Sorry, Turkey, It’s Not You, It’s Us: How to Spice Up Your Thanksgiving Dinner with These Turkey Alternatives
With Thanksgiving around the corner, many people automatically think of turkey as the meal’s centerpiece when it comes to hosting the dinner. But, not everyone is a fan of the “gobble gobble” bird. However, there are plenty of delicious alternatives to turkey can make your Thanksgiving dinner just as memorable. From succulent roasts to plant-based options, there are many different dishes.
Whether catering to dietary restrictions or simply looking to switch things up, exploring alternative main course options can add excitement and variety to your Thanksgiving feast.
There are several delicious alternatives to turkey for Thanksgiving, and here are some of them:
- Roast Beef: Roast beef is a classic alternative to turkey for Thanksgiving. It’s tender, juicy, and has a rich flavor. The beef is seasoned with herbs and spices and roasted to perfection. Served with a side of gravy, it makes for a delicious and hearty meal.
- Pork Roast: A pork roast is a flavorful and juicy alternative to turkey. It’s typically seasoned with garlic and herbs, then slow-roasted until tender and juicy. Served with a side of applesauce, roasted vegetables, or stuffing, it’s a delicious and satisfying main course.
- Vegetarian/Vegan Main Dish: For those who prefer a plant-based Thanksgiving, there are plenty of delicious alternatives to turkey. A hearty vegetarian or vegan main dish could be a lentil or mushroom loaf, stuffed acorn squash, or even a vegan roast made from seitan or tofu. These dishes are often seasoned with herbs and spices and can be served with traditional Thanksgiving sides like roasted vegetables and cranberry sauce.
- Cornish Hen/Roasted Chicken: Cornish hens are small chickens that make a great alternative to turkey. Both options are easy to prepare, flavorful, and cook quickly. Cornish hens are often stuffed with herbs and roasted until crispy and golden brown.
- Ham: Ham is another classic Thanksgiving alternative. It’s sweet and savory and pairs well with traditional Thanksgiving sides like mashed potatoes and green beans. Ham can be baked with a glaze for extra flavor and is always a crowd-pleaser.
Did you know?
Turkey alternatives in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe have been serving up roasted peacocks as an alternative to turkey for centuries. Peacocks used to be a popular dish served at medieval banquets and feasts. It was said to symbolize nobility and wealth and was often served whole, decorated with its feathers, and garnished with gold leaf.
A little history:
Thanksgiving meals dates back to the 1600s when the Pilgrims arrived in America and celebrated their first successful harvest with a three-day feast. It included a variety of foods, such as turkey, venison, fish, corn, and pumpkins.
This feast was later recognized as the first Thanksgiving and became a tradition among the early American settlers.
Thanksgiving meals continued to evolve, and by the 1800s, a turkey had become the most common main dish served at Thanksgiving dinners. Different sides, such as stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and green beans, often accompanied the turkey.
Thanksgiving was officially made a national holiday in the United States in 1863. It was proclaimed as such by President Abraham Lincoln, who set the date as the last Thursday in November.
In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the date up a week to help boost holiday sales during the Great Depression. This caused controversy and confusion, and in 1941, Congress passed a law officially making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November, which is still the date it is celebrated today.
The Thanksgiving meal continues to be an essential part of American culture, with families coming together to share a meal and give thanks for the blessings in their lives.
While the traditional turkey and sides remain popular, many people have also started incorporating alternative main dishes and vegetarian options into their Thanksgiving menus to cater to changing tastes and dietary preferences.