Simple healthy Thanksgiving recipe ideas for a small gathering. Just because it's small doesn't mean it can't be festive AF!
If your Thanksgiving gathering is shaping up to look more like an intimate dinner party (like mine is) then likely you are also feeling a little lost in the menu planning department. The trouble is I want ALL the Thanksgiving things, but our Thanksgiving celebration is usually for 35 people a celebration where ALL the things are appropriate.
Small and intimate is ok, we will roll with it. It is a must to serve classic dishes, a few that I will not sacrifice are stuffing and mashed potatoes, but I've had to rethink the 12 pie extravaganze and the rolling appetizer hour.
So… let's work this out together. Here is my ideal healthy thanksgiving menu for a small gathering. I hope you love these recipes and find ways to make the celebration super festive and full of love!
Serving appetizers on thanksgiving is an opportunity to chat and mingle before sitting down to a big dinner. I look forward to appetizer hour because it's my first mini-meal of the day!
I don't want to do without this year, but I will streamline appetizers and serve one festive and beautiful grazing board.
The great thing about a grazing board is that it is customizable based on how many people you have in your family. You can make this super easy by purchasing pre-made dips and filling the board with beautiful fall veggies and treats.
This was my fall grazing board from last Thanksgiving …. for 35 people! Fully customizable and so festive.
For the main dish, you can make a smaller turkey breast roast, or a traditional turkey (My mom uses this brined turkey recipe from Emeril Lagasse). I am going to suggest something a little different. I personally don't love turkey and love the idea of mixing things up this Thanksgiving with a crowd-pleasing dish like:
SIDE DISH RECIPES:
My favorite part of the meal BY FAR! I know a few people that are doing side dishes only for Thanksgiving this year and I am here for it. I narrowed this year's menu down to my five favorite and essential side dish recipes:
You will never make mashed potatoes on the stovetop again. These potatoes are NO DRAIN! Yup, you heard that right, no drain! Adding parsnips, a hearty root vegetable that is like carrots paler sister, not only adds a host of nutrients but also a phenomenal flavor. My magical Instant Pot is an essential tool during the holidays, no-drain mashed potatoes is a very strong reason why.
Stuffing is by far my favorite part of Thanksgiving, I could very happily sit down and eat only a plate of stuffing. My mom usually makes a sausage sage stuffing which is DELISH! But this year I created this sourdough herb wild mushrooms stuffing with savory veggies, yum! BONUS: Take that creamy onion sauce from the green bean recipe and pour it all over the stuffing. Ok, goodbye, life is perfect now.
Green bean casserole is not a recipe I grew up with, but I like the idea of it, sort of. I am always looking for ways to lighten up some of the traditional side dishes to bring a better balance to the meal. This version contains crisp roasted green beans and hearty mushrooms with a vegan creamy onion sauce lightly drizzled on top.
If you LOVE marshmallow sweet potato casserole madness, this is not the recipe for you. I have an aversion to overly sweet, sweet potatoes unless it is intentionally in a pie. In this version, I add a touch of heat from cayenne and top the fluffy light sweet potatoes with crunchy pecans that are also not overly sweet.
I love a tangy, bright, crunchy salad on Thanksgiving. It is the perfect complement to the heavier side dishes. This fall harvest salad contains roasted butternut squash, apple, toasted pumpkin seeds, pickled red onions, and a TO-DIE-FOR pumpkin garlic vinaigrette. Seasonal and festive AF indded!
HEALTHY THANKSGIVING DESSERT RECIPES
The plan is to keep dessert super simple this year, but the idea of only one dessert made me sad… so I'll be making two! The best part is the pumpkin pie in a jar recipe is perfect for a sweet treat days later… kind of like dessert meal prep 🙂
Single-serve, super easy, make in advance, all the things. Heavenly pumpkin mousse layered with gluten-free gingerbread cookies and coconut whipped cream. Vegan, gluten-free and so delicious!
A simple gluten-free dessert, fresh seasonal apples topped with a crispy oat and nut crumble. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
HEALTHY THANKSGIVING DRINK RECIPES
I keep this warm all day in my Instant Pot and let my guests serve themselves. A small bottle of good quality bourbon is nearby for those that want a little extra “warmth”.
I have been on a serious kombucha cocktail kick, they are low in alcohol and have the added benefit of a little bit of gut support. Woop! Woop! This festive kombucha cocktail is absolutely delicious!
No matter the size of your celebration this year I wish you the most beautiful holiday. It has been a challenging year, to say the least, but I am feeling so much gratitude for you! Thank you for being an AK fan, reading my posts, making the recipes, watching this little passion project grow this year has kept me going through some pretty tough times, so Thank You!
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