Paleo Diet Thanksgiving Feast

Paleo Diet Thanksgiving Feast

It has been a little over a week since Thanksgiving 2011 and I know that by now everyone is now stuffed to the gills with turkey leftovers, stuffing and pumpkin pie, but I thought I might share my interesting Thanksgiving experience. Every dish at the meal was Paleo. No grain flours, potatoes, sugars or artificial sweeteners were used. It was truly a Paleo Diet Thanksgiving Feast.

The recipes were taken from several different websites. Some of the recipes were modified to suit our personal tastes. All the dishes turned out to be superb.

On the Menu:

  • Maple Grilled Salmon
  • Roasted turkey
  • ‘Corn Bread’ Stuffing
  • Roasted Delicata Squash
  • Roasted Brussels sprouts
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Pumpkin pie:
  • CocoChocoDamia cookie balls

Paleo Diet Thanksgiving Feast

The Maple Grilled Salmon from, by James Peterson of Cooking Light, was absolutely delicious, even after we “lost”* the reduced marinade. The dish is simple to make:

Maple Glazed Salmon. THe black bits on top are burnt skin - Yum!


  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, skinned
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag; add fish. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 3 hours.
  2. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
  3. Remove fish from bag, reserving the marinade. Pour marinade into a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 2 tablespoons (about 5 minutes).
  4. Place fish on grill rack or pan coated with cooking spray; grill 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness, basting occasionally with marinade. Remove fish from grill; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

*The reserved marinade was lost when the pot with the marinade was left by the kitchen sink while an overzealous dishwasher was cleaning everything in sight. So the marinade went down the drain. But the fish was fantastic in spite of the loss.  Said dishwasher will not live this one down for a while….


The Roasted Turkey Thighs were also very simple – incredibly simple, considering how tender and delicious they turned out. Turkey thighs are much tastier than the breast, and a little more mellow in flavor than the legs. This recipe came from the Life’s Ambrosia website:

Roasted Turkey Thighs and Tart Cranberry Sauce


  • 3 pounds turkey thighs (about 2 thighs)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Using a pastry brush, brush both sides of the turkey thighs with melted butter.
  3. Mix together salt, garlic powder, pepper, rosemary, sage, thyme and paprika. Rub seasoning mixture over both sides of the thighs.
  4. Drizzle with any remaining butter. Transfer to a roasting pan. Cook for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Reduce heat to 325 and continue to cook for 2 – 2 1/2 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted reaches 180 degrees. Spoon pan juices over the top every 30 minutes. Note: If you notice the skin getting too crispy, loosely cover the thighs with aluminum foil.
  5. Remove turkey thighs from the oven, allow to rest for 10 minutes. Carve and serve.


The ‘Corn Bread’ Stuffing, called by the author ‘low carb stuffing; seriously’ was a huge hit. This recipe came from the “Stuff I Make My Husband” website. It was made with coconut flour muffins, made earlier that day, which are then cubed and toasted. It was really close in flavor and texture to traditional cornbread, and I felt no guilt in having two servings! Our modification was to leave out the pancetta or sausage. It was still incredible.

Herbed "Corn bread" stuffing

Makes a dozen muffins


  • 2/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Whisk together the coconut flour, salt, and baking powder.
  3. In another bowl, beat the eggs. Whisk in the melted butter.
  4. Add the coconut flour mixture to the egg/butter mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Divide the batter among 12 greased muffin cups. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.


Makes about 16 individual servings


  • 1 recipe “corn” muffins (above)
  • 4 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 8 oz pancetta (or smoked sausage such as andouille), cut into 1/4″ dice
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 2 Tbs minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or 1 cup chicken broth + 1 cup cream or half-and-half for a more indulgent stuffing)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cut the corn muffins into 1/2″ cubes. Spread them out evenly in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, including the crumbs. Bake at 250 degrees for an hour to dry out.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Melt the butter in a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and saute until crisp. Add the onion, leek, and celery, and saute until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for a minute longer.
  4. Grease a 13″x9″ pan. Add the dry muffin cubes and the vegetable-pancetta mixture, including all of the butter and pan juices.
  5. Beat the eggs, combine them with chicken broth, and pour over the bread mixture. Also add the parsley. Combine everything with your hands, squeezing and crumbling the bread cubes to ensure that they soak up plenty of liquid.
  6. Bake, uncovered, at 400 for about an hour or until the top is browned and crisp.

This site is well worth visiting. She has some very good low carbohydrate recipes.


is another simple recipe and is one that I’ve made before. This recipe comes from the . Our modification was to add cinnamon to the squash about 5 minutes before it was finished baking. This way the cinnamon was toasted a little with the squash and didn’t get burnt or taste raw.

Roasted Delicata Squash


  • 2-4 delicata squash, depending on size (~1.5 lbs)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Clean the delicata squash by running under warm water and scrubbing away dirt with your hands. If there are any hard spots on the squash, you can scrape them off with a butter knife.

With a sharp knife, cut delicata in half lengthwise. This should be easy and not require any crazy hacking. With a spoon scoop out the seeds and discard (you can save these and prepare them like pumpkin seeds if you wish). Cut each delicata half into 1/2 inch segments, creating moon-shaped pieces that have slight bumps around the curve.

