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A compilation of recipe images, including a chicken, cocktails. stuffed dates, mashed potatoes, and stuffing.

One tradition we can always ground around is the enjoyment of a nourishing meal. Whether your Thanksgiving plans include dining with just your partner or kids, or a group of friends and family, there’s something about a spread of savory dishes that makes it feel like the holidays.

This menu is made up of dishes that are traditional and tasty, but crafted with a few healthy alternatives. The recipes are designed to serve about four people (with some leftovers), but can easily be halved or doubled depending on your group’s size.


Pecan and Goat Cheese-Stuffed Dates

Makes six servings
Prep time: 20 minutes

A plate of pecan and goat cheese stuffed dates.


  • 4 oz. soft goat cheese
  • 2 tbs. chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 18 large Medjool dates


  1. The day before: In a small bowl, mash the goat cheese, then stir in the pecans and orange zest. Use a paring knife to slice along one side of each date and pull out the pit. Scoop a heaping teaspoon of the goat-cheese mixture and stuff it into each date, then gently press the date closed around the cheese. Place the dates on a serving platter. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
  2. The day of: Remove the dates from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving to allow them to come to room temperature. Place a bowl of toothpicks alongside them. Garnish with herbs, if desired.

Source: “Pecan and Goat Cheese-Stuffed Dates” (Experience Life, 2019)

Cran-Apple Turkey Meatballs

Makes four servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 12 to 14 minutes

A plate of cran-apple turkey meatballs, veggies, and potatoes.


  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 2 cups spinach, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tart apple, shredded
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs. garlic powder
  • 1 tbs. fresh sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients and mix until well combined.
  3. Roll the mixture into 12 balls. Place balls in a muffin tin, putting one ball in per opening. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until fully cooked.

Source: Life Time Training

Creamy Spinach and White-Bean Dip

Makes six servings
Prep time: 20 minutes

A bowl of creamy spinach and white-bean dip surrounded by raw veggies on a plate.


  • 1 15-oz. can cannellini or navy beans
  • 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups packed fresh spinach
  • 1/2 tsp. salt


  1. Drain the beans over a bowl and let stand, reserving the liquid.
  2. Heat a small sauté pan over medium-low heat and add the olive oil, then add the halved garlic cloves and reduce the heat to low to maintain a gentle sizzle. Add the rosemary and black pepper; stir. Continue cooking, stirring periodically, until garlic is browned on both sides, about eight to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  3. Place the drained white beans in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to chop. Scrape down the sides, then add the cooled oil-and-garlic mixture, spinach, and salt. Process to make a coarse purée.
  4. Scrape into a bowl. If the mixture seems too thick, stir in some of the reserved bean liquid to reach desired texture.
  5. Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to four days. Serve with veggies and crackers for dipping.

Source: “Creamy Spinach and White-Bean Dip” (Experience Life, 2020)

Side Dishes

Gluten-Free Stuffing

Makes 8 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes 

Gluten-free stuffing


  • 1 lb. Italian sausage
  • 1 tart apple, chopped
  • 2 cups celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup almond or oat flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbs. fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tbs. thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbs. sage leaves, chopped
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a skillet, sauté sausage over medium heat for six to eight minutes. Add in the apple and veggies and continue to sauté until the sausage in cooked through.
  3. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the flour, eggs, and spices and mix well.
  4. Add the mixture to a greased 9×13-inch baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 25 minutes until baked all the way through.

Source: Life Time Training

Roasted-Garlic Mashed Faux-tatoes

Makes four servings
Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

Roasted-Garlic Mashed Faux-tatoes


  • 4 fennel bulbs, stalks and leaves removed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper, divided
  • 3 celeriac, peeled and cubed (about 4 cups)
  • 3 tbs. ghee
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Cut the fennel into quarters and place it in an oven-safe dish with the garlic. Drizzle olive oil over it and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. Cover and place in the oven and roast for 25 minutes.
  3. In a large stockpot of water, boil the celeriac until soft, about 12 minutes. Drain and add to a food processor.
  4. Add the roasted garlic and fennel mixture, ghee, almond milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining pepper to the food processor and process until smooth.
  5. Serve warm.

Source: “Roasted-Garlic Mashed Faux-tatoes” (Experience Life, 2016)

Main Course

Classic Roast Chicken

Makes six servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: One hour, plus 10 minutes to rest

A classic roast chicken.


  • 1 4½– to 5-lb. organic chicken
  • 2 tsp. sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
  • 2 fresh sage leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Pat chicken dry with paper towels, then rub the inside of the cavity with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Coat the outside of the bird with unsalted butter.
  3. Combine pepper and remaining salt; lift as much of the skin as possible and rub half the mixture underneath and the remaining half on the outside of the skin.
  4. Put two quarters of the lemon, as well as the garlic and herbs, into the cavity.
  5. Set chicken on a roasting rack in a baking dish, breast side up. (Trussing is optional.) Roast until meat thermometer reads 163 degrees F when inserted in the thigh and the juices run clear, about one hour. (The temperature will climb to 165 degrees F as it rests. This is called carryover cooking.)
  6. Let rest 10 minutes. Carve. Squeeze remaining lemons over chicken and serve. Refrigerate up to four days, or freeze for up to four months.

Source: “Classic Roast Chicken” (Experience Life, 2018)


Sweet Potato, Honey, and Ginger Mousse

Makes six servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes, plus chill time

Sweet Potato, Honey, and Ginger Mousse



  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, until soft.
  3. Remove the skin from the sweet potatoes and place in a blender with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.
  4. Chill before serving. If desired, top with whipped cream, pecans, and/or a dash of cinnamon.


Mulled Cider With Hibiscus

Makes eight servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes or more

A glass of mulled cider with hibiscus.


  • 2 qts. apple cider
  • 4 to 6 bags hibiscus tea
  • 2 tbs. mulling-spice blend (buy or make your own below)
  • 8 orange slices or 3/4 cup cranberries for garnish

Mulling-Spice Ingredients

  • 4 tbs. cardamom pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
  • 2 tbs. whole cloves
  • 4 tbs. whole allspice berries
  • 2 tbs. dried orange peel, diced
  • 2 tbs. candied gingerroot, diced for garnish


  1. In a slow cooker or a large saucepan on the stove, add apple cider, tea bags, and spices. Simmer on low heat for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Remove tea bags and use a mesh skimmer or straining ladle to remove mulling spices; float orange slices or cranberries on top.
  3. Suggested spirit: Pour a little brandy into individual servings, or substitute red wine for half of the apple cider to spike the whole batch.

Source: “Mulled Cider With Hibiscus” (Experience Life, 2018)

For even more, healthy, Thanksgiving recipe ideas, visit “Your Thanksgiving Menu Planner“.

Molly Schelper
Molly Schelper

Molly Schelper is the director of content strategy at Life Time.

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