With Thanksgiving Day around the corner, you may already be busy getting your menu ready for this special time of year. But for anyone following a keto diet, holidays like Thanksgiving may come with their own set of challenges.
Questions like, “Do I bring my own food?” or “Do I leave early without eating?” may cross your mind if you’re navigating this holiday season on the keto diet. If this describes you, worry not!
The Nutrisense dietitian team rounded up their favorite keto-friendly Thanksgiving dinner recipes to help you enjoy a low-carb Thanksgiving dinner with your loved ones. Read on for nine delicious dietitian-recommended recipes.
The Ketogenic Diet: A Quick Review
The ketogenic diet is characterized by a very low carbohydrate intake. This diet was originally introduced in the 1920s for people with epilepsy. Over the last few decades, however, more and more individuals are using it for other wellness goals.
Some of these potential benefits include:
Not everyone may need or benefit from this type of diet and there may be some risks and concerns associated with it for some people.
For anyone following this diet, the exact intake of carbohydrates does vary, but in general, you will want about 70 to 80 percent of the calories you consume to come from fats, 10 to 20 percent from protein, and five to 10 percent from carbohydrates.
This means that you’ll likely want to eat about 20 to 50 grams of carbs a day on the keto diet, although many opt to keep that number under 20 to achieve deeper ketosis.
When starting out the diet, some people experience what is called the “keto flu.”The symptoms mimic the flu, such as a runny nose, cough, or malaise, but are brought on by the sudden shift in energy usage as your body adjusts to this eating pattern.
If you’re new to the keto diet, you may consider consulting a registered dietitian for further guidance.
9 Keto-Friendly Thanksgiving Recipes
If you’re navigating this Thanksgiving on the ketogenic diet, here are nine of the best keto Thanksgiving recipes to enjoy with friends and family.
Starting out with side dishes, here are three healthy and delicious keto appetizers recommended by the Nutrisense dietitian team.
1) Keto Cornbread by Stay Snatched
This keto Thanksgiving side dish is a great gluten-free alternative to corn bread and is just as delicious. Pair this keto cornbread with your Thanksgiving meal, and have the leftovers with your coffee the next morning.
- 1 1/2 cups almond flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Optional sweetener to taste
- 4 eggs
- 4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, measured solid
- 1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter, measured solid to grease the pan
2) Mashed Cauliflower with Parmesan Cheese and Truffle Oil by Ruled.Me
Unfortunately, because potatoes are a high-carb ingredient, they are not typically included in a keto diet. This mashed cauliflower recipe by Ruled Me is a twist to classic mashed potatoes and makes for a great side dish.
However, thanks to this buttery and fiber-rich cauliflower mash, you won’t feel like your Thanksgiving menu is missing any of the traditional flavors.
- 1 pound cauliflower, cut into small florets or riced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon truffle oil
- 1 tablespoon parsley leaves, packed full
- Optional: additional grated Parmesan cheese and parsley for garnish
3) Keto Green Bean Casserole by Low Carb Maven
Whether or not you’re celebrating a low-carb Thanksgiving, this nourishing dish is a must!
For the Green Beans
- 1 pound fresh green beans trimmed and cooked to your liking
- 1/3 pound bacon cooked and chopped
For the Creamy Cheese Sauce
- 3 ounces onion, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons dry white wine (or dry vermouth)
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons bacon drippings or fat of choice
- 6 ounces softened cream cheese,
- 3 ounces grated cheddar cheese,
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 3/4 cup unsalted chicken stock/broth
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
For the Toppings
- 1/3 cup crushed pork rinds (or keto bread crumbs)
- 1/8 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
Keto-Friendly Main Courses
Here are three Thanksgiving entrees that you can mix and match depending on your liking!
1) Juicy Roast Turkey Recipe by Natasha’s Kitchen
Turkey is central to most Thanksgiving feasts, and this juicy roast turkey breast recipe by Natasha’s Kitchen is a great option to have with your family and friends. Main courses may be easier to fit into a keto diet when it comes to Thanksgiving, and this high-protein recipe by Natasha’s Kitchen is flavorful and satisfying.
