50 Healthy Thanksgiving Dishes for Special Diets

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hands passing green beans to smiling young person
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EVERYTHING ON THE SIDE

With so many different dietary restrictions out there, it takes time to plan a Thanksgiving meal. Special diets include sugar-free, paleo, keto, gluten-free, low-FODMAP, nut-free, and more. Luckily, when you're cooking at home, it's easy to know the exact ingredients that go into each dish. Even a classic turkey is gluten-free, paleo, and keto-friendly. Read on for healthy recipes that will safely feed your Thanksgiving guests, no matter their dietary restrictions.

roasted delicata slices
Photo credit: bhofack2/istockphoto

ROASTED DELICATA SQUASH WITH TURMERIC

This roasted delicata squash from SkinnyTaste is gluten-free, paleo, keto, sugar-free, nut-free, vegetarian, and vegan. It's also low-fuss and the perfect balance of sweet and savory. The recipe is worth keeping in your recipe box for any fall day, not just Thanksgiving.

Recipe: SkinnyTaste

polenta fries with herbs
Photo credit: heinstirred/istockphoto

POLENTA FRIES

Polenta fries topped with rosemary and parmesan cheese for an appetizer? You bet. It's a simple dish that will wow your guests with its savory complexity. Developed by a nutritionist E.A. Stewart, it's gluten-free, low-FODMAP (fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols, a diet for those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome), and vegetarian. To make it vegan, just sub in your favorite vegan cheese.

Recipe: E.A. Stewart

buttery cauliflower mash
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BUTTERY CAULIFLOWER MASH

This low-carb cauliflower mash from My Keto Kitchen will be a perfectly decadent substitute for mashed potatoes for your paleo and keto guests. It looks enough like mashed potatoes that the rest of your guests will probably eat it happily without even realizing that it's cauliflower.

Recipe: My Keto Kitchen

garlic roasted mashed potatoes
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GARLIC ROASTED MASHED POTATOES

For those who can have potatoes but need a vegan version, this recipe from Loving it Vegan delivers on flavor. These roasted garlic mashed potatoes are not only vegan but gluten-free, sugar-free, and nut-free. The roasted garlic flavor enhances the creaminess of this healthy, decadent-feeling dish.

Recipe: Loving It Vegan

sweet mashed potatoes
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SWEET MASHED POTATOES

While turkey is usually the star of the show, potatoes can very easily make or break a Thanksgiving dinner. Consider a more nutritious option with sweet mashed potatoes, which have more nutrients than white potatoes, plus healthy fiber from a banana. There's also no milk or cream for lactose-intolerant diets.

Recipe: Food Network

mushroom gravy
Photo credit: LauriPatterson/istockphoto

MUSHROOM GRAVY

Everybody's Mushroom Gravy from The Splendid Table is aptly named — it's gluten-free, vegan, and nut-free. Need it to be soy-free? Omit the soy sauce. Need corn-free? Sub arrowroot powder for cornstarch. With rich savory flavors from the herbs, mushrooms, and vegetable stock, it will easily satisfy everyone's gravy needs.

Recipe: The Splendid Table

brown turkey gravy
Photo credit: bhofack2/istockphoto

LAZY MAN'S GRAVY

Thanksgiving can be a lot of work, so use a couldn't-be-simpler gluten-free gravy option like Lazy Man's Gravy. Not only is it just a few ingredients, but it will be ready in 10 minutes.

Recipe: Genius Kitchen

cild rice and quinoa
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WILD RICE AND QUINOA STUFFING

Kitchen Treaty's recipe for wild rice stuffing is gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, corn-free, and vegan. With its cornucopia of autumnal flavors — fresh herbs, apples, cranberries, and pecans — everyone will be asking for a second helping. For those who prefer to skip the turkey, there's plenty of protein-rich quinoa, too.

Recipe: Kitchen Treaty

stuffing
Photo credit: bhofack2/istockphoto

ALLERGY-FREE STUFFING

Allergy-Free Stuffing is egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, peanut-free, and gluten-free. It is a hearty, well-spiced take on the author's great grandmother's stuffing, and "tastes exactly the same with a lot less calories."

