We all have our favorite aspects of Thanksgiving dinner — whether it’s stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, or yams with marshmallow topping, our mouths are watering just thinking of them all! Why not break the mold this year and add an unexpected side to your Thanksgiving meal with surprising seafood, vegetarian, gluten-free, and dessert options?
Salad Dishes for Thanksgiving
This might be controversial, but your dinner could always use more vegetables — and no, we’re not talking cauliflower slathered in cheese, although that’s one of our favorites too! You may be thinking leafy greens when considering a salad addition to the meal, but hearty salads don’t have to center around kale or spinach. Why not try a roasted squash salad? Roasted vegetable salads stay true to the harvest theme of your meal, but also add a wholesome addition to the dinner. Dressing your salad with white beans, bread crumbs, and lemon ensures that not a single soul at your table will be complaining about the veggies!
Seafood Appetizer Ideas
A giant roast turkey may be the centerpiece of your meal, but consider adding a touch of seafood — like oysters — for an unexpected side dish or appetizer. The best part? They don’t take up any precious oven real estate to cook! Brown butter and fresh herbs make oysters feel extra lavish, and your guests won’t even miss the deviled egg appetizer. To ensure your oysters stay fresh — especially in landlocked Colorado — buy them the day before and store them uncovered on ice in the coldest part of your refrigerator.
Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dishes
Thanksgiving can be bleak when you’re a vegetarian. Regardless of your dietary restrictions or if you’re simply interested in adding veggie sides to your meal, we promise you can find better options than “tofurkey.” Add filling and hearty dishes to your meal: like baked gnocchi with pumpkin sauce, stuffed acorn squash, or even a cozy vegetarian pot pie that will have even your most carnivorous guests saying yum!
You don’t have to miss out on the stuffing just because you’re gluten-free. Most packaged gluten-free breads could use a little more flavor, so don’t be afraid to add extra sausage, herbs, and butter. We especially love non-traditional stuffing recipes in addition to our classic style –– why not give beer cheese stuffing a spin? You can easily substitute gluten-free bread in place of more typical ingredients.
Non-traditional Dessert Ideas
Whether you’re a fanatic for apple, pumpkin, or pecan, it seems like pie truly rules the Thanksgiving dessert pantheon. Hear us out on a twist: pumpkin crepes. They don’t take up any oven space to make, they cook quickly, and we guarantee no one else on the block is making them for dessert. You can keep them on-theme with pumpkin batter and ricotta filling, then add the flavors of fall with cinnamon, vanilla, and — of course — pecans! Alternatively, you could make these the morning after Thanksgiving to fuel your Black Friday shopping.
Whatever you make for Thanksgiving dinner, we’re sure it will be delicious! Whether you go traditional or mix it up with one of our suggestions, we’d love to see what you’ve made. Show us your masterpieces by tagging your food pictures on Facebook or Instagram with @steppingstoneco.