Dessert Guides Holiday Lunch/Dinner Recipes

5 Alternative Thanksgiving Recipes To Update Your Holiday Meal

alternative thanksgiving recipes better than ramen

Thanksgiving is our kind of holiday because it brings people together over food! While we enjoy tradition, seeing the same dishes resurface year after year gets stale. We have curated a list of alternative Thanksgiving recipes you can substitute for those classic-yet-uninspired dishes. Whether you’re looking for healthier, more exotic, or simpler options, our alternative Thanksgiving recipes will please every palate. 

1. Classic: Roasted Turkey || Alternative: Roasted Duck

roasted braised duck alternative thanksgiving recipes

Roasted Braised Duck recipe from the Woks of Life

Duck is a tasty and exotic alternative to the “classic” Thanksgiving bird. We used quotation marks because duck, and not turkey, was actually the likely bird of choice at the first Thanksgiving. Because of its petite size, duck is a good alternative to turkey for smaller gatherings. 


2. Classic: Stuffing || Alternative: Quinoa “Stuffing”

quinoa stuffing alternative thanksgiving recipes

Quinoa Stuffing recipe from Gimme Some Oven

Quinoa stuffing is a gluten-free, lower carb alternative to traditional stuffing (a.k.a bread salad). The cubed butternut squash replaces soft bread chunks while the quinoa adds a punch of protein not found in the traditional recipe. 

(On a side note, we’ve always wanted to know why stuffing doesn’t exist outside of Thanksgiving. If you’ve ever heard of anyone making stuffing in April or July, please let us know. Bread doesn’t go out of season, so we are perplexed that this recipe appears across America only once a year.) 


3. Classic: Mashed Potatoes || Alternative: Mashed Cauliflower

rosemary garlic mashed cauliflower alternative thanksgiving recipes

Rosemary Garlic Mashed Cauliflower Recipe by the Cookie Rookie

Lately we’ve been seeing cauliflower popping up all over recipes as an alternative to starchy staples like rice and potatoes. This mashed cauliflower recipe has the creamy texture of mashed potatoes without its carbs – which means you’ll have room for more!


 4. Classic: Roasted Brussels Sprouts || Alternative: Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad

fall shredded brussels sprouts salad alternative thanksgiving recipes

Fall Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad recipe from Iowa Girl Eats

Brussels sprouts are often served cooked or baked, so you may not have known that they can be eaten raw! Impress your guests with this crunchy, seasonal salad topped with homemade vinaigrette. 


5. Classics: Pumpkin Pie + Pecan Pie || Alternative: Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler

pumpkin pecan cobbler alternative thanksgiving recipes

Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler recipe from Lauren’s Latest

Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler: all of the flavor of your favorite Thanksgiving pies with just half the effort. This is a recipe we can easily get behind.


Whether you are preparing a whole Thanksgiving feast today or bringing a side dish to a gathering, we hope you and your family enjoy these alternative Thanksgiving recipes.

Happy Thanksgiving from Better Than Ramen!

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