There are so many things to be thankful for this year, and one of the biggest for me is… you guys! You keep me motivated to doing what I love by getting up everyday and furthering your health and fitness journey. Thank you all for sharing your stories and journey with me.

To give a little back, I am sharing a few healthy Thanksgiving recipes & urging you to either try mine this holiday OR find other healthy dishes to sub for the traditional plates that contain a ton of “extra” stuff that you really don’t need– and won’t miss! Help spread the word by making one of these dishes (or your own healthy creation) and share it on Instagram or Twitter using #ACGivesThanks and I will be giving away 5 autographed copies of the December issue of Oxygen magazine.

 Happy cooking and Happy Thanksgiving!

 Cranberry Turkey Meatballs- Main Dish

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes, ACGivesThanks, Autumn Calabrese, Nutrition, 21 Day FixHealthy Thanksgiving Recipes, ACGivesThanks, Autumn Calabrese, Nutrition, 21 Day Fix

What You Need For the Meatballs:

  • 1 pound 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup shredded tart apple, such as Granny Smith, washed with peel on
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped Simply Roundy’s Fresh Sage
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Chopped fresh parsley, optional for garnish

Yeilds 24-28 meatballs

What You Need For the Cranberry Sauce:

  • 1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice

What You Do:

1. Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place an ovenproof baking rack on top of a large, rimmed baking sheet, then lightly coat with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the turkey, breadcrumbs, olive oil, egg, apple, sage, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. With your hands or two forks, lightly mix to combine, being careful not to compact the meat.
3. Roll the mixture into 1 1/2 to 2-inch balls, using a small scoop to help portion as desired. Arrange the meatballs on top of the prepared baking rack. Bake in the oven for 12-14 minutes, just until cooked through.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: In a saucepan large enough to hold the meatballs, combine the cranberries, applesauce, maple syrup, orange zest, and orange juice. Heat over medium to warm through. Add the cooked meatballs to the sauce, then spoon the sauce over gently to coat.
5. Transfer to a serving platter to enjoy immediately or place in a slow cooker set to the lowest heat to keep warm.

Garnish with fresh parsley as desired and serve!

Lentil Loaf- Vegetarian Main Dish Option

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes, ACGivesThanks, Autumn Calabrese, Nutrition, 21 Day Fix

What You Need:

Lentil Loaf:

1 cup uncooked green lentils
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped and toasted
3 tbsp ground flax + 1/2 cup water
3 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 cups diced sweet onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup oat flour
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 tsp fresh thyme (or 3/4 tsp dried thyme)
salt & pepper, to taste (I use about 3/4 tsp sea salt + more Herbamare)
red pepper flakes, to taste

Balsamic Apple Glaze:

1/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 tbsp apple butter (or unsweetened applesauce in a pinch)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

What You Do:

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Rinse and strain lentils. Place lentils into pot along with 3 cups of water (or veg broth). Bring to a boil and season with salt. Reduce heat to medium/low and simmer, uncovered, for at least 40-45 minutes. Stir frequently & add touch of water if needed. The goal is to over-cook the lentils slightly (see pictures in post). Mash lentils slightly with a spoon when ready.
2. Toast walnuts at 325F for about 8-10 minutes. Set aside. Increase oven temp to 350F.
3. Whisk ground flax with water in a small bowl and set aside.
4. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sautee the garlic and onion for about 5 minutes. Season with salt. Now add in the diced celery and shredded carrot. Sautee for about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat.
5. In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together. Adjust seasonings to taste.
6. Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Press mixture firmly into pan. Whisk glaze ingredients and then spread half on top of loaf. Reserve the rest for a dipping sauce.
7. Bake at 350F for 40-50 minutes, uncovered. Edges will be lightly brown. Cool in pan for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. I usually wait until loaf is cool before slicing.

Yeilds 1 large loaf

Featured Sides

Garlic Sweet Potato Mash

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes, ACGivesThanks, Autumn Calabrese, Nutrition, 21 Day Fix

What You Need:

  • 6 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Earth Balance, or butter substitute
  • 1 teaspoon XVOO
  • Salt
  • Pepper

What You Do:

1. Set oven to 375 F.
2. Wash sweet potatoes, poke holes in skin with sharp knife and roast on a cookie sheet for about 30-40 minutes. (Until they are soft and slightly bubbly.)
3. Slice bottom off head of garlic, place on tin foil with a drizzle of XVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil). Roast for 25 minutes while sweet potatoes are cooking.
4. Once potatoes are finished cooking, add all ingredients to food processor, blend on high until creamy. Salt and pepper to taste.

Yields 8-10 Servings

Roasted Vegetables with Pecans

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes, ACGivesThanks, Autumn Calabrese, Nutrition, 21 Day Fix

What You Need:

Roasted Brussels Sprouts:

  • 3 cups Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, yellow leaves removed
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt, to taste

Roasted Butternut Squash:

  • 1 and ½ pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed into 1-inch cubes (Yields about 4 cups of uncooked cubed butternut squash)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Other Ingredients:
    • 2 cups pecan halves
    • 1 cup dried cranberries
    • 2-4 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)

What You Do:

Roasted Brussels sprouts:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Lightly grease the foil-lined baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  3. Make sure Brussels sprouts have trimmed ends and yellow leaves are removed. Then, slice all Brussels sprouts in half. In a medium bowl, combine halved Brussels sprouts, add additional XVOO, salt (to taste), and toss to combine. Place onto a foil-lined baking sheet, cut side down, and roast in the oven at 400 F for about 20-25 minutes.

