Plan A Perfect Little Low-Carb Thanksgiving

Thankful for A Sweet Life Thanksgiving Dinner!

Thanksgiving in the age of the coronavirus: it’s gonna be a weird one. The authorities are telling us to avoid large gatherings, and families just aren’t getting together like they usually do. And for people with diabetes, the risks are even higher. We’re going to keep the holiday low-key and small, and we hope you do the same.

No, we’re not happy about missing family and friends this year, but it’s the spirit of the week to find things to be thankful for. So let’s acknowledge that a big traditional Thanksgiving can be a disaster for people with diabetes: the stuffing, the pie, the potatoes, the pie, the cranberry sauce … the pie. I know I never enjoy being the one low-carb dieter at a bountiful holiday table, picking at plain turkey and salad, while my loved ones gorge themselves on glorious carbohydrates. But neither do I want to ruin my holiday with a blood sugar rollercoaster. What to do?

A small Thanksgiving is a perfect opportunity to solve this conundrum. With fewer guests, now you can set a meal that works for you, or for your loved ones with diabetes. There are so many good low-carb and keto Thanksgiving options, and they’re so good that even our carb-loving family will happily dig in! We’ve collected our favorites here:


A Starchy Vegetable:

Mashed Cauliflower – Gimme Delicious

This ketogenic staple is Thanksgiving perfection.


Ranch Roasted Radishes – ASweetLife

Ranch Roasted Radishes

Carolyn Ketchum’s spin on roasted potatoes. They’re not literally roasted with ranch dressing—just a touch of dry dillweed in the spice mix. No reason these shouldn’t already be a Thanksgiving classic.


Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Browned Butter – ASweetLife

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Browned Butter 

A hot pan caramelizes the sprouts in a matter of minutes and a little browned butter drizzled over makes them a delectable side dish. The sprouts stay crunchy and taste great all mixed up with Thanksgiving flavors.


Keto Bacon-Wrapped Pumpkin – ASweetLife

Keto Bacon Wrapped Pumpkin Slices

Slow-roasting accentuates the natural brown-sugar sweetness of the pumpkin, and crispy bacon makes everything better.


The Stuffing:

Cornbread & Sausage Stuffing – That Low Carb Life

Homemade keto cornbread, made with coconut flour, mixed with all the good stuff.


Keto Stuffing – How To This and That

If you can buy low-carb bread at the store, try this otherwise traditional recipe, with plenty of sage, celery and leeks.


The Main Course:


Roasted Turkey Breast with Garlic and Herbs – Dinner at the Zoo

Simple and perfect. One turkey breast can feed more than a few people, and here’s on recipe where you don’t need to break with tradition to make it low-carb.


Crisp Roast Duck – Epicurious

Turkey is a big bird. Duck is a small bird. Smaller meal, smaller bird. Duck also happens to be richer and tastier than turkey. Consider a duck!


Savory Slow Cooker Brisket from Tori Avery 

Or skip the birds and opt for beef. Tori’s braised brisket is tender, attractive and nicely spiced, and best of all, you can cook it ahead of time and warm it up for a low-stress meal.


The Gravy:

Low-Carb Keto Gravy – Wholesome Yum

Keto gravy, just how do you do it? It’s easier than you might think. Xanthan gum and gelatin are the best zero net carb thickeners. Wholesome Yum gives a few options in this post.


The Sauce:

Sugar-Free Cranberry Sauce – Joy Filled Eats

Homemade cranberry sauce is as simple as can be, and satisfying as heck. Skip the sugary can, use your favorite sweetener and add aromatics.


The Pie:


Keto Pumpkin Cream Pie – All Day I Dream About Food

Another Carolyn Ketchum winner! A tender almond flour crust, an indulgent pumpkin filling, and a dollop of whipped cream on top—there are no compromises with this recipe.


Keto Pecan Pie – All Day I Dream About Food

And you thought it couldn’t be done. Traditional pecan pie, we love it, but it’s a sugary corn syrup disaster. Plenty of butter, eggs, and some sugar-free sweeteners get the job done.

Ross Wollen
Ross Wollen

Ross Wollen is a chef and writer based in Maine's Midcoast region. Before moving East, Ross was a veteran of the Bay Area restaurant and artisanal food scenes; he has also worked as a food safety consultant. As executive chef of Belcampo Meat Co., Ross helped launch the bone broth craze. Since his diagnosis with Type 1 diabetes in 2017, he has focused on exploring the potential of naturally low-carb cooking. Follow Ross on Twitter: @RossWollen

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