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Whole Foods Chef Offers More Healthy Options for Thanksgiving

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In this second part of Healthy Living’s guide to eating healthy on Thanksgiving, Chef Dan Rothman serves up some tips and recipes to help you bring healthier options to the dinner table next week. NY1's Jill Urban filed the following report.

From gluten-free to low-carb, just because you can’t eat certain things at Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have delicious food to be thankful for. Chef Dan Rothman of Whole Foods Market has some great recipes to serve any special diet at the table.

First, let’s start with the turkey. Not everyone will eat it, so he suggests a showpiece that can be a main dish for some and a side for others.

“There’s a great way to make a showpiece that is completely vegetarian and vegan in this case, by roasting a whole head of cauliflower. The sugars caramelize and the flavors condense in the oven, it makes a delicious roast, but it’s actually a whole head of cauliflower,” said Rothman.

He roasts it with some grapes and chilies, and then adds a citrus glaze and some fresh pomegranate seeds to top it off.

For those who are gluten free, the turkey may be fine, but gravy thickened with flour could be an issue. So instead he has this fabulous tasty gravy without gluten or lumps.

“Here we have just a few simple ingredients. Underneath the turkey I put celery, carrots, whole garlic cloves and onion with a little bit of chicken stock in the cavity of the bird. It roasted and they are going to join the party in the blender right here. And then I am going to add some of that stock right in,” said Rothman.

Blend it up and that’s it.

If carbs are hard to handle for some, he suggests swapping those starchy mashed potatoes with a celery root mash that will wow your guests. Just cut it up and boil it like you would the potatoes and prepare it with your favorite recipe or mash it with garlic and oil.

And last, often times casseroles are topped with marshmallows or streusel topping that’s loaded with sugar and flour. If someone is watching their sugar or gluten, he says try a different topping instead.

“Here is a quick, easy and healthy alternative using quick oats, almonds and coconut oil to replace otherwise sugar-laden toppings. Just spread it over the top fairly evenly and then all we do is brown it in the oven for about 10, 15 minutes,” he said.

Here’s a complete rundown of the recipes:

Healthy Thanksgiving Sides from Whole Foods Market

Colonial Cranberry Conserve
2 cups apple cider
1 cup dried figs (stem trimmed off and quartered)
1 cup dried cranberries
2 cup cranberries (fresh or thawed)
1/3 cup pecans. Lightly toasted (sub lightly toasted sunflower seeds to make nut free)
2 ea. clementine (washed well and quartered, seeded if any, do NOT peel)
4 oz. apple brandy or port wine
.5 tsp salt
1 pinch cayenne

Soak cut dried figs and dried cranberries in the cider for 2 hours up to 12 hours. You can warm cider to a low simmer and accelerate the process if you don’t have time for a long soak.

Combine all ingredients in food processor fitted with metal chopping blade.

Pulse a few times and then let run until all ingredients are pureed, leaving a little coarse provides a nice texture.

This is a great dish to do up to a week in advance as it holds very well and gets better as it sits.

Sweet Potato Casserole with Crisp Topping
4 ea. large sweet potatoes
1 oz. molasses
1 tsp. dried ground ginger
.5 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp. salt

2 cups quick oats
1 cup sliced almonds
6 oz. coconut oil

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Wash and bake sweet potatoes in their skins for 50 to 55 minutes, until soft to the touch, allow to cool slightly.

Peel over mixing bowl to capture any caramelized juices that me escape from under skin.

Mash together potatoes with molasses, spices and salt.

Spread into casserole dish (Note: you can lightly oil dish for easier clean up if you prefer).

For the topping, simply warm coconut oil to soften and combine with oats and almonds.

Spread topping over mashed sweet potatoes and bake at 375° for 20 to 25 minutes.

Roasted Garlic Oil Mashed Potatoes
1 cup peeled garlic cloves
1 cup olive oil
2 lbs. Yukon gold or russet potatoes
1 Tbsp. salt (divided)
fresh ground black pepper

This technique also applies well with mash celery root or turnips.

Ground turmeric fresh chopped thyme, rosemary or sage optional.

Wash potatoes, cut in half and cover with water and half the salt, bring to boil, lower to simmer and cook until potatoes are tender but not mushy. (NOTE: inserting a knife through a potato with little to no resistance is a good way to test for doneness)

While potatoes are simmering in a small pot, bring oil and garlic up to a very light simmer, stir occasionally and allow garlic to roast in oil about 20 minutes or until soft. (Note: it is best to keep flame low to keep garlic soft and prevent cloves from getting bitter), allow to cool slightly and mashing with a fork or in food processor.

