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Cartoon turkey wearing a pilgrim hat

Nontraditional Thanksgiving Traditions

Are you ready for Thanksgiving? While your coworkers and neighbors gear up for a tryptophan-induced coma, you may have something else up your sleeve. Whether you’re a taking a stand for turkeys everywhere or you simply want to try something different this year, consider these untraditional meal ideas that you can turn into Thanksgiving traditions.

Slow-Roasted Greek Lamb

This Mediterranean meal is a great Thanksgiving option for any lamb lover, but it’s an especially good choice if any of your dinner guests have Greek heritage. Similar to turkey, slow-roasted lamb takes half a day to cook, but the uniquely mingling flavor of cloves, cinnamon, thyme, and oregano give this recipe an undeniable seasonal taste you won’t soon forget.

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Thanksgiving Salmon

What if you could make the main Thanksgiving dish in only 30 minutes instead of several hours? With Thanksgiving salmon, you can do just that. Enjoy some high-quality protein in a delicious cranberry sauce that your friends and family will be talking about until next Thanksgiving.

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Butternut Squash Baked Risotto

Looking for a vegetarian replacement for turkey this Thanksgiving? This one-pot meal is ready to eat in just 45 minutes. It offers the rich, satisfying creaminess of risotto without the need to hover over the stove while baking. Butternut squash is in season this time of year, making it a wonderful seasonal dish to serve at Thanksgiving. The inclusion of fresh thyme and garlic mixed with kale makes for a truly unforgettable taste.

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Squash Gnocchi with Sage Butter

With a plentiful amount of delicious winter squash available this time of year, here’s another squash recipe that could easily become one of your Thanksgiving traditions after just one bite. Gnocchi is a thick, soft dumpling-type noodle that you can make out of semolina, cornmeal, potatoes, or in this case, squash. Making your own gnocchi is easier than you think, and Thanksgiving is a great time to try out such a festive dish! Plus, the sage butter topping will leave your guests scrambling for a second serving.

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Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

Who can say no to good old mac and cheese? Throw some canned pumpkin into the sauce and suddenly you have a nontraditional Thanksgiving meal idea. Other surprising ingredients like sautéed apples, Swiss chard, and a crumbled bacon topping lend bountiful flavor to this easy-to-make dish.

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Pear & Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms

Don’t underestimate the importance of tasty side dishes on Thanksgiving! These stuffed mushrooms leave nothing to be desired, what with the unique flavor combination of pears, parmesan, and parsley. A quick sauté in the pan and 15 minutes in the oven gives you tender, delicious stuffed mushrooms to serve with the rest of Thanksgiving dinner.

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Pumpkin Chili

Chili is a classic cold-weather dish, but it doesn’t usually have a place on the Thanksgiving dinner table. With nothing stopping your untraditional meal selection this year, why not give it a try? Traditional chili ingredients like ground meat, kidney beans, and chili powder mingle with pumpkin puree for an unmistakably fall flavor. Just 30 to 40 minutes on the stove and you can fill your bowl with the tastiest chili you’ve ever had.

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