Low-Carb/No Sugar/Ketogenic (LCHF) Twists on Classic Thanksgiving Favorites
I come by my desire to feed others honestly. Whether it was the Curry side or the Lugar side, we show our love for others by feeding them LOTS of homemade foods passed down through traditions and generations. I can’t remember a holiday, or family gathering for that matter, where the table didn’t look like it should give way under the
weight of all the sumptuous delicacies. There would always be traditional American fare for the given occasion. However, being of immigrant heritage, there would also be several Lebanese/Syrian dishes as well as Croatian dishes to appease all at the table. And having such a large family on both sides, there was no such thing as cooking a small batch of anything!
Holidays are a time for celebrating, yet that doesn’t mean that we need to throw our healthier eating habits out the window for the 60+ days of HallowThanksMasDay (the term I created for the LONG holiday season that runs from October 31 – January 1). Over the years, I have learned to tweak some of our family favorites to fit my own dietary preferences.
Low-carb and no sugar are pretty self-explanatory and their health benefits are fairly well-known. Yet a ketogenic way of eating is not quite as familiar. According to the dietdoctor website, a ketogengenic, or low carb,high fat (LCHF) diet is similar to other low-carb eating plans, but in a LCHF diet protein is also a bit more restricted than other low carb plans and provides further health benefits in reducing inflammation, for example. If you are interested in learning about LCHF diet and its overall health benefits, I highly recommend checking out the Diet Doctor site, as well as Maria Emmerich’s site.
To get a rough idea of the macronutrient ratio for each recipe listed below, I used the app myfitnesspal. If you are a strict food tracker, I recommend entering the recipe and your exact serving size into the app to make sure your counts are on target for your dietary needs.
My Mom always made the BEST turkey stuffing. It was the perfect blend of celery, onions, butter, seasoning, and bread. Since I do my best to avoid bread and grains, this is her stuffing recipe remade with a low-carb bread substitute.
Tita Leona’s Stuffing (low-carb/keto version) – Serves 10
(68% fat/12% carb/20% protein)
- 3 cups stale Oopsie Rolls (recipe below), cut into bite size pieces — make a few days in advance
- 2 sticks butter
- 3 cups celery, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sage
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- pinch oregano
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup chicken bone broth
- Preheat oven to 370 degrees.
- Melt butter in pan. Sauté celery and onions until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Place broken oopsie rolls in a large mixing bowl (make sure you have plenty of room to stir).
- Pour butter and vegetable mixture over oopsie rolls and mix gently with a rubber spatula.
- Add spices and stir.
- Beat eggs and stir into bread mixture.
- Add bone broth and stir. The mixture should look slightly moist – ad more broth is necessary.
- Place in roasting pan and cover with foil.
- Bake for 30 minutes covered. Remove foil, and back an additional 7-10 minutes, until the top is slightly toasted.
Oopsie Roll Recipe (double the recipe for stuffing)
- 3 large eggs
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Separate eggs. whip egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff.
- In a different bowl, beat egg yolks and cream cheese together.
- Fold the yolk mixture into the egg whites with a rubber spatula very gently.
- Spoon mixture into a greased cookie sheet, making six mounds.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before removing from sheet.
I started making these a few years ago, as brussels sprouts are perfect for the fall local harvest season, and they just happen to be one of mackdaddy Mike’s favorite veggies (and trust me – his list of vegetables he will eat is very VERY small). We took them to our best friend’s last year over the holidays, and they were such a hit they are now a requested favorite for covered dishes! If you have a full oven like I do at this time of year, an electric roaster works great for these sprouts as well.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon (serves 12)
(50% fat/11% carb/39% protein)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 8 cups brussels sprouts (petite fresh preferred, but petite frozen will work)
- 1 pound bacon
- balsamic vinegar (optional)
- Cook bacon until moderately crisp. Cool, and cut into small pieces. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Trim stem off brussels sprouts, cut base if necessary.
- Place sprouts in a large mixing bowl (make sure you have plenty of room to stir).
- Pour a generous amount of olive oil n sprouts. Stir to coat, adding a drizzle more if necessary.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place in a large roasting pan. You want the pan to be large enough that the sprouts are in a single layer.
- Place in oven. Roast for about one hour, or until slightly browned, stirring every 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and stir in bacon. Roast for an additional 5-10 minutes.
- Remove from oven. Add balsamic vinegar if desired and serve.
Green bean casserole is one of the foods that makes it Thanksgiving for my oldest daughter, Emily. Since she won’t be able to make it home this year for Thanksgiving, I will make sure to make her the traditional Cambell’s recipe, as well as this low-carb version at Christmas for me to enjoy during her stay!
Green Bean Casserole (low-carb version)
(58% fat/25% carb/17% protein)
- 14 ounces green bean – frozen or fresh
- 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced thin
- 1 large onion, chopped small
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ teaspoon thyme
- ¾ cup coconut milk
- ¼ cup almond meal
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Slice ½ of the onion in thin, round slices, and the other ½ chopped finely.
- Place 2 tablespoons of butter in pan over medium heat to melt. Add thin sliced onions and sauté slowly until soft. Add salt, pepper, and thyme. Remove from heat and toss with almond meal. Set aside.
- Again, place 2 tablespoons of butter in pan over medium heat to melt. Add the chopped onions and sliced mushrooms. Sauté about 10 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add salt and pepper.
- Stir in coconut flour, and stir for about two minutes.
- Add coconut milk, and simmer for one minute.
- Add beans to cream mixture and stir.
- Pour bean and cream mixture in a greased casserole dish.
- Bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven and spread almond meal- onion mix on top. Bake an additional 5 minutes, or until it begins to brown.
I can’t imagine the winter holidays without Cranberry Sauce! I use it like my seven-year old uses ketchup, only more! It goes great with your leftover turkey as a spread, or one of my favorites is a dollop of cranberry sauce on the pumpkin custard dessert – YUM!
Cranberry Sauce (sugar-free) – serves 8
(100% carb – however it is only 5 total carbs, and 2 carbs fiber)
- 1 bag fresh cranberries
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup Swerve
- Combine all the ingredients in a pan on the stove and bring to a boil until the berries break open.
- Remove from heat and cool.
- You may want to add more swerve sweetener. I personally don’t like it too sweet, so I only put in enough to cut the tartness of the berries.
And what would a holiday feast be without dessert?! I am an absolute sucker for creamy, custardy-type anything (I blame my Mom for hooking me on Egg Custard at a young age), so this is my favorite for Thanksgiving.
Pumpkin Custard Pie (low-carb version) – serves 10
(64% fat/17% carb/19% protein)
- Mix almond meal, Swerve, and melted butter until well blended . Press mixture into a 9-inch pie plate.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 5-7 minutes. Cool.
- 3/4 cup Swerve
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 2 large eggs
- 15 ounces canned pumpkin
- 1 14 ounce can Coconut milk
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Combine Swerve, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in small bowl.
- Beat eggs in larger bowl. Stir pumpkin and spice mixture into the eggs.
- Stir in coconut milk. Pour into pie shell.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean.
What are your favorite holiday recipes that make your Thanksgiving complete?
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