Thanksgiving is around the corner, and we couldn’t be more excited to prepare a delicious dinner for which the whole family can relish and be thankful. Every American celebrates Thanksgiving in their way, but the deep-rooted tradition of turkey, cornbread, and desserts never gets old. While Thanksgiving traditionally represents the type of food pilgrims ate when they first came to America, there have been a lot of variations and alternatives throughout the US.
You’ll also get to eat a lot on Thanksgiving! Whether you’re planning to host a Thanksgiving or looking for a portion of food to bring to your office or family dinner, there are plenty of meal options you can try this Thanksgiving to enjoy with family and friends.
Here are the most popular Thanksgiving meals and some variations you can enjoy with your loved ones this year:
1. Relish The Feast At A Local Restaurants
Time is changing, and so are traditions. This Thanksgiving, you can surprise your family and friends with a perfectly-organized dinner in a restaurant of your choice. A variety of restaurants in big cities or small towns offer a traditional Thanksgiving menu. So add a contemporary touch to your menu by adding variations and restaurant specialties.
Each part of the country celebrates Thanksgiving in its own way, and restaurants offer custom menus according to the local specialties. Areas near the coastal belt include more seafood items, while people in Texas love fried turkey instead of roasting it.
You can also complement these dishes with traditional sides to have the perfect thanksgiving experience. And if you’re a southerner, chances are you’re a liquor fan. To enjoy the classic southern spirit this holiday, visit the Pigeon Forge distillery in Tennessee and enjoy a selection of hand-crafted specialty cocktails. Moreover, you can enjoy regional dishes like hot chicken, dry rub ribs, and moon pies prepared with delicacy and finesse.
So if you want to enjoy an unforgettable Thanksgiving dinner, plan a meal in a local restaurant and do something different this year.
2. A Roasted Turkey for a Classic Thanksgiving Dinner
It doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving without a mouthwatering roasted turkey on the table, also known as the national Thanksgiving dish in the United States. People across the United States prepare their turkey differently, but traditionally, the turkey is roasted in the oven for hours before the meal is officially served.
To achieve the desired flavor, people tuck loads of fresh herbs, lemons, and other ingredients inside the skin of the turkey and place vegetables around it so they can absorb the delicious turkey juice during cooking. You need to have some additional skills and a personal choice for fruits, vegetables, bread, or sausage stuffing to work with the dry turkey meat and make it juicier on the inside without overbaking it. If roasted with precision, stuffed roasted turkey is a winning dish to feast on with your family and loved ones. So who’s ready to break the turkey’s wishbone this Thanksgiving?
3. Nibble on Entrees and Appetizers
While your main course and roasted meat cook in the oven, you can entertain your family with lip-smacking entrees and appetizers. There are countless ideas for preparing amazing entrees and appetizers for your Thanksgiving dinner. For chicken lovers, you can prepare grilled or smoked chicken, seafood on skewers, fried cheese curds, nachos, dips, fried pickles, Brussels sprout skillet, pretzels, smoked wings, and much more.
You can try making tiny sandwich bites, skillet nachos, roasted mixed nuts, hummus in a non-traditional variation with flatbread chips, cinnamon apple chips, roasted mushrooms, bruschettas, jalapeno poppers, and other nibbles or make the evening cozy with a delectable soup.
4. Mashed Potato and Gravy on the Side
A thanksgiving turkey, roasted chicken, or braised brisket is incomplete without mashed potato and gravy on the side. Mashed potato doesn’t have to be prepared traditionally; there are various mashed potato recipes available on the internet that you might want to try this Thanksgiving. People who like to have a low-carb dinner prefer making mashed cauliflower. You can try mashed potatoes with browned butter, roasted garlic, goat cheese, fried shallots, sour cream, cheddar cheese, horseradish, or other variations. You can also complement your turkey with a sweet potato casserole.
The turkey or other meat you choose will produce juices as it cooks. You can either use vegetables placed on the side to absorb the juices or turn them into gravy and pour over turkey slices and mashed potato to make them more flavorful. Additionally, you can make gravy from other ingredients to take the mashed potato and turkey game to another level. Add some red wine with a choice of vegetable in the turkey juice, or cook a gluten-free gravy for fitness-conscious people.
5. Bread Rolls and Cornbread to Complement Your Main Course
Bread rolls and cornbread are a staple to the Thanksgiving meal. You can create a variety of bread, buns, and dinner rolls from cornmeal, wheat, almond flour, coconut flour, or multi-grain flour to complement your main course. Bread is best baked after proofing for a few hours, so you can prepare it beforehand and avoid the hassle of finishing things up at the eleventh hour.
6. No Meal is Complete without Scrumptious Salads
A Thanksgiving salad recipe is a great way to start the meal. Salads add a pop of vibrant colors to uplift the look of your Thanksgiving dinner table and make it complete. Also, a salad recipe that includes apples, pumpkins, Brussels sprouts, squash, pears, and orange is a great way to create a fall-themed dinner.
Salads are easy to prepare; you can add three to four types of salads to your Thanksgiving meal. Prepare salad dressings in advance for salads with fresh vegetables, fruits, and pasta. Give a punch of fruit to salads with orange juice dressing and a sense of comfort with a range of cheese like ricotta, blue cheese, goat’s cheese, cheddar, parmesan, and mozzarella. Add chunks of bacon, ham, salmon, chicken, or turkey to salads to elevate the taste.
7. Don’t Forget to Add Seafood to the Menu
Winter is the best season to taste some fresh seafood. Treat your tastebuds with smoked grilled, baked, or pan-seared fish, shrimps, oysters, lobsters, mussels, prawns, scallops, crabs, and much more. You can prepare oysters, shrimp, scallops, and salmon for entrees, appetizers, or main courses or add crab meat to salads or bruschetta.
8. Try a Grill-Lovers Thanksgiving Menu
Grilling and live cooking are not just for summer get-togethers. Autumn is the perfect time to break the tradition, fire up the grill, and enjoy live cooking on Thanksgiving. The smoke of wood gives a beautiful aroma to turkey meat or other meaty treats and adds tons of flavor to it. Those who enjoy grilling food and eating outside in the warmth of fire should try a menu with live cooking. Apart from the smoky touch to your perfectly marinated meat, you get more space for the oven to prepare a variety of sides and main course dishes.
9. Low-Carb Foods
Fitness-conscious people try to avoid high-carb food no matter what the occasion is. To make it a day to remember for all your guests, try preparing low-carb foods with vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, mushrooms, spring onions, carrots, eggplants, Brussels sprouts, French beans, spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. You can make zucchini noodles, almond bread, pizza bites with fathead dough, cloud bread with eggs, stuffed bell peppers, fresh vegetable salad, and egg salad to side with a roasted meat main course.
10. A Winning Finish with a Luscious Dessert
No dinner is complete without a delicious dessert at the end. Use the seasonal harvest like pumpkins, pears, apples, oranges with shortbread, chocolate, and heavy cream to create a mouthwatering dessert, or go with the tradition with apple and cinnamon pie, spiced pumpkin pie, mud pies, and brownies.
Thanksgiving is the perfect occasion to showcase your culinary skills and entertain your family and loved ones with savory dishes, sides, appetizers, salads, and desserts. We hope this list will help you plan a perfect Thanksgiving dinner and be thankful for the food and family you have. Happy Eating!