Diabetes-Friendly Holiday Dishes
Take Control of Thanksgiving Dinner
The current approach to dietary management of diabetes is to tailor the meal plan for each individual. But in general, a healthy diabetic diet involves controlling total carbohydrates (particularly refined carbohydrates), reducing calories and sodium, increasing fiber, and replacing saturated fats and trans fats with more heart–healthy mono– and polyunsaturated fats. This approach, of course, is healthy for anyone who wants to eat better.
Try these healthier recipes when you're in charge of Thanksgiving cooking.
First up: Sunflower seeds and brown rice pack a double nutrition punch, enhancing our Multigrain Pilaf with Sunflower Seeds side dish with vitamin E and niacin.
Forget dry, tasteless turkey. A rub of roasted garlic and fresh sage permeates every ounce of the bird, while a Dijon and white wine baste locks in moisture for juicy, tender meat. Save the giblets for our Classic Turkey Gravy. If your turkey starts to overbrown after the first hour in the oven, cover loosely with foil, and continue roasting. Remember to let the turkey rest so juices can redistribute and the bird can cool enough to carve.
Chorizo and Roasted Poblano Wild Rice Stuffing
Hot cooked wild rice is incredibly nutty and fragrant, a perfect counter to smoky paprika, quick roasted poblano peppers, and spicy fresh chorizo. Look for ground, raw Mexican chorizo rather than Spanish chorizo (cured, cased sausage). The rice will absorb the drippings from the sausage as the two bake together in the casserole dish. If you can’t find Mexican chorizo, try hot Italian pork or turkey sausage. We treat the rice the same as a bread stuffing—binding it with a mixture of stock, eggs, and butter—for a richer, more cohesive stuffing that will brown beautifully in the pan.
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.
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.
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.
Fresh Cranberry-Orange Relish
Canned cranberry sauce contains about 22g carbohydrates per slice, and homemade fresh cranberry sauce often uses a cup of sugar (or more). This fresh relish contains just 10g carbohydrates per generous ¼-cup serving and has double the fiber of canned. It does include some added sugar, which is needed to offset the tartness of the cranberries. Be sure to make it a day ahead so the flavors have time to marry.
Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Shallots
Jilt the traditional super-sugary sweet potato casserole for this more streamlined, fresher, and certainly healthier version. Sweet potatoes are already naturally sweet. Why lay on more sugar? Here caramelized shallots add a savory note. Olive oil provides richness and bypasses the saturated fat you’d get from butter.
Green Beans with Caramelized Onions and Walnuts
Here's a crowd-pleasing side that's easy on the pocketbook: just 67 cents per serving! If money is no object, consider finishing with a flourish of white truffle oil.
Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Pomegranate and Pine Nuts
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.
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.
Grapefruit, Endive, and Arugula Salad
Tossing the endive leaves in the vinaigrette first softens their bitter edge. You could also sub thinly sliced fennel or chopped Romaine hearts.