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3 Thanksgiving Recipes You Can Pack with Protein

If you're conscious of how you eat, Thanksgiving can be an intimidating holiday. With plenty of marshmallow-covered sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, big slices of pumpkin pie and a literal boat of gravy, it can be difficult to find dishes that are light on calories. But that doesn't mean that there aren't foods you can serve on Thanksgiving that pack a protein punch without sacrificing flavor. Try these 3 smart dishes this year. 

Couscous-Stuffed Peppers 
Stuffed peppers aren't commonly associated with Thanksgiving, but they can make a colorful and delicious addition to any table. You can make these stuffed peppers as a tasty vegetarian option for those who don't want to eat the turkey. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1 cup of cooked couscous has nearly 6 grams of protein, which can give a major boost to a meatless diet. 

Get creative with this recipe and insert your own favorite ingredients. Start off by preparing your couscous and cutting your bell peppers to serve as bowls ready for filling. Next add in the couscous, spices and your favorite ingredients. Consider some tasty vegetables like spinach, chickpeas, carrots, jalapeños, onions or tomato. 

Quinoa Stuffing 
Rather than using bread and spices for a stuffing this Thanksgiving, opt for a protein-filled option by using quinoa. This superfood carries more than 8 grams of protein for every 1 cooked cup, according to the USDA.

This simple dish is easy to make while you're juggling plenty of other Thanksgiving foods. Just boil the quinoa until ready then sauté it with your favorite vegetables. In addition to squash, onion and other Thanksgiving favorites, many people use fruits, such as cranberries, apricots or green apples, in this stuffing alternative

Grilled Vegetable Salad with Feta and Olives 
The protein king of the Thanksgiving dinner is always turkey, with 100 grams of the bird carrying more than 28 grams of protein when roasted, according to the USDA. However, that doesn't mean you can't throw in a grilled veggie salad topped with feta and olives to add to the protein count. 

This dressing recipe requires you to mix 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of chicken broth, 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 plum tomatoes and 1 teaspoon of oregano in your kitchen blender. Add salt to taste and blend until your mixture is smooth. Next grill 1 eggplant, 1 trimmed fennel bulb, 2 zucchini, 1 onion and 1 sliced lemon together in olive oil. Toss this with the dressing and 2 cups of greens, 1/2 cup of olives and 3 ounces of feta. Three ounces of feta have 12 grams of protein, the USDA explained, not to mention the other nutrients this salad carries.