Paleo Thanksgiving Recipes (+ Including Full Dinner Menu)
Post by Lucha: World traveler, culinary student and Media Director at Paleo Flourish Magazine. Lucha will try most food but prefers Indian, Thai and Mexican food above all else. She is currently either cooking, eating, grocery shopping, or browsing recipes on Pinterest.
(Above photo used with permission from Mellissa of I Breathe… I’m Hungry.) It’s the time of year to count our blessings, and I have just so many things to be thankful for. Family, good friends, and delicious food all help to keep me warm when the weather gets chilly. I’m also thankful for the great community of Paleo food bloggers and their recipes; because of them, I don’t have to miss any of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes this year.
The Perfect Paleo Thanksgiving Dinner Menu
Salty, sweet and delicious, this spiced nut mix is the perfect accompaniment to welcome drinks as the guests start arriving for Thanksgiving dinner this year. Melissa also provides a list of all the “caveman-approved” (i.e. Paleo-friendly) nuts… plenty of options here to customize it with your favorites! (Photo credit: David Humphreys. Reprint permission from Melissa of The Clothes Make the Girl)
A Few Classic Components:
Of course you can be creative and original this Thanksgiving, but there are some things that I personally wouldn’t dream of forgetting. Bread rolls, gravy, stuffing and cranberry sauce are among those and these are our top picks:
Thanksgiving means that cranberries are already par for the course, so set some aside for this sweet and tasty orange cranberry loaf. (Photo permission from Heather and Brent of Virginia is for Hunter Gatherers.)
These Thanksgiving rolls from Bliss Delish use almond meal and coconut flour. They are simple, savory and a more traditional bread option.
This is your perfect mashed potato substitute – and much healthier to boot! The addition of thyme and chives gives it a bit more flavor than it would have on its own. (Photo permission from Megan, The Detoxinista.)
Of course you need some gravy for that mashed cauliflower, and I’m so relieved to know that a Paleo-friendly gravy option exists in this world! Grass Fed Girl uses arrowroot flour as her thickener and it really does the trick. (She provides a link to order some if you don’t already have it in the pantry).
Regular stuffing made with day-old bread is so not Paleo! But we still need it on the Thanksgiving table. This awesome recipe uses ground pork and mushrooms as a substitute, but doesn’t forget to add a great mix of fruits, nuts (optional pecans), and delicious spices like rosemary, thyme and sage to make for an incredible stuffing! You definitely won’t miss the breadcrumbs. (Photo permission from Simone of Zen Belly.)
Ah cranberry sauce, the harmonizer that balances out all those brown savory dishes with it’s sweetness and beautiful hue. This recipe from Primally Inspired also includes orange and apple but still keeps it simple with few other ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions. Canned cranberry sauce? Never again! (Photo permission from Kelly of Primally Inspired.)
I’ve been abroad the passed few Thanksgivings and the green bean casserole that my aunt makes is the dish I have missed the most. Here are two great options for making your own:
Coconut milk and Tapioca starch make the perfect mixture for this delicious green bean casserole, keeping it gluten- and dairy-free. (Photo permission from Caitlin of Grass Fed Girl.)
This casserole is different from the above because it blends a mix of parsnips and mushrooms to make a ‘vegan cream’ base that holds it all together. (Photo permission from Megan, The Detoxinista.)
Top Side Dish Ideas:
Casseroles aren’t the only worthy non-Turkey dish at the Thanksgiving table. Here are some more of our favorite side dishes to diversify the menu and keep things interesting!
These mashed sweet potatoes are a delicious side dish – colorful, sweet and the perfect texture. Also, included in the recipe are instructions for Paleo-friendly buttermilk! I’m gonna hold on to that one. (Photo permission from Lauren of Oatmeal with a Fork.)
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, “everything goes better with bacon!” It’s taken me a little while to warm to Brussels sprouts, but throw in some bacon and I just can’t resist them.
This Brussels sprouts recipe from Ancestral Chef mixes baconized sprouts with sweet apple and crunchy pecans for a great range of flavors and textures!
Here’s another mash recipe using an interesting blend of root veggies and apple.
