Maple-Cider Brined Turkey with Bourbon-Cider Gravy
If guests expect the ritual carving at the head of the table, opt for a classic whole presentation, like Maple-Cider Brined Turkey with Bourbon-Cider Gravy. This recipe provides rich seasonal maple and cider flavor, and perfect juiciness from the brine. Unlike typical saltwater baths, our brine uses apple cider and maple syrup to give it signature flavor and keep it's sodium count low. This holiday showstopper contains just 7g of carbohydrates and 566mg sodium. Just be sure to watch your portion size. Tip: Use your largest stockpot for brining the bird, or a brining bag.
Protein-Packed Cheese Board
Enjoy this spread as an appetizer or dessert. Nuts and cheese pack in the protein while the fruit and chocolate add just the right amount of sweetness to satisfy your cravings. Not only does this cheese board pack in protein, there is more than 390mg of calcium per serving thanks to the cheese, almonds, and chocolate. Guests will love this lighter alternative to traditional Thanksgiving desserts. With 10 servings per cheese board, there's plenty for friends and family, but the recipe is easy to double if you need more.
Gram's Clam Dip
Your guests can snack on this dip, while you put the final touches on your inspiring dishes. There's plenty for a crowd as this recipe serves 18. This lower-fat version uses reduced-fat Greek yogurt and cream cheese for a creamy result that does this 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.
Cauliflower "Caviar" with Frizzled Prosciutto
Before the turkey, lose the fork and knife for these healthy handheld bites with only 4.8g of carbs, 205mg sodium, and 3g of fat. Smoky prosciutto and cauliflower fill bitter endive leaves in this light appetizer that serves 12. An enticing mix of flavors and a colorful presentation makes for a perfect starter fit for any meal or occasion. For a low-carb swap for traditional mashed potatoes, see our Roasted Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes.
Broiled Shrimp with Buttermilk Rémoulade
If preboiled shrimp and cocktail sauce is a standard starter at your holiday gathering, try these quick broiled shrimp with a spicy rémoulade dipping sauce—a homemade alternative that takes minutes, tastes much better, and is much lower in sodium. Like cocktail sauce, the rémoulade gets a pungent kick from prepared horseradish, though you could also try Creole mustard. We leave the tails on the shrimp for easy handling. Keep a small bowl next to the serving plate for discarded shrimp tails.
Potato and Leek Gratin
A mandoline will slice the potatoes quickly and to the same thickness, though a sharp knife will also work. Instead of being buried in cream, the potatoes and leeks are simmered in and drizzled with milk so the potatoes get wonderfully crisp and tender and the cheeses form a melty, golden crust. The result is a rich, rustic potato side with contrasting flavors and textures—a bit of crunch to round out the stuffing, sauces, and mashes on the plate. Reheat leftovers in the oven until crisped and warmed through, and then serve with eggs and a side of fruit for breakfast.
Date, Walnut, and Blue Cheese Ball
The sweet-savory combo of dates, walnuts, and blue cheese, topped with the earthiness of fresh flat-leaf parsley, brings your regular cheese ball up a notch. Prepare this retro-chic snack up to two days ahead, and serve with crackers, bread, or veggies. Rolled in minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, this cheese ball is festive enough for the most discerning of holiday crowds and with 5.3g of carbs, 229mg of sodium, and 4.8g fat, it's just right for diabetic diets.
Caramelized Onion, Gruyère, and Bacon Spread
This incredibly creamy 5-star spread looks rich and indulgent, but it's diabetic-friendly with 5.3g carbs and 236mg sodium. While it's super easy to make, it does take some time to prepare. Don't skip caramelizing the onions though, as they give the dish a depth of flavor and are well worth the effort. Serve this savory caramelized onion, Gruyère, and bacon spread with crackers or bread slices. If you can't find Gruyère, substitute raclette, fontina, or Swiss cheese.
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Garlic, and Shallots
When did the lowly sprout become a side dish superstar? This was a happy turn of events: It's a flavor-packed veggie that is both meaty and pleasingly bitter when sautéed or roasted, perfect for pairing with smoky bacon. Garlic, bacon, shallots, and just over 15 minutes are all you need to create this easy, 5-ingredient side dish with intense flavor. To trim Brussels sprouts, simply cut off the stem end and halve. If they're large, you can quarter them, just making sure the Brussels sprouts are cut into uniform pieces so that they'll cook evenly. If you don't want to discard the leftover bacon drippings, carefully transfer to a heatproof container, cool, and store in the fridge. You can use it as a replacement for any other cooking oil or fat.
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.
Spicy Sautéed Broccoli Rabe with Garlic
Bring some bold Italian flavor to your holiday table with this quick and easy side. The recipe, which serves six, doubles easily if serving a larger crowd. Red onion, garlic, and crushed red flavor complement the slightly bitter flavor of nutrient-rich broccoli rabe. Packed with dietary fiber, broccoli rabe packs your Thanksgiving plate full of vitamins A, C, and K, potassium, iron, and calcium. Ready in just 25 minutes, this speedy stovetop dish gets on the table fast and frees up the oven on the day that you need it most.
Spiralized Cinnamon Apples with Greek Yogurt
We’re kind of obsessed with spiralizing, so naturally we had to give it a try with apples. The result? A perfectly twirlable treat. Top with Greek yogurt and homemade granola, and you have a sweet little snack, size, or dessert for less than 150 calories per serving. With just 10.5g of carbs and 33mg sodium, you can indulge in this seasonal treat sans guilt. For more low-carb options, see 10 Smart Diabetic Swaps for the Holidays.