For the Turkey
- 12 pound turkey, (Anything from 11-15 pounds will work, but bake time will vary)
- Salt and pepper for the inside and outside of the bird
For the Flavored Butter
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 large garlic cloves, pressed
- 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
For the Stuffing
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 4 garlic cloves, halved
- 1/2 bunch parsley
- 1 lemon, quartered
2) Keto Stuffing by Gnom Gnom
Stuffing is a must when it comes to Thanksgiving, so of course, you’ll need the ultimate keto stuffing recipe to go along with your turkey. This low-carb stuffing recipe by Gnom Gnom is full of flavorful herbs and spices and it’s sure to be a crowd favorite.
- 1 loaf our keto sandwich bread
- 6 tablespoons grass-fed butter or olive oil
- 2 yellow onions
- 1 cup diced celery
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg freshly ground
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped sage leaves
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
- 4 sprigs thyme leaves only
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to taste
3) Ridiculously Juicy Lemon Roast Chicken by Gnom Gnom
If you want to put a twist on traditional thanksgiving recipes, try this juicy lemon chicken recipe by Gnom Gnom. With a focus on tangy lemon, this recipe is packed with a citrus punch but still delivers on the juiciness.
For anyone who may be following a dairy-free diet, this recipe is also a great choice!
- 1 whole chicken skin on, 5 to 6 pounds
- kosher salt
- black pepper freshly ground
- 1 medium onion quartered
- 20 sprigs thyme
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 8-10 cloves garlic thinly sliced lengthwise
- 4 medium shallots
- 2 bunches medium radishes
- 1/4 cup olives, optional
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 2/3 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons blackstrap molasses or sweetener of choice
How to Eat Your Thanksgiving Dinner This Year
Want to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal without glucose spikes? Here are some tips to help you enjoy the celebratory meal and stay healthy at the same time.
Easy Keto Thanksgiving Desserts
Last but not least, no Thanksgiving dinner is complete without a few sweet treats for dessert. Here are some delicious keto-friendly options.
1) Keto Pumpkin Cheesecake by Gimme Delicious
A twist on the classic cheesecake recipe, this keto pumpkin cheesecake is sure to be a fall favorite. If you’re craving a warm, comforting dessert, this option is relatively easy to make and well worth the effort.
For the Base
- 2 tablespoons powdered Erythritol
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup almond flour or ground walnuts
- 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
For the Filling
- 2 cups cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 cup powdered Erythritol
- 1 cup pumpkin puree canned or steamed pumpkin
- 2 large Eggs at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice mix
2) Keto, Sugar-Free Pecan Pie by All Day I Dream About Food
If you’re new to keto, you may be finding it hard to find pies and cakes that are keto-friendly and sugar-free. This sugar-free pecan pie recipe will make this easier than ever, as you can make your own delicious keto pecan pie from scratch.
You’ll just need to have a keto pie crust handy. These can be found at many local grocery stores or health food stores.
- 1 recipe keto pie crust
- ¾ cup butter
- ½ cup Swerve Brown (brown sugar alternative)
- ½ cup Bocha Sweet (or allulose)
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or maple extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups pecan halves
3) Keto Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes by Gnom Gnom
Last, but definitely not least, here’s another keto and pumpkin pie-flavored dessert that makes for a great seasonal treat. If you or your family is fond of pumpkin spice lattes, be sure to give these keto pumpkin spice latte cupcakes a try. You won’t be sorry!
For the Cupcakes
- 64 grams almond flour
- 15 grams golden flaxseed meal
- 9 grams psyllium husk
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum or 2 teaspoons ground flaxseed
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup allulose or 1/3 cup erythritol or xylitol
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
- 42 grams unsalted grass-fed butter melted and cooled slightly
- 60 grams sour cream or coconut cream
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (at room temperature)
For the Pumpkin Spice Filling (optional)
- 60 grams pumpkin puree
- 56 grams cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon erythritol or xylitol
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
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Heather has worked in healthcare and nutrition for over 15 years, with bachelor's degrees in Microbiology and Philosophy and a master's degree in Nutrition Science. Her professional background includes nutrition and diabetes research, nutrition education, medical writing, and extensive clinical work in a functional neuroendocrine specialty practice.