I wrote this clean Thanksgiving post two years ago and I have referenced it for the past two Thanksgivings. I love having all the recipes for the entire day in one place, but I’ve made some tweaks after using these recipes for the last two years. It is time to make some updates to this post. Below are the updates and new dishes for this year, enjoy.
2018 POST WITH UPDATES: 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.
- UPDATED – Cranberry Sauce
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Green Bean Casserole
- UPDATED – Deviled Eggs
- NEW – Gravy
- NEW – Stuffing
- NEW – Fresh Bread
- NEW – Blueberry Pie
- NEW – Pumpkin Loaf
I have zero updates to this. It has always been a hit.
- 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!!)
- 1 Large Bunch fresh thyme
- 1 whole lemon, halved
- 1 Spanish Onion, quartered
- 1 Head of Garlic
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- 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.
- 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 (this always makes me laugh because it looks like my husband is giving the turkey a massage), salt and pepper the outside of the turkey. Tie the legs together with a string and tuck the wing tips under the body.
- Cover with tinfoil and into the oven it goes. Remove the tinfoil the last half hour or so of cooking to get a nice golden color on the skin.
- Roast the turkey until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh. And the thigh temp is 165. 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.
- 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.Turkey math is the hardest math there is, using this formula our turkey should of roasted this year (2021) for FIVE hours but it was done in THREE!
- If you aren’t doing a butter you can substitute duck fat, I’ve seen it at both Target and Walmart.
- You can add a brine to this the night before but we’ve never done it and our turkey has come out great every year. It feels like a lot of work. (shoulder shrug)
*updates to this because we weren’t fans of the orange juice and zest in the pervious recipe.
- 1 Bag of fresh cranberries
- ½ cup of maple syrup
- ½ cup of water
- Squeeze of Lemon Juice
- Rinse and pat the cranberries dry. Toss any squishy berries, there’s no place for those disgusting things in your perfect cranberry sauce.
- In a medium saucepan combine your all your ingredients. 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.
- Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool.
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.
- This year we had to add a little additional water, the cranberries hadn’t fully popped and the mixture had already thickened. It didn’t screw it up and it all worked out fine.
*This salad is perfect and needs absolutely no updating, seriously, make it.
- 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)
- 1/4 cup of oil – I use avocado 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
- Dump salad in your fancy salad bowl
- Toss in the almonds, oranges and onion
- Mix the dressing ingredients well
- 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
*This was a fan fav, but I made some adjustments this year due to dietary needs and it was still a hit. Adjustments are noted below.
- 3 medium sweet potatoes peeled and diced
- ⅓ a cup of milk (I used almond milk)
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs (we skipped the eggs altogether and I did NOT even do an egg substitute and it was still great.)
- 1 ½ cups pecans, chopped
- 1 Tablespoons butter
- 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- 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.
- 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.
- Pour your mixture into an 8×8 dish
- Time for the topping! Combine all topping ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
- Sprinkle topping mixture over your sweet potato mash.
- Cover the dish with foil and back for 20 minutes.
- 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.OR don’t do a substitute at all and it will still be fine!
- 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.
- 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
*This one is the most involved and takes a lot of work but it was a big hit. I wouldn’t change anything other than a milk substitute.
- 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
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour (I used GF)
- ½ cup veggie stock
- 1 cup of milk (I used almond)
- ½ cup freshly-grated parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- 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) **update, no need to blanch, I haven’t done it the past two years. totally fine. **update for 2021, I didn’t even boil them this year and it was totally fine, just let them cook while baking in the oven.)
- 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…)
- 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.
- Transfer the bread crumb mixture to the onion and add parmesan, salt and pepper. Stir.
- 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.)
- Add mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes
- Add flour and saute for 1 more minute, stirring frequently
- Add Veggie stock and stir until flour is evenly dissolved. (pouring slowly and stirring helps this process)
- Add Milk and Parmesan, stir to combine
- Continue cooking until the sauce thickens then remove from heat, salt and pepper.
- Combine green beans and mushroom sauce in 9 x 13 cooking pan.
- Sprinkle onion mixture on top
- Bake for 25 minutes or until the onion mixture is crispy
- 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
*Another big hit but I am making a few tweaks to this one based off what I changed while cooking in years past.
- 18 eggs
- 6 slices of bacon (we used turkey bacon this year and I would honestly just skip this step if you have someone who doesn’t eat pork because turkey bacon adds nothing, it sucks.)
- ¾ cup of clean mayo
- ¼ cup and 2 tablespoons of minced red onion
- ¾ teaspoon of balsamic vinegar reduction
- ¼ teaspoon celery salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Boil Eggs
- Peel Eggs and half lengthwise.
- Separate yolks from whites, placing yolks in a bowl.
- Cook bacon, drain grease and chop
- Mash yolks with fork. Add bacon, mayo, onion, vinegar, celery salt, and pepper. Stir until combined.
- Spoon mixture into egg whites and garnish with parsley
- A Few Notes:
- If you have an egg allergy maybe just skip this one 🙂
- I like primal kitchen mayo, or make it myself.
* This was my first year making this. I thought it was blah, but that could be because I don’t like gravy, other people liked it.
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 4 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp chopped fresh sage
- 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 2-3 cups chicken broth
- In a medium saucepan melt butter, add onion and cook until it’s soft. (honestly, if you don’t know how to do this maybe you shouldn’t be tackling an entire Thanksgiving dinner :)) Add garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- Stir in herbs and flour, continuously whisking for an additional minute.
