac and "Cheese" (not fully paleo)
The reason I say this isn't fully paleo is because I use brown rice pasta!! I'm obsessed with THIS BRAND!! Vegan Yumminess - I made this last year and it was good! I'm def skipping it this year because I want everything as simple as possible and I don't know how 'necessary' it was... But I know some of you love to have some mac n cheese with your Thanksgiving meal, and I don't blame you! Minimalist Baker - I haven't made this one but it looks pretty good also.... Different version of the one posted before this, but different! Except I wouldn't do the 'vegan parmesan cheese' personally.
Primal Palate this is the new recipe I'm trying this year. Against All Grain my first Paleo Thanksgiving I made this one and it was great, I just want better HAHA. The Paleo Mom I made this one the next year in search of a better recipe and was a bit underwhelmed since it's titled "the best"... Thrive Market Blog - my third attempt to find the best - and this one was my favorite so far! Yeyyy!!! But I'm a total pumpkin pie snob and it's my favorite which is why this year I'm planning to try a new recipe. If it's not perfect then I'll be reverting to this recipe!
Zen Belly -I'm not gonna lie, this was REALLY labor intensive. But it was yummy. The time consuming labor intensive part is why personally I'm skipping it this year...
Elana's Pantry -crowd favorite every single year! It's DELISH and really super duper easy to make! They won't even know it's Paleo.
Coconut Cream Pie:
Living Healthy With Chocolate - I don't typically make this for Thanksgiving BUT it is crazy delicious and a huge crowd pleaser! If you want to mix it up in the pie department, this would be a great addition to any spread!
Dairy Free Whipped Cream -up the honey content or swap out the honey for maple syrup for a slightly different flavor. Taste it as you go. This recipe isn't very sweet so I do recommend upping either the honey or maple syrup until you can tolerate the sweetness or lack thereof. Vanilla Ice Cream -I haven't made this exact recipe before but I've made my own that's similar to this and it was great!
I may add some more recipes as I think of them before Thursday, but I think that's pretty much it!!! We absolutely love Thanksgiving and these recipes. I hope they serve you and your family well!!! I'm so Thankful for each and every one of you!!!
I would LOVE to see your creations so don't forget to tag me in your IG & FB posts. But more importantly, if you found this post helpful then make sure to share it so that everyone can enjoy both healthy and delicious food this Thanksgiving!!