As Thanksgiving looms on the very near horizon – gasp, only nine more days until that much awaited annual food coma! – I am thinking about my family’s Thanksgiving menu. 

Let me preface with this: we take Thanksgiving VERY seriously in my family; it is the one holiday where the entire family comes together to cook, eat, drink and generally be merry (and very, very full of food). We have a rag-tag group of family friends who have been joining in the festivities for longer than I’ve been around and then the usual group of stragglers: college roommates, European Thanksgiving newbies, and anyone else we can coerce into joining our motley crew. To say our table is full is an understatement.

The beautiful local, pastured, twenty six pound beauty of a turkey has been ordered and the to-brine-or-not-to-brine debate has been resolved (finally, I will get to brine the turkey). Everything else is pretty traditional: stuffing, potatoes, Brussels sprouts and then of course my favorite part, dessert! 

As a whole grain guru, I started thinking to myself, why don’t we jazz up this year’s menu with some whole grains? I have to admit, this Queen of Quinoa considered experimenting with a quinoa stuffing but I was particularly taken with this Whole Grain Rice Stuffing with Apples, Pecans and Cranberries that will certainly make a cameo on our table. You certainly can’t beat the autumnal apple and cranberry flavors and rice is the perfect grain to soak up some of that delectable turkey flavor when stuffed inside the bird. Although we often buy bread from our local bakery to accompany dinner, this year I have decided to take on the task of making these Whole Wheat Brown and Serve Rolls. Not only are they an elegant addition to the table, they are quick and simple to make which is key in the chaos of a Thanksgiving prep kitchen!

As an avid baker, dessert is generally my favorite part of any meal to prepare, particularly since I have the most practice in this department. I also have a deep, dark secret to admit: I’m not very fond of pie. Yes, I said it. Luckily, with a group of twenty plus for dinner, we can have pie and other yummies. If you’re an avid pie fan, it’s simple to make a pie whole grain by experimenting with different flours; have you ever had a sorghum pie crust? Whole grain flour goes beautifully with rich pumpkin or tart, fresh apples and gives any pie a hearty flavor. Remember these whole wheat birthday brownies? They might just become this year’s Turkey Day treats for us pie cynics! 

As you begin to plan your Thanksgiving menu, we urge you to consider incorporating some delicious whole grains; we have included some additional recipes to inspire you, below. From everyone here at the Whole Grains Council and Oldways, we wish you and your family a happy, healthy and safe holiday! (Mallory)

Whole Grains with Cranberries, Squash and Pecans
Sausage Corn Bread Dressing
Millet-Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes”
Warm Kamut Salad with Caramelized Squash and Cranberry Fig
Honey Wheat Rolls
Brown Rice Yeast Rolls
Holiday Pumpkin Bread
Thanksgiving Muffins
Gluten Free Apple Crisp



Daria Mickles
Great article! Very informative and helpful. Thanks

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