These healthy Thanksgiving recipes taste just as delicious as the traditional versions! They are made with easy, real food ingredients and are always a hit at the holidays.
You’ll Love These Thanksgiving Side Dishes
When it comes to Thanksgiving, the side dishes are just as important as a perfectly cooked turkey.
This includes the classics, like mashed potatoes and gravy, but it’s also fun to branch out with a new offering, like a delicious shredded Brussels sprout salad (trust me), or a velvety Butternut soup, which you can make ahead of time.
Catering to guests with special dietary needs? All of the options below are easily gluten-free, and there are several dairy-free & nut-free recipes, too.
Table of Contents
- Thanksgiving Salad Recipes
- Cozy Thanksgiving Soup Recipes
- Classic Thanksgiving Side Dishes
- Thanksgiving Appetizers & Snacks
Thanksgiving Salad Recipes
If you’re in charge of the salad this year, the salad recipes below will make everyone come back for a second helping of veggies. Salad dressings can be made up to 3 days in advance, to help save you some time and effort on the big day.
Holiday Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
This salad has been dubbed the “holiday salad” because it’s the salad I’ve been asked to bring to every holiday meal for years. It’s tossed with a lightly sweet and tangy dressing, and the combination of crunchy pecans, tart cranberries, and creamy Gorgonzola is irresistible.
Serve the cheese on the side, if you want to give your guests a dairy-free option.
Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad
This salad will convert anyone who is weary of eating Brussels sprouts.
Finely shredding these Brussels gives them a more appealing texture (without the need to cook them!) and this salad is tossed in a honey mustard dressing, with a hint of ginger, that everyone will love.
This salad is gorgeous for serving, and is tossed with a delicious balsamic dressing. The walnuts add an appealing crunch, and the whole thing takes just about 10 minutes to assemble.
Be sure to cut the apples just before serving, or toss them with a little lemon juice to slow-down any browning, if you need to slice them early.
This easy Italian Salad is hard to resist! The dressing comes together in just minutes, and it pairs perfectly with all of your other favorite Thanksgiving side dishes.
Cozy Thanksgiving Soup Recipes
These soup recipes are an easy addition to your Thanksgiving menu, especially since they can be made ahead of time! Simply reheat them on the stove, or in a slow cooker, when you’re ready to serve.
This creamy soup is the perfect way to use up a whole pumpkin! Roasting brings out this winter squash’s natural sweetness, and then it’s blended with cozy spices to help warm you up.
Roasted pumpkin seeds make the perfect crunchy topping!
This velvety soup is simmered on the stove top for an easy one-pot recipe. Made with sweet apples and cinnamon, it has a lightly spicy kick that will warm you up from the inside out.
No one would guess that it’s naturally dairy-free!
This broccoli cheddar soup tastes like the kind you’d get at a restaurant, but it has a sneaky ingredient inside that makes it more filling!
None of your guests will be able to tell it’s made without using flour or heavy cream, because it tastes so satisfying.
This soup packs a surprising amount of veggies into each bite, but it tastes like total comfort food. Feel free to use frozen cauliflower to cut-down on your holiday prep work.
Classic Thanksgiving Sides
These healthy side dishes will help to complete your Thanksgiving dinner table. They are lightened by using simple real food ingredients, but they pack tons of flavor in each bite.
Homemade cranberry sauce is surprisingly easy to make, with just 5 ingredients. You can cook it ahead of time, and just grab it from the fridge when it’s time to serve your big holiday meal.
The addition of orange juice and ginger take the flavor over the top! Be sure to try Cranberry Sauce Salad Dressing or Cranberry Crumble Bars if you have any leftovers to use up.
The electric pressure cooker will make the best mashed potatoes you’ve ever tasted! Made with a touch of olive oil and garlic, these spuds cook in just an 8-minute pressure cooking cycle, plus the time it takes the pot to pressurize.
Mashed potatoes are best served the same day you make them, but the Instant Pot will keep them perfectly warm until the rest of your feast is ready to go.
This vegan mushroom gravy is so flavorful, it’s hard to believe it’s made without turkey drippings, butter, or flour. In fact, it’s mostly made from blended veggies!
Once you taste this recipe, it’s hard to go back to traditional gravy.
Instead of using stale bread, this stuffing uses a wild rice blend as the base. (Plain brown rice will also work.) Paired with hearty mushrooms, sweet apples, and crunchy pecans, no one will miss the traditional version– especially if you need an easy gluten-free option!
This sweet potato casserole has a crispy oat topping, studded with pecans for extra crunch. It’s not too sweet, and is a delicious way to serve sweet potatoes without marshmallows.
Instead of using a creamy canned soup, this recipe is tossed in a simple homemade sauce, made with blended white beans for creaminess. The whole thing takes just minutes to assemble!
The addition of fresh rosemary, and the crunchy (not fried) topping make this one of my favorite Thanksgiving sides ever.
If you want to make a side dish in your slow cooker, this is an easy hands-off option! The potatoes will cook to perfection, and you won’t have to drain them when you’re done.
Mash and serve them directly from the crockpot, to save yourself some space on your stove top.
These sweet potatoes are an easy one-pan side dish. They caramelize to perfection in the oven, and have the perfect crunchy texture, thanks to the addition of pecans.
This easy quinoa dish has all the flavors of stuffing, and it cooks in just minutes on the stove top. You can make it up to 3 days ahead of time, and simply reheat it before serving if you need to offer a gluten-free side dish.
