(Serves a gathering of 8 with plenty of leftover turkey)

Thanksgiving is here, folks! Get ready to eat yourself into a tryptophan-induced food coma. With all of the unhealthy choices found on a typical holiday table, it’s no wonder we gain 2-3 pounds this time of year. Not all Thanksgiving dinners are created equally, though. There are healthy alternatives to the common sugar and butter-rich foods that traditionally grace the Thanksgiving table. This meal is so healthy and delicious, you will want to make it more than once a year.

(adapted from Taste of Home)
Serves 10-12

1 bone-in turkey breast (5 to 7 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic salt
3 cloves diced garlic cloves
1 large white onion, cut into large wedges
1 whole lemon, quartered
3/4 cup white wine (or chicken broth)


2 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
1 cup red quinoa
4 tablespoons Earth Balance Omega 3 buttery spread
(or 1/2 stick grass-fed butter)
1 large white onion, chopped
6 stalks celery, diced
1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup tart died cherries (or dried cranberries)
1/2 cup slivered roasted almonds, divided

-Preheat oven to 350º
-Bring vegetable stock to boil over high heat. Stir in quinoa and bring back to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed (about 15 minutes)
-Meanwhile, melt the buttery spread (or butter) in a large skillet over medium heat.
-Stir in celery and onion and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally.
-Remove from the heat, and add quinoa to the pan.
-Stir in chopped sage, sea salt, black pepper, dried cherries, and 1/4 cup of the toasted slivered almonds. Mix thoroughly.
-Pour into a 8×8” pan, sprinkle the remaining toasted almonds on top, and bake for 35 minutes.
-garnish with parsley before serving.

(serves 8)

2 large butternut squash (about 5 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
(or go the easy route and buy about 5 pounds of pre-cut butternut squash)
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons black pepper

-Preheat oven to 400º
-Place cut squash in a large bowl. Add olive oil and toss well. Sprinkle salt and pepper in the bowl and toss again.
-Place the squash on baking sheets in a single layer, so that they are not too crowded.
(I use 2 baking sheets)
-Roast for 30 minutes, or until squash is tender and edges start to caramelize, turning over once with a spatula.

So there you have it, a healthy Thanksgiving dinner that won’t sabotage your diet. Or at least makes you feel better about having that piece of pumpkin pie. (Confession: I may have more than one!)

Side note: you are going to want to save the left-over turkey. “The Healthiest Turkey Pot Pie” recipe will be posted next.

Live Young,

Darnell 🙂

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