Turkey-less Thanksgiving Ideas

When friends and family gather around the Thanksgiving table, year after year the same course gets the spotlight: the turkey. It’s big, it’s beautiful, and it’s (hopefully) roasted to perfection. But why should turkey get all the attention? Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, or just looking to mix it up this year, take a look at these under-appreciated fall flavors that will make you forget all about everyone’s favorite gobbler.


Just because you’re skipping the turkey and gravy doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in autumnal flavor. This hearty butternut squash and sage lasagna perfectly combines sweet and savory for a fully satisfying meatless main course. If you need some color in your life, try this sweet potato, onion, and fontina tart with a crispy walnut-studded crust. Its delightful fall colors are only matched by its rich, roasty flavors.


Who needs cheese? These protein-packed quinoa-stuffed sweet potatoes are pure animal-product-free perfection. So is this roasted butternut squash with kale and almond pecan parmesan.

Turkey is So Last Year

Dietary restrictions aside, you might just be looking to switch up your Thanksgiving protein. The world is your oyster. You could actually serve oysters, if you’re into that. Try one of these scrumptious, non-turkey carnivorous options for the holidays:

  • Red meat: the rich taste of this beef rib roast will have your guests wondering why you didn’t ditch turkey long ago. A combination of rosemary and black pepper bring out the flavor of the meat while also creating delightfully seasonal aromas.
  • Everyone gets a bird with this recipe for roasted Cornish hens with morels and leeks. Cornish hens are completely different than turkey, obviously, but it still looks like you’re serving your guests perfectly seasoned, deliciously crispy, mini turkeys, which sound way better than regular old turkey.
  • Pork with persimmons and mustard greens: if the taste of this pork doesn’t convince you, take a look at the cook time. This pork loin only takes an hour before you can dig in. Say goodbye to waiting around for five hours for your oversized bird to roast.
  • Double meat: if one meat is just not enough, this roasted pork loin with pancetta and sage takes pork to a new level. Better yet, this simple recipe only calls for three ingredients.

Dare to be different this Thanksgiving! Swap out your turkey traditions for one of these recipes, and brace yourself for guests asking for seconds.

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