Impress your guests, while benefiting your body by building a healthier Thanksgiving menu with these fall favorites.
Start your delicious feast with a mouthwatering Caramelized Pear Salad with goat cheese and pecans. Add a tart and tasteful Cranberry Sauce for a tangy turkey dip. Lastly, include some crunchy Roasted Green Beans and naturally sweet Sweet Potatoes for succulent side dishes. With recipes this yummy you’ll wish this season lasted all year!
Caramelized Pear Salad
3 ripe Bartlett pears, quartered and cored
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons unrefined coconut oil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
6 generous handful of spring lettuce mix
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
3/4 cup pecans, chopped
- Toss pears with salt and pepper.
- Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil, then add pears cut-side down in a single layer. Sauté until golden, about 4 minutes.
- Flip pears onto second cut side and sauté until golden.
- Turn off heat and add 2 TB of balsamic. Stir until the balsamic coats the pears, about 1 minute.
- Transfer pears to a plate and cool for 1 hour at room temperature.
- After cooling, cut each pear crosswise into 1-inch chunks.
- In a large bowl, whisk 2 TB of oil with 2 TB of balsamic and the minced shallot. Add the lettuce and pears. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed before dividing the salad among 6 individual plates. Top each plate with cheese and pecans. Serve immediately.
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Yields 2 1/4 cups
3/4 cup juice from fresh oranges
1/2 cup 100% pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon plain powdered stevia
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 12-ounce bag of fresh organic cranberries
- Bring orange juice, syrup, and salt to a boil in a medium nonreactive pot over high heat.
- Stir in cranberries and return to a boil. Then, reduce heat to medium and simmer until thickened and most of the berries have popped, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a bowl. Cool to room temperature and serve or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days. If cold, allow to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
Roasted Green Beans
2 pounds green beans, stems snapped off
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 lemon, juiced (optional)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees and adjust the rack to the middle position.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Using your hands, toss beans with oil and salt. Distribute the beans in evenly on the baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and use tongs to redistribute the beans so they cook evenly.
- Roast until the beans are golden brown and have started to shrivel, about 12 minutes.
- Taste and adjust seasoning. Add lemon juice if desired before serving.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
6 medium sweet potatoes
4-6 tablespoons butter/ghee
to taste, cinnamon (start with 1 tablespoon and add more as desired)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place potatoes whole on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 1 hour or until a fork can easily be inserted. Enjoy with butter/ghee and cinnamon.
- Note: these potatoes also taste great cold mashed with 1 cup walnuts/pecans, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, and 1/2 cup freshly sliced basil.
Sweet Potato Spotlight
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of carotenes, especially beta carotene, which acts as a natural sunscreen. A great replacement for refined carbs, grains, beans and legumes, sweet potatoes moderate carb content is ideal for athletes and those trying to maintain or gain weight. Enjoy them with a healthy fat to increase nutrient absorption and satiation.
1. Thaw. Plan ahead to give the turkey plenty of time to thaw in the fridge. Allow 1 day for every 4 pounds. For 10-13 pounds, thaw for 3 days. For 14-17 pounds, thaw for 4 days. For 18-21 pounds, thaw for 5 days.
2. Brine. On Tuesday, brine the turkey in the fridge overnight. For 6-8 LB brine turkey in 1-gallon water + 1/2 cup fine sea salt. For 12-17 LB brine turkey in 2 gallons water + 1 cup fine sea salt. For 18-24 LB brine turkey in 3 gallons water + 1 1/2 cups fine sea salt
3. Air Dry. On Wednesday, dry the turkey with paper towels and place it uncovered in the fridge for 24 hours. Air-drying creates an extra crisp skin.
4. Elevate. Get a v-rack or use bulky vegetables to elevate the bird so it’s not sitting in its own juices. Elevation allows heat to circulate, which promotes even cooking and crisp skin.
5. Rotate. Rotating the bird ensures that the light meat finishes at the same time as the dark meat. For example, a 12-15 pound bird requires about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Here’s a good example of rotation for a smaller bird: breast-side down for 45 minutes, left side down for 15 minutes, right side down for 15 minutes, then breast-side up for 30-45 minutes. Add time as needed for larger birds. A 15-18 pound bird requires about 2 hours and an 18-24 pound bird, about 3 hours. Stuffing a bird is not recommended because it increases the chance of overcooking.
6. Rest. Check for doneness with a thermometer. The thickest part of the breast should read 165 degrees and the thigh 175 degrees. Transfer to a cutting board, cover and let rest for 30 minutes before carving.