CBS Local — Healthy is rarely a word used when describing a Thanksgiving feast. However, a trio of big city chefs have created a menu of delicious recipes for this year’s healthy holiday meal. Below are six of their favorite healthy Thanksgiving recipes, including ingredients and directions. They also share their thoughts on each!

Executive Chef Mickael Marchand has led the restaurant staff at Miami’s Grand Beach Hotel Surfside since it’s opening three years ago.

Thanksgiving Baby Kale Salad with Greek Yogurt Dressing

“All of your guests will crave this mouthwatering healthy salad. It’s crunchy from the caramelized pecan nuts and the creamy dressing pulls it all together!”

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup pecan nuts
  • 1 pound baby kale
  • 3 pears, peeled, cored & chopped
  • 4 ounce Pomegranate seeds
  • 1 cup dry cherries
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1 (7 ounces) Greek yogurt (0%)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lemon juice
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a skillet over medium heat, stir gently the sugar together with the pecan nuts until sugar has melted and caramelized the nuts. Allow to cool onto waxed paper.
  2. For the dressing, blend the yogurt, honey, mustard, white balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and the olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
  3. Just before serving, toss in a large serving bowl the baby kale, pears, pomegranate seeds, dry cherries with the dressing. Garnish with the pecan nuts and the flax seeds.

Herbs, Cornbread & Chestnut Stuffing

“This is my version of grandmother’s old-fashioned bread stuffing recipe. I have made it for the last three Thanksgivings and everyone has raved about it. It may bake in a casserole dish as directed or a roasting turkey. This recipe makes enough to stuff a 12-pound bird.”

Ingredients:

  • 1 cornbread loaf
  • 1/2 rye bread loaf
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 clove garlic chopped
  • 1 cup chestnut, chopped coarsely
  • 1 teaspoon sage, copped
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cut the cornbread and rye bread into large cubes, place in a large bowl.
  2. Preheat your oven to 325 F.
  3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the celery, carrot and onion, and cook slowly until soft. Add the garlic, cook for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Mix the vegetables, chestnut, sage, thyme, parsley and rosemary into the bread. Add the chicken broth -the mixture should be moist, but not mushy. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Lightly grease a baking dish and press the mixture into it. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the top is brown and crisp.

New York City personal chef Kristin Sheehan graduated from the Natural Gourmet Institute Chef’s Training Program before starting Kristin’s Healthy Kitchen and offers up some gluten and dairy-free treats.

Creamy Delicata Squash Soup with Clementine

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds delicata squash (about 3 medium)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • Juice of 1 clementine
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated clementine zest
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • Fresh thyme sprigs, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the squash (whole) in a baking dish and roast for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip the squash. Return to the oven and roast for about 30 minutes more, until the squash feels soft when you squeeze them lightly. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  2. While the squash are roasting, melt the coconut oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion plus a generous pinch each of salt and black pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the onion starts to become translucent and soft.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 15 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until the onion is caramelized. Lower the heat if the onion or garlic appear to be browning too fast.
  4. Lower the heat to medium. Stir in the coriander, ginger, cumin, and cayenne (if you’re using it) and cook for 1 minute, until the spices are fragrant.
  5. Pour in the wine, raise the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Scrape the pan with the wooden spoon to loosen any bits stuck to the bottom, then lower the heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes, until the wine has reduced slightly. Turn off the heat and cover until the squash are ready.
  6. When the squash are cool enough to handle, trim off the ends and halve the squash lengthwise. Gently scoop out and discard the seeds. Roughly chop the squash (including the skin) and add to the pot. Pour in the chicken broth.
  7. Puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender. (Or puree it in batches in a standing blender and return the soup to the pot.) Stir in the clementine juice and zest and the coconut milk. Warm the soup over low heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
  8. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with fresh thyme, and serve.

Clementine and squash are Thanksgiving favorites. This soup is sure to brighten any holiday table. Serves 8-10.

Dairy-Free Chocolate-Pumpkin Parfait with Cashew Cream

Cashew Cream

  • 2 cups unsalted raw cashews
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Sea salt

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

Avocado-Chocolate Pudding

  • 2 ripe Hass avocados
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Makes about 2 cups.

Pumpkin Mousse

  • One 16-ounce tetrapak or 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Makes about 2 cups

Garnish

Cacao nibs

Directions:

  1. Make the cashew cream: Place cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Cover the bowl. Soak the cashews overnight.
  2. Drain and rinse the cashews; drain again. Place the cashews in a blender with 3/4 cup water, the maple syrup, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Blend until completely smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. (You may need to add a little more water to thin out the cream.) Pour into a bowl, cover, and chill in fridge while you prepare the rest of the parfait ingredients.
  3. Make the avocado-chocolate pudding: Cut the avocados in half and remove the pits. Scoop the flesh into a food processor. Add the cocoa, coconut milk, and maple syrup. Puree until smooth.
  4. Make the pumpkin mousse: If the pumpkin is not completely smooth, puree in a blender or food processor. Combine the pumpkin, maple syrup, and spice in a bowl and stir until well combined.
  5. Next, make the parfaits: For each parfait, in an 8-ounce (or larger) glass, layer about 1/3 cup each of the mousse, pudding, and cashew cream. Repeat the layering. Chill before serving.
  6. Garnish and serve: Just before serving, sprinkle each parfait with cacao nibs.

While the recipe might appear daunting, don’t despair. This delicious treat can be made the day before Thanksgiving. Serves 6.

Los Angeles chef and caterer Ella Freyinger provides you with healthy takes (and crowd pleasers) on side dishes this year. Her catering business serves informal at-home gatherings, weddings, and grand events.

Sweet Potato Chips with Thyme Salt

Chef Ella remembers these super simple and cost effective chips as have a part of my family’s Thanksgiving tradition. They are the perfect pre-meal appetizer that both adults and kids will enjoy. She prefers to buy longer and skinnier sweet potatoes to ensure they will fit on the mandolin for slicing. Have more of a sweet tooth? Top the chips with cinnamon sugar instead of the thyme salt.

Ingredients for chips:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 – 4 sweet potatoes*
  • Ingredients for thyme salt:
  • ¼ cup sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

Directions for salt:

  • Place all ingredients into a spice grinder and pulse 3-4 times or until thyme becomes fragrant.
  • Place in an airtight container and store.

Directions to bake chips:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Thinly slice the sweet potatoes on a mandolin.
  3. Toss the sweet potato slices with the olive oil.
  4. Lay on a rimmed baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, and bake for 20-25 minutes, turning over the sweet potato slices halfway through the cooking time.
  5. Season with the thyme salt.
  6. Place in a bowl and enjoy.

Fig and Cranberry Bean Salad
This easy to assemble salad is colorful and makes a great healthy and vegetarian addition to the holiday table.

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 fresh figs, Black Mission figs preferred for this recipe
  • 1 pound fresh cranberry beans (if you can’t find fresh cranberry beans, use one can of cannellini beans)
  • 1 head radicchio, cut into 2” pieces
  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon vinaigrette
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Place the balsamic vinegar, Dijon, olive oil, sea salt and black pepper in a medium
    size bowl and combine with a whisk.
  2. Add the radicchio and toss to coat (this step can be done up to 2 hours before serving).
  3. Add the quartered figs, ½ the tarragon and cranberry beans to the
    radicchio and toss to coat.
  4. Transfer to a platter and garnish with the remaining tarragon leaves.

[H/T CBS Miami, CBS New York, CBS Los Angeles]

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