Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

Whether you're following a special diet or just want to take it easy on Turkey Day, try these simple, lighter takes on classic Thanksgiving recipes.

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Photo By: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Tara Donne

Photo By: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

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Photo By: Tara Donne ©2009

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Photo By: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

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Photo By: Kana Okada ©2011, Kana Okada

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Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast

Turkey is a lean protein and the calories won't get out of hand if you choose a flavorful baked recipe, like Ina's classic herb-roasted bird.

Get the Recipe: Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash gives you all of the richness you want at your Thanksgiving table -- your guests will never guess that this soup isn't made with cream.

Get the Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup

Shaved Vegetable Salad

This gorgeous salad of shaved vegetables comes together in a snap thanks to a handy mandoline slicer.

Get the Recipe: Shaved Vegetable Salad

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Salty, crispy bacon makes everything better, especially these Brussels sprouts served warm as a holiday side dish.

Get the Recipe: Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Honey and Cinnamon

It just takes a delicate drizzle of honey to get these roasted sweet potatoes to ambrosial perfection.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Cinnamon

Devilish Eggs

These little devils feature mashed tofu at their very core, and they rely on horseradish, hot sauce, Dijon mustard and chives for that extra kick.

Get the Recipe: Devilish Eggs

Sauteed Carrots

Ina makes a 15-minute side dish that's sure to please. Sweet carrots go perfectly with a little butter and chopped fresh dill.

Get the Recipe: Sauteed Carrots

Turkey Spring Rolls

After a big, heavy meal, Ree Drummond's spring rolls are just the ticket. Cellophane noodles are really light, making them the perfect wrapper for leftover turkey.

Get the Recipe: Turkey Spring Rolls

Turkey Roulade With Apple-Cider Gravy

Is a whole bird too big for your crowd? Try a smaller turkey roulade instead.

Get the Recipe: Turkey Roulade with Apple-Cider Gravy

Vegan Wild-Rice-Stuffed Butternut Squash

This impressive autumn-inspired dish can be served as a main course for vegan and vegetarian eaters or can be enjoyed by everyone at the table as a side dish. The small amount of curry powder gives the squash a nice warmth and depth.

Get the Recipe: Vegan Wild-Rice-Stuffed Butternut Squash

Herb and Apple Stuffing

Before you reach for the white loaf, opt for whole-wheat bread for a well-rounded apple-studded stuffing from Ina Garten.

Get the Recipe: Herb and Apple Stuffing

Butternut Squash Soup

A little bit of sage and balsamic vinegar goes a long way in this recipe, adding great depth of flavor to a simple fall soup that doesn't require cream.

Get the Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup

Vegan Stuffing

All the usual suspects are here (minus the butter and eggs) to recreate the comforting flavors of traditional stuffing. Although green tea may seem like an oddball ingredient, the earthy flavor makes it a better replacement for chicken stock than vegetable stock, which can be too sweet and high in sodium.

Get the Recipe: Vegan Stuffing

Next-Day Turkey Soup

Once the feast is over, turn leftover turkey into a pot of veggie-loaded turkey soup.

Get the Recipe: Next-Day Turkey Soup with Mashed Potato Polpetti

Apple Crisp

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? Even with all of its decadence, this crisp is still a smart treat.

Get the Recipe: Apple Crisp

Giada's Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips and Brussels Sprouts

Can't decide on a veggie? Roast them all together with a touch of Italian seasoning like Giada does, for a colorful, irresistible mixture.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips and Brussels Sprouts

Green Bean Casserole With Crispy Shallots

Skip the soup in a can in this quintessential Thanksgiving side dish and make a creamy sauce using low-fat milk instead.

Get the Recipe: Green Bean Casserole With Crispy Shallots

Ellie's Sweet Potato-Pecan Casserole

This casserole is everything you want in a holiday dish: It's satisfying, but won't leave you stuffed. Whip sweet potatoes with an egg to make them creamy without butter, then top with pecans for a decadent yet healthy crunch.

Get the Recipe: Sweet Potato-Pecan Casserole

Alton's Chipotle-Smashed Sweet Potatoes

Alton Brown always hated sweet potatoes — until he built an episode of Good Eats around them. Instead of smothering them in marshmallows, he lets them play a leading role in this five ingredient, easy chipotle-spiced mash.

Get the Recipe: Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes

Gluten-Free Stuffing

Use your favorite gluten-free bread to make this old-fashioned stuffing.

Alton's Tart Cranberry Dipping Sauce

Sure, it's easy to open a can, but you'll get more nutrients, fewer preservatives and better flavor if you make your own cranberry sauce. Try this version from Alton Brown — he flavors his turkey dipping sauce with ginger ale, orange juice and maple syrup.

Get the Recipe: Tart Cranberry Dipping Sauce

Rachael's Orange Scented Green Beans

You can make this easy, elegant green bean dish while your turkey rests. Rachael uses pre-trimmed green beans to make this super-fast side -- it's done in under 10 minutes.

Get the Recipe: Orange Scented Green Beans

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Resist the urge to scoop out the creamy filling from your twice-baked potatoes, the skin holds lots of nutrients!

Get the Recipe: Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Lemon-Maple Squash

Instead of using straight white sugar, turn to maple syrup to sweeten this citrusy squash.

Get the Recipe: Lemon-Maple Squash

Glazed Carrots and Turnips

The silky glaze comes together when the carrots and turnips are simmered in water, sugar and a little bit butter until it quickly reduces down.

Get the Recipe: Glazed Carrots and Turnips

Vegan Gravy

Umami is the Japanese name for savoriness, an essential characteristic of foods, like sweetness or saltiness. Seek out vegetables high in glutamate, an amino acid that plays an important part in umami, and give them a quick char before simmering them down to a rich, flavorful stock used for gravy even a meat eater will enjoy.

Get the Recipe: Vegan Gravy

Vegan Scalloped Potatoes

Use nutritional yeast — which is grown on molasses and then dried out — to add a nutty cheesiness (plus an extra helping of vitamin B12) to these bubbly spuds. Silken tofu and tender new potatoes add creaminess without dairy, and browned onions give the dish a deep savoriness.

Get the Recipe: Vegan Scalloped Potatoes

Vegetarian Gravy

Use ingredients high in umami (the fifth taste after sweet, sour, salt and bitter), such as tomatoes, carrots and mushrooms, to create a super-savory gravy for veggie lovers.

Get the Recipe: Vegetarian Gravy

Mustard-Parmesan Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Even meat eaters will want a piece of these impressive, high-fiber veggies. The Dijon mustard concentrates in flavor as it roasts, resulting in a powerful punch of umami. Prep and brush your cauliflower ahead of time, then let them sit at room temperature until you're ready to cook.

Get the Recipe: Mustard-Parmesan Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Pumpkin Parmesan Biscuits

Mix Parmesan cheese, pumpkin puree and heavy cream into your batter to get the full fall flavor of these moist biscuits.

Get the Recipe: Pumpkin-Parmesan Biscuits

Pear and Blue Cheese Salad

Top a delicate pear, watercress and arugula salad with toasted walnuts, pecans, almonds or cashews for a quick way to add some crunch.

Get the Recipe: Pear and Blue Cheese Salad

Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

Giada adds an Italian twist to Brussels sprouts, cooking them with pancetta.

Get the Recipe: Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad With Tangerine-Rosemary Vinaigrette

Marcella Valladolid’s salad combines fruity flavors, rosemary and squash for a fresh way to enjoy a fall side.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash Salad With Tangerine-Rosemary Vinaigrette

Skillet Turkey with Roasted Vegetables

Cook your turkey and veggies in a skillet to give them a nice sear, and then pop them in the oven until the vegetables are tender and the turkey is fully cooked.

Get the Recipe: Skillet Turkey With Roasted Vegetables

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Spice up chocolate chip cookies with pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.

Get the Recipe: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten-Free Whole-Grain Stuffing Squares

No need to scrap the stuffing. Just lighten it up by loading up on veggies and using heart-healthy fats like olive oil. 

Get the Recipe: Gluten-Free Whole-Grain Stuffing Squares

Roasted Beet, Onion, and Orange Salad

Guests will go crazy for this light, refreshing beet and orange salad, and best of all, they'll still have room left for the main course. A simple dressing of hazelnut oil, coriander and orange juice adds a touch of sweet, floral flavor.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Beet, Onion, and Orange Salad

Pumpkin Smoothie

This super-easy drink is made with leftover pumpkin pie filling. You can save the filling in the freezer in individual muffin tins. Because they are frozen, you won't even need to add ice.

Get the Recipe: Pumpkin Smoothie

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