Recipe: Allergy Free Cooking, Baby!

hands putting stuffing in raw turkey
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CARAMELIZED ONION SAUSAGE STUFFING

For friends who are paleo, keto, or otherwise on the low-carb train, this caramelized

onion sausage stuffing from PaleOMG will be just the thing. The bulk of the stuffing is sausage, caramelized onions, sweet potatoes, plus mushrooms and pecans.

Recipe: PaleOMG

cauliflower stuffing in oven dish
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CAULIFLOWER STUFFING

For those on low-carb eating plans, regular stuffing is out of the question. But the cauliflower stuffing from Wholesome Yum is paleo-friendly and full of fiber.

Recipe: Wholesome Yum

shuffle with fall leaves and sunflower
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SAVORY BACON BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUFFLE

PaleOMG has a recipe for a bacon butternut squash souffle which gets some of its savory flavor from fresh thyme, sage, shallots, garlic, and the addition of bacon fat. It's paleo, gluten-free, and sounds much more complicated than it actually is.

Recipe: PaleOMG

cranberry sauce
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CRANBERRY CHERRY SAUCE

Cranberry sauce is classic and not all that friendly to those who are eating paleo or keto. Luckily, Elana's Pantry has a lower-glycemic version with no sugar and only four ingredients. The easy-to-make sauce is great for your paleo, keto, and sugar-free friends, or just anyone who would like a delicious Thanksgiving condiment.

Recipe: Elana's Pantry

Artichoke Hearts
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LIMA BEANS WITH ROASTED ARTICHOKE HEARTS

The Martha Stewart recipe for lima beans with roasted artichoke hearts is sneaky — the name doesn't advertise that it's gluten-free, nut-free, and vegan. The lima beans lend creaminess, which is offset by the sherry vinegar and capers.

Recipe: Martha Stewart

stuffed cherry tomatoes in circular glass dish on wooden surface
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BLT BITES

When Delicious As It Looks combines bacon with cherry tomatoes, mayonnaise, green onion, parsley, and black pepper, it becomes an appetizer which is gluten-free, paleo, keto, and low-FODMAP (for those with IBS). These bites are also a colorful finger food to add to your spread.

Recipe:Delicious As It Looks

asparagus wrapped in prosciutto
Photo credit: bhofack2/istockphoto

ROASTED ASPARAGUS WRAPPED IN HAM

With just two ingredients — asparagus and smoked ham — it's possible to make an appetizer that's keto, paleo, gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, and egg-free. Just make sure to choose ham that is paleo-friendly and nut-free to make sure your guests with allergies are safe.

Recipe: Kalyn's Kitchen

harissa on knife with peppers in background
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SHINGLED SWEET POTATOES WITH HARISSA

Gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan, a Bon Appétit recipe for shingled sweet potatoes with harissa is a tasty twist on a classic. With harissa, pistachios, sesame seeds, and earthy fennel to round out the sweetness of the sweet potatoes, you won't miss the marshmallows.

Recipe: Bon Appétit

glazed shallots
Photo credit: Glazed Shallots With Chile And Thyme by jacqueline (CC BY-NC)

GLAZED SHALLOTS WITH CHILE AND THYME

Herbivores coming to Thanksgiving? Try a gluten-free, vegan recipe Bon Appétit recipe for glazed shallots with chile and lime. They're sweet, saucy, and will hold well for a day or two — a great make-ahead dish that can easily be warmed up in the microwave. If you're not into spicy, skip the chilies.

Recipe: Bon Appétit

white bean kale salad
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WHITE BEAN KALE SALAD WITH TAHINI DRESSING

If kale is going to grace your Thanksgiving table, try the recipe for white bean kale salad with tahini dressing from Minimalist Baker, which can be assembled in 30 minutes. It's packed with healthy protein — 15 grams per serving — and fiber. It's also vegan, and can be gluten-free if you sub in gluten-free bread.

