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Unique Thanksgiving Menu Ideas

In some households, the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce are old news.  For suggestions that are sure to make this holiday a special one, we have compiled unique Thanksgiving menu ideas to shake things up at your (or your family’s) household holiday celebration this year.

Sweet Potato Salad

Here is a new twist on a staple of the Thanksgiving table.  Our sweet potato salad is a cold potato recipe that is light, refreshing and absolutely delicious.  In fact, it was featured on You & Me This Morning, along with Larry Walter, who showed viewers how to prepare this unique salad in their own homes.

The complete recipe can be found here.

Sweet potatoes and other items on a plate
Sweet potato salad

Thanksgiving Themes Menu Celebrating Your Heritage

Instead of having the same meal as everyone else on Thanksgiving, you can pay homage to your actual family roots with a heritage meal on Thanksgiving (German, Italian, Swedish, etc.).  Choose meals and food items that represent your cultural background, including any historical family recipes (i.e. Grandma’s secret spaghetti sauce) made together as a family.

If you would like to take this idea a step further, add some activity and create a family cookbook based on the dishes you prepare for this all-important meal.  Even if you decide to incorporate a new branch of your cultural background the following year, this will be a great memento to document and memorialize your Thanksgiving together.  You can even take photos of your family members preparing each dish to help capture the moments.

Swedish meatballs in a cast iron skillet
Swedish meatballs

Turkey Alternatives on Thanksgiving

Turkey is a staple at Thanksgiving, but sometimes you want to cook up something truly unique and special.  Go above and beyond the turkey dishes and try one of these other protein options:

  • Cornish game hens
  • Pork
  • Pot roast
  • Duck
  • Steak
  • Lamb
Duck confit and mushrooms on a platter
Duck confit

Locally-sourced Thanksgiving Dinner

Create your Thanksgiving menu around locally-sourced and seasonal items.  Many of the traditional Thanksgiving menu items are already seasonal—potatoes, cranberries, green beans, squash, etc.—but if you have access to a local farmer’s market to purchase those items, not only will you be doing the Earth a favor, but you will also have the freshest ingredients for you and your guests to enjoy.  The only thing better would be to grow the vegetables yourself, which is also a possibility for those with garden space.

Locally sourced thanksgiving turkey on a plate
Locally sourced turkey

Unique Meal Ideas for Thanksgiving Day

Families can gather at different times of the day for a more unique Thanksgiving celebration, which is particularly good for families with multiple “sides” with whom to celebrate.  Host a tapas Thanksgiving with a bunch of smaller dishes to share with the group.  Or, if it is more convenient, host a Thanksgiving Day brunch in the morning or early afternoon, serving up fall favorites like pumpkin pancakes, sweet potato home fries, turkey sausage and biscuits and gravy.

Pumpkin pancakes stacked on a plate with butter and syrup on top
Pumpkin pancakes

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