Lighten up your Thanksgiving feast with some of these healthy recipes. You won't miss the traditional flavors of fall with these simple dishes.

The classic Thanksgiving meal has a little bit of everything: roast turkey, smoky ham, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and more. Try some of these healthy recipes to round out your annual feast and feel a little better about loading up your plate.

Asparagus Vinaigrette

Sometimes, veggies are so good that they just need a basic dressing. That's definitely the case with this asparagus recipe. Start with one bundle of fresh asparagus and snap the woody stems off of each stalk. Blanche the whole batch by dropping it in boiling water for 90 seconds. Quickly cool down the asparagus in a big bowl of ice water, then drain and pat it dry with paper towels. 

Dress with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, with salt and pepper to taste. You can make this hours in advance and store it in a plastic bag to take up less precious fridge space. It will just get better the longer it sits.


Photo by Gil Ndjouwou

Roasted Delicata Squash

You only need a handful of ingredients for this unbelievably simple side dish. Leave the skin on for a unique, nutty flavor. Here is a very easy tutorial on how to prepare this mild, fall squash. Look for small, unblemished specimens that are similar in size for a prettier presentation. Yes, you can eat the skin!

delicata squash

Courtesy of

Cranberry Sauce

Making your own cranberry sauce saves you a ton of calories. Simply simmer a bag of fresh cranberries with a cup of water and 3/4 cup of sugar. Once the berries pop, you're about almost there. Season with a dash of salt and a touch of fresh orange or lemon zest and continue to sweeten as needed.

It may seem like a ton of sugar, but it will definitely be less than what you'd find in a store-bought cranberry sauce.

cranberry sauce

Courtesy of Simply Recipes

Roasted Mushroom Salad

To serve four, start with at least two or three pints of white, baby bella, or a gourmet mushroom mix. Carefully clean them by brushing off any visible dirt with a moist paper towel, cut them in half, and toss with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes, then cool in a bowl. Dress with three tablespoons each of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and chill before serving.

Top with a sprinkling of finely chopped parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. If you have any vegetarians coming, you should double the recipe! This one keeps well in the fridge, so make it beforehand to save time.

mushroom salad

Courtesy of Closet Cooking

Baked Sweet Potatoes

Simply baking your traditional sweet potatoes will save a bunch of calories in unnecessary butter and sugar. Wash them well, pierce them with a fork, and bake in a 375-degree oven for an hour.

If you can't skip the marshmallows, split the tops of the baked sweet potatoes, sprinkle a few on, and brown them under the broiler (not too close!) for about 15 to 30 seconds. You could also top them with something savory like chives or a tiny sprinkling of bacon bits.

sweet potatoes, yams

Courtesy of Macheesmo

Shrimp Deviled Eggs

Lighten up this appetizer with just a few tender cocktail shrimp.


6 large eggs, boiled, peeled, and halved
4 large boiled shrimp (peeled and deveined)
3 T. mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard (optional)

Coarsely chop the shrimp and set aside. Mix two of the boiled egg yolks (discard the others), the mayonnaise, and Dijon mustard. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and a dash of garlic powder. Gently fold in the chopped shrimp. Spoon onto the halved egg whites and garnish with chopped scallions, paprika, chives, or small salad shrimp. 

shrimp deviled eggs

Courtesy of Absolutely Flavorful

Now if we could just figure out a healthier version of macaroni and cheese, we'd be cooking with gas! 

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving dish that doesn't make you feel guilty when you go for seconds? Share your healthy recipes in the comments!