Thanksgiving is finally here, meaning that for those of us not trekking home for the holidays, Friendsgiving dinners are popping up on our calendars. Tweaking the tradition of sitting down to dinner with relatives, for Friendsgiving we gather with nearby friends to enjoy a more laid-back affair to celebrate the holiday spirit when we can't be with family.
The occasion still calls for delicious eats and apartment-friendly takes on some of our favorite Thanksgiving dishes. But since Grandma's famous casserole isn't guaranteed, food ideas in honor of Friendsgiving can require some digging around to find new recipes to impress your friends.
To expedite your culinary efforts, we've rounded up seven healthy Friendsgiving food ideas that even newbie chefs can pull off. Low-lift but brimming with wholesome holiday flavor, these recipes are sure to have everyone coming back for seconds (and thirds). Head below for seven healthy dishes that are sure to get eaten first at your Friendsgiving gathering.
Pomegranate Avocado Salad With Candied Walnuts
"No matter what your feelings are on salad, if you're serving any kind of Holiday meal, you need to have something fresh and green on the table," advises Tieghan of Half Baked Harvest. "Not only is this good for visual appeal, but greens complement most dishes and act as balancing food idea for heavier dishes."
She calls this combo of mixed salad greens, spicy maple candied walnuts, sweet persimmons, avocado, pomegranate, and blue cheese her "go-to holiday salad." With its bold flavors but light delivery, Tieghan notes that it's "the perfect addition to all holiday tables from now until New Years." And we happen to think it's just perfect for our Friendsgiving this year.
Stuffed Squash With Broccoli Rabe and Quinoa
"I know that stuffed squash recipes are about as plentiful as the day is long this time of year, but I'll urge you to give this one a second glance if you're planning vegetarian/vegan-friendly eats for guests or yourself sometime soon," assures Laura of The First Mess.
"Broccoli rabe is naturally bitter and quite 'green' tasting, so when you mix that with the sweet-tart punch of reduced balsamic vinegar and extra crunchy Marcona almonds, you've got yourself an excellent foil for creamy squash," she says, stating that best part is these tasty bites can pull double duty as a grain and a vegetable side for everyone at the Friendsgiving table.
Farro, Butternut Squash, Sausage, and Dried Cherry Stuffing
"This stuffing recipe bridges the gap between stuffing and dressing," explains Heidi of Foodie Crush. "Nutty farro, sweet butternut squash, dried cherries, and sausage combine with traditional bread cubes to create a stuffing worthy of the dignity of a dressing." She describes how the farro, a healthy whole grain, adds a nutty bite to the stuffing's traditional flavors and that you can decide on your desired moisture level by adjusting the amount of chicken stock. Sausage, butternut squash, sage, and sweet dried cherries guarantee this filling Friendsgiving food idea is brimming with holiday flavor.
Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Bacon, Dates, and Halloumi
Half Baked Harvest's Tieghan describe this side as a combo of savory, salty, and sweet and "one of those recipes that you'll find yourself making over and over." For added convenience, she notes that if you do plan on making these Brussels sprouts for Friendsgiving, "the entire recipe is cooked on the stove top, saving you room in your oven."
Vegan Mushroom Gravy Pie
"I live for thoughtful, 100% plant-based versions of classic side dishes at holiday meals," admits recipe creator Laura of The First Mess. "So basically we make a big pot of mushroom gravy with hearty herbs, garlic, onions, some flavor bombs, and cooked French lentils for protein." After it's thickened up, poured into a baking dish, and topped off with garlicky kale mashed potatoes, you have the makings of a comforting, heartwarming bowl of deliciousness—"basically the perfect holiday food idea."
Herb Butter Rotisserie Turkey
No Friendsgiving feast is complete without the turkey. But consider livening up the recipe with a playful twist. This grill-roasted iteration from Heidi of Foodie Crush does exactly that without compromising on flavor. "An herb-infused butter rub goes all over the skin of this turkey, which is roasted over the grill, so it frees up your oven for all the Thankgiving fixin's," she explains. "Preparing a turkey this way is totally hands off," she notes, yet the results are juicy and packed with flavor.
Raw, Vegan, Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake
Finding a dessert idea worthy of a Friendsgiving feast that's also healthy is no easy feat. Yet Camille Styles has a recipe that's been put to the test. Even better, no oven is required to whip up this satisfying treat. Described as "raw, vegan, gluten-free, and downright delicious," this "guilt-free masterpiece" is ready to satiate the most discerning sweet tooth (while not derailing anyone's healthy eating plans).
Once all is said and done, check out the lazy girl's guide to a post-Thanksgiving detox.
This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.