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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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November 15 2018

A Thanksgiving Menu For Everyone At the Table

By Mark Sisson
8 Comments

Well, folks, I’d say this does it. When I asked the bees to come up with some Primal Thanksgiving fare, I caught the looks exchanged that suggested they saw it as a personal challenge. Now I only regret that I wasn’t there to personally sample and enjoy the results. (They didn’t save me any either.)

This week our very own Dr. Lindsay Taylor offered salient points on making a conscious T-Day plan whether you’re Primal or Primal-keto. Today the question may be answered you for you (and I’ll wager you’ll like the solution) with this full-on Primal (and mostly keto) menu. The bees have outdone themselves this time with a truly Grok-worthy Thanksgiving extravaganza. Check it out, and let us know which recipes are inspiring your holiday planning.

Primal Thanksgiving Menu:

Cheesy Keto Biscuits

Most of us grew up with bread as a staple. And breads—or, more likely, rolls and biscuits—at the holidays took on a special significance. Maybe a certain person in the family always made the best kind. Perhaps it was a long-time family recipe. Whatever the case, passing the breadbasket at the holiday table holds meaning for us still, even when we’ve forgone grains for the sake of better health.

All this said, there are ways to enjoy these “traditional” foods when it means the most to us. These cheesy keto biscuits are one such recipe. Hint: make a double batch—because you’ll be competing with the non-keto eaters for these goodies.

Nutritional Info (per serving):

  • Calories: 444
  • Carbs: 5.4
  • Fat: 36
  • Protein: 17

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

Brussels sprouts often get a bad rap that has everything to do with poor cooking than inherent taste. The truth is, you don’t need to cook Brussels sprouts at all (but done well, they are amazing roasted, too), and this salad proves it.

Bacon is, not a surprise to anyone here, one of the best complements for Brussels sprouts—cooked or raw. Here the warm bacon added to the shredded leaves with tasty goodies like pecans and gorgonzola make this salad a hearty side. With the addition of a bacon vinaigrette dressing, you’re officially in Primal heaven.

Nutritional Info (per serving):

  • Calories: 309
  • Carbs: 6
  • Fat: 27
  • Protein: 10

 

“Primal” Style Roasted Turkey

As everyone knows, the turkey is the main event of the day—both in terms of preparation and enjoyment. Cooks spend hours prepping and basting with the hopes of a bird that puts the entire dinner crowd in awe. Guests wait in anticipation of the grand unveiling, not to mention the eating….

The end goal of every cook is succulent meat and a perfectly browned skin, but it can be a feat to balance. A “dry brining” process the day before and a creamy herb mix applied to the bird right before cooking offer a simple way to achieve the ultimate roasted look and juicy meat everyone will appreciate.

Scalloped Potatoes

For many people, potatoes are synonymous with Thanksgiving dinner. And while the carb count of potatoes suggests moderation is best, at the holidays many Primal types choose to fit tradition into their eating plan.

Mashed potatoes might be the go-to, but another flavorful option is scalloped potatoes. It’s the perfect complement for beef and ham, of course, but with the taste of traditional herbs like sage and thyme, you might have a new favorite dish for your holiday turkey meals as well.

This recipe uses coconut cream and ghee, but you can substitute regular whipping cream and butter if you tolerate dairy.

 

Nutritional Info (per serving):

  • Calories: 282
  • Carbs:42 grams
  • Fat: 11 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams

Keto Turkey Gravy

Among the best parts of slow roasting meat are the delicious drippings. Rich, savory and flavorful liquid gold… To discard it, we’d suggest, borders on criminal.

While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying drippings on their own, most of us grew up enjoying the creamy texture of gravy on meats and vegetables. For some, it’s an indispensable element in a real holiday meal. And there’s no reason to deprive yourself if gravy is your thing. Even if you’re living keto, this recipe keeps your commitment. Most of all, it feels and tastes like indulgence itself.

Nutritional Info (per serving):

  • Calories: 693
  • Carbs: .8 grams
  • Fat: 75 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams

Stovetop Un-Stuffing with Oysters 

Stuffing seems like it would be one of the hardest holiday recipes to adapt, but it’s really quite easy to capture the spirit of stuffing using only vegetables and herbs and spices, as in this oyster “un-stuffing” recipe from the new The Keto Reset Diet Cookbook.

