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Alternative Thanksgiving Recipes

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No other meal is quite as iconic as the Thanksgiving dinner.

Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing and green bean casserole are just a few of the staples of the standard November banquet. While there is something to be said for treasured family recipes, like Aunt Kathy’s sweet potato pie, year after year the same dishes can become routine and tired.  There is a fine line between comfort food and boring food.

If you are ready to bring a little sugar and spice to this year’s Thanksgiving dinner, here are some not so normal Thanksgiving foods to try this November.

Lamb Meatloaf Served in a Pumpkin

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It’s not un-American to admit it: not everyone likes turkey. The bird can often turn out dry with little flavor. Why not serve a different meat course – one that will make your dinner table look full of holiday cheer?

This recipe for lamb meatloaf baked in miniature pumpkins are adorable and festive.  They accomplish two goals – feed your guests and decorate- at the same time. Lamb will be an unexpected but delicious turkey replaced.


Lobster Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food, although most people consider it a side dish to be served at the kids’ table. No grown-ups allowed.

However, this lobster mac-n-cheese recipe will wow diners of all ages. Packed with protein thanks to a pound of lobster meat, this creamy dish is also flavored with white truffle oil. It doesn’t get much more decadent than lobster and truffles, so be sure to ditch the boxed stuff for this homemade delight. And we won’t tell if you don’t share it with the kids.

lobster mac

Turkey Egg rolls with Cranberry Dipping Sauce

Another way to re-imagine the bird is to use sliced turkey breast in these bit-sized turkey egg rolls with cranberry chutney. This recipe is also a great idea if you are doing a Friendsgiving or less-formal meal, since the egg rolls could be served as an appetizer or one of many small plates.

Pioneer Woman’s “Best Green Beans Ever”

Most diners are tired of the soupy green bean casserole, even if they are too polite to say it. Surprise your guests this year with “The Best Green Beans Ever.” The secret to this recipe is the bacon grease, so be sure to warn any vegetarian friends before they dive in.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Speaking of vegetarians, a good host is always accommodating of their guests’ food preferences and allergies. Be sure to ask ahead of time. This vegan pumpkin pie will be a welcome addition to the dessert table, and since you can use your substitute milk of choice – like soy or coconut – it is great for your friends with dairy allergies as well. Your non-vegan, dairy eating, non-vegetarian friends won’t even notice the difference.

Poached Pear and Red Wine Syrup

Can you really endure another year of the great fresh cranberries versus cranberry jelly out of a can debate?  Grandma and Grandpa have the same disagreement every year, and you want to sail off to the New World by the end of it.

Forgo the cranberries this year and try the poached pear and red wine syrup. Since it keeps well in the fridge, you can make it a day or two ahead of time, which is clutch during the busy holiday season.

Cornmeal Dinner Rolls

Thanksgiving is no time for a diet.  It’s one of the few meals of the year where dinner rolls or another bread is expected on the table. Most people grab a bag of ready-made white bread rolls at the store and call it a day.

Impress your guests with these cornmeal dinner rolls, which will also work well for leftover sliders. If there are any leftover.

Paleo Sausage Stuffing

This recipe for sausage stuffing with butternut squash is so delicious you won’t even miss the bread.  The bacon doesn’t hurt either.  It is paleo-friendly, so if any of your loved ones are on that healthy eating plan, they will be happy to see this on the table. Don’t be surprised if this ends up on your table throughout the autumn and winter months, it is a delicious comfort food.

Banana Foster Trifle

Pie is a pain. The dough itself has pushed many a good cook over the edge. Why not avoid the pie dish altogether this Thanksgiving by making a Banana Foster Trifle instead. It is basically layers of custard and cake spiked with rum, and you can take a shortcut by buying already-made cake at the store.


While it is law, thanks to FDR, that we celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November, there is no law saying you have to eat the same old tired dishes year after year. So try these unexpected crowd pleasers to ensure everyone gobbles up Thanksgiving dinner this year.

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Kacey Bradley

Kacey Bradley

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective. Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her.

Kacey has been able to further her knowledge and interest for nature, understand the power of exploring other locations, and embrace the styles and cultures that surround her through her passion for writing and expression.