Long associated with overeating, lazing on the couch in a tryptophan haze, spiking and then re-spiking glucose levels with multiple helpings of mashed potatoes and whipped cream-topped pie, Thanksgiving recipes are traditional; indulgent; and fiercely heavy on all of the buttery, creamy, sugary things.
We’re not even going to try to tell you to stick to the salad, skinless turkey, and cheese-and-nut tray only for your holiday meal. We believe that food should be enjoyed and that you should eat that once-a-year meal without guilt or thought that you have to “earn it” by running a Turkey Trot.
That said, moderation and picky selection can be useful tools so you don’t end up feeling like a stuffed bird after the Thanksgiving meal. We’re also gonna drop some links to (semi) traditional Thanksgiving recipes with a low-glycemic spin in case you might like to add some balance to your decadent holiday table.
Low-Glycemic Turkey Recipes
Herbed Butter Roasted Turkey
Simple but traditionally delicious, this golden roasted whole turkey from Peace Love and Low-Carb will stun your guests. Slather an herb-studded butter on the outside and inside of the turkey skin and let your oven do the work.
Brined Roasted Turkey
Most brines include sugar or a sugary ingredient such as apple cider, but this keto-friendly brined roasted turkey by How to This and That bathes the bird in salted water before roasting.
Herb and Mustard Crusted Turkey Legs
For the dark meat lovers, roasted turkey legs provide substantial portions of rich meat without the hassle of a whole bird. This version paints turkey legs with mustard, herbs, and butter before baking.
For white meat fans, a turkey roulade provides plenty of flavor-infused protein. This stuffing-free turkey breast roulade from Pinch and Swirl uses garlic and herbs for the swirl that shows when you slice it.
<p class="pro-tip"><strong>Learn more about </strong> <a href="/blog/turkey-metabolic-health">turkey and metabolic health, plus an easy turkey tostadas recipe</a>.</p>
Low-Glycemic Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes
An alternative to white-bread stuffing, this harvest casserole from Paleo Running Momma combines autumn vegetables like butternut squash and Brussels sprouts with cauliflower rice, pecans, chicken sausage, and familiar fall spices like sage, rosemary, thyme, and parsley in a one-dish caramelized casserole.
Thanksgiving Kale Salad
An all-in-one salad sans the turkey, this bountiful bowl of fall flavors is probably only called a salad because its base uses raw chopped kale. This giant veggie bowl designed by Kale Me Maybe combines roasted cubed sweet potatoes with the tart pop of cranberries, sweet nuttiness of pecans, and slightly sharp savoriness from garlic and parmesan cheese.
If you’d like more bite and less spike from your side dishes, this mashed turnips recipe from Low Carb Yum provides the creaminess of mashed potatoes without the bulk. Make a no-dairy version with coconut oil and coconut or almond milk for any vegans or lactose-intolerant loved ones.
Swap the sourdough or cornbread for cauliflower and load up your casserole dish with the usual stuffing suspects: onion, celery, garlic, herbs, and butter. This cauliflower stuffing from Healthy Recipes adds portobello mushrooms for a meaty bite—no sausage needed.
Keto Almond Flour Biscuits
Sink your teeth into cheesy, buttery biscuits made with almond flour and shredded cheddar. These almond flour biscuits by The Big Man’s World use the easy drop biscuit method (no rolling or biscuit cutters needed).
Green Bean Casserole
Take some extra time to fry your own crispy onion straws for this green bean casserole by Primal Kitchen—and use avocado or olive oil for healthier frying. This recipe uses the brand’s no dairy garlic alfredo sauce instead of condensed cream of mushroom soup for a higher-quality version of the classic recipe.
Lower-Glycemic Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes
No Sugar, Low-Carb Pumpkin Pie
Whether you’re team pumpkin spice or not, pumpkin pie remains a traditional turkey-day treat. This low-carb version from Wholesome Yum uses erythritol to sweeten the autumn squash. A small amount of blackstrap molasses adds a treacle-like note and the spiced custardy filling rests on an almond flour pie crust.
Easy Apple Tart
While apples may cause a rise in glucose in some people, you won’t get the same spike from an apple tart sweetened with erythritol that you might get from sugar-sweetened apple pie. This keto-friendly apple tart by I Breathe I’m Hungry gives the apple-cinnamon goodness you know and love hugged by a simple buttery crust made with almond flour.
Pecan Pie Bars
Love the syrupy, sticky goodness of pecan pie? These pecan pie bars from My Montana Kitchen are square-shaped keto-friendly pie bars with the vanilla- and molasses-coated pecans you know and love.
A mashup of a perennial sweet splurge and a seasonal sensation, pumpkin cheesecake sweetened with a sugar alcohol or a “rare sugar” (allulose) can taste just as velvety and sweet as the original. This version by Sugar-Free Londoner comes with a bonus optional sugar-free maple caramel sauce.