(If you want a more traditional stuffing, add Primal “cornbread” such as this one from Mark’s Daily Apple to the recipe below. Simply cut the cornbread into chunks and stir them in gently when you add the oysters. For a keto option, check out this cornbread recipe from our friend Elana Amsterdam.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil or fat of choice
  • 1 large daikon radish, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery with leaves, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, ghee or fat of choice
  • 1 pound mushrooms, stems removed and halved if small or quartered if large
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 (3-ounce) cans smoked oysters packed in olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chicken or turkey bone broth
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

Instructions:

In a large skillet, heat the avocado oil over medium heat. Turn the heat down a smidge and add the daikon radish. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the turnips, onion, and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are starting to become soft, but are not yet cooked through, about 5 minutes more.

Add the butter to the pan and let it melt. Bump the heat back to medium and add the mushrooms. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, thyme, sage, rosemary, marjoram, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the herb/spice mixture to the vegetables in the skillet. Stir well and cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes more.

Reserving the oil from the cans, drain the oysters and chop into smaller pieces if desired. Add the oysters and the oil to the pan. Add the broth, and stir well, scraping the pan to loosen any browned bits stuck on the bottom. Cook until the oysters are warmed through. Taste the radishes and turnips to make sure they are soft. If not, cook a few more minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a serving dish. Stir in the pecans and parsley (if using) immediately before serving. Serve warm

Nutritional Info (per serving):

  • Calories: 273
  • Carbs: 18 grams
  • Fat: 18 grams
  • Protein: 14 grams

Sweet Potato Pie

Second only to the bird itself is, for many people, pie. Not just any pie will do on this day. There’s a finely tuned range of tastes to be orchestrated, and the finale isn’t to be compromised. One classic variety, most will agree, is sweet potato pie.

While some recipes take this the way of confectionary, that doesn’t have to be the case. Pie, done well, doesn’t have to taste like candy. But there should be a light sweetness and, in this case, a rich, creamy texture. This recipe delivers on all fronts.

Nutritional Info (per serving):

  • Calories: 496 
  • Carbs: 50
  • Fat: 31
  • Protein: 8

Want more ideas for your celebration still? Check out our past recipes for simmered cranberry sauce, spicy sausage and squash dressing, maple roasted butternut squash, cranberry sweet potatoes, pie varieties, and more. Thanks for stopping in, everybody. The bees and I would love to hear your thoughts as well as your personal Thanksgiving favorites. Hope you’re having a great week.

TAGS:  cooking tips

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8 thoughts on “A Thanksgiving Menu For Everyone At the Table”

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  1. 444 cal for one biscuit? 693 calories for one serving of just the gravy? That’s half my day already!

    1. PK, I know it can be a bit of a shock. The average calorie intake is a whopping 3000 calories total. (Once you add drinks, appetizers and dessert, that climbs to 4500.) The substantive difference for Primal and especially Primal-keto, however, comes with the minimal carbs. I’d argue that this is the most important number to monitor in your holiday plan. Personally, I practice IF for the holiday, choosing to eat a single meal that day – and thoroughly enjoy it.

  2. I”m on day 4 of my 5-day (water only) fast reading this… I’m like the proverbial deer (or bear) in the headlights. I will be sharing this post with wife. Thank you to all!

  3. Mark, what are your suggestions for those who are not hosting Thanksgiving (and therefore aren’t the ones doing the cooking), but still want to stick to a keto and overall healthy dinner? Any thoughts on conventionally raised turkey, etc?

    1. jon, when I’m a guest I quietly pick my battles. A conventionally raised turkey is something I’d go for in a second. A sugary dessert is something I’d skip. Friends and family know how I eat and are happy to accept my invitation to bring something for the spread. Regardless, I feel comfortable picking and choosing as suits my intentions that day. Most of all, I opt not to get too wrapped up in the food picture and instead focus on being grateful for the hospitality and togetherness of the occasion.

      1. Oh, no doubt Mark! So grateful to have family and loved ones to share the day with, not to mention the easily overlooked blessing that we even have such an abundance of options to begin with when it comes to our diets… (a privilege that the majority of people in the world do not have). Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. Also, I don’t comment here often because, you know… life. But I appreciate all the great content you share, and whenever anyone asks me about my approach to health, nutrition, etc., I steer them to marksdailyapple. God bless, and happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Where’s Dear Mark??? it’s the only reason why I’ve been coming to this site for the last 6 years…