35 Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes Made for Second Helpings

Updated: Nov. 02, 2022

Say, “yes” to your favorite Thanksgiving foods without feeling guilty. These healthy Thanksgiving recipes are full of flavor and fresh fall produce.

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Stuffing from the Slow Cooker

If you’re hosting a big Thanksgiving dinner this year, add this simple slow-cooked stuffing to your menu to ease entertaining. The recipe comes in handy when you run out of oven space at large family gatherings. I use this Crock Pot dressing recipe often. —Donald Seiler, Macon, Mississippi

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Roasted Apple Salad with Spicy Maple-Cider Vinaigrette

We bought loads of apples and needed to use them. To help the flavors come alive, I roasted the apples and tossed them with a sweet dressing. —Janice Elder, Charlotte, North Carolina
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Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

I order cauliflower mash every time we visit our favorite restaurant. Lucky us; one night, I figured out how to make it at home. It was so easy! —Jean Keiser, West Chester, Pennsylvania
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Green Beans with Shallots

A package of frozen green beans makes these “dill-icious” green beans a fast and tasty accompaniment to almost any main course. —Linda Rabbit, Charles City, Iowa
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Honey-Oat Pan Rolls

These tender rolls are relatively quick to make. Whole wheat flour and oats make them nutritious, too.—Arlene Butler, Ogden, Utah
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Holiday Brussels Sprouts

Make Brussels sprouts special with peas, celery and, of course, bacon. The recipe doubles easily if needed. —Jodie Beckman, Council Bluffs, Iowa
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Honey-Thyme Butternut Squash

This golden, honey-sweetened squash is just as hearty and comforting as your favorite potato dish. With its bright color, it makes an attractive side for special autumn meals. —Bianca Noiseux, Bristol, Connecticut
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Roasted Squash, Carrots & Walnuts

After the turkey’s done, I dial up the oven temp and roast carrots and squash for this yummy side. That frees me up to start the gravy. —Lily Julow, Lawrenceville, Georgia
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Creamy Butternut Squash & Sage Soup

I recently started experimenting with new soup recipes, and finally created a rich squash version that omits heavy cream altogether, making it a healthier way to curb my creamy-tooth. —Nithya Kumar, Davis, California
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Beans 'n' Caramelized Onions

Brown sugar, bacon and cider vinegar season this simple side. I often make it for family and friends, and it never fails to please!—Jill Heatwole, Pittsville, Maryland
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Spicy Applesauce

We have an apple-picking party every year. It's a bushel of fun, and I always look forward to cooking a batch of this easy applesauce seasoned with cinnamon, cloves and allspice. —Marian Platt, Sequim, Washington
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Roasted Butternut Tossed Salad

This salad makes an easy and special side dish for Thanksgiving dinner, and it's packed with nutritious veggies, almonds, berries and squash. —Katie Wollgast, Florissant, Missouri
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Turkey Sausage-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Finding healthy recipes the family will eat is a challenge. This elegant squash is one we love, and it works with pork or chicken sausage, too. —Melissa Pelkey Hass, Waleska, Georgia
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Rice Pilaf with Apples & Raisins

I love making bulgar pilaf with apricots. So glad I tried it with dried apples and golden raisins! —Elizabeth Dumont, Madison, Mississippi
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Roasted Herb & Lemon Cauliflower

A standout cauliflower side is easy to prepare with just a few ingredients. Crushed red pepper flakes add a touch of heat. —Susan Hein, Burlington, Wisconsin
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Oven-Roasted Spiced Carrots

I started roasting veggies and serving them often with dinner. Now my children say, “Is it OK to finish the veggies?” Pinch me. —Joan Duckworth, Lee's Summit, Missouri
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Honey-Squash Dinner Rolls

Puffy dinner rolls take on rich color when you add squash to the dough. Any squash variety works—I've even used cooked carrots. —Marcia Whitney, Gainesville, Florida
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Sweet Potato & Chickpea Salad

Take this colorful dish to the buffet at a family gathering, or enjoy it as a great meal all by itself. —Brenda Gleason, Hartland, Wisconsin
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Garlic-Mashed Rutabagas & Potatoes

My family absolutely loves mashed potatoes. I created this recipe to lighten up the calories and sneak in a serving of rutabagas. If you have the time, boil the potatoes in chicken broth to add even more flavor. —Rosemary Tatum, Sterlington, Louisiana
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Brussels Sprouts with Garlic

These Brussels sprouts are special enough for company—I like to serve them for Thanksgiving dinner. If you can't find fresh sprouts, try using the frozen one. —Myra Innes, Auburn, Kansas
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Roasted Green Beans with Lemon & Walnuts

I first tasted roasted green beans in a Chinese restaurant and fell in love with the texture and flavor. This is my Americanized version and it's always a big hit at our holiday table. —Lily Julow, Lawrenceville, Georgia
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Parmesan Butternut Squash

Butternut squash sprinkled with Parmesan and bread crumbs makes a superb side dish we love to share. Using the microwave cuts down on long roasting time. —Jackie O'Callaghan, West Lafayette, Indiana
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Honey-Butter Peas and Carrots

This classic combination of peas and carrots is enriched with a handful of flavor enhancers. Slow cooking allows the ingredients to meld for maximum richness. —Theresa Kreyche, Tustin, California
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Favorite Mashed Sweet Potatoes

My family begs me to make mashed sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I love this recipe because it can be made a day ahead and warmed up before the big meal. —Senja Merrill, Sandy, Utah
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Makeover Stuffed Potato Appetizers

We barely noticed the difference in this lightened-up version of our favorite dish. We tried it with friends and loved it. —Sonya Labbe, West Hollywood, California
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Butternut Squash with Maple Syrup

I love this roasted butternut squash because it’s marvelous served hot or cold and it's loaded with flavor from garlic, ginger and leeks. —Marie Willette, Bellows Falls, Vermont
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Roasted Vegetables with Sage

When I can't decide what vegetable to serve at dinner, I turn to this oven-roasted medley that features brussels sprouts, potatoes, carrots and butternut squash. It pleases everyone around the table.—Betty Fulks, Onia, Arkansas
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Thyme-Roasted Carrots

Cutting the carrots lengthwise makes this dish look extra pretty. For a little more elegance and color, garnish with sprigs of fresh thyme or parsley. —Deirdre Cox, Kansas City, Missouri
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Roasted Garlic Green Beans with Cashews

My mom got a garlic roaster and soon my kitchen was overflowing with heads of sweet, gooey, roasted garlic. This recipe, one of my many experiments, was a favorite of my family. The roasted garlic is mild and adds a rich, buttery taste to the beans. —Virginia Sturm, San Francisco, California