This post was written by Brian Kavanagh, AKA, The Sophisticated Caveman, and originally appeared on his blog.
Thanksgiving is upon us, a holiday associated with gratitude, family, and over-indulgence.
Many people may assume that to remain “healthy” during the holidays is next to impossible. However, having a Paleo Thanksgiving isn’t as challenging as one may first assume. To help navigate the holiday while avoiding gluten and other no-no Paleo ingredients, I’ve compiled a list of 37 Paleo Thanksgiving recipes from some of my favorite Paleo blogs around the web. You can use one or two of these recipes to add to your holiday traditions, or even use this list to create an entire Thanksgiving menu comprised of Paleo recipes! Without further ado…
1.) Dry-Brined Turkey – Paleo Comfort Foods
Dry brining turkey is convenient because it doesn’t require a vessel to house the turkey while brining. It also makes for an incredibly tender and moist turkey that isn’t mushy.
2.) Spatchcocked Turkey – Nom Nom Paleo
This turkey recipe butterflies the bird and incorporates butter or ghee in the cooking process, making for a deliciously crispy yet succulent turkey your family will be sure to love!
3.) Stuffed Turkey Breast – The Primal Desire
This recipe for stuffed Turkey breast is an unusual twist on the Thanksgiving classic bird. It incorporates a variety of holiday ingredients like figs, bacon, celery, onion, rosemary and sage to give this bird a ton of flavor!
4.) Paleo Herb Roasted Turkey Leg Dinner for Two – The Modern Butterfly
Having a small Thanksgiving this year? This recipe for roasted turkey legs with all the classic Thanksgiving herbs is perfect for a smaller, quieter holiday without all the massive prep work!
5.) Simple Roast Turkey Breast – Cook Eat Paleo
This recipe for simple Paleo roasted turkey breast is another easy recipe to use for Thanksgiving if you are having a smaller holiday.
1.) Best Ever Paleo Stuffing – Zenbelly
This stuffing recipe will have you believing it can’t possibly be gluten free, let alone Paleo. It incorporates all the fall favorite flavors, like ground pork, sage, thyme, rosemary, diced apples, cranberries, and pecans.
2.) Paleo Slow Cooker Stuffing – Rubies & Radishes
Another stuffing recipe using classic fall flavors like apples, pecans, celery and onions, this stuffing recipe is made in the slow cooker – leaving your oven free for that giant turkey!
3.) Grain-Free Homestyle Stuffing – Mommypotamus
This stuffing recipe is a Paleo take on the classic stuffing recipe. It looks and tastes like the homestyle stuffing yo mama used to make! This recipe uses dates and apples to sweeten it a bit.
4.) Sausage and Cauliflower Rice Thanksgiving Stuffing – The Whole Smiths
This recipe for Sausage and Cauliflower Rice Stuffing is a true Paleo recipe that can also be made Whole30 compliant if you use ground pork. This unique recipe utilizes cauliflower rice, parsnips, leeks, collard greens, currants, and slivered almonds for an eclectic variety of ingredients, making it extremely nutrient dense as well!
5.) Grain-free Traditional Stuffing – Palid & Paleo
This is the closest Paleo stuffing recipe you will get to the real deal. This recipe uses a grain free bread recipe, along with the traditional onion, celery, and chicken stock to pull everything together.
This recipe screams Thanksgiving! Most Thanksgiving yam recipes are topped with marshmallows, which are so NOT Paleo, but this recipe uses candied pecans to top the insanely delicious and creamy whipped yams.
2.) Sweet Potato Casserole – Paleo Leap
Sweet potato casserole is a wonderful side option for a Paleo Thanksgiving. Sweet potatoes are much more nutritious than regular white potatoes, and this colorful dish is made extra sweet with chopped cinnamon walnuts.
3.) Walnut & Coconut Whipped Sweet Potato Casserole – The Freckled Foodie
Another sweet potato casserole recipe, this one uses walnuts and coconut flakes as a topping to the casserole. Sweet potatoes are sure to please any crowd!
4.) Hasselback Sweet Potatoes – The Wonky Spatula
This recipe for Hassleback sweet potatoes is a unique recipe one doesnt often see for Thanksgiving, but is delicious nonetheless! It is also much simpler than having to peel, cut, and mash all those sweet potatoes!
Other Veggies & Sides:
1.) Mock Mashed Potatoes – Grass Fed Girl
These faux “mashed potatoes” are a classic Paleo version of mashed potatoes with an added twist: turnips. Turnips are included in the recipe, but are optional if you want a more traditional Paleo mashed fauxtato.
2.) Beetroot Salad With Garlic and Parsley – Comfort Bites
Beets are a classic Fall vegetable, though not often seen at the Thanksgiving table. Why not jazz your traditional holiday menu up a bit with this recipe and throw in an autumn beetroot salad with garlic and parsley?
3.) Easy Paleo Roasted Carrots – Paleo Newbie
Roasted carrots are a Thanksgiving staple. This recipe is extra special because these are no ordinary roasted carrots. These carrots are seasoned with salt, garlic, savory herbs, and a touch of raw honey to sweeten the deal, (since Thanksgiving just isn’t sweet enough!)
4.) Rosemary Balsamic Butternut Squash – Stupid Easy Paleo
Thanksgiving is full of orange foods! Butternut squash is a lovely vegetable to have at your Thanksgiving dinner, and this recipe has a gourmet flair to it with the help of the rosemary infused balsamic glaze.
5.) Paleo Creamed Spinach – The Sophisticated Caveman
Creamed spinach just makes you think of a fancy steakhouse, doesn’t it? It can also be a side dish frequently seen during the Fall holiday season. This recipe Paleo-fies the recipe by using coconut cream rather than traditional dairy; though that doesn’t mean this paleo creamed spinach isn’t simply amazing!
