Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Ideas

November 19, 2018

We love the traditional Thanksgiving spread but sometimes it’s refreshing to branch out and try a new recipe.  Fall is teeming with beautiful seasonal produce and there’s no reason not to incorporate the harvest bounty into your Thanksgiving feast. Whether you are sticking to the traditional menu or swapping out green bean casserole for blistered green beans with garlic and miso, we’ve got you covered with fresh and flavorful dishes starring the season’s best offerings in produce.

Swap a few of the traditional standbys with a fresh update, like this butternut squash hummus. Set it out for guests with veggie sticks, pita triangles, and olives for a lighter appetizer than the traditional artichoke dip and cheese trays. Guests will love the creamy texture and the subtle nod to fall with the butternut’s sweet flavor and because this is a wholesome snack option, guests won’t be too stuffed before the main event begins.

Choose another cuisine to draw up your menu, such as this gorgeous Korean inspired Thanksgiving feast or this Spanish-style one. Both menus feature seasonal ingredients like greens, squash, sweet potatoes, and more and the flavors and spices of another culture can help you reimagine traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Who knows, you may even find a new family favorite or decide to try another cuisine and menu next year!

Go vegan or vegetarian and embrace the challenge of a veggie-centric Thanksgiving. Craft a menu around vegan comfort foods- many of which taste so decadent, no one will notice the pumpkin mac’n cheese is dairy free or that the luscious butternut pecan sweet potato casserole is healthier than last year’s. Instead, guests will be amazed by all the bright colors and flavors of the fall harvest and they might find they don’t even miss the turkey. Take this opportunity to rethink the main dish and serve this bright vegan roasted pumpkin soup in the shell of a large pumpkin to set this most gorgeous of the gourds at the center of your celebration. If you need more ideas, check out this guide to a vegan Thanksgiving, with over 80 recipes for starters, drinks, salads, sides, mains, and desserts.

If the very thought of planning and cooking for this year’s Thanksgiving makes you tired, consider a potluck instead! Ask friends and family to bring an appetizer, beverage, side, main, or dessert to share and supply your signature dish. This is a wonderful chance to celebrate together and to be grateful for everything you and your loved ones offer. Plus, less time sweating and stressing in the kitchen means more time enjoying your guests and their delicious contributions.

Give dessert a little revamping by serving pumpkin spice smoothies,  vegan chai lattes, and mulled apple cider alongside these healthy pumpkin spice donuts. They taste incredibly decadent while leaving guests grateful rather than groaning while still capturing the best flavors of the season. We hope these ideas get you thinking about ways to shake up your Thanksgiving and make the most of fall’s best produce!

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