The purpose of Thanksgiving is more than sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends. It’s a once-a-year reminder to reflect and focus on gratitude. Food guilt should have no place at the holiday table, but it’s common to struggle with this. The goal is to enjoy your favorite Thanksgiving foods without regret. For this month’s Surprising Stars, we want to share our star-earning versions of classic Thanksgiving vegetable casseroles. These are delicious options if you’re looking for traditional comfort and heartiness with improved nutrition.
No matter what your actual Thanksgiving menu ends up being, try to appreciate the meal without judging your food choices.
Whether your family has a traditional recipe that you make every year or a preferred box mix, stuffing (or dressing depending on where you’re from) is a Thanksgiving staple that can’t be left off the menu. It’s popular to add sausage to stuffing, but this method of flavor enhancement adds saturated fat and calories to a table full of other rich food. Our version swaps out the meat for apples and cranberries. This balances the robust flavor provided by broth and fresh herbs. To make it vegetarian, you can use vegetable broth. Made from whole-grain bread, this stuffing provides better nutrition than most. It will help you enjoy that Thanksgiving-full feeling without eating as much.
Crispy onions and creamy sauce make green bean casserole a Thanksgiving favorite. The traditional versions are often packed with processed foods that are high in sodium and saturated fat, which can cause recipes to not earn Guiding Stars. This version requires a little more effort, but the fresh flavor it delivers goes well above and beyond many of the simpler “back of the can” recipes.
Mashed potatoes are the perfect starchy accompaniment to turkey. While delicious, most mashed potatoes recipes rely on a generous amount of butter, cream, and salt for flavor. This adds saturated fat, sodium and extra calories. Extra rich versions might call for bacon or cheese as well. You’ll love the sweetness that comes from roasted shallots here. For extra nutrition, keep the potato skins on when mashing and the additional fiber will help you stay full longer.
Are candied sweet potatoes or yams served at your family’s Thanksgiving? These recipes are usually loaded with brown sugar, butter, and marshmallows. Sweet potatoes are so nutrient dense and packed with disease-fighting antioxidants that they are lauded as a superfood. Forget the casserole with marshmallow on top. Once you taste the absolute perfection of the simple cider reduction, this recipe will have a place at your holiday table for years to come.