11/19/2020 | By Seniors Guide Staff

In an effort to wed tradition and novelty, we’ve searched for some twists on traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Some are a little healthier, considerate of guests with special dietary needs, or just use common holiday ingredients in a slightly different way. And at the end, we provide the recipe that we think might top them all.

Who knows, you might even start a new tradition!

Mama Stamberg’s Cranberry Relish

In 1971, National Public Radio correspondent Susan Stamberg presented her mother-in-law’s Pepto-Bismol pink cranberry relish recipe. The relish recipe presentation became an annual affair on NPR. The original came from food journalist Craig Claiborne, written up in a 1959 issue of the New York Times. It combines cranberries, onions, sugar, sour cream, and horseradish. This year, Stamberg connected with Dave Daltry of Kelchner Horseradish Products in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Allentown is where she first tasted this legendary relish, when her fiancé, Louis Stamberg, took her to meet his parents. Founded in 1938, Kelchner makes the horseradish that Susan Stamberg has used in her annual cranberry relish.

Broccoli and “Rice” Casserole

Use cauliflower rice for a grain-free casserole that is both low carb and keto-friendly. Better yet, it’s easy to make and even easier to enjoy!

Green Bean Casserole

Face it: canned green beans, condensed cream of mushroom soup, and canned fried onions do not a healthy side dish make. This popular Thanksgiving dish alternative, however, checks all the necessary boxes: healthy, simple, and delicious. Oh, and brilliant!

Spiced Sweet Potato Gratin

A Thanksgiving dish that's spicy sweet potatoes au gratin

I’ve had sweet potatoes baked, mashed, and chunked, from cans and fresh. Until I found this recipe, though, I’d never had them sliced, as in potatoes au gratin. These potatoes aren’t loaded with added sugar. Instead, they rely on the inherent sweetness of the sweet potatoes (they’re called that for a reason!), balanced with butter, cream … and with paprika and cayenne pepper! Yum!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Pecans

Brussels sprouts make frequent appearances at the Thanksgiving dishes spreads. So do cranberries. And pecans. Seat them together for an amazing trio of holiday tastes!

Vegan Garlic Mac & Cheese

Make your vegan guests happy – and everyone else, too. Flavorful yet healthy and non-animal-derived ingredients prove that vegans don’t have to suffer to stick by their principles!

Pumpkin + Bread Pudding

A Thanksgiving dish that's pumpkin bread pudding

And now, since no Thanksgiving meal is complete without dessert, we present a winning combination of pumpkin and bread pudding. Although not sugar-free, the sweetener comes from natural maple syrup rather than refined sugar. Rather than dairy milk, this bread pudding uses the “milk” of coconut and almond.

Jeanine Donofrio 

Serves: 6

  • ¾ cup organic canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • ½ cup almond milk (or milk substitute of your choice)
  • ½ cup real maple syrup
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 loaf challah bread (or similar), cubed (about 5 cups)
  • Chopped pecans (optional)
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, coconut milk, almond milk, maple syrup, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Place the cubed bread in a larger bowl and pour the mixture over the bread pieces. Stir gently, just until it all gets coated.
  2. Scoop the mix into a greased baking dish or individual ramekins.* If you are using fresh bread, you don’t need to let it sit, you can pop it right into the oven. If you’re using bread that’s a little bit stale, let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes or a few hours.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes or until the top becomes golden brown and the inside starts to set but is still gooey. (The individual ramekins need less baking time than a larger baking dish.)
  4. Serve with toppings of your choice!

Topping Options

  • Powdered sugar
  • Ice cream
  • Maple syrup
  • Maple syrup mixed with melted butter
  • A glaze of whisked powdered sugar & a little bit of coconut milk

These Thanksgiving recipes can also be found on! Or, hey, check out even more of our popular recipes here!

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff