Also known as the Turkey Holiday, Thanksgiving is a time for eating, drinking, spending time with loved ones and reflecting on what you are thankful for. But we all know the best part is eating, and it doesn't always have to be about the big bird!
Wither you are cooking your first Thanksgiving with out the main star, stumped on what to serve your newly vegan niece, trying to find a delicious vegan side dish for a potluck that you can enjoy and your family won't turn their nose to, or just looking to add some variety to this years spread, here are so of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes that will impress and stand on their own as a dish, with or without the bird.
Stuffing is known for being hand in hand with the turkey, but at my Thanksgiving table it was always the main star. It's fun to mix and try different herb and filling combinations. Also try using different breads, like cornbread or left over muffins. Many people use chicken broth to moisten their stuffing, and cook it right in the bird, so if your joining another Thanksgiving, offer to bring another batch that's different then their recipe, so you can share with everyone. My favorite variation uses a combination of fresh herbs, dried fruits and slices almonds.
See the full review, "Stuffing is the Best Part of Thanksgiving + Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe".
Homemade soup is perfect seasonal fare, yet quite untraditionally Thanksgiving. You could serve a vegetable soup with a light broth or a heavier creamy soup. Either one will be a comforting and welcome addition to the table. Here's a recipe for a simple vegetable broth, a great base for any soup. Add winter greens and white beans for a light yet hearty Italian bean soup. This Pumpkin Soup recipe can be adapted for any winter squash, acorn, kabocha or butternut.
See the full review, "Comfort Food for Fall".
Many people over look the beauty of a simple baked potato. More common offering at the table is mashed potatoes, or some kind of casserole with a lot of added sugar and butter all over. It's a nice alternative, and yams are really good for you. I prefer them baked and then just topped with maple butter or marsmallows.
See the full review, "Perfectly Baked Yams".
Stuffed Mushrooms would seem as if they take a lot to prepare, but they are actually very simple. You can serve as an appetizer, or a side dish, and they are perfect to bring along, as they travel well and can be warmed up easily. These recipes are two variations, both are insanely delicious.
Corn on the cob is a staple in the traditional Thanksgiving tale, but I have yet to see it make it to a real Thankgiving I've been to. I would love to see some grilled corn on the cob, with some butter, Parmesan cheese, or maybe some lime and chili powder.
A pasta dish makes an excellent main dish an alternative turkey eater. Its so easy to make thanksgiving appropriate. You could serve a baked lasagna, with kale and spinach for lots of the nutrients that we might be missing. Raviolis are also great, stuffed with butternut squash or pumpkin. If you going somewhere, a pasta salad is super easy to travel with. Add nuts and dried fruits to make it festive, and use a special shape of pasta like campanelle or even tortellini.
Some people still think its OK to bring canned cranberry sauce to the table. Homemade cranberry sauce is one of the easiest things to make for the dinner, so do someone else the favor and bring it for them. My recipes are very simple and require nothing but cranberry sauce, sugar, cinnamon and an orange.
See the full review, "Cranberries makes a nice complement to any Holiday feast!".
Now, some vegetarians love Tofurky. Personally, I hate it. I think its weird.
There are many different types of tofuky available now on the market, with different stuff in and around them. And different flavoring in them.
An alternative to the tofuky could be to serve another protien rich dish, like tempeh. Tempeh is great because it absorbs flavor really well, and its unprocessed soy, so its very healthy for you. This marinade recipe is so good, and makes the tempeh just right, so it would fit right in with all the other dishes on the table.
See the full review, "A Sorry Excuse for a Turkey".
Pumpkin Pie is the quintessential thanksgiving dessert. Here is my very favorite recipe, which uses coconut milk and a hazelnut crust. Use you favorite egg substitute and you can make it vegan!
Of corse, its always nice to offer up something new and different. Whenever I'm looking for a different recipe, that will impress the masses, I always turn to Martha. Her recipes are always straigtforward, and aren't overly sweet or rich. She has a healthy collection of fall desserts, including pumkpin flan, pumpkin cheesecake, and pumpkin cupcakes.