Thanksgiving is definitely the holiday most associated with food (Easter eggs? Get outta here! Christmas cookies? It’s not all about alliteration! Fourth of July frankfurters? Just call them hot dogs you weirdo!). There’s something for everyone around the table during Thanksgiving, and there are just as many Thanksgiving recipes to try out, from Grandma’s secret family pumpkin pie recipe to an internet article that explains why roasted beets are going to kill at your family gathering this year. There are as many Thanksgiving recipes as there are Thanksgiving celebrations, but if you’re looking for something a little different from the traditional fair, we’ve got you covered. Here are 12 outside-the-box Thanksgiving recipes to get you in the festive spirit!
Apple Cider Bourbon Cocktail
Let’s go straight for the booze, because let’s be honest, most Thanksgiving family gatherings are going to require some level of inebriation to get through. If you want something to give you that warm “by the fireside” feeling of fall, the Apple Cider Bourbon Cocktail is going to be perfect for you. Share this with your fellow feasters and maybe you’ll be able to get past dinner without a political discussion this year (fingers crossed).
Vegan Gluten-Free Stuffing Muffins
It’s no secret that Thanksgiving isn’t exactly inclusive to everyone’s diet. If you happen to be gluten free or vegan, your options are usually severely limited at the table, but not all Thanksgiving recipes require meat, cheese, gluten, eggs, or even turkey. These quirky stuffing muffins, with huge dollops of mashed potatoes and cascading swirls of gravy, are great options for everyone, and they’re delicious enough that even vegan haters will be diving into them.
For how appropriate they are for the occasion, it’s kind of strange how rare it is to see croquettes make an appearance at the Thanksgiving table. Deep fried cylinders of deliciousness can be filled with anything, but ones made out of potatoes (or, even better, sweet potatoes) are a new way to present the same-old potato dishes this year. This particular recipe is also vegan (don’t worry, this isn’t a full-on “Vegan Thanksgiving” list), it’s unexpected, and it’s a great fit among the turkey and gravy.
Pumpkin pie gets all the glory during Thanksgiving. If you want to try something different, you could always go with pecan or apple pie, but those are trotted out pretty much every year too. If you really want to stand out in the unofficial family pie baking contest, go with a cranberry pie. Lighter than the more traditional fair, easy to make, and a sweet counter to the spicier pies, this cranberry pie is one you’ll want to stick your face in.
Corn Salad with Bacon and Honey
Sweet and savory, light and hearty, meaty and healthy, this dish is full of tasty contraditictions. At first glance, it appears that there’s a lot going on. “Corn salad? I’ve never even heard of that. And it’s got bacon AND honey in it?” But before you pass on it, give it a quick bite and you’ll be sure to surprise even yourself. This Thanksgiving, challenge yourself to go with some quirky bites to compliment the more conservative meals at the table.
Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage and Corn Nuts
Stuffing is the cornerstone of a good Thanksgiving meal, but try ditching the normal white bread for something a little more adventurous this holiday. The corn nuts act as spices and don’t overpower the already corn heavy dish. You’ll get that perfect fall harvest taste without overwhelming you or your guests with maize. This stuffing also sopps up the juices of your other foods on your plate, giving it a savory and delicious ability to take on any meal.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Not everything needs to fight for a spot on your plate. Getting its own real estate by necessitating a bowl, this Butternut Squash Soup requires its own focus. That’s no to say it wouldn’t be delicious with little bits of turkey and stuffing floating around in it, just that it’s delicious enough to carry its own weight as a delectable Thanksgiving recipe. Soups might be starters, but you’ll have no trouble finishing this soup.
Pecan Monkey Bread Muffins
Since you saved all those pecans by not making a pie, you can now put them in a greater dish. Sticky, sweet, and oh so ooey-gooey, monkey bread is the kind of desert that delights both kids and adults alike. These muffins are like tiny, pull apart bursts flavor bombs, packed tight with cinnamon sugar and chopped up pecans. Be sure to make more than you think: they’ll be gone quickly.
Buttermilk Spoon Bread
What the hell is spoon bread? I had personally never heard of this dish before I started doing this research, but this was so strange and weirdly delightful looking that I had to try it for myself. The verdict? Absolutely scrumptious. Described as a cross between cornbread and souffle, this dish was light, airy, and versatile, pairing nicely with just about any of the main meals at the center of the table.
Roasted Root Vegetables
Remember earlier when I was making fun of internet recipes that incorporate beets? Well, here’s your requisite beet recipe. Thankfully this meal is a medley or all kinds of sweet and savory vegetables, infused with hot spices and sweet pecans for a variety of tastes and textures. Thanksgiving recipes tend to leave vegetables in their most basic forms, but here’s one that throws in all your favorite healthy eats into one deletable combination.
Herby Rhodes Rolls
Had enough bread yet? Of course not! There’s obviously no such thing, especially during Thanksgiving. Rolls are the unsung heroes of the entire feast: inconspicuous among the flashier dishes, yet conspicuous when absent. In that way they’re kind of like the bass guitar of Thanksgiving recipes: you don’t always think about it, but you definitely know when it’s not there. Anyway, this recipe is a little tastier than the rest, and it serves 36 PEOPLE. Here’s hoping you’ve got a big family to feed.
Thanksgiving Dirty Rice
If you’re just now noticing how much bread is on this list, you might be inclined to take a step away from the yeast and go for something a little lighter. If you want a substitute for stuffing this year, try going with this dirty rice. It pairs nicely with turkey, mashed potatoes, and just about any other normal Thanksgiving foods, and gives a nice twist on the more traditional meals.