Thinking Out Loud

This Thanksgiving: Broaden Your Pallet, Not Your Waistline

By Theagarajan_CML

If you’re planning on doing the majority of the cooking this Thanksgiving and would like some healthier alternatives that could fool even the most cantankerous of turkey day traditionalists…here are two of them:

Thanksgiving “Cauli-Mashers”
I straight fooled my pops the other day with this INCREDIBLY simple mashed cauiflower recipe. I like to think of it as a delightful piece of trickery.

Recipe:

  • 1 head of cauliflower

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • ¼ -1/2 cup of whole milk (or almond milk for us vegans which is what I used and it turned out fantastic)

  • 2 tbps butter (or olive oil)

  • salt & pepper to taste

  • garnish with fresh diced chives

Cut up the cauliflower into roughly the same size pieces (like broccoli florets) and boil in water for about 10-12 minutes or until soft when you insert a fork. Drain all the water and pat the cauliflower dry with a paper towel. While still hot, use a blender or electric mixer and blend until smooth. Add the cream/milk (or almond milk) and all the remainder of the ingredients (aside from the chives, leave those for a delicious garnish). Serve hot and BOOM. They’re not going to be quite as thick as regular mashed potatoes but pretty darn close.

2) Pumpkin Apple Walnut Rice (adapted from BuzzFeed’s Vegan Thanksgiving)

This pumpkin cranberry rice is a cozy warm bowl brimming with seasonal fall favorites.

Recipe:

  • 1 3/4 cups cooked brown rice

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1 small Honeycrisp apple, diced

  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped

  • 1 Tbsp parsley flakes

  • 2 tbsp cranberries

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, unsalted

  • 1-3 Tbsp maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want it)

  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp fine pepper

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1/2 tsp salt (to taste)

optional: 1 cup warmed chickpeas over top
Cook the brown rice then set aside. In a separate sauce pan combine the pumpkin, maple syrup (or agave, but maple syrup adds that festive flavor), vinegar and all the spices. Now add this mixture to the warm brown rice. Mix until it’s all evenly distributed. Now dice the apples and onions. Add apples, cranberries, onions, walnuts, olive oil and salt.

There is a bountiful array of delicious seasonal dishes that don’t have to expand your waistline this holiday season. Many of which just happen to be good for you as well as good tasting. I attended a health and wellness fair recently and listened to a very interesting talk by a local physician regarding the increase of people getting sick during the holidays. I’m not going to go into all the scientific bits and bobs BUT he made it clear that the significant dietary increase of sugar, in particular, significantly increases our risk of getting ill since it decreases our immune system.

Stay mindful of what you intake this holiday season and look for healthier alternatives so you can fully enjoy what the season has to offer! Stay healthy, stay happy.

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