Our 20 Best Diabetes-Friendly Thanksgiving Recipes
These recipes are so tasty, you could pick out your whole Thanksgiving menu from this mix alone. From savory, satisfying main dishes to cozy sides and fall-flavored desserts, these recipes will make perfect additions to your holiday lineup. Plus, each recipe focuses on complex carbs, like whole grains, and sticks to heart-healthy levels of saturated fat and sodium for a diabetes-friendly dish. Recipes like our Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes and Herb-Roasted Turkey will fit right in with any Thanksgiving feast.
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
Garlic cloves, cooked along with the potatoes, give this puree extra body and lots of flavor.
Persian-Style Butternut Squash Soup
Swap out your basic butternut squash soup for this fragrant version that includes sweet potato and a medley of spices like cinnamon, cumin, coriander and saffron. A drizzle of maple syrup and a few drops of orange water brighten the flavors, while a sprinkle of sumac adds a pop of color and a tangy edge. This healthy butternut squash soup would be a wonderful starter for your Thanksgiving meal.
This easy method produces all the good looks and moist flavor you dream of in an oven-roasted turkey. Make sure you show this beauty off at the table before you carve it. Garnish your serving platter with fresh herb sprigs and citrus wedges for a show-stopping Thanksgiving turkey.
Balsamic Roasted Carrots
Roasting carrots brings out their sweetness, which is enhanced further with a tangy balsamic and maple glaze. Serve them straight-up for an easy weeknight side dish or garnish with chopped hazelnuts for holiday meals and dinner parties.
Honey-Glazed Roasted Delicata Squash
Tangy cider vinegar, sweet honey, crunchy pine nuts and fresh mint come together to make an amazing glaze in this healthy roasted winter squash recipe. If you use delicata, the whole squash--including the gorgeous skin--is edible.
Wilted Kale with Warm Shallot Dressing
Vinegar is the key to making this sautéed kale recipe special. Look for vinegar that's cloudy--it likely still has some of the mother in the bottle and will give you a sweet acidity rather than a harsh bite. Organic apple cider vinegar is usually your best bet. For the most eye-catching version of this side, use different colored varieties of kale.
Roasted Honeynut Squash
Honeynut squash looks just like mini butternut squash, but on the inside you'll find an even sweeter, deeper orange flesh. This winter squash has only been available at farmers' markets and in select grocery stores for a few years. If you see it, grab a few to try! This simple roasting method enhances the natural flavor of the squash with butter and spices.
Cranberry Crumble Bars
These cranberry-orange bars freeze well. Make a batch on a free afternoon and pop them in the freezer so you'll always have a healthy dessert on hand when company calls.
Spiced Pumpkin Cookies
The deep flavors of molasses, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg make these wholesome pumpkin cookies delicious without the addition of butter--and they lend themselves beautifully to the inclusion of whole-wheat flour. They are also the perfect texture for a sandwich cookie--fill them with a slightly sweetened cream cheese frosting.
Slow-Cooker Garlic Mashed Potatoes
This simple slow-cooker mashed potatoes recipe skips tedious peeling and boiling and helps save precious stovetop space by letting the slow cooker do the work. It's a great timesaving set-it-and-forget-it side dish recipe to round out any hearty meal. Buttermilk makes the mashed potatoes creamy while garlic and shallots add flavor.
Spatchcock Turkey with Sage & Thyme
When it comes to cooking a whole turkey quickly and evenly, spatchcocking--removing the entire backbone from the bird and splaying it open--is a great technique. This skin on this spatchcocked turkey gets crispy and browned because nearly all of the skin is exposed. This recipe uses a simple blend of oil, fresh herbs and spices for classic roasted turkey flavor. Look for a small turkey, about 12 pounds, as it fits better in most roasting pans.
Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Onions
Fresh herbs, onion and bacon sauté alongside Brussels sprouts in this easy vegetable side dish recipe. This savory dish is delicious in the fall and winter months, when Brussels sprouts are in season. If you can find them still attached to the stalk, don't be intimidated--buy them, as they're likely more fresh. Recipe adapted from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.
Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows
The genius hack in this recipe: topping sweet potatoes with marshmallows while they're still piping hot from the slow cooker yields a baked marshmallow topping that's typical with baked sweet potato casseroles.
Sweet Potato & Turnip Mash with Sage Butter
This sweet potato and turnip mash is fragrant with fresh sage.
Cinnamon Streusel Fresh Apple Bars
These sweet, cinnamon-flavored apple bars are the perfect accompaniment for your afternoon cup of coffee or tea.
Oven-Roasted Squash with Garlic & Parsley
Learn how to roast squash in this healthy recipe adapted from Alice Waters. Look for squash varieties, including buttercup, kabocha or hubbard, at your farmers' market and try them in this tasty side dish.
Apple Cider Chicken
Fresh apples and apple cider add fall flavor to this quick chicken sauté.
Spinach Salad with Warm Maple Dressing
Pure maple syrup adds body and rich flavor to the dressing, providing a perfect counterpoint to the smoked cheese.
Make this low-fat gravy in the roasting pan while the turkey rests. Apple cider adds rich fall flavor. Turkey stock adds great flavor to the gravy, but you can use chicken broth instead with good results.
Fresh Green Bean Casserole
A slimmed-down white sauce makes this creamy green bean casserole side dish recipe low fat.