Maybe you're just not a big fan of turkey. Maybe you have guests coming over with dietary restrictions. Maybe you simply want to mix things up, because rules are made to be broken. Whatever your reason, there are plenty of ways to create a fantastic Thanksgiving meal that doesn't feature the traditional bird as its centerpiece. These 10 turkey alternatives to serve this Thanksgiving are sure to be crowdpleasers, and have guests saying, "turkey, shmurkey." Traditions are great, but they aren't written in stone.
In my very humble (and gluttonous) opinion, the real fun in Thanksgiving is the side dishes. While the entree might fill the leading actor, the side dishes are the supporting actors that can make or break the show. That said, why are we casting the same old lead actor, year after year? Pair a fresh new main dish with a wide variety of sides, and you've created something special. Variety is the spice of life, after all. Even better, a lot of these mains require less babysitting than a traditional turkey, so if you're simply looking for an easier option, these might be your answer. And when guests inquire where the oversized poultry dish is, you can always pretend you're branching out simply because you're an adventurous culinary trendsetter (and not because no one actually gives two cents about the turkey). That sounds much better.
1. One Hour, One Pot Roasted Chicken Dinner
This one hour, one pot roasted chicken dinner recipe by A Pretty Life in the Suburbs is not only cozy and perfect for Thanksgiving, but it's much simpler than roasting a turkey. Plus, one pot means less dishes for you at the end of the night when the last thing you want to be doing is scrubbing heavy roasting pans. Customize this dish by adding whatever fresh, seasonal veggies you prefer.
2. Browned Butter Butternut Squash Pasta
I've personally never eaten pasta on Thanksgiving, but I'm all for it. The best Thanksgiving food, in my opinion, features a lot of carbs and even more comfort – this browned butternut squash pasta by Julie Blanner has both. Visit her page to learn how to make this savory, seasonal pasta.
3. Vegan Shepherd's Pie
Serving a dish for vegans and vegetarians that is filling and festive can be a daunting task, but this Vegan Shepherd's Pie by Minimalist Baker fits the bill. Best of all, it's neither difficult or time-consuming to make. Serve it as a veggie alternative to another main dish, or let it be the star of the Thanksgiving meal, all on its own.
4. Breaded Pork Chops with Merlot Onion Cherry Jam
Between the crispy breading and the savory jam, this breaded pork chops with merlot onion cherry jam recipe by Domestic Fits sold me. Blogger Jackie created the perfect method for getting juicy pork chops with golden brown breading, and this turkey alternative will absolutely wow your Thanksgiving guests.
5. Garlic & Rosemary Lamb Chops With Honey Cider Glaze
Is your mouth watering? These garlic and rosemary lamb chops with honey cider glaze from Serious Eats looks (and tastes) gourmet, though their recipe is, thankfully, easy-to-follow. With a selection of complementary side dishes, these would be a delicious Thanksgiving centerpiece.
6. Perfect Pot Roast & Gravy
Who doesn't enjoy a good pot roast? There's something soul-warming about a big serving of soft veggies and melt-in-your-mouth chuck roast – and, of course, gravy makes everything even better. This pot roast and gravy recipe from Mom on Timeout features all of the above (a holy trinity, if you will) and no one will be missing turkey.
7. Stuffed Flank Steak Kabob
There are two big advantages of whipping up this stuffed flank steak kabob from This Grandma Is Fun for your Thanksgiving dinner. First, it sounds absolutely heavenly. Second, it can be prepped ahead of time so you can spend more of your Thanksgiving socializing with your friends and family and less time in the kitchen.
8. Creamy Pumpkin Quinoa Risotto
Another decadent option for vegetarians, this pumpkin quinoa risotto recipe by Hello Veggie is scrumptious and ideal for the fall holiday. Vegetarians will rave about this entree (and I have a feeling it can win over non-vegetarians, too). This recipe can easily be veganized, as well.
9. Instant Pot Cranberry Orange Meatballs
Where are my Instant Pot lovers at? This cranberry orange meatball recipe by Meatloaf and Melodrama is for you. While these can be served as an appetizer or side dish, make a double serving and they're hearty and scrumptious enough to stand as a main.
10. Honey Dijon Roasted Chicken With Herbed Potatoes
Ditch the turkey and mashed potatoes for this honey dijon chicken and crispy potatoes recipe from Creative Green Living. An easy but hearty main dish, this combo is a tried and true fan favorite.