Recipes: Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner Menu Ideas

2012-11-08T20:36:17+00:00 Holidays, Recipes|

Who wants to be stuffed this holiday season with a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner? If the thought of cooking a turkey for hours and spending a small fortune on dinner ruffles your frugal feathers, then give these Thanksgiving menu ideas a try.

With this menu I’ve put together an easy to prepare, low fat, and more frugal alternative to Thanksgiving turkey dinner. Some of these simple recipes are also awesome for those cooking a first Thanksgiving dinner. Since Thanksgiving in Canada has passed, I’ll share my meal with my American friends.


Rolled Turkey Breast with Artisan Bread Stuffing

Opting for a rolled turkey breast over a whole stuffed turkey can save you lots of effort and money this Thanksgiving. Besides, serving smaller portions of healthier meat is better for you.

Turkey Ingredients:

Go light with a simple turkey breast!

  • 1 single boneless turkey breast (1-1/2 lb/750 g)
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) each dried Italian herb seasoning, salt, and pepper

Stuffing Ingredients:

Artisan bread comes in a wide variety of flavors. Pick you favorite for this easy and quick recipe!

  • 3 cups (750 mL) cubed artisan bread
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (250 mL) chopped fennel
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried italian herb seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped black olives
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh parsley

This stuffing recipe makes extra, so don’t worry if it doesn’t fully fit into your rolled turkey breast. Wrap the extra in foil and heat in your oven.



  1. Stuffing: In food processor, pulse bread until in coarse crumbs, set aside.
  2. In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat: cook onion, garlic, fennel, herb seasoning, salt and pepper, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to large bowl. Add bread, olives and parsley. Drizzle with chicken broth and toss to combine, set aside.
  3. Turkey with Stuffing: With a sharp knife held horizontally at thick long side of turkey, cut in half to within 1 inch (2.5 cm) of opposite side. Open like book.
  4. Cover with waxed paper, pound to 1/2 inch (1 cm) thickness. Spread with stuffing, leaving 1-inch border on all sides.
  5. Starting at skinless side, roll up. Tie securely with string at 2-inch intervals. If made ahead of time: wrap and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.
  6. Combine oil, herb seasoning, salt and pepper; brush over turkey. Place on rack in roasting pan. Add 1 cup (250 mL) water.
  7. Roast in 375°F (190°C) oven until no longer pink inside and meat thermometer inserted in centre measures 165°F (74°C), about 1-1/4 hours.
  8. Transfer to cutting board and tent with foil. Let stand for 15 minutes before slicing.

Potatoless Cauliflower Mash

Eat less starch this year and serve a lighter version of “mashed potatoes” with a Cauliflower Mash. This healthy twist on mashed potatoes is easy and delicious. Makes four servings.


  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) white miso
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp (4 mL) of psyllium powder (thickens the mash)
  • 1 tsp (4 mL) poultry seasoning


In a food processor, process garlic into small pieces. Add the cauliflower in batches. Add rest of ingredients and process until smooth. This recipe can be eaten raw or slightly heated to your preference.

Serve with miso gravy (below) as a healthy gravy option.

Healthy Low Fat Miso Gravy

Stop smothering your Thanksgiving dinner in fatty bad fats. Try this delicious and healthy “gravy” recipe instead. Find miso in the refrigerator at your health food store. Makes 4 servings.


  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) miso (milder white miso is preferable)
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 orange, peeled and seeded
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil
  • 1 cup (250 mL) water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp pitted dates


In a blender, blend miso, vinegar, garlic, olive oil, water, orange, and dates until smooth. Serve with Cauliflower Mash.

Leafy Green Salad

No healthy meal is complete without a salad of greens. So get your favorite green leafy greens (iceberg lettuce does not count), and add some colorful veggies to the mix. Balsamic vinaigrette is a lovely dressing choice.

