36 Traditional Thanksgiving Recipes Done Paleo Style

Nov 15, 2012

The holiday season has arrived. I always look forward to Thanksgiving and spending time with friends and family. This will be our second (rrrr.... maybe third?) Paleo Thanksgiving. Out of all the major U.S. holidays, Thanksgiving was made for people living a Paleo lifestyle. With all the emphasis on turkey, sweet potatoes, veggies, pumpkin and squash you really can't go wrong.

However, if you're preparing a big majority of the food this year then it can start to feel overwhelming trying to keep things paleo and satisfy your "non-paleo" guests at the same time. What I want to provide you with are recipes to make a complete Thanksgiving feast paleo style.

I have scoured the deepest corners of the web to find some real gems. Not only that, but I purposefully chose paleo Thanksgiving recipes that will satisfy your family and guests without them even realizing that they just ate the healthiest Thanksgiving dinner of their lives. Don't worry, it will be our little secret.

The Complete Traditional Thanksgiving Menu Gone Paleo

The Thanksgiving Turkey

We are going to try brining our Turkey this year so I'm going to provide a few ideas for preparing your Turkey by brining or roasting. Feel free to add your own flare to your turkey, I'm just providing suggestions.

Lea from Paleospirit.com did a three post series about brining and roasting a turkey that was fantastic. If you're going to brine your turkey then go to her blog and check it out.

Part One: Holiday Turkey Brine 
Part Two: How to Use the Holiday Turkey Brine
Part Three: Roasting the Turkey 

If that's too much for you to take on then you could try this very simple brine from allrecipes.com. Turkey Brine at allrecipes.com.

If you're not looking to brine your turkey and you just want to go with a traditional roasted turkey recipe then you can't go wrong with this recipe from Marks Daily Apple. Marks Daily Apple Heritage Turkey.

You could also try this recipe from Paleo diet lifestyle that adds a different twist with mushroom butter. Mushroom Butter Roasted Turkey.

Of course... I want to at least mention something a little less traditional for how you prepare your main bird. Here is a great recipe from Jens Gone Paleo. Bacon-Wrapped Turkey Breast with Sausage Stuffing. 

Hopefully, one of these three variations of preparing your Thanksgiving bird will inspire you and delight your taste buds and those of your family and guests.

Paleo Stuffing

Stuffing is the big area that people get hung up on when it comes to a Paleo style Thanksgiving. But there are so many paleo stuffing recipes that are just as delicious without the bread. Here are a few of my favorites.

A traditional approach to stuffing (sans bread) from Paleo Comfort Foods. Paleo Comfort Foods Thanksgiving Stuffing.

The folks over at Whole9 also have a good looking traditional style stuffing. Whole9 Thanksgiving "Stuffing".

Juli from PaleOMG utilizes some apples and dried cranberries in this recipe that looks pretty tasty. Paleo Thanksgiving Stuffing.

And for those of you that just can't deal with leaving something "bready" out of your stuffing then maybe try this stuffing from Elana's Pantry that uses paleo bread or gluten free bread (recipe is on her site). Cranberry Apple Stuffing from Elana's Pantry.

And these little stuffing meatballs from Balancedbites.com are going on the menu for sure. What a cool idea. Thanksgiving Stuffing Meatballs from Balanced Bites.

You could also try putting some sweet potatoes into the stuffing mix with this recipe from Robb Wolf's site. Savory Sweet Potato Stuffing.

Traditional Thanksgiving Sides

Here are some of our favorite takes on the traditional Thanksgiving side dishes.

Cranberry Sauce

It just wouldn't be Thanksgiving dinner without some of that sweet, gooey, delicious cranberry sauce. We're not talking sugar loaded, insulin spiking cranberry sauce. Oh no... we're talking about upgraded paleo versions of this side dish.

Here's a great looking cranberry sauce recipe from Paleo Effect.

 You could also try this cranberry sauce recipe from an admitted lover of the stuff that comes out of the can. Heaven forbid! Check it out from mommypotamus.com (WARNING: cool blog name alert).

Here's a simple and delicious looking paleo cranberry sauce from Against All Grain. This one looks like a winner to me. SCD and Paleo Cranberry Sauce on Against All Grain.

And here's something a little different from Elana's Pantry. It uses stevia but maybe you could substitute with raw honey or maple syrup. Cranberry Cherry Relish.