This dish tastes just as decadent as the type made with heavy cream and cheese, but instead it’s made with a creamy cashew sauce. It’s a delicious way to eat more veggies during a big holiday meal.
Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Casserole
This side dish tastes like the classic cheesy hash brown casserole my mom used to make! This version uses nutrient-rich spaghetti squash instead of frozen hash browns, and gets its creaminess from a mix of yogurt and melted cheese.
Thanksgiving Appetizers & Snacks
If you want to serve something for your guests to snack on before the big meal, these healthy options are easy and satisfying.
I’ll look for any excuse to make this dairy-free dip, just so I can eat it! It has a creamy texture, with all the flavor of the original, and is perfect for serving with tortilla chips or sliced veggies.
If you cut open a winter squash for your holiday meal, don’t toss the seeds! When you roast them in a lightly sweet & salty coating, they become an irresistible crunchy snack.
If you want something on the sweeter side, try this delicious caramel dip. You can serve it with salty pretzel sticks and sliced apples for an easy snack.
Healthy Thanksgiving Sides: Easy Mushroom Gravy
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion , chopped
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 4 ounces cremini mushrooms , sliced
- 1 (4-6 oz.) Yukon gold potato , cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
- 1 cup water
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the onion until it starts to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add in the garlic and mushrooms and stir for 1 or 2 minutes, just until the garlic is fragrant. Add in the potato, tamari, and water and bring the water to a boil.
- Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pan. Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 10 minutes. (The smaller you cut the potatoes, the faster they will cook.)
- Once tender, carefully transfer the contents of the pan to a high-speed blender or food processor, and add in the salt and black pepper. Blend until smooth, using a thin towel to carefully cover the vent at the top of your machine so that the steam can escape. (And not blow the lid off your blender!)
- Adjust any seasoning to taste and serve warm over your favorite side dish or main course. Leftover gravy can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days in the fridge. It will thicken in the fridge, but will thin-out when reheated. You can always add an extra splash of water to thin it out even more, if needed, but don't add the water until the gravy is warm first.
I hope this collection of healthy Thanksgiving sides will help make planning your holiday meal a little easier. Let me know what you decide to try in the comments below!
Questions and Reviews
Apple pie is my all time favorite, but sweet potato casserole sans marshmallows is a new favorite!
Great recipes Megan !.
Buon Appetito, everyone
These are perfect! I love making healthy dressing too:) This recipe looks like a great one to try!;)
great recipes thank you
Thanks for putting these together in one place! This year I’m attending two Thanksgivings and I’m trying to eat a lot healthier. I think I’ll make two of these dishes and bring them to the dinners that way I at least know I can eat something nutritious and not full of gluten and hydrogenated oils, etc. Keep up the great work, girl!
Thanks for the recipes! I’ve been wanting to try the cauliflower mashed potatoes for awhile.
On a different topic, I had a question about peanuts. Are they that healthy? Are the organic ones healthy (or at least, not BAD for you in any way)? I just seem to think that something is bad with peanuts; maybe because there is SO MANY peanut allergies out there, it seems there must be something wrong with them or else there wouldn’t be such an allergy epidemic for them. If the pesticides and stuff are what makes them bad, then are organic peanuts OK??
I hadn’t thought of pureeing mushrooms and parsnips instead of cream – what a great idea!!
I love all of these thanksgiving recipes. What do you think would be a good substitute for the shredded coconut, as in the pecan bars and pumpkin tarts? I’m not against using it, but the texture and flavor isn’t my favorite. Any thoughts?
I made both the green bean and brussel sprout recipes for Thanksgiving. They were delicious! I have never had parsnips before, so I was particularly excited to use them as a mushroom soup substitute. Two things:
1. I make carmelized onions in a crockpot, based on a tip from a chef friend who said this is common in restaurants. I fill up a crock pot with sliced onions, salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil, and then cook it on low until they turn dark brown (8 – 10 hours). There will be a good amount of liquid in the pot—I pour it in a mug and it tastes just like onion soup. Sometimes I put portions of the onions in the freezer for later use, but these onions are so versatile. They can really dress up a frozen pizza, and are delicious in burritos, and all sandwiches, including a gooey vegan grilled cheese. Cooking the onions in bulk this way will save you some kitchen time, and is a good way to use up onions that are starting to sprout in the pantry. These are the onions I topped my green beans with…yummy!
2. I had plenty of leftover parsnip puree from the green bean recipe that I was tempted to just eat with a spoon. But instead I used it to make a squash casserole. I love squash casserole but haven’t had it in over 20 years, when I had to start avoided lactose. To make the casserole I just steamed yellow squash and a sliced onion until soft, with salt and pepper. Then I layered the steamed veggies in a pyrex dish with the parsnip puree and a few handfuls of shredded vegan cheese. (I used the Daiya chedder blend.) I crunched up some wheat crackers on top and baked it at 350 until bubbly. This may have been the BEST thing I ate in 2013….and I WILL be making it again this weekend!
Thank you for your beautiful website.
I made the green bean casserole and the pumpkin pie tarts and both turned out phenomenal! thank you so much for these awesome healthy recipes!
The chocolate peanut butter pie was a hit for Thanksgiving dessert. Thank you for so many choices.
Recipe for cranberry bars. Made cranberry sauces & would love to use them…thanks.
Here you go: https://detoxinista.com/cranberry-bars/