Celebrating the holidays this year by enjoying a healthy spread? We commend you for sticking to your goals as the season of comfort food arrives.
For paleo eaters, finding grain-free twists on traditional foods can feel like a huge task. Sure, you’ve got the turkey. But beyond that staple, so many Thanksgiving dishes start with bread (hello, stuffing!) or potatoes (hello, mashed potatoes!) or flour and sugar (hello, pumpkin pie!), that it’s easy to wonder what’s left to eat when you’re eating like a caveman.
Well, we have great news! Creative cooks around the world have already faced this same predicament and filled the web with tried-and-true recipes that taste as good as the original versions. And in some cases, we think they taste even better!
The secret to cooking Thanksgiving the paleo way is is to fill your pantry with some grain-free staples. Chances are you’ve already got a good handle on some of the best paleo swaps, but filling the cupboard with grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-free, and legume-free options will make it easy to prep a tasty paleo holiday.
Paleo Pantry Swaps
- Instead of BREADCRUMBS, try: ALMOND FLOUR
- Instead of FLOUR, try: a GRAIN-FREE PANCAKE MIX
- Instead of CORNSTARCH, try: ARROWROOT
- Instead of POTATOES, try: SWEET POTATOES
- Instead of SUGAR, try: RAW HONEY
- Instead of MILK, try: COCONUT or ALMOND MILK
- Instead of VEGETABLE OIL, try: COCONUT OIL
- Instead of BUTTER, try: GHEE
With these basics—plus some great recipes in hand—you’ll be making a Turkey Day menu that’s so good, even traditional eaters will be delighted to dive in.
Grain-Free Thanksgiving Favorites
While there are thousands of paleo recipes, not all are created equal. If you’re trying something for the first time, select recipes from proven sites (or at least websites that offer a rating and review system). That way, you’ll have a heads up on whether the recipe is worth adding to your menu.
If hunting through pages of search engines in search of the perfect paleo recipes sounds like more than you’re down for, we’ve selected some of our favorite versions. Scroll below and give any one of these a try. They’re some of the best we’ve tasted!
But first, one of our own…
If ever there is a meal in which to indulge, it would be Thanksgiving. But this year, you can have your dinner rolls and stick to your eating plan, too. Paleo popovers, then, are the secret.
These popovers are egg-based dinner rolls made in a muffin tin and baked until golden and fluffy. So fluffy, in fact, that they rise right over the top of the muffin tin, so make sure you set your oven rack to the center or lower slot. That way, you won’t have to worry about your popovers hitting the top of the oven.
This version is made with fresh thyme and cracked pepper, which pair nicely with turkey. But feel free to omit them if they aren’t your favorite flavor.
You’ll need a 6-cup muffin tin for this recipe, but if time is running out, feel free to cook the recipe in a standard muffin tin. It will need to bake for less time (about 15 minutes), though, and makes 12 (instead of the 6 giant rolls you see in the photo above).
If you’ve never made popovers, the secret to getting a high rise is the combination of room-temperature egg whites and a very hot pan. So remember to pull the eggs out of the fridge several hours before baking.
This recipe is best when piping hot, so plan on prepping the batter just as the turkey comes out of the oven. Thankfully, it’s incredibly easy to make, so you need just a minute or two of whisking, and then these tasty popovers bake while everyone starts to take their seats. Pull them out of the oven 15-20 minutes later, and it’s perfect timing! Dinner…and paleo dinner rolls…are served!
Paleo Thanksgiving Popovers
Amount served: 6 popovers
- Nonstick coconut oil spray
- 5 Tbsp. ghee
- 6 eggs, room temperature
- 3 Tbsp. coconut flour
- ¼ cup arrowroot flour
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅔ cup full-fat coconut milk
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp. fresh-ground pepper
- 2 Tbsp. raw honey
Special Equipment: 6-Cup Texas muffin tin
Heat oven to 425° F.
Spray a 6-cup Texas muffin tin with nonstick spray. Spoon ½ Tbsp. of ghee into each cup, then place tin oven to melt ghee.
Crack eggs into a large bowl. Whisk well to break eggs up. Add coconut flour, arrowroot, sea salt, coconut milk, thyme and pepper. Whisk just until smooth.
Working quickly, open oven and slide muffin tin out of rack—if at all possible, do not remove tin from the edge of the oven. Spoon egg mixture into each muffin cup. Quickly return to oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Melt remaining 2 Tbsp. of ghee and honey together.
Remove rolls from oven and immediately drizzle with ghee-honey mixture. Enjoy while very warm.
Now, for the rest of your feast…
When prepared with salt, broth and herbs, turkey is already paleo. So you’re good to go on that one. Cook and enjoy!
If you’re cooking for a smaller crowd this year, we found you another good option.
Swap turkey for chicken and give this
Bite-sized pieces of cauliflower are roasted with all the stuffing classics: celery, onions, garlic, thyme, sage, and pecans. Time in the oven mellows the flavor of the cauliflower and gives it a nice crisp coating, just like that stove-top stuffing your grandma always made. Except this one cut the carbs in half, or more.
Plus, the crunch of pecans with all those oven roasted veggies? It’s stuffing perfection. We bet you’ll hardly miss the bread.
Sweet Potato Casserole
Classic sweet potato casserole is typically made with sugar and marshmallows. Both ingredients, unfortunately, are off the list when eating paleo.
But fear not! With this incredible
Healthy Vegan Green Bean Casserole is dairy and gluten-free, but is still has that creamy-meets-crunchy texture, just like the original. Better yet, it’s made with real green beans, so is absolutely beautiful. Vibrant, flavorful and even better than the classic, it’s a must try.
Happy, Healthy Thanksgiving
With so many delicious paleo-friendly dishes for this years menu, we might need to extend Thanksgiving to a 2-day holiday! One day for eating, and the second day for celebrating. With these eats on the menu, we’ll be digging in guilt-free, but flavor-full, nonetheless.