Eating a healthy, simple, and frugal dinner this Thanksgiving is very doable. Just add your own mix of friends and family to complete the holiday. ‘Cause being near to those dear to you is what being thankful is for.


  1. marci November 7, 2008 at 8:15 am

    Sounds like a delish alternative meal!
    The turkey roll presentation is beautiful! YUM!

    To be even more frugal tho, I’d make homemade herb bread,
    and dice and dry those cubes for the stuffing. With some currents (to replace the olives) from the garden, and all the herbs,onions, and greens also from my garden, this stuffing would be totally homemade except for the oil and seasonings. 🙂 My kind-a meal!

    I’m fixing brussel sprouts this year – from the garden.
    The salad will be swiss chard, nasturtium leaves and flowers, some yellow chrysanthemum petals, dandylions, with lettuce and celery from the garden also. I should have some green tomatoes (pulled before the frost) about ripe at that time, and I’ll pull some carrots!

    I’ll try your great sounding cauliflower next summer. This year it will either have to be creamed parsnips or rutabagas, or mashed purple potatoes. All from the garden.

    I just cannot emphasize enough how much this tiny little garden has saved me 🙂

  2. Vered - MomGrind November 7, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    These sound great.

    We were invited to friends for Thanksgiving. I fully anticipate a traditional, heavy meal… but I do plan on exercising some portion control!

  3. Kerry November 7, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    @marci Your garden veggies sound delicious. If my little garden was successful as yours, I would do the same. Yum!

    @Vered I have no self control! Good luck refusing seconds, thirds. 😀

  4. Amanda November 8, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    What is totally hilarious is that I made this yesterday, and here it is!

  5. Kerry November 8, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    @Amanda Great minds think alike?

  6. Sunday Link Love | Remodeling This Life November 9, 2008 at 1:04 am

    […] Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner Menu Ideas. Yum! That rolled turkey breast looks and sounds so fabulous! […]

  7. Genna November 17, 2008 at 9:07 am

    How many people does the turkey breast serve?? I am making this for Thanksgiving and I am cooking for 6. How many turkey breasts will I need?

  8. Kerry November 17, 2008 at 9:21 am

    @Genna This is a good and very tricky question. It really depends on the size of the breast, the hunger of the crowd, and whether you want leftovers. If you’re serving modest eaters with lots of other stuff to eat, 2 breasts would do it. My husband suggests 3 to be safe ’cause he likes leftovers. I made this recipe with one medium breast and had 2 meals for 2 people.

  9. Genna November 18, 2008 at 5:42 am

    Great! That is very helpful…. thank you so much

  10. Jan November 19, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    Just wanted to say hi and thank you for stopping by at my blog.
    That meal of yours looks delish!

  11. […] Healthy Low-fat Miso Gravy […]

  12. Low Fat Recipe Cook April 14, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Awsome, just what i was looking for! Thanks much

  13. Sunshine October 4, 2012 at 8:17 am

    For Thanksgiving we cook a turkey or turkey breast and stuffing with lots of vegetables, always healthy and cost effective this time of year. Maybe something for dessert and a bottle of red wine, too (again has health benefits). Healthy and cost effective. Holiday meals are always a great time to relax and reap the benfits of what the season has to offer.

  14. Tricia October 4, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    You haven’t missed Canadian Thanksgiving – it is on Monday, October 8th 🙂 The recipes look delicious! I am especially interested in trying the gravy as my daughter is a vegetarian and I was thinking of trying to find a tasty gravy recipe. Thanks!

  15. Ruth November 14, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Thank you for the ideas. I am Vegan so turkey is out. Trader Joe’s has a Vegan Turkey-less Stuffed Roast with vegan gravy that is good and it says it serves 5. My guess would be 4. It beats Tofurky hands down – there is no tofu in the TJ’s one. We are invited to my sister’s this year and she does the traditional ham, heavy in the middle meal with home made rolls. I plan to take the TJ’s stuffed roast to share. I also have a vegan alternative to green bean casserole I plan to take.

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