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The student news site of Austin College
Filed under Leisure

Thanksgiving Goes Primal (Paleo Recipes for Dinner and Deserts)

Thanksgiving: a time to give thanks, enjoy company, and feast on all kinds of delicious delicacies. Many staples of Thanksgiving are grain/sugar based which are just plain bad for us I.E. dinner rolls, sugary sweet potato casseroles, canned jellied cranberry sauce, and last but not least stuffing. So what is one who follows a paleo diet to do on Thanksgiving? Below I have complied some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes that are sure to brighten up your taste buds and your Holiday. Once you try homemade cranberry sauce and the rest of these recipes you will never go back to the others, whether you eat primally or not.

First off before I get to the recipes the key to a perfect Thanksgiving is the turkey, or duck as it is the main dish of the holiday. I recommend obtaining a Turkey or Duck from your local farmers market or straight off the farm. This route is more expensive than going to the store to pick one up but you are getting a natural, wholesome product and supporting your local community. (Not to mention your avoiding all the broth etc they pump into mass-produced turkeys and ducks). I recommend going for a Free-Range, Organic, Antibiotic free, Gluten free, Natural fed turkey again its worth the price!

For these recipes I also recommend buying organic, local, and wholesome ingredients if you have the means too, as what we put in our bodies is important, and it is also important to support local farmers, and ranchers. Also the higher quality ingredients you use, the higher quality your Thanksgiving dishes are going to be!

Recipe #1

“Cauliflower” Mashed Potatoes from


How could Thanksgiving be complete without mashed potatoes? IF you don’t like sweet potatoes or you want a dish more closely resembling white potatoes give cauliflower mash a chance, as it is light, delicious, and way more tasty then classic white potatoes (See recipe link below).


Recipe #2

Baked Yams/ Sweet potatoes from Spiced-Yams-1024x625

I’m not a big sweet eater, so for those who are used to marshmallow sugar filled sweet potato casseroles, you may be disappointed but I urge you to give this recipe a try this holiday as it is truly simple and delicious (See recipe link below).


Recipe #3

Cranberry Sauce from

Ahhh Cranberry sauce, I grew up eating the gnarly variety out of the can, I ate it once a year and always looked forward to it so much because it was classic Thanksgiving to me. Lets be honest though jellied cranberry sauce stuffed in a can made with corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup is not healthy, or wholesome. In fact it is actually disgusting and over sweetened. So instead of “indulging” in that give this fantastic recipe a try, and try not to eat the whole batch yourself as its still high in sugar, albeit honey but still sugar non the less!





Recipe #4

Stuffing from                 

Okay lets be honest, everyone looks forward to Thanksgiving for the stuffing!! And by everyone I mean just me. But I don’t look forward to the traditional easy prep boxed bread version oh no! I look forward to this hearty pork/bacon/pecan version that I have completely fallen in love with! This recipe is easy to make and it is filling, and is made with wholesome ingredients. Once you try this stuffing you will wonder why you ever put that other stuffing on your thanksgiving table


Recipe #5

Chestnuts with Brussels Sprouts

Another great recipe that helps complete a Thanksgiving table is Chestnuts with Brussels sprouts. This dish has plenty of flavor and crunch and pairs well with turkey and cauliflower mashed potatoes. If you don’t like chestnuts other nuts works excellent as well, such as macadamia nuts, walnuts, or pecans!




That’s all the recipes that I wanted to point out for you this Thanksgiving! Whether you eat primal or not I urge you to try one of these recipes as they are quick, delicious, nutritious and its perhaps equally as important as those things its always fun to try new dishes and challenge yourself in the kitchen!

Paleo Deserts
Savannah Hardin

Marketing Director


My favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is all the desserts I get to eat after. This is the only day going back for seconds or thirds is ok and encouraged. But it’s actually terrible. Here’s why: refined sugar and all that grain in your cookies, pie crusts, and puddings.  Sugar is low in nutrients, high in carbs, and sugar addiction is real.  It’ll lower your immunity and ruin your teeth.  Don’t be fooled, glucose, fructose, sucrose, dextrose, etc all are code names for sugar.

But there’s hope! There is a way to get your favorite sweets over the holidays by replacing these bad ingredients with whole, natural ingredients. Most of these are already in your pantry, like honey, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice. And any others can be found at Green Market or any other health food store in your hometown.  Even my grocery store in Abilene has almond flour and a wide selection of coconut oil and almond butters.

Bring these treats to your family Thanksgiving and show your family members how delicious eating clean can be!


Recipe #1

Pumpkin Loaf

paleo pumpkin loaf pic

This pumpkin loaf is so moist and sweet. It’s perfect paired with a cup of coffee. I altered the ingredients slightly. I replaced the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger with 2 ½ tsp of pumpkin pie spice to make it easier on myself, and it still tasted perfect.  I used organic canned pumpkin and raw local honey from Green Market.  Just like the recipe suggests, I added chocolate chips (the good kind!), which paired wonderfully with the pumpkin!


Recipe #2

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

I can almost guarantee you that the pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks have about 0% pumpkin in them.  This recipe is dairy free and uses a combination of almond and coconut milk to create a creamy addition to your cup of coffee during the holidays. If you choose to use maple syrup rather than stevia, be sure you use Grade B and be sure to look at the ingredients to make sure you’re just getting maple syrup and nothing else.


paleo-pumpkin-ice-creamRecipe #3

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Some people like to eat ice cream during the winter. I am one of those people.  And this recipe for pumpkin ice cream could not be simpler. 4 ingredients: bananas, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and pumpkin spice.





Recipe #4

Lemon Bars

Ok, finally, a break from pumpkin.  Lemon bars are my favorite treat and making these were so much fun because I’ve never made my own lemon curd before and it was so simple! Never buying from the jar again.  I didn’t add blueberries to mine because I like simplicity but I’m sure these would be great topped with shredded coconut as well!  The crust was a bit too sweet for me so next time I might reduce to 1 ½ tbsp of honey.


Recipe #5


You might be asking: why not mention pumpkin pie first? Because I’m lazy and these recipes are daunting. Here are some pie recipes by my favorite paleo blogs that I will try to make soon but no promises.  And honestly, they don’t look that hard, but they require a lot of nuts and nuts are expensive.


Have a happy (and hopefully healthy) Thanksgiving!


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