By Laura Catherine Hermoza

Health-conscious individuals have plenty to be thankful for these days. With more emerging trends in healthy eating than ever before, those who follow a special diet due to allergies, ethical beliefs or other reasons find it easier than ever to enjoy the same mainstay meals and tasty alternatives. As Thanksgiving approaches you may be seeking out healthier recipes to try. Well, you’re in luck, because Executive Chef John Mooney of D.C.’s Bidwell Restaurant has a couple suggestions to share.

Chef John Mooney
Bidwell Restaurant
1309 5th St. N.E.
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 547-0172

Chef John Mooney has extensive experience in the food industry, having studied at Kendall Culinary School in Illinois and working professionally in kitchens across the globe. His venture as executive chef eventually led him to become the consulting chef for India’s Taj Hotel group and that nation’s first organic restaurant, PURE by Michel Nischan in 2004. Mooney returned to the United States in 2008, bringing with him innovative practices in aeroponic gardening and a new initiative for growing and utilizing sustainable, organic seasonal food. Chef Mooney has earned notable praise for his revolutionary attributes, and in 2011 he was even named “Rising Star Sustainability Chef” for In 2014 he opened Bidwell Restaurant in D.C., naming his new establishment after John Bidwell—the army general and farmer credited with developing the Bidwell heirloom melon, producing a gold medal winning flour and starting California’s first commercial raisin crop in the 1800s.

Gluten-Free Corn Bread Stuffing


  • 1 pan gluten-free cornbread, diced and left out overnight to dry out
  • 1 cup celery diced
  • 2 cup onions diced
  • 1 cup carrot diced
  • 6 cloves garlic sliced
  • 2 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 stick butter, plus more for brushing
  • 4 cups roasted chicken or turkey broth
  • 1/2 cup turkey drippings (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Sweat the onion, carrot, celery and garlic until onions become translucent, and then stir in the cornbread.
  2. Add in stock, heating it until it is absorbed.
  3. Finally, put in the herbs and butter, season with salt and then place in a greased baking tray to be baked for 35 minutes at 350 degrees or until the top is golden brown.

Related: 8 Gluten Free Recipes For Thanksgiving Dinner

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts


  • 20 Brussels sprouts
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 sliced shallots
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. Blanch all the Brussels Sprouts in salted boiling water, and then shock them in ice water and cut them in half.
  2. Caramelize them in a cast iron pan, flat side down, in in extra virgin olive oil.
  3. When the Brussels start to caramelize, add in the shallots and stir until heated through, finally seasoning with salt and pepper before serving.

Cranberry Sauce


  • 2 pounds of fresh cranberries
  • 1 gallon cranberry juice
  • 12 oranges, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup orange blossom honey/yacon root syrup
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 1/2 a bunch picked thyme


  1. Bring cranberry and orange juices to a simmer in a medium saucepan, and then blanch the cranberries until the skins crack before removing them onto a sheet tray in a single layer.
  2. Next, add honey, cinnamon and anise to the juice, reducing the heat to low until it becomes syrupy.
  3. Dust the cranberries with orange zest and then pour the syrupy sauce over the berries and chill overnight in the refrigerator.

Related: Ask A Washington DC Chef: Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Recipes