Arrange the pieces in a single layer in a metal baking pan and coat in 2 tbsp olive oil. Too much oil can make the squash soggy. Salt gently. It’s okay if the pieces are a little crowded, but try to maximize the surface area of the squash touching the pan. The browning only occurs where the squash and pan meet.

Place in oven and roast 10 minutes. Using a spatula (I use tongs for most veggies, but delicata squash are easily squished and hold up better if you don’t pinch them) turn the squash in the pan so that the light sides are now touching the pan and the brown sides are facing upward.

Continue roasting, turning every 7-10 minutes until both sides of the squash pieces are golden brown and the texture is creamy to the teeth all the way through, about 25-30 minutes. Adjust salt.

Serve as a side dish with the rest of your dinner.


The Tart Cranberry Sauce came from the cookbook “Make it Paleo”. There is a version of the recipe on the author’s website. The difference is that in the book they use maple syrup to sweeten the cranberries, which is what we did.  But on the website, at Primal Palate, they use stevia as the sweetener. The recipes are exactly the same except for 1 tbsp maple syrup in place of the 1 tsp stevia.   This was also really good. It is tart, as the name promises, but full of cranberry flavor. It was well paired with the turkey thighs. Definitely a keeper.


  • 1 lb raw, fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tsp stevia extract


  1. Begin by rinsing the cranberries off in a colander, and pull out any cranberries that have gone bad.
  2. Place cranberries and orange juice in a sauce pan and bring to a boil, occasionally stirring.
  3. After boiling a few minutes, cranberries will begin to pop open. Continue to stir.
  4. Once they have popped, stir in the stevia and let cool.
  5. Serve.


The green side dish was NOT the standard green beans, but roasted Brussels sprouts. Extremely simple recipe – cut the Brussels sprouts in half, coat in olive oil, add salt & pepper to taste and bake in a pre-heated 400°F oven for 35 – 45 minutes. The basic recipe can be found at the Food Network website.



Dessert is a course I rarely indulge in, so it becomes an important part of any special occasion and our Paleo Diet Thanksgiving Feast certainly qualified as special.

The pumpkin pie, which came from Mark Sisson’s Marks Daily Apple website, was very good. The custard had a somewhat different flavor than the standard recipe since coconut milk was used instead of evaporated milk*. The crust was walnut based and was really delicious. Better than any wheat based pie crust I’ve ever had.

Walnut Crust Pumpkin Pie

The Ultimate Walnut Crust:


  • 2 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted


Blend walnuts, baking soda and salt in a food processor until finely ground. Add butter and pulse until butter is mixed in.

Scrape the batter into a 9-inch tart pan. You can use a rubber spatula to smooth the batter over the bottom and up the sides, but ultimately your fingers will be the best tool. Take your time smoothing and patting the batter out evenly. It’s better to spread the batter thinner across the bottom of the pan and thicker around the edges of the crust.

Place the pie on a cookie sheet (helps to keep the bottom from burning) and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove the crust from the oven and pour your filling of choice inside. Bake again until filling is done.

Pumpkin Filling:


  • One 15-ounce can of pumpkin
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (found the spice section of grocery stores)
  • 3 eggs, whisked


Mix together all ingredients. Pour into the pre-baked crust. Don’t overfill the crust – you might have a little batter leftover.

Bake for 50 minutes. The center of the pie should be fairly firm and only jiggle a tiny bit if you shake the pan. Let the pie cool completely before cutting into it. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

*My brother-in-law’s comment when we were discussing the pie ingredients when my sister mentioned using coconut milk instead of evaporated milk: “If it’s evaporate milk, why is there any milk left?”


Perhaps one of the best cookies I’ve ever had came from George Bryant’s The Civilized Caveman website. George calls them CocoChocoDamia Cookie Balls. I call them divine. They were not at all heavy or sweet and full of flavor. They were a wonderful way to top off our Paleo diet Thanksgiving feast.

CocoChocoDamia cookie balls


  • 1 Cup Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Honey (or natural sweetener of your choice)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 Tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/8 Tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 Cup Macadamia Nuts, food processed to your consistency liking, I did mine CHUNKY
  • 1/2 Cup of shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 3/4 Cup of Enjoy Life chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 375 (Thats degrees faranheit with the oven set to Bake for you non kitchen people)
  2. In a large bowl, combine coconut oil, raw honey, eggs, vanilla extract, and sea salt. (To make your life easier, in a small bowl on the side, combine the raw honey and coconut oil and melt in the microwave before mixing it in)
  3. Add in your coconut flour.
  4. Stir in the macadamia nuts, shredded coconut and chocolate chips.
  5. On parchment lined baking sheets, drop heaping tablespoons of cookie batter.(Ensure you form them to look like the cookies you want for a final product as these do not rise or spread like conventional cookies, which also means you can place more on a baking sheet without worrying about them touching) 
  6. Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Remove from the oven, transfer to a cooling rack and then enjoy with a nice glass of almond milk.

While a few of these dishes are complex and are not likely to be prepared frequently, there are several which are easy and tasty Paleo diet entrees for everyday.  And if you did not have a Paleo Diet Thanksgiving Feast this year but want to try something like this for your Christmas feast, you now have a few ideas of what you could prepare. Happy Holidays!



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