Food, Musings

A Paleo Thanksgiving

The holidays are creeping up on us (who am I kidding, they’re FLYING in) and I’m so excited! We’re actually decorating for Christmas tonight… Don’t give me a hard time, we love Christmas!

One of the best things about the holidays is the food. However, the issue I feel like we all run into is splurging too much, which makes you end up feeling miserable, possibly gaining weight, and then going into the new year making resolutions to get healthy again. I am never going to tell you to not have the occasional indulgence, but sometimes when your body ends up feeling awful after the holidays, it’s just not worth it. Personally, I would rather go into the new year feeling amazing instead of like I’m starting over.

However, if you know me by now, you know that I’m not willing to give up my food. Especially holiday food. I’m not even joking when I say that I’ve been planning our Thanksgiving dinner menu for over a month already. So that being said, I really want to show you how easily you can still manage to eat Paleo (or even just a little cleaner) over the holidays. Making a few healthy substitutions here and there can help you avoid the guilt and setback!

Below are some of my favorite Paleo Thanksgiving recipes from all over!

~ Appetizers ~

Bacon Wrapped Dates

These bacon wrapped dates are such a staple for me – I make them for just about any get-together. I love these because they are so incredibly easy to make, and everyone devours them immediately. Just make sure you have enough, because these go fast!

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Sausage & Cranberry Stuffed Mushrooms with Sage

Stuffed mushrooms make such a great appetizer! They’re not messy and you can eat them with one hand (always important when you have a holiday cocktail in the other hand). The cranberries give these an extra “Thanksgiving kick”.

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Buffalo Chicken Dip w/ Almond Flour Crackers

I have to have a dip on this list, right? In addition to the almond flour crackers, you can also use veggies such as carrots, celery, cucumbers or any other store-bought Paleo cracker. I love the Simple Mills paleo crackers. Rosemary & Sea Salt are my favorite!

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Bacon Wrapped Buffalo Chicken Jalapenos

I love Jalapeno Poppers! I’m not going to lie, I do miss the cream cheese (and I frequently make non-Paleo versions), but I’ve found a few great alternatives over the years, this being one of them.

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~ Salads ~

Candied Pecan, Pear & Pomegranate Salad

This one requires a little altering to be considered Paleo, but this is one that will be on my Thanksgiving table this year!

Alterations: no feta cheese, use coconut sugar for the candied pecans (or just do regular pecans!) and dressing, use olive oil instead of canola oil.

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Fall Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad

This recipe is a fantastic option if you’re looking for a little bit of a variation with your salads, but still want that fall feel! Just omit the cheese on this one!

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Autumn Apple Salad with a Maple Vinaigrette

Just omit the cheese! Or don’t, that’s your call 😉

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~ Main Course ~

Green Bean Casserole

This paleo version is wonderful! This one is a bit more time consuming, so I usually will prep the cream of mushroom soup (homemade!) the day before. It saves me time the next day when you already have a million things going on to get ready for dinner.

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Sausage, Apple & Cranberry Stuffing

Yummm! I’ve actually never really been a fan of stuffing at all, up until recently when I tried something similar to this recipe and I realized how different and delicious it was! This is a great stuffing variation that I think you’ll love!

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Because what is Thanksgiving dinner without the gravy? You can always use tapioca or arrowroot flour as a thickener.

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Sweet Potato Casserole

I will eat sweet potatoes just about any way I can get them… fries, mashed, in a casserole… This version tastes like dessert – I feel like I’m cheating already.

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~ Desserts ~

Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares

This one is going to be a bit time-consuming as it involves making the “cheese” from cashews. However, if you can prep it the day before, you’re golden!

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Grain-Free Pumpkin Pie

I love pumpkin pie. It just screams “Thanksgiving” to me, and dinner is not complete without it.

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Double Chocolate Banana Bread

Because… Chocolate.

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Paleo Cranberry Crumb Bars

Do these look awesome, or what?

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Chocolate Caramel Tort

Is it just me, or does this list keep getting better and better?

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Apple Pie

Gluten free, grain free and refined sugar free!

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~ Drinks ~

Okay, so this is where we get Paleo-ISH. I love a good, themed cocktail. These are some really fun and yummy ones that don’t include added sugar.

Strawberry Cream Mimosas

It’s about time I make these again! These are so much fun and so delicious.

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Hot Apple Cider w/ Kissed Caramel Vodka

For this one, I keep it pretty simple. Just grab a jug of apple cider (with no added sugar – should be fairly easy to find this time of year) and a bottle of Smirnoff Kissed Caramel vodka. I will add all the cider to a large pot on the stove to simmer and possibly doctor it up a bit with cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, etc. When you’re ready for a drink, add the vodka to your cup, and then top with the cider. Do not add the vodka to the pot, as the alcohol will burn off.

Cranberry Apple Cider Sangria

Sangrias are great because you can easily prep a large batch ahead of time and have it ready for your guests. You can also easily alter the flavor depending on the wine, fruits and liqueurs you add.

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Mimosa Bar

This is another great one just because it’s so easy! Grab a few bottles of champagne and a variety of juices and fruits. Your guests can mix and match to make their own cocktail.

Juice ideas: Orange, pineapple (my personal fav!), cranberry, pomegranate, grapefruit
Fruit ideas: Orange wedges, strawberries, pineapple, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries

I seriously could go on and on, but I’m afraid to lose you. If you have any questions on any of the recipes above, or a traditional favorite that you don’t see an alternative for on this list, let me know and I’ll see if I can help you out!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Xoxo, Jenna

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