Clean Thanksgiving Menu

Any time there is a holiday I have a really hard time staying on track with clean eating, so I spent some time meal planning and put together a clean Thanksgiving menu. I wanted to enjoy all the classics I grew up eating, without all the junk. I’ll skip all the “blogger junk” with the EXTRA detailed (and ridiculous) instructions and the stuff like ‘when I tasted this bite of green bean casserole it transported me back in time to my moms kitchen’ blah blah blah… and skip right to the recipes, because that’s what we are all here for anyway!! 

One note before diving in, if you see an ingredient on the list that doesn’t jive with your diet, don’t skip the whole recipe, I’ve included all the substitutes beneath each recipe.

The menu and recipes that are included in this post:

  • Turkey
  • Cranberries
  • Salad
  • Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Deviled Eggs

My mom is making the below things and I feel confident they will not be “clean eating.” But the below things are also on the menu, recipes not included…maybe just google some clean versions.

  • Gravy
  • Stuffing
  • Corn Casserole

THE TURKEY

  • 1 Stick of Butter
  • 1 Lemon zested and juiced
  • 1 Teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 Fresh Turkey (local peeps, Ferguson’s has some local, organic, free range ones left!!)
  • Salt
  • 1 Large Bunch fresh thyme 
  • 1 whole lemon, halved
  • 1 Spanish Onion, quartered
  • 1 Head of Garlic
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add zest and juice of the lemon and 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves to the butter mixture. Set aside.
  3. Take all the disgustingness out of the turkey (facetime a mom or grandmother if you have problems locating them..maybe this happened to me, maybe it didn’t) Place the gibletless turkey in a large roasting pan. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the bird and stuff it with thyme, halved lemon, quartered onion and garlic. Brush the outside of the turkey with your butter mixture, salt and pepper the outside of the turkey. Tie the legs together with a string and tuck the wing tips under the body.
  4. Roast the turkey until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh. Remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes…or until you can’t fight off the hungry crowd any longer. 
  5. Slice and serve.

A couple of notes:

  • *Roasting time depends on how large your turkey is. From what I’ve found 15 minutes per pound is standard.
  • *If you aren’t doing a butter you can substitute duck fat, I’ve seen it at Target and Walmart. 
  • *You can add a brine to this the night before but we’ve never done it and our turkey came out fine last time. It feels like a lot of work. (shoulder shrug)

CRANBERRIES

  • 1 Bag of fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup of honey or maple syrup
  • ½ cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of zest from medium orange
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  1. Rinse and pat the cranberries dry. Toss any squishy berries, there’s no place for those disgusting things in your perfect cranberry sauce.
  2. In a medium saucepan combine your cranberries, honey and water. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally (or whenever someone screams CAN SOMEONE STIR THE CRANBERRIES?!?) Let the cranberries simmer until they begin to pop and the mixture has thickened. This typically takes between 5 – 10 minutes. 
  3. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in orange zest and juice

A couple of notes:

  • *This is hard to screw up, assign cranberries to the person most likely to mess up something more complicated.
  • *You can also add ½ a teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
  • *I’m going to use pineapple orange juice because that’s what I already have in my fridge…Maybe I’m the person most likely to screw it up.  

SALAD

  • Greens (I like the 50/50 blend)
  • Toasted almonds (Use as many or as few as you’d like, if I am using 2 boxes of mixed green I will use an entire pretoasted bag of almonds.) You can also toast the almonds yourself if you’re feeling fancy, but ain’t nobody got time for that on Thanksgiving. 
  • 1 can of Mandarin oranges
  • 1 red onion (I skip this because I have a real strong dislike for raw onion)

DRESSING

  • 1/4 cup of oil – I use avocado oil, it actually calls for vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed – I use celery salt, it’s what I always have on hand but either works fine
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  1. Dump salad in your fancy salad bowl
  2. Toss in the almonds, oranges and onion
  3. Mix the dressing ingredients well
  4. Dress greens and enjoy 

A few notes: *You will be the hit of any party with this salad. It is simply the best and if you make anything off this list, make it this salad. 