Drain potatoes very well but do not allow to cool, using ricer or food mill mash process potatoes into a pre warmed bowl. Fold in roast garlic puree, remaining salt, pepper and if desired a spoon full of fresh chopped herbs.

Bonus Health Tip: Boast your body’s intake of anti-oxidants and anti- inflammatory while helping bring a beautiful bright color to your mash by adding a bit of ground turmeric into the water you cook your root vegetables in. a teaspoon is enough to make white vegetables vibrant yellow.

Nut Cream
1 cup cashew, almond, pine nut or macadamia nut, raw and peeled
3 cups water or light vegetable stock
1 cup white onion, peeled and rough chopped

Simmer together the above ingredients, on low flame and covered about 30 minutes until onions are soft and translucent.

Puree in blender until smooth and cream like.

The above is a great base for a nutritional flavorful substitute for heavy cream.

You can play around with the flavors by adding some whole garlic in place of some or all of the onion, adding herbs such as sage, bay leaf, thyme that can be removed prior to pureeing or left in for visual contrast. This sauce also works will with a tsp of white miso or nutritional yeast to give you a nutritious sodium boost.

Celery Root Mash with Roasted Garlic
3 lbs. celery root
1 Tbsp. salt (divided)
6 quarts water
1 cup peeled garlic cloves
1 cup olive oil
Black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, picked and lightly chopped

Wash celery root well, cut of tops and bottoms below the folds in skin that may trap in dirt, then peel sides with a knife, wash celery root again to prevent any dirt that may have been stuck in the folds and creases of the outer skin.

Dice celery root and place in pot, cover with water, add salt and bring to a slow boil for approximately 30 minutes, or until tender

While celery root is cooking (or well in advance (up to one week) cover peeled garlic with oil and bring do every low simmer, stir occasionally and allow to roast uncovered in oil for about 20-25 minutes until light brown. Note: Keeping oil temperature lower prevents outer flesh of garlic from cooking too fast and becoming tough and bitter.

Strain celery root; add a few grinds of black pepper, remaining salt and fresh thyme.

Mash to desired consistency.

Above is a recipe for a great, very low carb mash, it could be mashed with a hand masher for a more rustic hearty texture, or pureed in a food processor to a delicate puree

Roasted Vegetable Gravy
2 cup diced onion
1 cup peeled diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
1/4 cup peeled garlic cloves
24 oz. warm turkey or chicken stock

Here is simple quick gravy that can be made in minutes, lump free and gluten free.

The vegetables are roasted under your turkey, absorbing much of the wonderful flavors of the roasting bird.

Herbs, salt, pepper can be added but amounts needed if any will depend on how seasoned your bird is, as well as if the stock’s sodium level.

Place vegetables on bottom of roasting pan, pushing it up to bird so vegetables are partially covered and will cook slower.

Once bird comes out of oven allow to rest on platter or carving board, spoon out all the roasted vegetables and add dome of the warm stock to the roasting pan to free up any of the caramelized goodness from the bottom, scrape this out of pan into blender and puree until smooth, adjust to desired texture with remaining warm stock.

At this point adjust salt and pepper, add additional herbs if desired.

NOTE: A teaspoon or so of white miso could also be added to give more depth of flavor in place of any additional salt.

Roasted Cauliflower with Pomegranate Grapes, Chiles and Citrus
1ea. cauliflower head
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. coarse sea or kosher salt
Black pepper, fresh ground to taste
4-5 clusters red seedless grapes
3 ea. clementine or tangerine cut in half with any visible seeds removed
3-5 small whole chilies (Thai, cayenne, serrano…)
2 oz. orange juice concentrate (divided)
½ cup pomegranate arils

Preheat oven to 400°F or 375°F

With the tip of a small knife, cut out about 1-inch deep cone shape from core of cauliflower.

Brush top side of cauliflower with oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Place the cauliflower core side down on roasting pan, casserole dish or pie pan.

Place chilies in pan, cover with grapes and cut citrus sections.

Roast in oven for 35 minutes, until outer florets of cauliflower are deep brown.

Brush orange juice concentrate over top of cauliflower and return to oven for 5 minutes to lightly caramelize on surface.

Remove from oven arrange fruits nicely cascading of sides of cauliflower with peppers on top.

Sprinkle with pomegranate, brush with remaining orange juice concentrate.

This dish can be adapted in many ways it is simple to put your own spin on it, here are some suggestions:

-Oil, salt and pepper with no fruits
-Substitute pear or apple wedges
-Coat with fresh chopped herbs, like thyme sage and rosemary
-Surround with pearl onions
-Glaze with pomegranate molasses, apple cider, maple and lime
-Sprinkle with poultry seasoning to give the sensory experience of roasted turkey for those who are transitioning to a plant-strong lifestyle. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP