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Staff-Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Staff-Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

There's a reason why the same heirloom recipes grace our tables each year: These are the dishes that mean something to us, that anchor our families' food traditions and create lifelong memories. In these recipes, we share 479 years of our staff's collective holiday knowledge and know-how for everything from the perfect centerpiece turkey to the best apple pie. This collection of family-favorite Thanksgiving recipes features food we all know and love. These are our family recipes, straight from our cupboards and recipe boxes, made better than ever for you and your family. We'd welcome you to our tables if the rooms were big enough. Instead, we hope you enjoy what we've shared.

Beet Chips With Turmeric-Yogurt Dip

Here's a lighter, more colorful take on the usual chips and dip. Beet chips crisp up in a flash in the microwave. Keep close watch on them to make sure they won't scorch.

Pumpkin-Praline Pie

If you can’t decide between pecan and pumpkin pie, this dessert will give you a taste of both in one slice. A quick brown sugar–pecan streusel tops the pie after it bakes; the topping will set into a crunchy layer as the pie cools. Be sure to use a standard 9-inch pie plate rather than a deep-dish one to ensure an evenly baked crust.

Sherry-Cava Citrus Fizz

In the following collection, we share 479 years of our staff's collective holiday knowledge and know-how for everything from the perfect centerpiece turkey to the best apple pie.

First up is a cocktail from the former Editor of Cooking Light, Scott Mowbray. "I wanted the Spanish flavors of Catalonian cava and Jerez sherry to mingle in a holiday punch. The syrup, called an oleo saccharum, pulls essential oils from the orange peel and perfumes the cocktail," Scott explains.

Make this punch up to 4 hours ahead, but wait to add the cava until just before serving.

Fall Vegetable and Lentil Salad

This salad of lentils with roasted butternut squash, carrots, and onions gets plated over a bed of creamy, lemon-scented Greek yogurt—so with each bite, you get the flavors of sweet caramelized veggies, earthy-nutty legumes, and tangy yogurt. We love the firm texture of French green lentils, but you can also use standard brown lentils. You’re not likely to find a whole butternut squash that’s only 1 pound; just buy the smallest one you can find, and use 1 pound of it.

Tricolor Beet and Carrot Salad

This salad takes advantage of both multicolored beets and carrots to create one stunning salad platter. Get ahead by roasting the beets up to a week in advance. You can also shave the carrots a day ahead and refrigerate the ribbons in ice water. Keep the colors from bleeding together by arranging the salad on the platter instead of tossing. If you can’t find Chioggia (red-and-white striped) beets, use additional red and golden beets.

Herb, Lemon, and Garlic Turkey

Instead of a wet brine, this bird uses an overnight dry salt and sugar cure, which concentrates flavor. If you want to leave the skin on, it will add 25 calories and 1g of sat fat per serving. Hard herbs (fresh sage, rosemary, and thyme) hold up beautifully while roasting, imparting a woodsy, savory note to the meat. Soft herbs (parsley and chives) garnish the turkey and perk up the finished gravy. The wine in the roasting pan will keep the bird moist as it roasts and flavor the pan drippings used for the gravy.

Tricolored Beet Tart

Start your holiday meal with a simple yet gorgeous beet tart, topped off with tangy goat cheese, crunchy hazelnuts, and flaky sea salt. Par-bake the crust to get a lovely raised edge (what forms the shell of your tart) and ensure that the bottom will be cooked through. If you or your guests are not beet fans, substitute sweet potatoes: Wrap 4 (4-ounce) sweet potatoes in parchment paper, and microwave at HIGH 3 minutes. Then cool, peel, and slice. You can also sub feta for goat cheese and pecans or walnuts for hazelnuts.

Maple-Caraway Brussels Sprouts

Layer upon layer of bold flavor earned these Brussels sprouts our test kitchen’s highest rating. The sprouts get deeply caramelized in toasted caraway and browned butter, then are quickly finished with a sweet and pungent mixture of maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and sherry vinegar. Caraway has an anise-like flavor similar to fennel seed. Add to roasted carrots or parsnips, or sprinkle over whole-grain rolls or crackers. Start the caraway and thyme in a cold pan so they can infuse the butter as it browns.

Cheese Olivettes

From the Kitchen of Alice Eldridge Summerville: Cooking Light's Office Manager

Alice describes these little bites as cheese straws with an olive stuffed inside. They were a special treat reserved for holidays and for whenever her parents hosted the supper club in their Birmingham, Alabama, home.

We put a whole-grain spin on this appetizer. Freeze unbaked olivettes for a month; bake from frozen for an extra few minutes.

Brown Sugar-Spiced Nut Mix

From the Kitchen of Cheryl Slocum: Cooking Light Senior Food Editor

A bowl of nuts in their shells was a coffee table staple for Thanksgiving snacks when Cheryl was young. "Operating the nutcracker was a real draw for us little kids," she says, "but our tastes have evolved to this sweet-hot crispy mix."

Achieve a bronzelike patina on these candied nuts by keeping a close watch near the end of their roasting time. Too long and they'll overdarken and take on a bitter flavor.

Warm Spiced (and Spiked) Cabernet

From the Kitchen of Rachel Lassere: Cooking Light Art Director

"If my cousin is in charge, then our warm wine punch goes especially boozy. Either way, it's got to have the oranges with the little cloves."

Garnish this punch with a cinnamon stick or orange slices.

Creamed Greens with Farro

This dish takes its cues from classic creamed spinach and raises the bar with braised mixed greens, whole-grain farro, and a crisp panko crust. Hearty yet not heavy, and gorgeous straight out of the oven, this is the kind of side that looks and feels holiday special. Swiss chard and dark, bumpy lacinato kale both wilt down fairly quickly; their texture and vibrancy will stand out once combined with the creamy three-cheese sauce. The farro can be cooked, drained, and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week before Thanksgiving.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

A quick homemade caramel sauce that’s folded into fresh apple slices and baked in a whole-grain crust takes this classic holiday pie to the next level. A hint of salt in the sauce intensifies the apple flavor and balances the sweetness. Apples contain a natural thickener called pectin; grating some of the fruit will ensure a gooey, cohesive mixture once baked. Crisp, sweet Fuji apples bake beautifully and will contrast the salty caramel. You can also use Cripps Pink or Honeycrisp apples.

Wilga Hill Boomerang II

From the Kitchen of Sheri Wilson: Cooking Light Art Director

"Every year, a week after Thanksgiving, we throw a party for all our friends. My husband discovered the Wilga Hill Boomerang in a cocktail book, and it has become the signature drink for the event."

We streamlined and lightened the original recipe but kept true to the gin, apple, and vermouth at its heart. Premix big batches (except the ice) in a pitcher up to a day ahead. Shake servings for 1 or 2 at a time with ice.

Gram's Clam Dip

From the Kitchen of Katie Barreira: Cooking Light Test Kitchen Director

Katie, a Boston native, and her cousin rivaled for their grandmother's clam dip recipe and the secret to what made her version green. "My cousin Jen won the battle," says Katie, "so it remains a mystery to me, although I think it's just food coloring."

Katie's lower-fat version uses reduced-fat Greek yogurt and cream cheese for a creamy result that does this heirloom dish justice. Precut crudités will hold up well if you'd like to prep them the day before. Wrap trimmed and cut veggies in a damp paper towel and refrigerate in a zip-top plastic bag for the crispiest texture.

Maple-Sumac Roasted Walnuts

Here’s a perfectly simple and delicious snack. A little sumac adds a bright piney-citrusy note. Look for it at specialty spice stores. A tablespoon of lemon rind can sub for sumac, if you prefer.

Sage and Garlic-Rubbed Cornish Hens

Foolproof techniques will help you perfect the holy trinity of the Thanksgiving table – the bird.

From the kitchen of Keith Schroeder: Cooking Light Columnist and Cookbook Author

"When I'm short on time or I'm serving just a few people, I'll roast smaller birds like Cornish hens."

Because Keith splits and roasts the hens spread out flat (called spatchcocking), the Thanksgiving main course is ready in less than an hour.

Applewood-Smoked Turkey

From the kitchen of David Bonom: Longtime Cooking Light Contributor

"For one of my birthdays, all of my friends chipped in and gave me the smoker of my dreams, knowing that they would benefit from it. Ever since then, my suburban New Jersey neighbors have gotten to enjoy the smells of my Thanksgiving turkey as it smokes in the backyard."

Applewood chips lend a slightly sweet and fruity flavor to the meat. You can also try smoking the turkey with cherry or alder wood chips for more delicate smoked flavor.

Brown Sugar-Cured Turkey with Apple-Bourbon Gravy

From the kitchen of Hunter Lewis: Cooking Light Editor

"On the front end, I infuse flavor by rubbing a cut-up turkey and curing it overnight. A deconstructed bird doesn't need as long to roast as a whole bird. That gets me valuable oven time for casseroles and ensures the white and dark meat, which all cook at different rates, is roasted to perfection."

Smoky Spatchcocked Turkey

Grill a spatchcocked turkey for a smoky, robust bird that's ready in half the time. We remove the backbone and roast the turkey flat so that every part has access to the heat at the same time. The turkey won't have grill marks (it cooks flesh side up over indirect heat) but will absorb that chargrilled flavor. A smoky spice rub of paprika and ancho chile powder seems fitting for the grill, but you could use any spice combo or minced fresh herbs combined with a couple of tablespoons oil.

Sausage and Chestnut Dressing

From the kitchen of Blakeslee Giles: Cooking Light Food Styling Assistant

"I have fond memories of Thanksgiving in Richland, Georgia, with my grandmother. Her dressing was to die for."

We kept all the love Blakeslee's grandmother poured into her dressing and added chestnuts for texture and earthy flavor. You can find whole roasted chestnuts in the baking aisle.

Potato and Parsnip Gratin

The addition of parsnips is an elegant twist to this traditionally all-potato dish. Parboiling and drying the sliced parsnips and potatoes first will keep them from absorbing the sauce in the oven so the gratin stays creamy. Half-and-half is our dairy of choice for this dish—a combination of equal parts cream and whole milk that gives the sauce its body while keeping the saturated fat at just 3g per serving. Toss the vegetables gently with the sauce so the slices don’t fall apart.

Classic Corn Bread Dressing

From the kitchen of Ann Taylor Pittman: Cooking Light Executive Food Editor

"Corn bread dressing is something my Mississippi-born soul craves because it's just so good, and it's what I grew up with."

This is the quintessential Thanksgiving side dish in the South. It is made from crumbled corn bread, with no added French or sourdough bread to cut it, so the texture is unique. Loads of aromatics give this dressing its flavor; don't be tempted to use less.

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

From the kitchen of Diane Morgan: Cooking Light Contributor

"I always make stock well before Thanksgiving in the slow cooker, and then freeze it. This way the gravy is never lacking deep turkey flavor."

The key to flavorful gravy is a good turkey stock. In November, it's easy to find turkey wings, which make an especially rich stock. Try this classic gravy or one of the next three variations. All can be made ahead, cooled, and frozen up to two months. Thaw; then reheat over medium-low, stirring with a whisk.

Mushroom Gravy

Use our Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy as a base to create this shroom-infused masterpiece the day of your Thanksgiving feast.

Giblet Gravy

This recipe is your guarantee that no part of the bird will go to waste.

Wine and Herb Gravy

A little wine for you and a little for this gorgeous gravy.

Southern Corn Bread Dressing Squares

From the kitchen of Hunter Lewis: Cooking Light Editor

"Everyone stakes out their favorite piece: the crispy edges or the creamy centers of my wife's great-grandmother's coveted dressing."

The original recipe is made with two sticks of butter, but we lightened it by saving most of the butter for the crispy top. Look for stuffing mixes free of additives, unhealthy fats, and sugar, such as Arrowhead Mills, Trader Joe's, or Whole Foods 365.

Rosemary-Orange Roast Turkey

From the kitchen of Khalil Hymore: Cooking Light Contributor

Khalil likes to give his bird a pretty finishing sheen by brushing on savory-sweet marmalade glaze.

If you don't like the slightly bitter flavor of marmalade, you can substitute currant jelly for tart, bright flavor.

Corn Fritters with Jalapeño Jelly

From the Kitchen of Laraine Perri: Longtime Cooking Light Contributor

"The Perris would sooner sacrifice the turkey than spend Thanksgiving in New York City fritter-less."

Avoid overmixing the batter to keep fritters from becoming too heavy and dense. You can make them earlier in the day and quickly reheat; arrange fritters on a wire rack set over a baking sheet in a 425° oven until thoroughly heated and crisp.

Baked Mac and Cheese

Examine each side dish for tasks you can do a day or two ahead, like blanching vegetables and toasting nuts. Then completing the recipe becomes that much easier.

From the kitchen of Rebecca Longshore: Cooking Light Assistant Digital Editor

"I love how my Grandmother Howard's mac and cheese has a crunchy, cheesy crust over a creamy center."

The key to Rebecca's grandmother's dish was evaporated milk. We added a surprise ingredient, canola mayonnaise, to make things extra creamy.

Cheesy Potato Casserole

From the kitchen of Kimberly Holland: Cooking Light Associate Digital Editor

In Scottsboro, Alabama, Kimberly's grandfather is the cheesy potato casserole chef.

