54 Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas (Because Not Everyone Loves Turkey)
If you’re a diehard turkey/stuffing/sweet potato casserole kind of person, we salute you. But if you’re not? Hey, that’s cool too. Nothing against the classic Turkey Day menu, but there are so many other vegetables, side dishes and desserts that deserve a little holiday love. Might we suggest that you ditch the status quo in favor of alternative Thanksgiving dinner recipes? From bacon-wrapped Brussels sprouts to butternut squash upside-down cake, here are 54 non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner ideas to spice up your spread.
1. Crispy Bacon-Wrapped Brussels Sprouts
They’re glazed with honey and topped with chives. You might want to make a double batch.
2. Baked Brie with Cranberries and Pomegranate
Face it: No one's turning down a plate of melted cheese.
3. Carrot Pigs in a Blanket
Super-traditional relatives might not approve of cocktail wieners wrapped in crescent dough at Thanksgiving…but these are made with carrots, so they’re kinda fancy. Watch how many get devoured.
5. Cranberry, Brussels Sprouts and Brie Skillet Nachos
Make a second batch on Black Friday topped with shredded leftover turkey.
7. Spicy Pineapple Prosciutto Tarts
What does pineapple have to do with Thanksgiving? We’re not sure. All we know is these tartlets are delicious and you should make them every holiday.
8. Cranberry-Brie Pie Crust Bites
Nothing against regular cheese and crackers, but we’re upping the ante this year. (Once again, store-bought pie crust saves the day.)
9. Pull-Apart Bread with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese
Betcha can’t eat just one piece.
10. Hearty Stuffed Butternut Squash
You don’t have to be vegetarian to appreciate the beauty of these gourds. To make them vegan, just skip the Gruyère cheese.
11. Spicy Orange-Honey Glazed Ham
It’s just as good for leftovers on sandwiches, plus it’s easier to make and ready in less time than a turkey.
12. Balsamic Cranberry Roast Chicken
It’s almost entirely hands-off, thanks to that trusty cast-iron skillet. Use frozen or fresh cranberries, just don’t skimp on the herbs.
13. Turkey Roulade with Cherry and Sausage Stuffing
Yep, it’s turkey. It’s just presented in a non-traditional format. The inside is stuffed with, well, stuffing, and the outside is slathered in a mix of harissa and Dijon mustard—yum.
14. Pistachio-Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Apple and Escarole Salad
The pretty pistachio crust is both festive and tasty, and best of all, the dish cooks from start to finish on a single baking sheet.
15. Pomegranate-Maple Glazed Lamb Chops
We promise, lamb chops are as simple to cook as chicken (and way simpler than turkey). Pomegranate molasses is a Middle Eastern ingredient that adds sweetness and tang.
16. Pomegranate-Sumac Chicken with Roasted Carrots
The chicken is brined in buttermilk for extra tenderness and a golden-brown crust. Sheet-pan dinner for Thanksgiving? You bet.
17. Spicy Whole Roasted Cauliflower
It’s dramatic, delicious and surprisingly effortless to make.
18. Butternut Squash Carbonara
We have a good feeling that no one will complain about pasta instead of turkey.
19. One Skillet Greek Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken And Farro
Greek seasoned chicken with fresh oregano, dill, garlic, lemon and paprika is pan-seared and cooked with farro, sun-dried tomatoes and olives.
20. Turkey and Cauliflower Caprese Skillet
This. Is. Genius. Plus it uses our favorite versatile veg: cauliflower.
21. Buttermilk-Battered Pan-Fried Fish Fillets
Frying fish at home is daunting, right? Don't worry. It’s actually really simple to pan-fry fish to crisp, flaky deliciousness.
22. Bacon-Wrapped Black Cod with Spinach and Capers
Wrap a piece of fish in bacon and suddenly it’s holiday-ready. (It’s also done in 40 minutes, no big deal.)
Side Dishes and Vegetables
23. Green Bean Casserole Galette
All the nostalgic flavors, none of the canned cream of mushroom soup.
24. Cacio e Pepe Cauliflower
It’s like mac and cheese in vegetable form. We’ll take seconds, please and thank you.
25. Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Sriracha and Lime
In our humble opinion, the Turkey Day feast could benefit from something zingy and spicy. Enter these taters.
26. Delicata Squash Rings with Garlic-Lemon Sauce
Onion who? Swap in this stripy gourd for a seasonal twist on a classic.
27. Baked Cauliflower with Pomegranate Seeds and Thyme
It tastes a lot like traditional stuffing, but without the bread. Try it, you’ll like it.
28. Brussels Sprouts Latkes
We know someone will ask where the Brussels sprouts are. Surprise them with these crispy-crunchy latkes.
29. Charred Sweet Potatoes with Pistachio-Chili Pesto
The typical marshmallow-studded casserole has nothing on these gorgeously complex charred sweet potatoes.
30. Radicchio, Lentil and Apple Salad with Vegan Cashew Dressing
Wait, this creamy dressing is dairy-free? You had us fooled. The bitter greens will be a welcome addition to your mega-rich menu.
34. Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Ranch
Want to know a little secret? We’ll take any excuse to serve ranch at a fancy holiday dinner. This version is made with tahini for a twist on the bottled stuff.
35. Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Barley Risotto
They look like a dish you’d spend all day working on. But would you believe they’re ready in a little over an hour?
36. Sweet and Spicy Cornbread
No feast is complete without a bread product. This one has a little heat from Fresno chiles. (If you can’t find Fresnos, feel free to swap with another hot pepper, like jalapeños.)
37. Baked Feta with Dill, Caper Berries and Citrus
Get ready for the oohs and ahhs when you set a tray of baked cheese on the table. Serve it with toasted pita or any crispy cracker of choice.
38. Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Leeks
It’s dreamy and creamy like macaroni and cheese, but without and cheese. You could even make it dairy-free by skipping the butter and Parmesan.
39. Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas
Perfect for when you're in need for a simple, quick side that adds a punch of greens.
40. Ina Garten’s Roasted Broccolini & Cheddar
Best of all, it takes less than 20 minutes to make and calls for just five ingredients. This is—dare we say?—genius.
41. Sweet Potato Sugar Cookies with Marshmallow Topping
These are so good, no one will wonder where that aforementioned casserole went. (It’s more of a dessert anyway.)
42. Texas Sheet Cake
There’s no rule that says you have to love pumpkin or pecans (or apples, for that matter). This chocolate cake, however, is impossible not to love.
43. Pumpkin Angel Food Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze
If you do crave a pumpkin dessert, why not make it in the form of this fluffy, cream-cheese glazed masterpiece?
44. Caramelized Butternut Squash Upside-Down Cake
Yep, those are vegetables on top of this cake. Yep, you’re going to make this one a new Thanksgiving tradition.
45. Sticky Toffee Honeycomb Cake
The more napkins required, the more satisfying the dessert…right? Serve it slightly warm for maximum effect.
46. Miniature Banoffee Cobblers
They’re ridiculously simple (just 20 minutes of prep!) and taste like a toffee-banana dream.
47. Chocolate Semifreddo Seduction
It’s rich and silky like chocolate pudding, but as refreshing as a scoop of ice cream. Are you convinced yet?
48. Cinnamon Sheet Cake with Cider Frosting
A sheet-pan cake that’s ready in less than an hour will always beat out a complicated pie recipe. Plus, who can deny that apple cider frosting?
49. Sweet Potato Pots de Crème with Toasted Marshmallow
It looks and tastes like a fancy restaurant dessert (not to mention the inside of a pumpkin pie) but is secretly foolproof.
50. Caramel-Chocolate Macadamia Tart
This tart tastes like a candy bar and features a simple press-in crust. Pecan pie doesn’t know what’s coming.
51. Fig Tarte Tatin
Store-bought puff pastry does it again.
52. Broiler S’mores
The ’mallows will be toasty and the chocolate melted just enough--without all the fuss. (You’re welcome.)
53. Apple Tart with Soft-Pretzel Crust
This new take on a classic apple tart is bound to be a crowd-pleaser. It’s definitely a project, but the results are delish.