Thanksgiving is a time for family, gratitude, and, of course, a delicious feast. While the classic roast turkey has been a centerpiece of Thanksgiving dinners for generations, there are plenty of other mouthwatering options to explore.
Whether you’re looking to change things up or cater to different dietary preferences, here are 15 alternatives to turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner that will leave your guests asking for seconds.
The Classic Turkey Tradition
Before we dive into alternative options, let’s not forget the traditional star of the show – the turkey. Roast turkey is a symbol of Thanksgiving, and for many, it’s an essential part of the celebration. However, for various reasons, you might be seeking something different this year.
15 Alternatives to Turkey
1. Honey-Glazed Ham:
A succulent honey-glazed ham is a favorite alternative. It’s sweet savory, and pairs perfectly with classic Thanksgiving sides.
2. Roast Chicken:
A beautifully roasted chicken with crispy skin and juicy meat is always a crowd-pleaser.
3. Beef Wellington:
For an elegant twist, consider serving Beef Wellington. It’s a showstopper filled with tender beef, mushrooms, and pastry.
4. Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash:
For a vegetarian option, try stuffed acorn squash with a delectable blend of grains, vegetables, and herbs.
5. Salmon with Dill Sauce:
A salmon fillet with dill sauce offers a lighter, seafood-centric alternative.
Catering to vegetarians and vegans, Tofurky is a tofu-based roast that can be a great centerpiece.
7. Peking Duck:
For a bold, flavorful choice, opt for Peking duck, often served with hoisin sauce and thin pancakes.
Impress your guests with a luxurious lobster dinner served with butter and lemon.
9. Cornish Hens:
These small, succulent hens make individual servings easy and delicious.
10. Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms:
A gourmet vegetarian option, stuffed Portobello mushrooms are filled with delectable ingredients.
11. Pork Roast:
A flavorful and juicy pork roast can be a delightful substitute for turkey.
12. BBQ Ribs:
Go for a Southern-style barbecue experience with tender and smoky ribs.
13. Leg of Lamb:
Adding herbs and garlic to a leg of lamb can make it the star of a big meal.
This unique creation combines turkey, duck, and chicken, resulting in a flavor explosion.
15. Vegan Shepherd’s Pie:
A hearty and comforting vegan dish that’s perfect for a plant-based Thanksgiving.
Factors to Consider
When selecting your Thanksgiving alternative, consider your guests’ preferences, dietary restrictions, and the size of your gathering. Some options may require more preparation and time, so plan accordingly.
Each alternative has its unique cooking requirements, so be sure to follow a trusted recipe for the best results. Basting, marinating, and roasting techniques vary, so take your time to master the chosen dish.
Setting the Thanksgiving Table
Creating a warm and inviting table setting can enhance your Thanksgiving dinner experience. Choose autumnal colors, candles, and seasonal decorations to set the mood.
Creative Side Dishes
Complement your main dish with creative side dishes like cranberry-orange relish, sweet potato casserole, and green bean almondine. These add depth and variety to your Thanksgiving spread.
No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without dessert. Traditional options include pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and apple crisp. Opt for one or make a selection to please every palate.
Vegan and Vegetarian Options
Ensure there are satisfying alternatives for your vegetarian and vegan guests, and make them feel just as special.
Consider infusing your Thanksgiving dinner with international flavors. Try Italian, Mexican, or Asian-inspired dishes for a unique twist on tradition.
Thanksgiving doesn’t have to break the bank. Choose budget-friendly alternatives like chicken, pork, or meatless options to keep your dinner affordable.
With any of these alternatives, you’re likely to have delicious leftovers. Get creative with turkey or alternative-based sandwiches, soups, and more.
Thanksgiving is all about gratitude, togetherness, and, of course, scrumptious food. Whether you stick with tradition or opt for an alternative, the most important thing is the love and warmth you share with your loved ones. Choose the dish that suits your gathering and enjoy this special day to the fullest.