SWEET POTATO MASH

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes peeled and diced
  • ⅓ a cup of milk
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 2 eggs

TOPPING

  • 1 ½ cups pecans, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place your sweet potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until completely tender, if a fork easily goes into the potato, you’re good. Drain sweet potatoes. 
  3. Transfer potatoes to a large mixing bowl. Add ⅓ cup of milk, 3 tablespoons butter, ¼ cup maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 eggs. Mash until no lumps remain. (Maybe assign this to an anger prone person to get their aggression out.) If your mixture seems to thick you can add 2-3 tablespoons of milk.
  4. Pour your mixture into an 8×8 dish
  5. Time for the topping! Combine all topping ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
  6. Sprinkle topping mixture over your sweet potato mash.
  7. Cover the dish with foil and back for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes
  • A few notes:
  • *Egg substitutes work with this recipe. Use 2 tablespoons of the egg substitute of your choice.
  • *Butter substitutes also work. Instead of 2 Tablespoons of butter feel free to use ghee, vegan butter, avocado oil or melted coconut oil.
  • *Milk substitutes are cool too! Instead of ⅓ cup of milk you can use unsweetened almond, cashew, coconut or anything milk of your choosing. (I’m going to be using A2 milk, which works nicely for my fam)
  • *Sweet Potato casserole is always a big hit with my family. I think I’m going to double this recipe, because 3 sweet potatoes for 15 people just doesn’t feel like enough. 
  • *Can we all agree that the words “potato and substitutes” are the hardest words to spell and type?…no? Just me? Cool. 

GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE

  • 2 Pounds green beans – trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 batch of mushroom sauce
  • 1 batch crispy onion topping

CRISPY ONION TOPPING

  • 1 Tablespoon Butter 
  • 1 Medium red onion, thinly sliced 
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese 
  • ¼ teaspoon of sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of pepper

MUSHROOM SAUCE

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • ½ cup veggie stock
  • 1 cup of milk
  • ½ cup freshly-grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt 
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Trim and cut green beans. Throw in boiling water for 3-5 minutes then immediately remove and blanch. (aka throw in cold water) (I feel 100% confident I’m going to skip this entire cooking step and just let them cook fulling in the oven, I’ll let you know how that goes)
  3. Prep onion mixture. Melt ½ tablespoon butter in a large pan and add the onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions just start to soften. Transfer to a different bowl. (as if this recipe doesn’t call for enough bowls, let’s dirty up another…)
  4. Add ½ tablespoon of butter to the pan and the panko bread crumbs. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring constantly. Do not put anyone with ADD on this job, they will burn your crumbs and thanksgiving will be ruined. 
  5. Transfer the bread crumb mixture to the onion and add parmesan, salt and pepper. Stir. 
  6. Prep your mushroom sauce. Melt Butter on high heat in a large pan, (maybe just clean the one from the onion step because you know your sink is overflowing at this point.) 
  7. Add mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes
  9. Add flour and saute for 1 more minute, stirring frequently 
  10. Add Veggie stock and stir until flour is evenly dissolved. (pouring slowly and stirring helps this process) 
  11. Add Milk and Parmesan, stir to combine
  12. Continue cooking until the sauce thickens then remove from heat, salt and pepper.  
  13. Combine green beans and mushroom sauce in 9 x 13 cooking pan.
  14. Sprinkle onion mixture on top
  15. Bake for 25 minutes or until the onion mixture is crispy
  16. ENJOY 
  • A few notes:
  • This is the most involved recipe on the list but it looks so good, I feel like we can all handle one fancy recipe..right?
  • *Butter can be substituted for your oil of choice, olive oil or avocado. 
  • *Gluten free breadcrumbs are totally fine. 
  • *Dairy Free Parmesan cheese is totally fine. 
  • *Gluten Free Flour works great in this recipe. 
  • *Milk Substitutes also work fine.

BACON BALSAMIC DEVILED EGGS

  • 18 eggs
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • ¾ cup of clean mayo
  • ¼ cup and 2 tablespoons of minced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¾ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon celery salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  1. Boil Eggs
  2. Peel Eggs and half lengthwise. 
  3. Separate yolks from whites, placing yolks in a bowl. 
  4. Cook bacon, drain grease and chop
  5. Mash yolks with fork. Add bacon, mayo, onion, honey, vinegar, celery salt, and pepper. Stir until combined. 
  6. Spoon mixture into egg whites and garnish with parsley
  • A Few Notes:
  • *If you have an egg allergy maybe just skip this one 🙂 

Let me know if you are planning on make any of these recipes! I’m excited to try them all out on Sunday and maybe I’ll even do an insta story or two of all the chaos.

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Two Tree Birds

Hi! I’m Katie. A few years ago I was working in the tech world, then, I had my first kid and just like that I became a stay at home mom. When you are a new mom you have All. The. Feels... So I dabbled in blogging a bit to process through being a new mom and all the craziness that goes along with it. Shortly after I started blogging, I stopped...the other thing besides having all the feels as a new mom is you have zero brain function, zero extra time and zero motivation to do anything other than keep yourself and your tiny people alive. Fast forward five years and my husband, Jordan and I have 2 wonderful boys - Briggs and Cade. They are pretty much our favorite people on the planet. I am still a stay at home mom and I’m loving almost every minute of it ;) Now you know a little bit about me, hopefully you’ll learn a little more if you stick around.

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