Recipe: Minimalist Baker

parsnip confit and pickled currants
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PARSNIP CONFIT AND PICKLED CURRANTS

Root vegetables have, perhaps unfairly, gained a reputation for being filling, practical, and boring. This recipe for parsnip confit with pickled currants from Bon Appétit is something else. Parsnips soften in a warm bath of olive oil, then are seared and adorned with pickled currants. All that, plus it's gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and paleo.

Recipe: Bon Appétit

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CHILI-LIME ROASTED CHICKPEAS

For a crunchy gluten-free appetizer, try a fun and easy Cooking Light recipe. The chickpeas are roasted for a satisfying crunch, making this simple dish gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian. Chili powder and fresh lime add spice and tang, but feel free to swap in your own flavor combinations.

Recipe: Cooking Light

bacon green onion deviled eggs
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BACON HORSERADISH DEVILED EGGS

Gluten-free, paleo deviled eggs are a fun finger food that can be partially prepared ahead of time: Cook the eggs in advance to save time, but don't add the yolk filling until you're ready to serve. The bacon and chives can also be prepared early, but keep them separate until the last minute to preserve their color and crispness.

Recipe: Cooking Light

brussel sprout salad
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BRUSSELS SPROUT QUINOA SALAD

Uproot Kitchen's recipe for brussels sprout quinoa salad is a gluten-free, vegan cornucopia of Thanksgiving flavors — dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, oranges, and hearty vegetables. This is definitely a recipe to keep around all year — filling 20-minute salads are always in season.

Recipe: Uproot Kitchen

green beans in pesto sauce
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BLISTERED GREEN BEANS WITH TOMATO-ALMOND PESTO

This simple, kicky dish from Bon Appétit features green beans, a Thanksgiving favorite, with a sauce inspired by Spanish romesco. It's also gluten-free, keto, paleo, vegetarian, and vegan.

Recipe: Bon Appétit

sweet potatoes with blue cheese
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SWEET POTATOES WITH STILTON AND WALNUTS

Stilton, a bold blue cheese, adds creaminess and salty richness to traditional Thanksgiving sweet potatoes in a gluten-free and paleo-friendly recipe from Bon Appétit. If you don't like Stilton, you could use a creamy blue cheese like gorgonzola dolce, which is a little less assertive.

Recipe: Bon Appétit

green bean casserole
Photo credit: bhofack2/istockphoto

FROM SCRATCH GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE

The classic Thanksgiving green bean casserole isn't all that friendly to those with dietary restrictions, though it's certainly tasty. With a few easy substitutions, though, Happy Healthy Mama's From Scratch Green Bean Casserole is gluten-free, vegan, and corn-free. Miso, soy sauce, and vegetable broth ensure that it's just as rich and flavorful as the original.

Recipe: Happy Healthy Mama

glazed carrots
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MAPLE GLAZED CARROTS WITH BACON

If there's any flavor more autumnal than cooked carrots, it's maple. Add a bit of bacon and maple syrup and you've got maple glazed carrots with bacon from Confessions of an Overworked Mom. At four ingredients, it's deceptively simple, but serves ultimate fall coziness. Plus, it's paleo-friendly and gluten-free.

Recipe: Confessions of an Overworked Mom

roast leg of lamb with rosemary
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BEST ROAST LEG OF LAMB

Who says everyone has to have turkey on Thanksgiving? If your meat eating guests aren't fond of turkey, there are plenty of other hearty, impressive options. Jamie Oliver's roast leg of lamb recipe is a true feast and gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free. Plus, it comes with a mint sauce on the side, which could be easily changed into a more Thanksgiving-appropriate sauce — try equal parts rosemary, thyme, and parsley.

Recipe: Jamie Oliver

braised pork chop
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BRAISED PORK CHOPS WITH CIPOLLINI AND OLIVES

Food & Wine's recipe for braised pork chops with cipollini and olives is gluten-free, paleo, keto, egg-free, and dairy-free. Plus, they'll go wonderfully with your favorite Italian red wine.

Recipe: Food & Wine

person taking roast duck out of oven
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CRISP ROAST DUCK

If you feel the need for fowl but don't want turkey, mix it up with a roast duck recipe from Epicurious. It's simple, delicious, and very allergy friendly — egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free, gluten-free, keto and paleo, plus low-FODMAP. Plus, it's easier and faster than roasting a turkey.