Rather than using sodium-loaded canned soup, we made our own creamy sauce to update this dish.

Sweet Potato Casserole

From the kitchen of Hazel Eddins: Cooking Light Production Editor

Hazel and her daughter prefer a marshmallow-free sweet potato casserole that Hazel has made since she was a teenager.

Our modern twist on the classic sweet potato casserole is a fragrant vanilla bean streusel.

Cauliflower Salad

From the kitchen of Domenica Marchetti: Cooking Light Contributor

For Domenica, it isn't Thanksgiving without her mother's cauliflower with cured olives and capers. She updated the dish for a vibrant side salad.

A fresh, crisp salad balances the lineup of heavier, rich side dishes. You can follow a recipe or just compose one with pretty cuts of your favorite vegetables and herbs tossed with a light vinaigrette. Make this salad a day ahead if you want the flavors to absorb into the cauliflower a little more. Just hold off on adding the cheese until right before serving.

Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Maple Gastrique

From the kitchen of Hugh Acheson: Longtime Cooking Light Friend

"This dish is an example of the synergy of my Northern and Southern roots. My Canadian veins are partially full of maple syrup, and I adore the Southern staple crop of the sweet potato."

The gastrique, a tangy-sweet glaze, is Thanksgiving worthy but also simple enough to pull off on a weekday.

Supersavory Wild Rice Pilaf

From the kitchen of Ann Taylor Pittman: Cooking Light Executive Food Editor

"This pilaf was always on the Taylor Thanksgiving table. I would joke that it was my Korean mom's way of sneaking some form of rice into the meal. What she served came from a box, though, and was crazy high in sodium."

Roasted Broccoli with Pistachios and Pickled Golden Raisins

From the kitchen of Rich Landau: Longtime Cooking Light Friend

Rich, chef and owner of Vedge in Philadelphia, offered us this lovely autumn salad, in which bright bursts of sweet-tart raisins accompany each bite of toasted broccoli.

Some version of broccoli, usually laden with cream and cheese, lands on many a Thanksgiving table. But this dish, with its beautifully balanced flavors, is much lighter—and vegan.

Fennel and Blood Orange Salad

This salad is a feast for the eyes, and a welcome relief from the brown and gold tones on the Thanksgiving table. Sweet-tart blood oranges and a honey vinaigrette offset the bitter edge of the endive and radicchio (you can also use milder romaine lettuce hearts). If you can’t find blood oranges, try ruby red grapefruit or pretty pink Cara Cara oranges.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Pomegranate and Pine Nuts

This staff favorite adds color and texture to your buffet and makes a splash on the Thanksgiving table. For a bit of showmanship, bring the whole cauliflower to the table, and then "carve" and dress with the vinaigrette, pomegranate arils, pine nuts, and parsley. While most holiday dishes are designed to be delicious warm or at room temperature, this is one dish that's worth saving until the end of your prep and serving straight out of the oven.

Sweet Potato Stacks with Sage Browned Butter

Holiday sweet potato sides can lean toward too-sweet territory; a dose of salty, nutty Parmesan balances the flavor in these adorable, delicious stacks. Get the kids to help by having them stack the slices and cheese in muffin cups as you follow behind with the browned butter. Use small potatoes so the slices will fit into the muffin cups. Make sure to slice the potatoes on the thin side, about 1⁄4-inch thick, so they’ll cook through (insert a toothpick in the center of each stack to test for doneness). You can also alternate with slices of baking potato or parsnip for pretty white and orange layers.

Green Beans with Dried Cranberries and Hazelnuts

From the kitchen of Ivy Manning: Longtime Cooking Light Contributor

"This side dish is positively Pacific Northwest, my stomping grounds. Oregon produces both cranberries and hazelnuts, which I source from local vendors."

Blanch the beans ahead, and store in the refrigerator to eliminate a task from the Thanksgiving Day prep list.

Mom's Smashed Mashed Potatoes

From the kitchen of David Bonom: Longtime Cooking Light Contributor

"My mom, a child of the Depression, embraced convenience foods like instant mashed potatoes, and we ate them all year—except on Thanksgiving, when she made "real" potatoes that she never fully mashed. I still make them her way but have added ingredients like caramelized onions and olive oil."

To keep potatoes warm until the meal is ready, place them, loosely covered, in a heatproof dish or bowl, and set them (without submerging them) in a larger pot of hot water over very low heat. They'll stay warm without scorching on the bottom.

