If the thought of Thanksgiving is driving you nuts simply because you don’t like to make the turkey – well then, don’t! Simple elegance can be had in many other ways. And in reality, you probably aren’t breaking the true tradition of the holiday, as many historians think the first Thanksgiving meal probably consisted of seafood and deer meat (venison) more than anything else.
Here are five fantastic alternative to turkey for you to try:
1. Go With the Duck
In my household growing up, we always went to my grandmother’s home for the Thanksgiving holiday and she cooked a turkey for the masses… and a duck for my grandfather.
Both dishes were always a big hit.
You can serve it with a nice orange sauce and any of a variety of complimentary side dishes to create an aura of celebration at your dinner table, such as wild rice, roasted vegetables, or some form of baking or sweet potato.
2. Go Out on a Limb and Serve Lamb
Lamb is another dish that is served infrequently in many homes, so trying it for a special holiday like Thanksgiving can be a great alternative to serving turkey. You can serve it as a roast (rib, rack, or loin), lamb chops, leg of lamb, and so on.
Some really great side dishes for lamb are lentils, a savory-flavored risotto, couscous, or any variety of rice.
3. Seal the Deal with Veal
Veal can be a great alternative to turkey as well. You can make it on its own by serving cutlets, or you can create an entire dish, such as Veal Scallopini, Wiener Schnitzel, Veal Parmegiana, Veal Marsala, or even serve stuffed cutlets.
You can serve pasta as a side dish, or maybe some nice potato croquettes, any variety of rice, hot buttered noodles, or risotto.
Some great selections for a bit of green are asparagus, braised endive, salad (shiitake or another type of wild mushroom salad or a spinach salad with mandarin oranges and pine nuts works great with veal!), or even fresh green beans.
4. Ham it Up with a Pork Roast
A pork crown roast almost always elicits oohs and ahhs from the dinner crowd. There is just something about the way it smells when it’s cooking, the flavor it holds when you bite into it, and the overall appearance of it that really appeals to eager diners.
They take quite awhile to cook, so as an alternative to turkey, if you are looking for all of the tradition of the holiday (i.e. working hard to create a delicious meal), this could be the perfect route to take.
A nice onion-based dressing is recommended to serve along with this dish, as well as any type of vegetable you find appealing, and a nice, crisp salad.
5. Try Some Seafood Like Salmon
For the seafood lover, a nice, thick cut of roasted salmon fillet is a fantastic alternative. Not all that hard to make, and delicious with a side of roasted herbed potatoes and vegetables with lime wedges, this dish is sure to please.
You can make the dinner as elegant or relaxed as you want the atmosphere to be, and even use tips to stretch your Thanksgiving dinner, (or even how to survive it in one whole piece) getting the most out of your dishes. Just let everyone who has confirmed attendance be aware of the menu prior to the big day so there are no surprises.
My guess is there will not be much fussing when you tell them what’s for dinner. After all, the true spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday is to enjoy life and those around you with a spirit of thanks.
For those who really miss the turkey, you can volunteer them to make one for Christmas. Happy eating to all!
Photo credit: Shutterstock.
About Lynne Jaques
Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!