While mashed potatoes, turkey, and gravy are notorious Thanksgiving staples, sweet tooth lovers know that no holiday feast is complete without festive desserts and seasonal sweet treats. From pecan and apple pie to all things pumpkin, there’s something so special about getting in the kitchen and making some traditional holiday recipes! However, if you’re trying to have a healthier holiday, the mere thought of holiday feasting can bring on some added stress. But, fear not — you can enjoy your holiday pie and eat it too! By this, we mean there’s a way to enjoy yourself — without deprivation or guilt. And we’re showing you how with healthy Thanksgiving recipes that can be made at home with ease. By calling in healthy swaps, being mindful of ingredients, and opting for homemade instead of store-bought, you can enjoy Thanksgiving desserts that taste like the classics, but with a healthier twist!
So, get ready to roll up your sleeves and do some holiday baking — these recipes are totally drool-worthy. And, we’re willing to bet your entire guest list will agree.
What Makes These Desserts Healthier?
But first, let’s talk about what makes these healthier desserts stand apart from the rest. These desserts are all refined sugar-free and made with healthy fats — forget the processed and inflammatory oils commonly found in store-bought desserts!
These healthy Thanksgiving treats are also:
- Made with real, whole foods
- Easily made vegan, if not already
Coconut Whipped Cream: Make This Recipe First!
When it comes to Thanksgiving treats, dessert toppings are a must! But, rather than reach for dairy-filled whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, why not elevate the sweet taste and creamy texture with something healthier (but equally as delicious)? Enter: homemade coconut whipped cream.
Most of these Thanksgiving dessert recipes call for coconut whipped cream, and not only does this make for a delicious dairy-free alternative, but it’s also easy to make. So, our tip to you is to make a big batch on Thanksgiving that you can use with any of these tasty desserts.
In addition to topping the recipes below with this coconut whip, here are some other ideas:
- Make a coconut whipped cream parfait, layering fresh berries and coconut whip on top of each other. Feel free to add in additional layers of granola, shaved dark chocolate, or coconut flakes!
- Make a protein-packed chia pudding and top it with a dollop of coconut whip and fruit.
- Blend up an avocado chocolate pudding and serve it with a side of coco whip.
- Make your coffee or latte a little extra indulgent — swap your traditional creamer for a spoonful of coconut whipped cream!
- 2 cans of full-fat unsweetened coconut cream (chilled in the fridge overnight)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
Step #1: Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender or, using a hand-help mixer, whip for about 3-5 minutes.
Step #2: Use right away or store in an airtight container in the fridge and use the same day for best results.
4 Easy-Prep Healthy Thanksgiving Desserts
Naturally sweetened, made with 6 simple ingredients, and full of festive fall flavor! To make this tasty recipe even healthier, swap every other layer of coconut whip for protein-packed Greek yogurt or coconut yogurt. You’ll reduce the sugar and keep the same creamy texture!
- 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup gluten-free granola
- ½ cup coconut whipped cream (see recipe above)
- Pumpkin pie spice for serving
Step #1: Start by adding the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and cinnamon to a mixing bowl and mix well. Set aside.
Step #2: Using two glass jars, add granola to the base of the jars, followed by a layer of coconut whipped cream, and then the pumpkin puree. Top with another layer of granola and dollop of coconut whipped cream.
Step #3: Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice and enjoy!
#2 Gluten-Free Pecan Pie
If you love Pecan Pie, you’ll be excited to know you can make a healthy homemade version with ease! Not only is this healthy Thanksgiving pecan pie free from refined sugar, but it’s also gluten-free and easily made vegan. Simply swap the butter with a vegan alternative! To boost the protein and save on calories, serve with unsweetened vanilla Greek or nut-based yogurt. Finish with an extra sprinkle of cinnamon for a sugar-free sweet boost.
- 1½ cups almond flour
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- ¼ cup cold butter
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp filtered water
- ¾ cup maple syrup
- ¾ cup medjool dates, pitted and soaked
- 1½ cups pecans, chopped
- Pinch sea salt
Step #1: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Step #2: Line a pie pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Step #3: While the the oven is preheating, mix almond flour, coconut sugar, and salt until well combined
Step #4: Stir in butter and 1 tsp. of vanilla and mix until a dough starts to form. It may be crumbly to start (that’s ok!). Continue scraping down the sides to form, kneading with hands as necessary.
