Thanksgiving with a Southern Twist

When you’re planning a lavish meal to feed a crowd, starting early and looking for great inspiration is just plain smart. From cornbread cooked in buttered cast iron to biscuits in gravy, Southern cooking is known for its luscious, decadent flavor. So decadent, in fact, that many of us who are striving to make healthy choices might be hesitant to give it a try. This roundup suggests a Thanksgiving spread that includes a few dishes with Southern roots, made over for good nutrition with great flavor.

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Cranberry Salad

1 Guiding StarHelp keep your appetite for heavier dishes down by starting off with this lightly dressed and refreshing seasonal salad. (1 Guiding Star)

Braised Collards

3 Guiding StarsCollard greens are traditionally cooked with bacon fat, but with with right combination of heart-healthy oil, flavorful vinegar, and umami-rich soy sauce, you won’t miss the saturated fat-heavy bacon option at all. (3 Guiding Stars)

Butter Beans with Lemon-Garlic Collards

3 Guiding StarsButter beans, available in the north under the name “large lima beans,” are creamy and filling. Paired with collards and a bright lemon-garlic sauce, you’ll want to add this dish to your regular meal routine. (3 Guiding Stars)

Sweet Potato and Pear Latkes

2 Guiding StarsLatkes, or potato pancakes, are admittedly more of a Hanukkah dish or midwest Thanksgiving option, but updated with nutrient-packed and flavorful sweet potatoes, we think you’ll love them as an alternative to sugar-heavy yam dishes. (2 Guiding Stars)

Wild Mushroom Stuffing

1 Guiding StarIt’s not cornbread and sausage stuffing like Mom used to make, but this vegetarian-friendly stuffing will satisfy everyone at your table with it’s robust herbed flavor that plays along perfectly with turkey. (1 Guiding Star)

Cranberry Orange Sauce

3 Guiding StarsYes, we know, the gelatin in a can option is a constant favorite, but given the vast amount of sugar in those cans, swapping it out for a fresh, whole-berry sauce is an easy nutritional win, and honestly? Fresh is even yummier. (3 Guiding Stars)

Herb Roasted Turkey

2 Guiding StarsAnd last, but not least, let’s not forget the turkey. As a lean source of protein, turkey is a pretty solid centerpiece for a crowd in its own right. Here’s a prep method we think your friends and family will drool over. (2 Guiding Stars)