Have I lost you already? No? Ok, good. Hear me out on this.
I promise we’re not here to take the fun out of Thanksgiving. Quite the opposite, in fact. For some out there, indulging in a little holiday cheer doesn’t necessarily mean nullifying all the energy, self-control and money (CrossFit, I’m looking at you) you parted with to keep in relative shape all year. A Ketogenic, or lower carbohydrate, high fat diet, is a great way to enjoy holiday food and fanfare without giving away the farm, and we’ve got the recipes to please even the fiercest carb-ivores among us.
The Ketogenic or “Keto” diet has been on a tear, as of late, and claims Kim Kardashian, Beyoncé and Melissa McCarthy as loyalists. One reason is that Keto, when done properly, can include ingredients and items often associated with indulgence and excess, like whipped cream and BACON! I’m winning you back, aren’t I?
The Keto Diet works off the premise that when carb intake is minimized (although not eliminated completely) the “semi-starved” body activates “ketogenesis” or the production of ketones into your bloodstream. These little fellas are made in the liver and serve as an alternate form of energy that would lay dormant otherwise. The good people at Keto also ask that you limit protein intake just a bit, leaving lots and lots of room for delicious fats!
I’ll concede that some of Thanksgiving’s undeniable charm hinges on those crave-worthy carbohydrates, but with a little thought and creativity, you can pull off a wildly indulgent Keto Thanksgiving, sans having to be hot air-ballooned out of the living room.
To simplify matters, turkey is a mostly Keto friendly-food as long as you don’t do anything crazy like bread and fry the thing, so use your favorite recipe or consult one of Chowhound’s, like this one or this one.
Let’s get to the recipes!
You’re on Keto so the answer is no…sort of. We’re starting here because this one hurts a little and we’d best rip it off like band-aid.
Fear not, cauliflower exists to save us from ourselves, and even better, Keto allows for lots of fatty dairy like whole milk Ricotta and butter to help soften the blow. If you’re already a Keto guy or gal, you’re probably familiar with the way cauliflower can magically mimic starch. In my experience, the most important thing is getting your cooked cauliflower as dry as possible before moving on to the next step. Squeezing and dabbing (not this kind) helps, but don’t under estimate the infinite power of time. Leave the cauliflower wrapped in towels for a few hours. While we’re at it, this a great candidate to make or prep the night before. Get the recipe.
Gravy, glorious gravy, is Keto friendly by nature and we can all thank a higher power of our choosing for that! A traditional gravy recipe does call for some flour but it’s minimal and you can cut the third of a cup called for here down to a quarter cup and not notice a difference. Get the recipe.
Rolls and Stuffing
As beloved as Mashed Potatoes are, that other starchy staple, Stuffing, holds just as dear a spot in our Turkey Day hearts. The good news is that there are loads of Keto-friendly premade breads and also from scratch recipes to use as a base. Get the recipe for Keto Fathead Rolls (to serve or for Keto-friendly stuffing).
Broccoli Cheese Casserole
A battle rages in the pantheon of Keto-friendly foods. Bacon or Cheese? Cheese or Bacon? The furious debates mirror some on capitol hill, but this divine recipe reaches across the aisle to incorporate both in a Keto-tastic Thanksgiving side dish celebration two of the diet plan’s biggest stars. Consider adding a fresh grind of nutmeg, a bestie of any béchamel. Get the recipe.
Bacon Jalapeño Poppers
Appetizers are a great way to incorporate more bacon into the menu, as in these keto-friendly Bacon Jalapeno Poppers. Another bonus of Keto is that low-carb foods don’t fill you up as quickly as carbs, so you’re more likely to enjoy ALL the courses without feeling that trademark Thanksgiving bloat. Get the recipe.
For dessert, the Keto’s out there will have to make a concession or two. Pie crusts and flour-based cakes and cookies should be avoided but replaced by higher fat lower carb alternatives like these Keto Hazelnut Truffles. I make these, or a version of them, to almost every holiday party I attend, and they always steal the show. Their bite-size makes it easy to taste without overdoing it which people appreciate. Get the recipe.