Paleo Thanksgiving Recipes (+ Including Full Dinner Menu)
Post by Lucha: World traveler, culinary student and Media Director at Paleo Flourish Magazine. Lucha will try most food but prefers Indian, Thai and Mexican food above all else. She is currently either cooking, eating, grocery shopping or browsing recipes on Pinterest.
It’s the time of year to count our blessings, and I have just so many things to be thankful for. Family, good friends, and delicious food all help to keep me warm when the weather gets chilly. I’m also thankful for the great community of Paleo food bloggers and their recipes; because of them, I don’t have to miss any of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes this year.
Here is our perfect Paleo Thanksgiving dinner menu, plus many other delicious Paleo Thanksgiving recipes to choose from.
The Perfect Paleo Thanksgiving Dinner Menu
Starting Off Your Paleo Thanksgiving Dinner:
Salty, sweet and delicious, this spiced nut mix is the perfect accompaniment to welcome drinks as the guests start arriving for Thanksgiving dinner this year. Melissa also provides a list of all the “caveman-approved” (i.e. Paleo-friendly) nuts… plenty of options here to customize it with your favorites! (Photo credit: David Humphreys. Reprint permission from Melissa of Well Fed)
A Few Classic Components:
Of course you can be creative and original this Thanksgiving, but there are some things that I personally wouldn’t dream of forgetting. Bread rolls, gravy, stuffing and cranberry sauce are among those and these are our top picks:
Thanksgiving means that cranberries are already par for the course, so set some aside for this sweet and tasty orange cranberry muffins.
This is your perfect mashed potato substitute – and much healthier to boot! The addition of ghee gives it that creamy flavor that we all love in mashed potatoes.
Of course you need some gravy for that mashed cauliflower, and I’m so relieved to know that a Paleo-friendly gravy option exists in this world! Grass Fed Girl uses arrowroot flour as her thickener and it really does the trick. (She provides a link to order some if you don’t already have it in the pantry).
Regular stuffing made with day-old bread is so not Paleo! But we still need it on the Thanksgiving table. This awesome recipe uses ground turkey and sweet potatoes as a substitute, but doesn’t forget to add a great mix of fruits and delicious spices like rosemary, thyme and sage to make for an incredible stuffing! You definitely won’t miss the breadcrumbs.
Ah cranberry sauce, the harmonizer that balances out all those brown savory dishes with it’s sweetness and beautiful hue. This recipe from Primally Inspired also includes orange and apple but still keeps it simple with few other ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions. Canned cranberry sauce? Never again! (Photo permission from Kelly of Primally Inspired.)
Amazing Thanksgiving Casseroles:
I’ve been abroad the past few Thanksgivings and the green bean casserole that my aunt makes is the dish I have missed the most. Here are two great options for making your own:
Coconut milk and tapioca starch make the perfect mixture for this delicious green bean casserole, keeping it gluten- and dairy-free. (Photo permission from Caitlin of Grass Fed Girl.)
This casserole is different from the above because it blends a mix of parsnips and mushrooms to make a ‘vegan cream’ base that holds it all together. (Photo permission from Megan, The Detoxinista.)
Top Side Dish Ideas:
Casseroles aren’t the only worthy non-Turkey dish at the Thanksgiving table. Here are some more of our favorite side dishes to diversify the menu and keep things interesting!
Here’s another mash recipe using an interesting blend of root veggies and apple.
If you’re not opting for one of the green bean casseroles above, at least give the people their green beans one way or another! Melissa makes these delicious green beans with onion, garlic, sliced almond and an array of spices and flavors. Topped off with coconut milk, lime juice and cilantro, and I sense a Thanksgiving-meets-Asian-fusion theme going on here! (Photo credit: David Humphreys. Permission to reprint from Melissa of Well Fed.)
This spread not only has some great Autumn spices (nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and more!) but I can imagine it adding a delicious flavor as a topping on any of these sides or even atop a big slice o’ turkey.
Turkey and Meat Mains:
As you probably know, every year on Thanksgiving, the president pardons a turkey. That reminds me think of another thing I’m thankful for – that we don’t have to! It should go without saying; the turkey is the star of Thanksgiving and these recipes are stars in my book.
If you don’t know what brine is or why you should be doing it, head on over to Paleo Plan where Sally breaks it down for you. This will make for the perfect moist and flavorful turkey but beware; it’s a long one with a different list of ingredients and processes for all parts of the bird. Don’t wait until the last minute to get reading and get cooking.
If you waited until the last minute, spent too much time on your side dishes, or were otherwise just overwhelmed by the recipe above, here is a simpler alternative. It’s certainly not as elaborate as other turkey recipes, but for the effort-to-flavor ratio, this recipe is pretty darn awesome. This recipe includes butter so remember to opt for the grass-fed kind to keep it Paleo. (Photo permission from Mellissa of I Breathe… I’m Hungry.)
I never really understood why someone always brought a ham to Thanksgiving. Turkey usually overshadows it anyway (and it has its moment in the spotlight a few weeks later at Christmas), but since it adds to the variety and you’re probably going to make one anyway, I’ll suggest this amazing recipe of ham with candied orange glaze. You just cannot beat that magical-looking glaze. Also, I never realized how crosshatch patterns cut in the ham allow for maximum glaze absorption. Good tip! (Photo permission from Nancy and James of She Cooks He Cleans.)
Perfect Thanksgiving Pies – A Sweet Way To End Your Meal
You might wonder just from reading this menu how there will be any room left in your stomach to fit in dessert, but I know from years of experience: where there’s a pie, there’s a way.
We all need our classic pumpkin pie at the end of a hearty Thanksgiving meal, and I’m grateful that Joshua from Slim Palate has offered up this yummy spin on it! The crust has a base of almond meal and pecan meal and the filling keeps it Paleo with the help of maple sugar, eggs, and coconut milk.
Runner up for most beloved Thanksgiving pie is the pecan pie and this one from Paleo Running Momma looks amazing. The crust uses several flours (almond, tapioca, coconut).
More Delish Thanksgiving Desserts
While pies often take center stage, they don’t have to be the be-all-end-all of Thanksgiving desserts. Here are some more great options for the Thanksgiving dessert table.
Cobblers are kind of like upside-down pies: the crust is only on top (and sometimes it’s more of a light sprinkle than a full layer). This cobbler has a coconut flour crust and a delicious blackberry and maple syrup filling. The only hiccup here is that blackberries are typically an end-of-summer treat, but I usually keep a bag in the freezer for exactly this reason. (Photo permission from Caitlin of Grass Fed Girl.)
This cinnamon apple crisp looks like it could be a cobbler version of the pecan pie but that’s only because you can’t see the yummy warm apples hidden under that top layer of pecans! Note that if you opt for the whipping cream, you’ll be heading out of Paleo territory and into Primal. (Photo permission from Caitlin of Grass Fed Girl.)
Louise’s No-Bake Apple Pie is an easy alternative to baked pies and makes for a delicious, effortless addition to the Paleo dessert section!
And there you have it, your perfect Paleo Thanksgiving meal plan. Of course there are many more fabulous options and we certainly don’t want you to limit yourself, so here are many more great ideas for Paleo Thanksgiving Recipes for side dishes, mains and desserts. Yummy Paleo food for the holiday season is certainly something to be thankful for!