Low-Glycemic Thanksgiving Recipes

These low-glycemic Thanksgiving recipes help add balance to your holiday table without giving up the good stuff.

Close up shot on a slice of low glycemic apple tart, a Thanksgiving recipe
Sabrina Tillman
— Signos
Health & Fitness Writer
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Reviewed by

Sabrina Tillman
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Updated by

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Science-based and reviewed

May 20, 2024
November 17, 2021
— Updated:
February 25, 2022

Table of Contents

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

An overhead shot of a woman slicing into the side of a roasted Thanksgiving turkey

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.

Turkey Roulade 

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

Harvest Casserole

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.

Mashed Turnips

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.

Cauliflower Stuffing

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

A close up shot of a low-glycemic pumpkin pie slice topped with whipped cream

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. 

Pumpkin Cheesecake

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.

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About the author

Sabrina has more than 20 years of experience writing, editing, and leading content teams in health, fitness, nutrition, and wellness. She is the former managing editor at MyFitnessPal.

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Please note: The Signos team is committed to sharing insightful and actionable health articles that are backed by scientific research, supported by expert reviews, and vetted by experienced health editors. The Signos blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. Read more about our editorial process and content philosophy here.

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