Thanksgiving Dinner Makeover: Make It Healthy


The traditional Thanksgiving feast is a highlight of the fall season. But many people would appreciate a chance to gather with family and friends over a meal that wasn’t quite so rich and heavy. Others would like to cook a plant-based meal delicious enough that no one misses the traditional bird.

This is why I call my November Thrive Kitchen class Thanksgiving: Extreme Makeover (everything but the turkey).  The truth is, for many of us, the best part of the Thanksgiving meal is the side dishes anyway. So we’ll put some twists on traditional favorites that will make them the stars of the show.

Our menu will include:

  • Thanksgiving Kale Salad with Roasted Root Vegetables
  • Parsnip-Pear Bisque
  • Mashed Cauliflower with Umami Gravy
  • Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts
  • Chipotle Cranberry Sauce

If you’d like to serve a vegetarian main course as well, some good options are a vegetarian shepherd’s pie made with lentils instead of ground meat; tofurkey, or nut loaf – Jamie Oliver has a delicious recipe.

Another idea is to take your Thanksgiving inspiration from pumpkin, which is as much a part of the season as turkey. For example, a  chickpea and pumpkin stew makes a delicious nontraditional main course. Another fun idea: A pumpkin curry served in the hollowed-out shell.

The Thrive Kitchen Thanksgiving Makeover class will be held Tuesday, November 14th at 6:30 pm. Advance registration is open as of October 14. The fee is $30 for Kaiser Permanente members and $40 for non-members. For more information, email the Health Education department at or call 415-833-3450.

To learn more about Dr. Shiue’s cooking and her Thrive Kitchen classes, visit Dr Shiue’s Facebook page, The Doctor’s Spicebox. For more of her recipe ideas, check out her blog,


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