The typical Thanksgiving meal contains over 2,000 calories and up to 120 grams of fat.
It’s a holiday that can spell disaster for people like me, who are sticking to a heart-healthy diet. But hey, Thanksgiving dinner is my favorite meal of the year, and I’m not about to give up mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie or anything else. So in this Healthy Thanksgiving series, I’ll showcase a delicious holiday feast that won’t clog up your arteries. I’m focusing on vegetarian and/or vegan side dishes, but I’ll also tip you off to turkey recipes that don’t call for smothering the bird with an entire stick of butter.
To kick things off, I’ll start with starters. Some people serve fatty artichoke parmesan dip or baked brie as Thanksgiving appetizers, and I wonder how they can handle that when there’s turkey and stuffing on the way. Here are three delicious, guilt-free appetizers that won’t leave you groaning even before dinner is served:
Marinated Olives with Lemon, Thyme and Rosemary from Eating Well
Muhammara with Crudites from Cooking Light
Bruschetta with Swiss Chard, Pine Nuts and Currants from Epicurious
Once everyone sits down at the dinner table, it’s nice to start out with a refreshing salad rather than a heavy cream-based soup. My fennel, radicchio and apple salad is a crisp, sweet-tart kickoff to the Thanksgiving feast.
Fennel, Radicchio and Apple Salad
1 medium head radicchio, cored and thinly sliced
1 large or two small fennel bulbs, sliced paper thin with a mandoline, fronds reserved
1 large crisp, sweet apple (such as Cortland or Gala), unpeeled, thinly sliced with a mandoline
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (use a gluten-free variety if you are gluten sensitive)
1 small shallot, finely minced
Pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (optional variation: substitute hazelnut or walnut oil for 1 tablespoon of the olive oil)
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Combine the radicchio, fennel and apple in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, shallot, salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Pour half of dressing over vegetables and stir to combine. Taste, and gradually add more dressing until it’s to your liking. Garnish with fennel fronds and pecans.
Coming next in my Healthy Thanksgiving series: Mashed potatoes