Roasted Cranberries and Grapes with Rosemary

The feast is not complete without a much-needed bite of bright, refreshing acidity.

From the kitchen of Katie Barreira: Cooking Light Test Kitchen Director

"Since the ladies in my family are fabulous cooks, the offerings haven't changed much over the years—and everyone is quite happy about that. When I came home from culinary school with ideas about how to shake up the menu, my assault on tradition was not met with enthusiasm. So I started small, with the cranberry sauce."

Black grapes have thicker skins than red grapes, and they'll hold up better under the broiler.

Old-Fashioned Mustard Pickles

From the kitchen of Blakeslee Giles: Cooking Light Food Styling Assistant

"My grandmother always served mustard pickles. Alongside turkey and her sausage dressing, they're amazing."

Traditionally, the vegetables are salted and left to soften. Instead, we blanched them to tenderize before pickling.

Cran-Blueberry Sauce with Candied Ginger

From the kitchen of Robin Bashinsky: Cooking Light Recipe Tester and Developer

"I got the idea to cook blueberries in with cranberry sauce when I tasted a version by Erin French at her restaurant Lost Kitchen in Maine. I've made it every year since."

Make this sauce a couple of days ahead, and refrigerate in an airtight container. Reheat in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, adding water—a tablespoon or two—to thin it.

Cheesy Sorghum and Shaved Squash Pilaf

Start a rich new whole-grain holiday tradition, and delight your family with deep, nutty flavors and chewy textures.

Long, slender ribbons of butternut squash make for a beautiful and unusual presentation; just be gentle when stirring so you don't break all those gorgeous pieces. Try to grab a squash with a long neck—that straight surface works best for ribboning. If you can't find sorghum, you can use farro.

Shaved Apple and Fennel Salad with Crunchy Spelt

Simply put, apples and fennel are right together—the flavors are so complementary. We love the way the paper-thin slices intertwine and then get interrupted by bright hits of parsley. Canola oil may seem like an odd choice, but we wanted to keep the flavors clean and straightforward; you can always use olive oil if you'd like the vinaigrette to assert itself.

This dish holds up well for an hour or two. The vinegar keeps the apple slices from browning, and the grains stay crunchy if you sprinkle them on top and toss with everything just before serving.

Smoked Barley, Beet and Grapefruit Salad

This CL-perfected stovetop technique makes smoking food easier than ever (though the salad is still tasty if you choose not to smoke the grains), and smoke is such a fun flavor to apply to unexpected ingredients like barley. A sweet vinaigrette, earthy beets, and the intense citrus twang of grapefruit balance the robust smoky hit of the grains for a memorable salad. To make sure you're getting the whole-grain version of barley, look for hulled, and skip past pearled.

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pickled Rye Berries

Something rather lovely happens when you soak the chewier whole grains (such as rye or wheat berries) in a pickling brine; the tangy notes make the chew that much more enjoyable.

Nana's Rosemary Biscuits with Cranberries

Whether from yeasted dough or quick batter, nothing says "love" at the table like homemade bread.

From the Kitchen of Maureen Callahan: Longtime Cooking Light Contributor

"My Irish grandmother added fresh rosemary from the garden to her biscuits. We like to include cranberries for the best mini turkey sliders the next day—if there are any biscuits left over."

When punching out dough rounds, avoid twisting the biscuit cutter, which will seal the edges and interfere with rising.

Cloverleaf Rolls

From the Kitchen of Cheryl Slocum: Cooking Light Senior Food Editor

"The smell of freshly risen dough always takes me back to my mom's rolls."

If the yeast doesn't bubble, it may have expired; start over to avoid wasting time and ingredients.

Whole-Grain Corn Bread

From the Kitchen of Ann Taylor Pittman: Cooking Light Executive Food Editor

"We always cook two pans of corn bread at Thanksgiving: One is done a day ahead as the base for corn bread dressing, and the other goes into the oven at the last minute so it's hot and crusty at the table. Toasted leftovers get drizzled with honey at breakfast."

Honey Whole-Wheat Pull-Apart Rolls

These light and tender whole-grain rolls are everything we love about holiday breads: warm, nutty, and just barely sweetened with honey. Bake these light and tender whole-grain rolls ahead and freeze up to 1 month, or make the dough ahead and bake on the day: Punch down the risen dough to form a ball, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill 8 hours or overnight. Return to a bowl and let rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours before shaping.

Chocolate Chip Cream Puffs

Cooking Light Dessert Goddess Deb Wise shares her most prized recipes from a lifetime of baking in her new book.