6.) Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts – Virginia Is For Hunter-Gatherers
Brussel sprouts may not be the favorite dish at Thanksgiving, but it certainly is a healthy one! This recipe brings out the best flavor in brussel sprouts with the slight nuttiness of avocado oil and ghee paired with pink salt.
7.) Mashed Carrots with Crispy Leeks & Rosemary – Grazed & Enthused
Mashed carrots are a great lower carb options than starchier veggies like potatoes. This recipe is versatile and delicious, and is topped with leeks and dried rosemary for a savory layer atop the sweetness of the carrots.
8.) Easy Mashed Cauliflower – Jay’s Baking Me Crazy
A purely Paleo side dish, mashed cauliflower is another fabulous alternative to white mashed potatoes, and is much lower carb yet does not sacrifice on texture!
9.) Baked Maple Mustard Squash – Paleo Gone Sassy
Butternut squash paired with maple and mustard – need we say more? Sweet and slightly tangy, this dish would be an absolute hit with any kids!
1.) Walnut Sweet Potato Biscuits with Mushroom Gravy – Grok Grub
An interesting take on the classic biscuit, this biscuit recipe uses fresh roasted sweet potatoes and ground walnuts as the flour to create a perfect Fall Paleo biscuit.
2.) Thanksgiving Bread – My Heart Beets
Thanksgiving stuffing…in a loaf of bread! That’s what this Paleo bread tastes like. You can smear cranberry sauce on it or cube it up and even try toasting. It subs well for the stuffing and is a cinch to whip up.
3.) Paleo Dinner Rolls – Paleo Spirit
This recipe for Paleo dinner rolls is right on the money. Tapioca starch is a wonderful Paleo friendly flour that lends a stretchiness to Paleo doughs similar to traditional gluten filled flour. This recipe uses a few simple ingredients that work together to create a Paleo dinner roll recipe that can stand up to bread lovers everywhere.
Sauces and Gravies:
1.) Cranberry Sauce – The Domestic Man
Thanksgiving would just not be Thanksgiving without the cranberry sauce! Even if you’re not a huge fan of the red stuff, this recipe might sway you to the other side. This recipe for Paleo cranberry sauce is made with fresh cranberries and plenty of natural sweeteners like fresh squeezed orange juice, coconut sugar, a hint of ginger and honey, so you can be sure it will be hit with everyone.
2.) Paleo Pear-Ginger Cranberry Sauce – Rubies & Radishes
This Paleo cranberry sauce adds a sweet and smooth twist to traditional cranberry sauce, as it uses pears and honey as the natural sweeteners. A hint of ginger gives the sauce a bit more depth to its flavor and gives it some holiday zip.
3.) Turkey Gravy – The Domestic Man
Gravy is an absolute necessity at Thanksgiving, Paleo or no. But we prefer Paleo. And this recipe is almost Paleo, with the exception of the whole cream in the recipe. However off the record, coconut cream or homemade cashew milk could be a good substitute for a fully Paleo gravy.
4.) Homemade Bouillon – How We Flourish
Most broth in packages is not so healthy. Even the “Paleo” versions, while they may be Paleo compliant and way healthier, wouldn’t you still reaallyy rather have homemade? This recipe for homemade bouillon cubes is super simple and will keep for months on end until ready to use. It would be fabulous paired with some leftover turkey!
5.) Umami Gravy – Nom Nom Paleo
This Paleo recipe for Umami gravy is packed full of ingredients that boost umami: bone broth, tomato paste, mushrooms, and fish sauce. The ingredients may be surprising for a Thanksgiving meal, but the flavors coalesce and elicit strong gravy-lovin feelings.
1.) Apple Crisp – Primal Palate
Fall and apple crisp go together like birthday and cake. This apple crisp is completely Paleo though, so it is gluten free and grain free, and bursting with Fall flavors like maple sugar, butter, apple pie spices, coconut flour, and blanched almond flour.
2.) Paleo Chocolate Pie – Nutrional Grail
Nothing is more decadent than a simple chocolate silk pie, but the ingredients in it are usually full of sugar and other junk. This chocolate silk pie however, is actually one of the healthiest pies you can eat. Made with protein rich eggs, healthy fat from coconut milk, fiber from almonds and dessicated coconuts, natural sugar from dates, and antioxidants from cacao, literally almost every ingredient has some health benefit or nutritional value to it. Yayy for Primal desserts!
3.) Pumpkin Pie Bites – The Whole Smiths
Another dessert recipe that actually contains nutrients, these Paleo pumpkin pie bites contain real pumpkin, cashew butter, cacao butter, almond flour and ground pecans.
4.) Pumpkin Pie – Personally Paleo
Pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving is a given, so why not make it a little healthy? Pumpkin naturally contains lots of Vitamin A and C, and is full of fiber. When you pair that with eggs, coconut milk, classic pumpkin spice, raw honey and maple syrup, you have a real food recipe that your family and guests will savor.
5.) Pecan Tart – Peace of Paleo
Pecan tarts are a classic dish down south, and good old southern comfort food during the Fall holiday season is the perfect ending to a meal. This Paleo pecan tart uses heaps of pecans, eggs, dates, molasses, butter, and coconut flour to make one singularly sumptuous pie.
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*All stores and prices subject to availability, costs are approximate and may change from season to season*
Brian Kavanagh, also known as The Sophisticated Caveman, is a creative professional with a special place in his heart for food. After struggling for years with weight loss, he recently discovered that he could still satisfy his passion for cooking amazing meals while using clean, healthy ingredients. He shares recipes and lifestyle tips on his blog, The Sophisticated Caveman. You can also follow Brian on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.