Recipe: Epicurious

pumpkin lasagne
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PUMPKIN LASAGNE

Who says your Thanksgiving main has to be meat-based? The pumpkin lasagne from Food & Wine is autumnal, vegetarian, nut-free, and very decadent. Pair with your favorite white wine, especially one with a bit of sweetness.

Recipe: Food & Wine

roasted turkey with peppercorn
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PASTRAMI-STYLE GRILLED TURKEY BREAST

If it just won't feel like Thanksgiving without turkey, there are still easier options than roasting a whole bird. Just buy a turkey breast for pastrami-style grilled turkey breast from Bon Appétit, which is gluten-free, paleo, keto, and low-FODMAP. It's a recipe that's probably easier than a traditional Thanksgiving turkey but feels fancier.

Recipe: Bon Appétit

hands cutting turkey
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CAJUN-SPICED TURKEY

Cajun-spiced turkey from Bon Appétit is gluten-free, paleo, keto, and nut-free, and a fun update on the classic roast turkey. Don't wait until the last minute, as the turkey needs to cure in the homemade Cajun spice mix overnight.

Recipe: Bon Appétit

tofurkey with gravy
Photo credit: photo(34) by Elaine (CC BY-NC-ND)

VEGAN TOFURKEY WITH MUSHROOM STUFFING AND GRAVY

Why leave the turkey experience to the carnivores? Tofurkey is the butt of more than a few jokes, but the vegetarian, vegan homemade version with mushroom stuffing and gravy from Epicurious will satisfy all your non-carnivorous friends who still don't feel like it will be Thanksgiving without turkey.

Recipe: Epicurious

cornbread in cast iron skillet
Photo credit: LauriPatterson/istockphoto

GLUTEN-FREE CORNBREAD

It's not a proper meal without some sort of bread unless you or your guests are avoiding gluten. For your gluten-free guests, the Jamie Oliver recipe for cornbread is an excellent option. Leave out the optional bacon fat if you're cooking for vegetarians as well.

Recipe: Jamie Oliver

dinner rolls on wooden surface
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GLUTEN-FREE DINNER ROLLS

The recipe for gluten-free pull-apart dinner rolls from My Gluten-Free Kitchen will result in fluffy dinner rolls that will make everyone happy. There's even a dairy-free option.

Recipe: My Gluten-Free Kitchen

keto buns
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KETO BUNS

Those eating keto may think baked goods are off the menu, so surprise them with the Ultimate Keto Buns from Keto Diet App. They're light, fluffy, and an excellent carb substitute for those who are abstaining. There's even a nut-free version. While a kitchen scale isn't necessary, it is recommended for best results.

Recipe: Keto Diet App

cherry chocolate cake
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CHERRY CHOCOLATE CAKE

Guests will drool over the cherry chocolate cake from Cookie and Kate. It's the perfect dessert for feeling fancy while still eating healthy — diners get the nutritional benefits of whole wheat flour and fresh cherries, plus it's vegan.

Recipe: Cookie and Kate

pumpkin pie slice
Photo credit: LauriPatterson/istockphoto

PUMPKIN PIE SQUARES WITH GLUTEN-FREE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST

It's really not Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie, right? If you're hosting vegan, gluten-free guests, a recipe for pumpkin pie squares by Oh She Glows nails the pumpkin pie craving in a way that everyone can enjoy. Just remember to grab the whipped cream.

Recipe: Oh She Glows

apple crumble with red apples
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EASY VEGAN APPLE CRISP

Nothing says Thanksgiving more than a baked apple dessert. This year, ditch the traditional pie and go for an easier, gluten-free, vegan apple crisp from Love & Lemons. It's faster and tastier than an apple pie, too.

Recipe: Love & Lemons

avocado cacao mousse in wooden bowls with avocados
Photo credit: LarisaBlinova/istockphoto

AVOCADO CACAO MOUSSE

Everyone loves chocolate mousse, but it's certainly not a health food. Or, it wasn't until the recipe for Avocado Cacao Mousse from The Kitchen came around. It's vegan, gluten-free, and a reasonable treat for the keto and paleo folks as well. It's creamy with balanced sweetness, plus the avocados impart a wealth of healthy fats.

