As a chill returns to the air and the days grow shorter, Thanksgiving memories help to warm my heart. Thanksgiving has always been a time for family in my life. Most years we traveled to be with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins to gather around the table to share delicious food made from scratch with love and care. The master of these ceremonies was my grandmother, the matriarch of our family. She always made sure there was enough food to feed everyone, and at least one impromptu guest. And oh the smells that came from her kitchen! The memory of her perfectly roasted turkey, rich and creamy mashed potatoes, homemade gravy with giblets, world-famous oyster stuffing, green bean casserole, gelatin “salad,” and special pumpkin pie still makes my mouth water. As I grew older, I was one of the chosen few invited to join her in the kitchen, and my love for cooking—and appreciation for the soul healing power of food—was born.
As I transitioned into the role of family chef, the importance of choosing clean, organic food has come to the center table. I want the food I serve to not only taste wonderful and be filled with love but also to be filled with nutrition and devoid of toxins. The healing power of food is multiplied when you not only cook from the heart, as my grandmother did but also when you chose the highest quality ingredients.
Here, I have rounded up some of my favorite good4u Thanksgiving recipes (gluten-free and vegan recipes included!) with steps on how to build your best holiday meal yet. My secret to making them the best you’ve ever made? Love, of course, and always using the highest-quality ingredients you can find!
Prepare the Perfect Turkey
Start building your traditional Thanksgiving meal with the centerpiece—a free-range turkey. Choosing a free-range turkey from Natural Grocers ensures that the turkey was raised without antibiotics, had plenty of outdoor space, and was fed a non-GMO vegetarian diet. These turkeys are always free of preservatives and gluten and are the freshest turkeys available.
- Our recipe for Perfect Turkey Every Time is sure to be a crowd pleaser!
- An alternative option is to slow cook your turkey with this recipe.
- Brining is one of my favorite ways to keep the turkey moist and flavorful. Check out this recipe.
- Slathering the turkey with herbed butter is another great way to build flavor and moisture.
- There are many other creative options for building flavor by brining, rubbing, buttering, crusting, and glazing your turkey. Decide on the flavor theme for your meal and then enjoy the plethora of creative ideas on the internet.
Next, add a few side dishes that will make your guests’ mouths water. Take the guilt out of all of those buttery, creamy dishes by choosing pasture-based dairy that has a healthier fatty acid profile. All of the dairy products sold at Natural Grocers are from pasture-based dairies, so adding butter to your mashed potatoes will never taste better! And don’t forget to forgo the toxic pesticides by always choosing organic produce to make your favorite vegetable sides. Using organic produce takes your side dishes to the next level of healthy!
- Try a nutrient-dense alternative to mashed potatoes with this recipe for mashed cauliflower, or this one for mashed sweet potatoes.
- If your go-to Thanksgiving dish is macaroni and cheese, try this low-carb and a more nutrient dense recipe for cauliflower cheese, or this dairy-free vegan recipe for cauliflower n’ cheeze.
- Make use of the whole plant with this tasty and easy recipe for roasted carrots with carrot top pesto. Who knew carrot tops could be so delicious?
- Take advantage of the Brussels sprout harvest with this recipe for garlic and bacon Brussels sprouts, or this recipe for Brussels sprout slaw.
- Lighten it up a bit by adding seasonal greens to your table with this delicious kale apple salad.
- No holiday meal is complete for my family without green bean casserole, but if you are looking for an easier and lighter option, try these garlic green beans.
- As an alternative to traditional sweet potato casserole, try this recipe for sweet potato apple bake, or this one for butternut squash with apples.
- Your guests’ taste buds will rejoice when they taste this bread-free dressing! But if you prefer traditional, this recipe for oyster stuffing is a tasty option.
- And don’t forget the gravy! This recipe uses turkey giblets for extra flavor and nutrition.
Desserts and Sweets
No Thanksgiving feast is complete without a sweet treat! Even though this part of the meal is the most indulgent, you can kick up the nutrition by using organic ingredients, pastured dairy, and organic free-range eggs. Using these high-quality ingredients in your family favorites will not only make your taste buds happy but will make your heart glad.
- This recipe for coconut milk pumpkin pie pudding is a tasty dairy-free and gluten-free option that is low-carb and totally delicious!
- For a simple recipe that you can use throughout the holiday season, try this delicious honey toffee.
- Indulge without the guilt with your very own pie! Mini pie, that is. These individual hand-held apple pies are not only delicious but are also vegan and gluten-free.
- If pie is a stretch for your timeline, try this recipe for apple crisp, or this one for berry crisp.
- For those who agree that chocolate is the only dessert that really counts, try this unique recipe for decadent chocolate cupcake bites. Engage your guests’ creativity with a simple decorating station complete with coconut cream frosting and fun sprinkles and toppers.
Of course, Thanksgiving leftovers are some of the most anticipated and sought after parts of the celebration. Make the most of what is left from your holiday table with these ideas.
- This recipe for turkey pesto casserole from our friends Charles and Julie Mayfield is a delicious way to get every last bit out of your free-range turkey.
- This recipe for turkey hash in a hurry is the perfect antidote to the many hours spent in the kitchen making the Thanksgiving meal. Perfect for the morning after!
- Last but not least, don’t forget to make use of the turkey bones with this recipe for wellness broth.
Whether it is family or friends that gather around the table in gratitude this year, dishes made with love from quality organic ingredients are bound to not only fill bellies but also fill the heart and soul.
Cheers to you and yours this holiday season!