November 25, 2019 TVG Staff

TVG Favorite Staff Recipes – Guilt-Free

In honor of Thanksgiving this week, the TVG staff decided to share their favorite recipes over the next few days. Enjoy these guilt-free recipes as you get ready for the holidays!


Donna Vandiver

The kale salad is a family favorite, plus it’s easy to make and even better the second day!

Kale Salad with Cranberries, Feta & Pecans

  • 8  cups of thinly sliced kale (mixture of red kale and regular kale), stems removed
  • 1.5 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1.5 tsp. minced shallots
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup crumbled low fat feta
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice

Directions: Thoroughly wash kale, then thoroughly dry before slicing. Once sliced, place in bowl and set aside. In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, shallots and pinch of salt. Let stand for about 10 minutes. Slowly whisk in olive oil, then whisk in honey, adding pepper and more salt to taste. Pour dressing over kale and toss. Sprinkle with lime juice and toss again. Add cranberries and pecans, toss and refrigerate overnight. Before serving add feta cheese.


Patty Olsen

We have this every Thanksgiving – It’s an apple, sweet potato dish.  We add fresh cranberries, too. It’s one of the few items you can eat on Thanksgiving and not feel guilty later about the calories!

Healthy Apple Sweet Potato Bake

  • 3 cups sliced peeled cooked sweet potatoes
  • 3 cups sliced peeled tart apples (about 2 large)
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions: In a greased 1-1.5 quart baking dish, layer half of the sweet potatoes and apples. Combine brown sugar, nutmeg, allspice, salt and pepper in a bowl. Sprinkle half over apples. Dot with half of the butter. Repeat layers. Cover and back at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Baste with pan juices. Bake, uncovered, 15 minutes longer or until apples are tender.


Laura Vandiver

As a vegetarian for 22 years and a vegan for about the past year, Thanksgiving can end up being the “holiday of side dishes” if you don’t plan accordingly for the family gathering! This is why I don’t really have a “traditional” Thanksgiving food. I love trying new things every year, and this recipe is on my list for 2019. It’s vegan and loaded with yummy, filling veggies, fit for tiding over the merriest of holiday appetites!

Spicy Kale & Chipotle Chickpea and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad



  • 1 very large bunch of kale, ribs removed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch of chipotle smoked sea salt or regular sea salt
  • 1 can chickpeas, 400 grams, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium butternut squash, about 2 pounds, sliced into ¾-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup pepitas, pumpkin seeds without the shell


  • 1 tablespoon chipotle paste
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic or 1 teaspoon crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Raw Spice Bar Chipotle Smoked Sea Salt or regular sea salt
  • 1 pinch red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice, about half a lime


Stay tuned for our favorite drinks, appetizers, and dessert tomorrow!