Recipe: The Kitchn

yogurt and fruit kebabs on red gingham surface
Photo credit: rojoimages/istockphoto

TAHINI FRUIT DIP

If you're serving a smorgasbord of Thanksgiving dishes, you may want a lighter, more refreshing option for dessert. This tahini fruit dip from Martha Stewart will be just the thing. Nutty richness is achieved without actual nuts by combining tahini with Greek yogurt, honey, salt, and cinnamon. It's nut-free and can be vegan if you sub agave for the honey and use a vegan-friendly yogurt such as coconut yogurt.

Recipe: Martha Stewart

roasted chickpeas in brown bowl
Photo credit: bhofack2/istockphoto

CARAMELIZED SESAME CHICKPEAS

Candied nuts are a delightful Thanksgiving accompaniment, unless, of course, they will make your guests ill. If you have nut-free guests, caramelized sesame chickpeas will make a lovely alternative. They are also gluten-free and very tasty — plan on making a double batch, as everyone will be eating them by the handful.

Recipe: Martha Stewart

truffle
Photo credit: Truffle bite by Taryn (CC BY-SA)

KETO CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

If you want to convince your guests that you are the ruler of all things fancy, this recipe for keto chocolate truffles from Delish will be the perfect finishing note. It's all of five ingredients, and is keto-friendly (depending on the chocolate chips that you use) as well as vegan and gluten-free. With most of the fat coming from avocado, it's both healthy and decadent.

Recipe: Delish

lemon cheesecake
Photo credit: dem10/istockphoto

WHITE CHOCOLATE LEMON CHEESECAKE

The amazing 10-ingredient cheesecake recipe from Minimalist Baker is made entirely in the food processor or blender. This dish is so satisfying most people would never guess it was vegan and gluten-free.

Recipe: Minimalist Baker

chocolate cranberry cookies on wooden surface
Photo credit: Mikhail Dragunov/istockphoto

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CRANBERRY PECAN COOKIES

These soft and gooey cookies from Lauren Renlund are a delicious treat for anyone, including those with food intolerances. They're vegan, gluten-free, low-FODMAP, and delicious.

Recipe: Lauren Renlund

Crustless Pumpkin Pie
Photo credit: Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

LOW-FODMAP PUMPKIN PIE

Low FODMAP is perhaps one of the most misunderstood of the dietary restrictions out there. Luckily the low-FODMAP pumpkin pie from A Little Bit Yummy is also soy-free, vegetarian, and gluten-free, making it the perfect Thanksgiving dessert if you have friends with different food allergies joining your Thanksgiving table.

Recipe: A Little Bit Yummy

flourless chocolate cake
Photo credit: incdsign/istockphoto

FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE

Thanksgiving may not traditionally be focused on chocolate desserts, but for some it's not really dessert without some chocolate. Why not try the gluten-free, nut-free Flourless Chocolate Cake from King Arthur Flour for the chocolate fiends of the bunch? It will easily be the first thing to go.

Recipe: King Arthur Flour

yellow pie
Photo credit: Mariha-kitchen/istockphoto

GOLDEN MILK PIE

This gluten-free, dairy-free recipe from Bon Appétit is inspired by the flavors found in the traditional Ayurvedic Indian drink haldi doodh, made with milk, turmeric, and honey. While it may not be traditional, it is a great way to freshen up your lineup of Thanksgiving pies.

Recipe: Bon Appétit

fudgy macadamia chocolate fat bombs
Photo credit: JHK2303/istockphoto

FUDGY MACADAMIA CHOCOLATE FAT BOMBS

This recipe for Fudgy Macadamia Chocolate Fat Bombs from The Nourished Caveman may just be the highlight of Thanksgiving dinner. They're gluten-free, keto, and paleo-friendly with a dairy-free option. They're quickly thrown together, too.

Recipe: The Nourished Caveman

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