Thanksgiving, and let’s face it, almost any other Holiday meal tends to be a diet wrecker. Especially for those of us with sodium restrictions. I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t have to be. Not any more. These meals are typically based on classic dishes, that are either family recipes handed down through the ages, or on Traditions that many of us have stuck with purely out of habit. For those of us who are facing health challenges, or who have made a commitment to improve our overall health, to protect our heart and other organs, reduce hypertension or deal effectively with Meniere’s disease, it is time to start a new tradition.
Classic recipes and traditions can be updated to protect our health, and the health of our future generations. It can be our contributions to our family histories. In the past, I started small. I first hacked the recipe for the turkey. Then I started tackling the side dishes. now I have the whole menu for Thanksgiving and I am sharing it with you. These recipes remake some of the dishes in our family that have been stuck on replay since the 1970s. Now they are remade and at least will be passed along to my children who helped in crafting and tasting the dishes. The flavor profiles are very high with all of these recipes, that I challenge you not to let the audience even know that they are stuffing their faces with low sodium entrees. I don’t think will know the difference.
The Low Sodium Thanksgiving Guide
Here is the complete low sodium Thanksgiving guide. I am also including a shopping list and an estimated timeline for cooking everything. Scroll down and enjoy all my recipes and the list and timeline. Here’s to new Traditions!
This bird will will be perfectly moist as the sweet and tangy glaze will caramelize to seal in the juices and the golden brown color will be a show stopper and will make a great centerpiece for this heart healthy Thanksgiving meal.
A 12-14 lb. turkey will feed 8-10 people. If buying frozen, you safely need 1 day for each 4 pounds to allow for the bird to completely thaw in the refrigerator.
Make sure to find a bird that has not been injected with sodium or brined prior to freezing. A fresh bird is also a great low sodium choice. You are looking for something that will keep you under 100 mg of sodium per 4 oz serving.
You can do this on the grill, or in a roasting pan in the oven depending on the weather in your area. The smoky-sweet flavors of these seasonal vegetables blows sweet potatoes and marshmallows out of the water. Plus, it’s a sneaky good way to introduce brussel sprouts to someone that has never tried them before. You can also substitute other seasonal veggies in here as well.
This recipe has become fluid to me based on whatever I have on hand, or what looks good at the market. You could go with fennel, parsnips, or any of a variety of squash as they would all fit into the flavor profile.
The perfect foil to the more dense side dishes that usually accompany the Turkey. These beans are light and bright with the lemon and balsamic coming together to freshen up your palette in between bites of hash, potatoes, and stuffing. This version is also more heart healthy than the traditional green bean casseroles that weigh in at over 1000 mg of sodium per serving.
These beans are great with any meal, whenever fresh green beans are in season.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am a huge fan of replacing the salt taste with a bit of sweet, tangy, and spicy combinations. This stuffing is the results of many attempts of trial and error, mostly on the bread choice. It took many tries to find the right bread solution as the foundation of this stuffing which wasn’t going to turn to mush, and which would also meet the low sodium requirements we need.
The low sodium Chorizo sausage should be part of your short list of recipes throughout the year, as it is perfect for breakfast, as a pizza topping, in sandwiches, to stuff peppers, and so on.
Another light foil to some of the more dense side dishes. This Cranberry Relish Salad provides another balancing counterpoint to this wonderful Thanksgiving meal. You can use any leftovers on top of yogurt for a great tasting and healthy breakfast the next morning. You could also use it to make a cranberry salsa for a completely different take on leftovers.
Potatoes and cheese never were so fancy, and totally within our low sodium requirements. This comfort dish can wow any family meal and shouldn’t be relegated just to the Holidays. I dare any of your family and friends to guess this is low sodium when you make this for them.
The perfect finish to our Thanksgiving meal is this fluffy and delightful pumpkin pie. Marscapone cheese gives this pie and almost cheesecake-custard quality that is silky and smooth in your mouth. When you sit down to a piece of this pie, think of it as a well deserved reward for crafting new and heart healthy family traditions in your home.
The Shopping List
I have broken this out for you by what you might have already in your pantry. If you don’t have these items, move them to the shopping list below that:
- 5 lbs all-purpose white flour
- granulated sugar
- vanilla extract
- ground cinnamon
- ground nutmeg
- ground ginger
- ground cloves
- black pepper
- garlic powder (salt free)
- ground chipotle pepper
- ground chili powder (salt free)
- ground cayenne pepper
- ground Spanish paprika
- ground coriander
- olive oil
- vegetable oil
- maple syrup (low sodium)
- 2 lbs of unsalted butter
- white balsamic vinegar
- cider vinegar
- white vinegar
- balsamic vinegar
- aluminum foil
- 1 12-pound fresh turkey (or frozen, thawed) look for birds with less than 100 mg of sodium per 4 oz. serving
- 1 bag medium-size onions
- fresh green beans
- 1 bag of russet potatoes
- apricot preserves
- Westbrae stone ground mustard or a low sodium mustard of choice
- sweet potatoes
- brussel sprouts (if frozen find low sodium)
- 2 bags of fresh cranberries
- Swiss cheese, blocks for grating
- Marscapone cheese
- 2boxes chicken broth (low sodium)
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
- walnuts, unsalted
- Raspberry Gelatin
- ground pork (look for fresh not frozen)
- low sodium bacon
- granny smith apples
- Kings Hawaiian Round Bread
- Parmesan Cheese (low sodium)
An Estimated Cooking Timeline for you Thanksgiving:
3 Days Prior:
- Complete your shopping
- Start to thaw your 12 lb Turkey in the refrigerator
The Day Before:
- Make the Low Sodium Pumpkin Pie and keep in the refrigerator until ready to warm for dessert.
- Process together the celery, apples, & cranberries and sugar and let meld overnight in the refrigerator.
4 1/2 Hours Before Dinner:
- Prepare the Apricot Mustard Glazed Roast Turkey and begin roasting.
- Prepare the ingredients and chop vegetables for the Grilled Chipotle-Maple Sweet Potato Hash
2 Hours Before Dinner:
- Prepare Chorizo and Green Apple Stuffing and set aside until time to bake.
- Prepare Swiss Potatoes Au Gratin and set aside until time to bake.
1 Hour and 30 Minutes Before Dinner:
- Place the Swiss Potatoes Au Gratin in oven with turkey.
- Brush the Turkey with another coat of glaze
1 Hour Before Dinner:
- Place the Chorizo and Green Apple Stuffing into the oven with the turkey and potatoes.
30 Minutes Before Dinner:
- Prepare Balsamic Roasted Green Beans and set aside until time to roast.
- Remove foil from turkey to brown the skin.
20 Minutes Before Dinner:
- Remove turkey, potatoes, and stuffing from oven.
- make the pan sauce from the Turkey drippings
- Allow the turkey to rest for 15 minutes before carving.
- Balsamic Roasted Green Beans in the oven.
5 Minutes Before Dinner:
- Remove Pumpkin Pie from the refrigerator, lower the oven to 200 degrees F and allow the pie to reheat during dinner
- Prepare all dishes for serving.
So there it is! The complete Low Sodium Thanksgiving Guide! My Family and I wish you a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving, from Hacking Salt!