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Favorite Whole Foods Thanksgiving Recipes

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It's interesting that Thanksgiving has become a day when we eat ourselves into oblivion, and that it marks the start of 5 weeks of overindulgence. In our family we have made a point of balancing tradition with healthier options, so along with turkey, stuffing and gravy you'll find plenty of healthy vegetables and salads. Whether you are traveling and need to bring a dish to Thanksgiving dinner, or entertaining guests, these recipes are some of our favorites, for ease of preparation and great taste. We've got some wonderful side dishes, vegan entrees, and desserts to choose from.

1. Pumpkin and Roasted Corn Soup

This creamy vegan soup is rich with the flavors of rosemary and roasted vegetables. Leave some chunks in the soup when pureeing for more body and feel free to add some dark leafy greens for added vitamins and minerals.

2. Roasted Squash and Root Vegetable Soup

This richly flavored roasted squash and root vegetable soup is a perfect starter for a holiday meal. If time is a premium,simply peel and chop the squash and sweet potato and skip the roasting step (this will change the rich flavor of the soup somewhat but saves substantial time). Coriander, bay leaf and thyme add lovely flavor to round out this delightful recipe.

3. Creamy Celery Root and Leek Soup

This easy recipe for creamy celery root soup is absolutely wonderful in the fall and winter. Leeks, parsnips, sweet Japanese yam and fresh herbs all give wonderful flavor to complement the celery root.

4. Roasted Vegetable Napoleon

This recipe for roasted vegetable napoleon is a gorgeous dish for entertaining or holidays. It can be served with Brown Rice Gravy or, for a more sophisticated presentation, a Red Wine Reduction sauce.

5. Herb Brined, Free Range Organic Roast Turkey with Port Wine Gravy

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This whole foods recipe for herb brined, free-range organic roast turkey is pretty much a fail-safe recipe against the dreaded dry holiday bird. Brining followed by air-drying creates a crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside finish. Roasted vegetables and port wine make a lovely, full-bodied sauce. This is also a gluten free recipe, so it works perfectly for everyone who wants to eat turkey!

6. Sweet Winter Squash Stuffed with Cornbread, Wild Rice and Smoked Tempeh

This recipe for sweet winter squash stuffed with cornbread, wild rice and smoked tempeh is a perfect vegetarian option for holiday meals or entertaining in the cooler months. It bridges both the whole foods and macrobiotic tables, and is a wonderfully adaptable recipe. This dish can also be made ahead of time and travels well. Carnivores can substitute high quality turkey sausage for the tempeh with equally good results.

7. Red Wine Reduction Sauce

Classical French cooking inspires this recipe for red wine reduction sauce. Richly and deeply flavored, it is an excellent accompaniment to seared fish (especially salmon), tofu, or poultry. It is an exceptional sauce for entertaining, and keeps very well. Keep in mind that a little of this intensely flavored sauce goes a long way.

8. Yam and Celery Root Puree

Yams are rich in fiber, Vitamin B6, and potassium (double the potassium of bananas). Japanese yams have purple-brown skins, white flesh, and a slightly nutty, sweet flavor. Celery root is diuretic and a great digestive plant. Together they make a flavorful, creamy puree that’s a healthy –and easy- alternative to mashed potatoes.

9. Glazed Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts

This colorful mix of sweet winter squash and Brussels sprouts is steam braised first, then finished over a higher flame to “glaze” or caramelize the vegetables slightly. The finished product is sweet and pungent, lightly scented with fresh rosemary, and a perfect holiday side dish.

10. Oven Roasted Root Vegetables

This easy recipe for oven roasted root vegetables is a wonderfully savory and flexible side dish that is perfect for everyday or entertaining. It has become a favorite at the Thanksgiving table as well as at Sunday dinners in our family. Try different veggies to discover your favorite combinations. These are also wonderful as a topper for salad greens.

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