First up: Chocolate Chip Cream Puffs. Deb likes to stir the chocolate chips into the warm dough by hand because the power of the mixer would forcefully combine the melting chips into the dough, making it brown chocolate dough instead of dough studded with chocolate chips.

Extreme Lemon and Chocolate Roulade

Lemon and chocolate are a lovely and lively pair in this roulade. If you prefer milder lemon flavor, you can omit the rind from the filling. Or, if you are a bold lemon lover (like Deb), don't strain the rind out of the filling—enjoy the tartness and texture it provides.

Pecan Sticky Wedges

The yeasted dough for this heavenly take on sticky buns develops even more flavor when refrigerated overnight. All you have to do the next day is pop the pan in the oven.

Iced Gingerbread Biscotti

For an elegant spin on a cookie cutter favorite, transform your gingerbread people into classy sticks of iced biscotti. With just the right amount of crunch, these are the perfect after-dinner snack that you should definitely dunk in a cup of coffee or hot cocoa. Be sure to let the cookie logs cool after the first bake so they slice cleanly and don't crumble.

Double-Crust Apple Pie

A double crust seals in the apples' natural juices as the pie bakes for full-on apple flavor. Tossing the apples with apple juice keeps them from browning as you peel and slice them, and it adds a boost of apple flavor.

Mile-High Coconut Cupcakes

The simple act of sharing something sweet that's been made with care brings such tremendous joy. Good desserts conjure good times and cheerful celebrations—and it's not only the taste but the shared memories that are integral to our appreciation. So go ahead and show off with these Mile-High Coconut Cupcakes.

Roasted Grape and Pear Kuchen

Get creative with the toppings for this classic yeast cake: Try tart Granny Smith apples or sweet pineapple in place of pears, or a dollop of tangy Greek yogurt instead of whipped topping.

Roasted Pumpkin Pie

By roasting the pumpkin whole, you avoid cutting it open and scooping out the seeds and membrane. If you'd like, serve pie with a dollop of lightly sweetened 2% reduced-fat yogurt.

Leftover Green Bean Niçoise

Thanksgiving leftovers are as much a part of the holiday as the feast itself. Add the ingredients for leftover meals to your Turkey Day shopping list, so everything is on hand without an extra trip to the grocery store.

Classic salade niçoise gets a big flavor boost from our leftover green bean recipe: Dried cranberries provide unexpected sweet-tart notes, while hazelnuts add lightly sweet, meaty depth.

Cauliflower Turkey Tetrazzini

The genius trick to this unique turkey tetrazzini is using flavor-packed Cauliflower Salad in the sauce. Pureed, it becomes creamy and luscious. Any leftover turkey, or even rotisserie chicken, will work here.

Cran-Apple Smoked Turkey Sliders

Let's face it: You have to have a killer leftover turkey sandwich the day after the feast. If you start with our robust Applewood-Smoked Turkey, you need only a few embellishments—namely the juicy snap of tart apple and the extra layer of smoke from the cheddar—to reach to-die-for status.

Dressing-Stuffed Mini Peppers

We love these stuffed peppers as an appetizer, but you can also serve them as a side dish. Be sure to use baby bell peppers and not mini sweet peppers (shaped like jalapeños) so they're big enough to accommodate the filling. As an alternative to broiling, you can char the peppers directly over a gas flame, turning frequently with tongs.

Roast Turkey Pho

You can substitute unsalted chicken stock for the homemade. If you do, simmer with the water, stock, peppercorns, sugar, star anise, and ginger, and proceed with recipe from there.

Picadillo-Stuffed Mashed Potato Balls

Papas rellenas (stuffed potato balls) are a traditional Spanish dish. Baked instead of fried, they're a healthy and delicious way to make a meal out of leftover mashed potatoes.

Grapefruit-Campari Bars With Shortbread Crust

Treat yourself to a sophisticated riff on lemon bars. This grown-up treat embraces the bitterness in both grapefruit and Campari, balancing the flavor with a rich, buttery shortbread crust. When we create our healthier desserts, we think about where the fat will be best used—we strategically place it where it will make the most difference. Here, a good amount of butter goes into the whole-wheat crust to give it an irresistible shortbread-like texture. Just be sure to lightly pat the crust in place; if you press too hard and compact it into the baking dish, it will become dense and tough.

Watch the video: EASY VEGAN THANKSGIVING RECIPES quick u0026 healthy vegan recipes (January 2021).