Thanksgiving the Low Sodium Way

In honor of Thanksgiving, I’ll be featuring festive salt free recipes nonstop through next week, ending with the GUMMY GIVEAWAY winner announcement on Wednesday. So stay tuned and don’t miss your chance to WIN THOSE GUMMIES!

We’re just a week away from Thanksgiving, and as our thoughts turn collectively to turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie, I wanted to touch base for a quick run-down of low sodium recipes. The holidays can be especially hard for those on salt free diets, but they don’t have to be. With a little preparation and ingenuity, these times can be the best and healthiest you’ve ever known.

So let’s talk TURKEY. When it comes to the bird, think fresh. Fresh turkeys are much lower in sodium than their broth injected frozen counterparts, and many stores such as Whole Foods, local food co-ops, farmer’s markets, and butcher shops are selling fresh birds exclusively. If you can’t purchase a fresh bird though, don’t despair! Most supermarkets carry an array of frozen options. In the past I’ve opted for kosher birds, which tend to be lower in sodium than the standard butterballs. But don’t limit yourself. Roast chicken is a healthy substitute, as are guinea hens, duck and quail. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous and would prefer skipping poultry altogether, I highly recommend this fabulous recipe for Roast Pork with Dried Plums.

Not to overlook vegetarians, I have recipes for several meat-free entrees that are sure to please.  Vegetarian Lasagne, Zucchini Cakes, and meaty Gorgonzola Portobellos are all delicious, as are others – just take a look.

But as usual I’m getting ahead of myself. Why not start at the START with a delicious soup or salad! Soup makes any meal more memorable, and I have recipes for some serious stand-outs. Butternut Squash Soup will have your guests raving.

If greens are more your speed, try this tasty Warm Asparagus Salad or Simple Autumn Salad.

No turkey dinner is complete without Cranberry Sauce and Stuffing. I’ve got a low sodium Traditional Holiday Dressing that always gets compliments, or for more interest try either the Apple Walnut Wheat or regular Apple Stuffing.

Baked apple slices are delicious with fowl and are a sure hit with kids. Another perennial favorite for kids of all ages is Maple Stuffed Sweet Potatoes.

Try topping Mashed Sweets with some jumbo marshmallows, baking, and serving as an irresistible sweet potato casserole. Or, conversely, you could serve your sweet potatoes roasted, as in Fingers and Sweets. Creamy buttermilk mashed potatoes are FABULOUS, as are the always popular Twice-Baked Potatoes.

Winter squash is also wonderful this time of year. For an extra showy and delicious meal, I highly recommend both Stuffed Acorn Squash, as well as Roasted Butternut Squash and Shallots. And don’t forget the Carrots with Indian Spices I recently posted.  MMmmm – SO GOOD!

Since most of us like a nice chewy roll with our meal, try the Simple Bread Rolls I made with my daughters. Incredibly delicious, salt free, and fun to make even if you don’t have children of your own.

If you have an extra moment, add a quick bread to the mix.  I suggest serving sliced Orange Cranberry Bread alongside dinner for an extra special treat.

What holiday meal is complete without DESSERT? Pumpkin Pie is a MUST at our house, but there are some other terrific pies to consider as well. Squash and Pear Pie and Sweet Potato Pie are always popular.

All pied out? Too stretched to make a crust? Try Pears in Wine, which look (and TASTE) divine but are so simple to make they’ll leave plenty of time for everything else.

Like a lovely glass of WINE! I recommend a nice chilled white to complement the meal, but if you don’t drink alcohol, there’s no reason to feel deprived. Try some cider or sweet milky Chai Tea with dinner or dessert. Just remember, Thanksgiving is a day set aside for giving thanks for all of our blessings, enjoying friends and family and celebrating life. So don’t let your kitchen time stress you out so much you lose perspective. If things burn, flop or turn out ugly, laugh and put your feet up, knowing you tried your best. Enjoy yourself, and enjoy a big satisfying salt free meal without having to worry about the aftermath.

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