Roasted butternut squash:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease the foil-lined baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of XVOO.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine cubed butternut squash (peeled and seeded),1 tablespoon of XVOO and cinnamon, and toss to mix.
  3. Place butternut squash in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once half-way through baking, until softened.
  4. Note: You can roast both Brussels sprouts and butternut squash on 2 separate baking sheets at the same time, on the same rack in the oven.
  5. Assembly: In a large bowl, combine roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted butternut squash, pecans, and cranberries, and mix to combine. (OPTIONAL): For more sweetness, add 2 or 4 tablespoons of maple syrup, if desired – do not add all maple syrup at once, start with 2 tablespoons, then add more, if desired, and toss with the salad ingredients to combine.

Yields 6-8 Servings

Roasted Red Potatoes with Garlic

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes, ACGivesThanks, Autumn Calabrese, Nutrition, 21 Day Fix

What You Need:

  • 3 pounds small red potatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Himalayan salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)

What You Do:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Cut the potatoes in half or quarters and place in a bowl with the XVOO, salt, pepper, and garlic; toss until the potatoes are well coated. Transfer the potatoes to a sheet pan and spread out into 1 layer. Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes or until browned and crisp. Flip occasionally with a spatula during cooking in order to ensure even browning.
3. Remove the potatoes from the oven, season to taste– and serve hot!

Yields 8 Servings


Featured Dessert

Pumpkin Cheesecake (Dairy & Gluten-Free)

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes, ACGivesThanks, Autumn Calabrese, Nutrition, 21 Day Fix

What you Need:

For the Crust:

  • 1 cup packed medjool dates, pitted (about 20 dates-pitted before measuring)
  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • Pinch sea salt

For the Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked in very hot water for 1 hour)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon light or full fat coconut milk (or sub unsweetened almond milk)
  • 3 Tbsp XVOO (or sub melted coconut oil, though it will add coconut flavor)
  • 1/2 cup grade A maple syrup* or light agave nectar, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon pumpkin puree
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • optional: 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • optional: Coconut whipped cream topping, pecans

What You Do:

1. Cover cashews with boiling hot water. Let rest, uncovered, at room temperature for 1 hour. Then drain thoroughly and set aside.

2. In the meantime, add dates to a blender and blend until small bits remain, or it forms a ball. Remove and set aside.

3. Add walnuts, oats and salt to blender and process into a meal. Then add dates back in and blend until a loose dough forms – it should stick together when you squeeze a bit between your fingers. If too crumbly, add a few more dates. If too sticky, add more crushed walnuts. Set aside.

4. If using a springform pan, line with parchment paper. If using ramekins or muffin tins, cut parchment paper into circles the size of the base of your ramekins or muffin tins. Also, cut out two long strips of parchment paper per ramekin and lay them in an “X” shape at the base. Top with circle shape. This creates little tabs that make removing the cheesecakes easier to pop out once set. (For muffin tins, you can also just use cupcake liners.)

5. Divide crust evenly among ramekins or tins (or springform pan), and press down with fingers to evenly distribute. Use a small glass wrapped in parchment paper, or the back of a spoon, to press down firmly, allowing some crust to come up the sides. Set in freezer.

6. Once cashews are soaked and drained, add to blender with remaining filling ingredients and puree until very smooth – 2-3 minutes. If it has trouble blending add a touch more coconut milk (or almond milk). Taste and adjust flavor/sweetness as needed.

7. Divide filling evenly among the ramekins or tins (or pour into a parchment-lined springform pan). Tap a few times to release any air bubbles, then cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze until firm – about 4-6 hours, depending on size of dish.

8. Once set, run a butter knife along the edge and gently remove by tugging on the tabs in an upward motion. They should pop right out. If they aren’t quite set, pop them back in the freezer until firm. If using a springform pan, simply pop open and remove cheesecake.

9. Serve with a touch of coconut whipped cream and brown sugar pecans (optional | recipe links above).

Store leftovers in the freezer for 7-10 days, though best when enjoyed within the first 3-4 days. Let thaw at room temperature 15-20 minutes before serving for best texture.

Yields 8 servings


Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes, ACGivesThanks, Autumn Calabrese, Nutrition, 21 Day Fix

[Sources: Well Plated|Cranberry Turkey Meatballs, Oh She Glows | Glazed Lentil Loaf, Julia’s Album | Roasted Vegetables w/Pecans, Minimalist Baker| Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake] – Thanksgiving Recipes 21 Day Fix
Your partner in health,
Autumn Calabrese


  • Megan

    Thanks for these yummy recipes. What would the container equivalents be for the sweet potatoes, the roasted potatoes and the turkey meatballs?


  • vickie

    How would you count the turkey meatballs for the 21 day fixs. Thanks

  • Marybeth

    Sounds yummy

    • Autumn

      Thanks Marybeth, hope you enjoy them!

  • Sarah (appifanie)

    Autumn, I am so happy that most of these are vegan!! <3

    • Autumn

      Enjoy Sarah!

Comments are closed.