October 11 , 2014
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I’ve been hearing a few comments along the lines of “This weekend is going to be hard to eat well; so many treats!”. I’m here to say that it doesn’t have to be that way! In fact, I’ve made many holidays meals for friends and family that have been entirely grain-free, dairy-free and legume-free – in other words, totally Paleo-style.
“But”, you say, “I’m not making the meal”. Well, we will get to that later.
If you are making the entire meal, or even just taking one dish, there are plenty of ways to make traditional Thanksgiving dishes Paleo friendly. Let’s take a quick look at a typical Thanksgiving menu:
- Roast turkey
- Stuffing (or dressing)
- Cranberry sauce
- Green beans or brussel sprouts
- Mashed potatoes or candied yams
- Roasted vegetables
- And of course, pumpkin pie!
Overall, it’s a good meal already and fairly easy to substitute out the less desirable ingredients of the meal. Let’s start with stuffing.
Stuffing or dressing is generally made with bread cubes. Instead, try substituting sausage for bread. Here’s my recipe:
Holiday Sausage Stuffing
- 6 turkey or pork sausages (gluten and sugar free)
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 4 ribs of celery, finely diced
- 1 lbs mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
- 1 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
- 2 tsp+ poultry seasoning (or your own combo)3 tbsp coconut oil (or ghee or butter, grass-fed, if tolerated)
- salt and pepper to taste
In a frying pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp oil of your choice and the onions. Sauté until onions are translucent and add the sausages (without the casing, so it’s just like ground meat), poultry spice and salt. Stir frequently, until the sausage is cooked through. Now, by this point my frying pan is full, so I put the contents in a mixing bowl. Next, cook the celery and mushrooms in the remaining oil (use less or more as desired). Add the celery and mushrooms to the sausage mix, along with the nuts and cranberries. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed. Stir well and place in a casserole pan. This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated. Before cooking, add about 1/4 cup of turkey drippings (or chicken stock). Cover with tin foil and bake at 375F for 30 min or until heated through (it may take longer if previously refrigerated).
Next up on the menu, cranberry sauce.
Cranberry sauce is traditionally filled with sugar. If you read the directions for cranberry sauce on the back of the bag of fresh cranberries, it calls for 1 cup of sugar! Sure cranberries are tart but 1 cup!! Here’s an alternative that’s a little easier on your blood sugar.
- 4 cups of fresh cranberries
- 1 cup of orange juice
- zest from one orange
- 2 tbsp up to 1/4 c unpasteurized honey or maple syrup
Wash the cranberries. In a medium sized sauce pan, add the cranberries, orange juice and zest. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Simmer until the berries all burst. Remove from heat and stir in honey. Enjoy!
Now the vegetables. Unless they are slathered in soy bean oil or some other industrial seed oil, it’s all good. And if you are sensitive to dairy, choose alternative healthy oils for the mashed potatoes or skip it altogether. My favourite fats – pastured bacon fat or grass-fed butter.
And now, the best part of the meal! Pie!
For pie, I usually follow Everyday Paleo’s recipe – it’s easy and yummy! I even made one tonight. It goes really well with vanilla coconut ice cream.
Here’s the link (she also has recipes for an entire Thanksgiving meal): http://everydaypaleo.com/thanksgiving-recipes-and-everyday-paleo-pumpkin-pie-cooking-demo/
What to do when you are eating at someone else’s house… here are some tips:
- Offer to take a dish that you know you can eat.
- Pick and choose side dishes that are less likely to contain grains and dairy.
- Skip dessert and make pie at home.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Leave a comment and let me know what you ate for Thanksgiving dinner!