- Gradually whisk in broth and let it simmer for five minutes. If it is too think add additional broth. ** I ended up adding a lot of extra broth.
- Season with salt and pepper.
A Few Notes:
- I’ve never made this recipe, we shall see how it goes
- You can use your turkey drippings instead of chicken broth, I just don’t know if timing will work out to do this for us. If you do, make sure to strain your drippings.
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 and 3/4 cups stuffing bread
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1/2 cup diced carrots
- 1/2 cup diced mushroom
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 2- 2 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 tsp sage
- 1 tsp thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Heat a large saute pan and add butter. Saute carrots,celery,onion,garlic and mushroom. Add additional butter if veggies start to stick and cook until tender. Remove from heat transfer to bowl and allow to cool slightly.
- Chop bread into small bite sized cube pieces.
- In a large bowl add bread stuffing and veggies to toss together. Add in seasoning and chicken broth. Mix until moist (EWWWW) but not soaking.
- Add salt and Pepper to taste.
- Coat casserole dish with your oil of choice and add stuffing mix. Cover with foil and bake 20-25 minutes, uncover and cook additional 10 minutes or until slightly crispy on top.
- A few Notes
- You can use a gluten free bread, sour dough, homemade or whole what. Really whatever your bread of choice is, it should work with this recipe.
- After making it this year (2021) I would recommend chopping your bread the night before and leaving it out so it’s stale.
For the filling
- 5 Cups Blueberries
- Squeeze of a Lemon
- 1/3 – 1/2 a cup of maple syrup
- 2-3 Tbsp arrowroot powder
- Dash of cinnamon (2 or 3 shakes)
For the crust
- 1 1/2 sticks cold butter
- 3 Cups Flour – I use Red Mills Gluten Free flour
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 1/3 cup avocado oil
- 6-8 tbsp cold water
- Dash of maple syrup
- Mix filling ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- You can do this step by hand, I did the only time I’ve made it, but if you have a food processor it would be easier. Put the flour and salt in a food processor, pour in oil and a little maple syrup if you are doing that, drop in cold butter one tablespoon at at time and the cold water a little at a time until dough and butter mix into peas sized balls.
- Dump mixture out and form into ball. At this point it calls for you to refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes. If you dont have time for that don’t worry, I didn’t either and it turned out just fine when I made it
- Cut dough ball into two equal parts. One will be for the bottom of your pie, the other for the top. Roll out thinly on a well flour dusted cutting board.
- Cut to fit your pie pan and put your bottom dough piece into the bottom of a well oiled pie pan.
- Stir and add blueberry mixture to pie pan
- I strongly suggest you have a child help you with the next part so if it isn’t instagram picture perfect you can blame it on the tiny human. Either cut strips to make a design on top of the pie or lay the entire round piece of dough on top. If you decide to do the whole thing make sure to cut some slits in the top.
- Pop in the oven on a sheet pan in case it overflows and cook for 25-35 minutes.
*a few notes:
- I would cook this the day before your even to go ahead and get it out of the way
- Even if it doesn’t look pretty it will still taste good.
- 2021 update. this was a big hit. My dough was a bit too wet, I added too much cold water, so it needed to cook longer than the instructions and it was still fine.
- 2 Cups Flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp pumpkin spice
- 1 stick butter – melted
- 1/2 cup – 1 cup maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- 1 can 15 oz pumpkin puree
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees
- Mix all your ingredients – I typically melt butter first, then do my dry ingredients, followed by my wet ingredients and mix.
- Grease your pan of choice and put mixture in pan. I have made these as muffins, in large bread pan, small loaf pans, really any pan will work!
- Depending on you pan your cook time will vary. For bread pans it takes right an hour, for small muffins it takes about 12-15 minutes.
A few notes:
- I make this almost weekly as muffins for my boys. I always make it with Red Mills Gluten Free flour and it works well.
- This is another one you could cook the day before
- 6 to 6 and 1/2 cups Flour
- 2 1/4 cups filtered water
- 2 1/4 tsp yeast
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 Tbsp Avocado Oil
- 1 Tbsp Salt
- Mix yeast, small squeeze of honey (about 1/2 a tbsp) and slightly warmed filtered water in a bowl. Wait until it bubbles or looks frothy, this how you know the yeast is active.
- Once Yeast is active add additional honey, oil, salt and slowly mix in flour. I mix 2 cups of flour in at at time until dough forms a slightly stick ball. Kneed for a few mins and sit aside in a clean bowl to rise for 2 hours.
- Once your dough has risen, punch down and separate into two equal balls.
- Grease two bread pans and dust with flour, form dough balls to fit into bread pans and let them rise for 1/5-2 hours.
- Preheat Oven to 375 and cook for 30-35 minutes. A good way to tell if your bread is ready is to knock on the loaf, if it sounds hollow it is ready, if it doesn’t, stick it back in for a few.
We are doing our Thanksgiving the Sunday before Thanksgiving, so if any of these new recipes totally bomb, I’ll keep you posted. If you make any of them let me know or tag me, I love to see people making recipes I’ve spent a few years cleaning up and tweaking. Happy Cooking!
2 thoughts on “Clean Thanksgiving Menu”
Katie, I don’t have words to thank you for this post‼️I can imagine all the work it entails, so thank you again❤️
You are so welcome ♥️ I like having my recipes all in one place for the day