Mashed "Potatoes"

Maybe instead of a big insulin spiking bomb of mashed white potatoes you try one of these recipes. Here are a few good looking mashed cauliflower recipes.

Garlic Cauliflower "Mashed Potatoes" from Nom Nom Paleo. These look about as easy as it comes when making mashed cauliflower. Simple, basic and delicious.

Cauliflower Mash with Garlic and Rosemary from Paleo Comfort Foods.

This one looks really good from Running to the Kitchen. It looks like this was actually a guest post from KatieDid.com. Brown Butter & Caramelized Onion Mashed Cauliflower.

I'm confident that any of those recipes for mashed cauliflower would be a hit at Thanksgiving dinner.

And here's one last recipe from Mark's Daily Apple for mashed parsnips in case you don't want to go the cauliflower route. I've never tried these before but they do look promising. Mashed Parsnips (scroll towards the bottom of the post)

Need gravy? BAM! GRAVY!

Mashed potatoes are kind of a tricky area. There seems to be a lot of questions about whether white potatoes are paleo or not. The one fact you have to take into consideration is that white potatoes are pure starch and will spike your insulin. It's science. So if you've been working out hard and sticking to a paleo or primal diet a large majority of the time, then having some regular potatoes on Thanksgiving will probably not kill you. Just be responsible for yourself and enjoy yourself.


I have to admit that I never was crazy about the marshmallow topped sugar bombs that were passed around the table every Thanksgiving. Not only do I find pretty much any paleo yam recipe more appealing but I also find they taste better.

Here's an easy one from the Paleo Mom. Seriously, it's only three ingredients. Baked Spiced Yams from the Paleo Mom.

This recipe looks a little on the sweeter side so you may not one to go crazy with it. But it does like it would taste great. Paleo Sweet Potato Casserole from Paleo Effect.

Here's an interesting take on sweet potatoes from PaleOMG. Paleo Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Gratin.

Green Beans

You know that you ate those green beans that were drenched in the canned condensed cream of mushroom soup and topped with the crispy onion crunchies. Another one of those holiday meal staples that I never really cared for. But hey... everyone has their thing! Anyway, here are some upgraded versions of the normally unhealthy green bean casserole.

Tarragon Green Beans from Martha Stewart. No, Martha is not paleo but this green bean recipe is.

This recipe for Clean Green Bean Casserole from Detoxinista.com looks amazing. I'm going to vote for this to be on our Thanksgiving table this year.  

And here's a tasty looking rendition that calls for creamy cashew gravy from Urban Poser. We are nut free at our place so we'll have to skip this one... but it looks promising. French Green Bean Casserole w/ Crispy Shallots.

This recipe looks like the traditional green bean casseroles I remember except these don't have any of the junky ingredients. Check this casserole out from Grass Fed Girl.  Grain Free Green Bean Casserole.

Well this is bringing me to the end of the ultimate Paleo Thanksgiving menu planning post. And just like the end of any great Thanksgiving dinner you go and get some pie and a cup of coffee. Pie... yes... pie! I almost forgot (not really).


Of course I'm going to start with pumpkin pie.

Supposedly this is the "Best" paleo pumpkin pie. I'll let you decide on that. But I will say that it's probably in the running. The Best Paleo Pumpkin Pie again from the Paleo Mom.

If the previous paleo pumpkin pie is the best then maybe this one is a close second best... what do you think? Fresh Paleo Pumpkin Pie from L. Michelle.

And here's a double pie post from Marks Daily Apple. It includes one pie crust recipe and then fillings for pumpkin and apple pies. Double Pie Goodness on Marks Daily Apple.

And last, but not least, one of my personal favorite kinds of pie, pecan pie. Here are a couple delicious paleo pecan pie recipes. All three of these recipes look amazing. But we are nut free so you'll have to try them all for me!

Pecan Pie from Deliciously Organic. This one has a unique shape that looks really cool.

Paleo Pecan Pie from Modern Paleo Warfare. It looks like a couple of cats cooked this one up! I'm not kidding. Crazy!

Paleo Pecan Pie/Tart from Paleo Spirit.

Holy Turkey! That is a lot of recipes and Thanksgiving paleo meal planning goodness. I hope that you find some inspiration on here to help with your Thanksgiving meal planning. I stuck to the basics with this post of ideas but don't let that stop you from letting your own creativity flourish this Thanksgiving holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

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P.S. If you found this helpful please share it or like it on Facebook... Cheers!

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