Thanksgiving is a holiday that is about celebrating friends and family and being thankful for the many blessings in our lives. I love this type of holiday - any excuse to spend a day creating delicious food, feeding those that I love, and partaking in a mouth watering feast is a day well spent in my books. Thanksgiving is also the perfect opportunity to showcase how delectable nutrient-dense, Paleo foods can be to loved ones who may not be familiar with the Paleo lifestyle.
Sticking to your Paleo diet during your Thanksgiving is entirely possible, absolutely delicious and relatively simple. Most of the dishes traditionally served are naturally Paleo with a few easy modifications. It does not have to be a boring stereotypical Paleo feast of meat with a side of meat, as some might assume. There are plenty of Paleo options available to replace those highly processed, regular favorites as well as a great opportunity to try new Paleo dishes that can eventually become your family’s traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Although not necessarily a part of your regular Paleo lifestyle, Thanksgiving dinner may also be the time to try some Paleo compliant baked goods, breads and treats.
A traditional Thanksgiving dinner often includes a few options that require a little tweaking (or eliminating altogether) to make your delectable dinner perfectly delicious and Paleo friendly:
Bread and Dinner Rolls
The easiest solution is to just skip the bread and dinner rolls which are often store-bought, over-processed gluten bombs. There are countless Paleo side dish options to satisfy any and all appetites Often, I choose not to include them in my menu planning and for the most part, they are not missed. When trying to woo over friends and relatives, you may want to include a really unique and super- tasty Paleo bread or dinner roll options to quiet even the most prolific of critics.
There is no need to feel challenged here. Everyone wants stuffing. I love the idea of stuffing inside the turkey, soaking up all that juicy goodness, but if you are not using bread or grains of some kind, that technique is hard to execute well. You can use your favorite stuffing recipe and substitute a Paleo friendly bread to recreate your traditional stuffing or you can stick with the stuffing-on-the-side concept. A super yummy grain-free, dairy-free recipe is below!
Chef Pete has the perfect turkey and stuffing recipe guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser.
Remember to keep the turkey carcass to make some bone broth after (or if that is too overwhelming and/or time consuming for you, pick yours up from us)
A quick note on gravy seems to fit in here. I have always made pan gravy with broth made from boiling the giblets. In the past I have successfully used either coconut flour or arrowroot starch to thicken. My family’s consensus is arrowroot thickened gravy provides a smoother, more traditional texture. Use arrowroot powder the same way you would any thickener. First, mix with some cold water, then pour into your pan or pot on the stove, bring to a simmer and let thicken a few minutes while stirring constantly.
Yes, you can eat starchy vegetables on a Paleo diet. Root vegetables in all different forms are traditional at Thanksgiving dinner. Root vegetables are also a solid part of a Paleo nutrition plan. You can roast, mash, scallop, oven-fry and bake any variety and combination that are your family’s favorites. Spice up baked or mashed sweet potatoes and/or butternut squash with the added Thanksgiving flavors of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, sprinkle with coconut sugar or a little maple syrup and roast until golden. Mashed celery root and rutabaga is a tasty alternative to the Paleo staple of mashed cauliflower other than for those who want to keep their starches to a minimum.
You could also try Chef Pete’s Sweet Potatoes and Pears
Or some decadent Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
Roasted Taro can serve as your untraditional alternative to roasted potatoes.
If you know you have some really hard to please guests coming for dinner, a little bacon used in vegetable and side dishes may sway the most stubornof resistors.
If you enjoy pumpkin pie for dessert at Thanksgiving, you are in luck. Making a Paleo friendly version of this classic is really easy and tasty. You can also make variations on the original and create an updated (upgraded) new favorite.
This Chocolate Pumpkin Pie is sure to be a crowd pleaser!
Apple Crisp may be your preference or another dish to add.
And of course a side of Paleo Banana Ice Cream topped with Coconut Chips is the perfect ending to your Paleo meal.
Those family and friends who on insistent on not giving up their own personal versions of traditional (non-Paleo) gluten-and-dairy-and-whatever-else-filled staples should not be the source od added holiday entertaining stress. Allow them to bring it for themselves and whoever else want to share it with them. This is your Thanksgiving serving the foods you love and enjoy whilst nourishing your family in the best way you know how. The food happens to also be really delicious and can cater to everyone’s tastes and preferences. No need to make special exceptions.