As Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, my nostalgia of sinking my taste buds into steamy creamed corn, goopy macaroni casserole, homemade flaky flour-dusted rolls that raised over night, and cream cheese green jell-o still wanders through my mind… but my choices, mental clarity, energy and digestion (thank goodness) now-a-days are a little different.
Those days of leaving the table so stuffed that nap time was inevitable, or wearing my stretchy pants so I could fit a little more of that goodness in my belly (it’s only one day a year, right?), OR feeling the unpleasant and heavy gurgle of “food” settle in my digestive tract and seem to just sit there are something I’d like to avoid.
But I still want to be able to have my cake and eat it too – just kdo style.
So while I haven’t composed an entire Thanksgiving spread, check out my top 4 stellar (a.k.a. out-of-this-world) dishes for Thanksgiving that you can make for your own get-together or feel great about bring to another’s.
Nutty Cranberry, Currant, and Apple Quinoa Stuffing
No need for boxed stuffing, sodium bloating, salty stuffing – try this nutritional powerhouse stuffing and get more than a daily dose of antioxidants, a heap of protein, and the taste and pleasure of carb goodness all in one serving. Not too shabby if I do say so myself.
Makes ~6 cups
1 T. coconut oil, ghee, or organic butter
1 large sweet onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 c. celery, diced
2 c. uncooked white, red, or black quinoa
2 c. vegetable broth or chicken broth
2 c. water
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. sea salt
ground black pepper (to taste)
1 c. pecans, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries (apple juice sweetened)
2 red or green apples, cored and chopped (choose red if you want sweet, green for tart)
1/4 cup currants, dates (pitted), or raisins
- In a large sauté pan or pot, heat coconut oil on stove over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 5-7 minutes or until translucent. Add celery and garlic and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Add quinoa, broth, water, and herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat so that mixture is simmering and cover pot with lid. Simmer for 25 minutes, intermittently stirring so quinoa does not stick to bottom of pan.
- Remove lid and simmer until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is cooked through.
- Add sea salt, black pepper, pecans, cranberries, apples, and currants. Stir until well-mixed. Serve warm and enjoy!
NOTE: If you would like the apples more caramelized and soft, add just before step 3 and let simmer for the remaining amount of time.
Sweet Potato Casserole (revamped KDO style)
Sweet potato casserole… ’nuff said. Make it, enjoy it, and don’t ever feel guilty about it. You can’t go wrong – seriously. Click here for recipe.
Cranberry Orange Chutney
Ditch the canned cranberry brick or the sugar loaded cranberry jelly – try this amazingly flavorful recipe AND make your house smell amazing at the same time.
Makes ~3 c.
1 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
1/4 c. maple syrup or raw honey
4 dates, pitted and chopped
1 cinnamon stick
2 bags fresh cranberries (~5-6 c.))
zest of one orange
¼ c. matchstick-size strips orange peel
- Place all ingredients into a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes and begin to mash the berries with a fork as they cook. The sauce will start to thicken as the berries cook.
- Remove from heat once desired thickness is achieved and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve chilled or re-heat on the stove just prior to serving.
Raw Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake
You may be thinking – raw cheesecake? Raw pumpkin? Gross. Now now, my lovelies, this dessert is unbelievable good and is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and just plain delicious. I just demo’ed this dessert at a Whole Foods class and there was not a single sample (or crumb) leftover. Trust me. And, the nutritional powerhouse is pretty sweet too. Just saying.
Makes 40 minis or 1- 6” cheesecake
Crust Ingredients (makes 40 minis or 1 – 6” cheesecake):
2 c. walnuts
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. sea salt
3 T. maple syrup
3 T. sucanat (raw coconut sugar)
Filling Ingredients (makes 80 minis or 1 – 6” cheesecake):
NOTE: Cut this filling recipe in 1/2 if making 40 minis. 3 cups cashews, soaked
2 c. almond milk
½ c. raw honey
¼ c. pure maple syrup
¼ c. lemon juice
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ tsp. sea salt
2 T. pumpkin pie spice
1 c. coconut oil, melted
2 tsp.lecithin (optional)
- Line mini muffin tray with liners or grease 6” round spring form pan with coconut oil.
- Process walnuts in food processor until a fine powder is formed (make sure to not over process as it will turn to a nut butter).
- Add in remaining ingredients. Process until a powder-like consistency is formed (note: when powder is pressed together it will stick).
- Distribute crust evenly into each muffin cup (or into pan). Press down crust with back of spoon, fingers, wooden dowel, or end of Vitamix plunger.
- Add cashews, almond milk, raw honey, pure maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, sea salt, and pumpkin spice to blender and puree until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides intermittently.
- Once pureed, keep the blender on medium-low and add the melted coconut oil and lecithin. Puree until well smooth.
- Distribute batter evenly among muffin cups and place in freezer for 3 hours (overnight if making 6” cheesecake) before serving. Cheesecakes are best eaten frozen or within 10-20 minutes after removing from freezer.