If you’re not opting for one of the green bean casseroles above, at least give the people their green beans one way or another! Melissa makes these delicious green beans with onion, garlic, sliced almond and an array of spices and flavors. Topped off with coconut milk, lime juice and cilantro, and I sense a Thanksgiving-meets-Asian-fusion theme going on here! (Photo credit: David Humphreys. Permission to reprint from Melissa of The Clothes Make the Girl.)
This spread not only has some great Autumn spices (nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and more!) but I can imagine it adding a delicious flavor as a topping on any of these sides or even atop a big slice o’ turkey.
Turkey and Meat Mains:
As you probably know, every year on Thanksgiving, the president pardons a turkey. That reminds me think of another thing I’m thankful for – that we don’t have to! It should go without saying; the turkey is the star of Thanksgiving and these recipes are stars in my book.
If you don’t know what brine is or why you should be doing it, head on over to Multiply Delicious where Heather breaks it down for you. This will make for the perfect moist and flavorful turkey but beware; it’s a long one with a different list of ingredients and processes for all parts of the bird. Don’t wait until the last minute to get reading and get cooking.
If you waited until the last minute, spent too much time on your side dishes, or were otherwise just overwhelmed by the recipe above, here is a simpler alternative. It’s certainly not as elaborate as other turkey recipes, but for the effort-to-flavor ratio, this recipe is pretty darn awesome. This recipe includes butter so remember to opt for the grass-fed kind to keep it Paleo. (Photo permission from Mellissa of I Breathe… I’m Hungry.)
I never really understood why someone always brought a ham to Thanksgiving. Turkey usually overshadows it anyway (and it has its moment in the spotlight a few weeks later at Christmas), but since it adds to the variety and you’re probably going to make one anyway, I’ll suggest this amazing recipe of ham with candied orange glaze. You just cannot beat that magical-looking glaze. Also, I never realized how crosshatch patterns cut in the ham allow for maximum glaze absorption. Good tip! (Photo permission from Nancy and James of She Cooks He Cleans.)
You might wonder just from reading this menu how there will be any room left in your stomach to fit in dessert, but I know from years of experience: where there’s a pie, there’s a way.
We all need our classic pumpkin pie at the end of a hearty Thanksgiving meal, and I’m grateful that Brittany from Bliss Delish has offered up this yummy ginger-y spin on it! The crust has a base of almond meal and the filling keeps it Paleo with the help of honey, almond meal (again), coconut milk and coconut oil.
Runner up for most beloved Thanksgiving pie is the pecan pie and this one from Multiply Delicious looks amazing. The crust uses several flours (almond, hazelnut, coconut) and is sweetened with dates and honey. The filling also uses dates – it’s such a great option for a natural sweetener!
More Delish Desserts
While pies often take center stage, they don’t have to be the be-all-end-all of Thanksgiving desserts. Here are some more great options for the Thanksgiving dessert table.
Cobblers are kind of like upside-down pies: the crust is only on top (and sometimes it’s more of a light sprinkle than a full layer). This cobbler has a coconut flour crust and a delicious blackberry and maple syrup filling. The only hiccup here is that blackberries are typically an end-of-summer treat, but I usually keep a bag in the freezer for exactly this reason. (Photo permission from Caitlin of Grass Fed Girl.)
This cinnamon apple crisp looks like it could be a cobbler version of the pecan pie but that’s only because you can’t see the yummy warm apples hidden under that top layer of pecans! Note that if you opt for the whipping cream, you’ll be heading out of Paleo territory and into Primal. (Photo permission from Caitlin of Grass Fed Girl.)
Pumpkin on it’s own is quite sweet, but the addition of garlic moves this dish a bit more in the direction of savory-sweet. But that’s OK! It’s still a perfect dessert with a sugary crumble made with almond flour, coconut flour and coconut sugar. Baking time is 50 minutes but the prep couldn’t be easier – ready to go in the oven in only 8 minutes. (Photo permission from Chelsy of Mangia.)
Ancestral Chef’s No-Bake Apple Pie is an easy alternative to baked pies and makes for a delicious, effortless addition to the Paleo dessert section!
And there you have it, your perfect Paleo Thanksgiving meal plan. Of course there are many more fabulous options and we certainly don’t want you to limit yourself, so here are many more great ideas for Paleo Thanksgiving Recipes for side dishes, mains and desserts. Yummy Paleo food for the holiday season is certainly something to be thankful for!