Step #5: If the dough is too crumbly, mix in ½ tbsp cold water at a time. Mix in completely before adding more water. The dough should be well formed but not sticky.
Step #6: If the dough is too wet or oily, add ½ tbsp of additional almond flour at a time.
Step #7: Once you’ve achieved your desired consistency, chill in the fridge until dough is hardened (about 20-40 minutes). Remove dough from the fridge and place in the center of your pie dish.
Step #8: Using your hands, evenly press the dough into the pie plate lining the bottom of the pan. Next, press the dough up the sides of the pan to cover the dish.
Step #9: Pre-bake the pie crust for 10 minutes until lightly golden.
Step #10: While the pie is pre-baking, make the filling by adding the maple syrup, dates, 1 tsp. vanilla, salt, and 1 cup of pecans to a food processor and blitz until well combined into a creamy mixture.
Step #11: Pour mixture into a bowl, and add remaining chopped pecan pieces. Mix until well combined.
Step #12: Pour filling into the slightly pre-baked pie crust. Bake on 350 for 40-50 minutes, or until pie crust and topping is golden brown.
Step #13: Remove from oven and cool.
Step #14: Wait 3-4 hours to serve (this is crucial, so flavors meld together). Serve warm or chilled!
#3 Cinnamon Apple Muffins
Healthy enough to be served for breakfast, dessert, or a snack, these warming Cinnamon Apple Muffins will have you savoring the cozy flavors of fall in every bite. They’re sweetened with real apples and raw honey, full of protein and healthy fats to keep you satiated and satisfied, and made with almond flour for a healthy holiday recipe that’s 100% gluten-free.
- 3 cups almond flour
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 apple, grated or shredded
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- 4 eggs
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1 pinch sea salt
- ½ cup pecans, chopped
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- Almond butter, to serve
Step #1: Start by preheating your oven to 320°F and line a muffin tin with muffin liners.
Step #2: Next, add the almond flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
Step #3: Crack the eggs into a separate mixing bowl and whisk. Add the melted coconut oil, honey, and vanilla.
Step #4: Add the wet mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in the grated apple, lemon juice, and pecans.
Step #5: Pour the batter into the lined muffin tins and top with extra pecans and a sprinkle of coconut sugar.
Step #6: Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool, and serve with a dollop of almond butter.
#4 Pumpkin Spice Almond Butter Cups
Looking for a healthier Thanksgiving dessert that doesn’t take a ton of time to prep? These Pumpkin Spice Almond Butter Cups take less than 30 minutes to prepare and are made with whole food ingredients, and are bursting with pumpkin spice flavor! Enjoy these as an easy post-Thanksgiving dinner treat. With only 7 wholesome ingredients needed and a few simple steps, get ready to enjoy this healthy recipe guilt-free.
- ½ cup coconut oil
- ¼ cup chocolate chips
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 tsp pumpkin spice
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup almond butter
Step #1: Start by lining a muffin tin with liners and set aside.
Step #2: Next, add the coconut oil, chocolate chips, and raw honey to a stockpot over low heat. Stir until the mixture starts to melt.
Step #3: Add the pumpkin spice, cocoa powder, and vanilla and whisk well.
Step #4: Add about 1 tablespoon of the melted chocolate mixture to each lined muffin tin. Top with a dollop of almond butter and set in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Step #5: Pour enough of the melted chocolate mixture to cover the dollop of almond butter and place back in the freezer to set for another 15-20 minutes.
Step #6: Sprinkle with sea salt and store the almond butter cups in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to enjoy!
Step #7: Enjoy with a dollop of coconut whipped cream if desired!
A Healthier Take on Thanksgiving Treats
If you’re craving all the yummy flavors that come with this time of year, give these healthy Thanksgiving desserts a try. Not only do they prove that turning a traditional Thanksgiving treat into a much healthier dessert is possible, but these recipes prove that healthy eating does not mean deprivation, even during the holiday season. Here’s to a healthy and happy Thanksgiving season!