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Building a Non Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

Updated on April 27, 2015
Photo taken by: Mighty June
Photo taken by: Mighty June | Source

Thanksgiving is a time to bring everyone together for a delicious meal. While tradition may be comforting to some, others desire to break away and try something new. The trick is to be close enough to everyone’s favorite foods that they will try the non traditional Thanksgiving dinner menu item. Beyond the ideas below, there is also a link to the right with Canadian Thanksgiving menu items. These items are fairly close to American favorites so that few will complain that they are too off the map. The ideas below though are geared towards achieving that balance of unique and comforting. In addition, creating these recipes will certainly cause some buzz around the Thanksgiving table and may even start a new tradition or two.

Please note that some of these are very complicated and time consuming to make. It may be best to consult with the recipe before deciding to venture down one of these roads.

Photo taken by: jeffreyw
Photo taken by: jeffreyw | Source


For those that are unfamiliar with this upcoming trend, a turducken is a blend of several meats. More specifically, this mix is a chicken, inside a duck, inside a turkey. What is fascinating about this particular blend is that a duck is normally darker meat, hence making each slice go from a white meat, to dark, to white again. The name reflects the combinatinon as well: Tur(key), Duck, and (chick)En. Many families are embracing this mish-mash of meats in a variety of ways. Some families have started putting eggs inside the chickens, making them hard boiled. This introduces four different layers, depending on what kind of eggs are used. Another interesting idea started in Southern states; and that include deep frying the turducken. Nearly all turduckens have stuffing of some sort, but some recipes have different types of stuffing for each layer. This allows each slice of the turducken to have many layers of different food.

Probably the best thing that turduckens are known for: being a show stopper. A delicious turkey is hard enough to produce. Bringing out a turducken raises the bar several times over!

Here is a recipe for turducken. An example How-To video is also included to the right.

Photo taken by: Kristen Taylor
Photo taken by: Kristen Taylor | Source

Homemade Sweet Potato Chips

A unique spin on sweet potato casserole is to play on the chips and dip idea. The traditional method includes making a bed of sweet potatoes and then putting marshmallows on top. In this idea, sweet potatoes are made into chips, and then served with marshmallow sauce for dipping. The flavor is the same, but the texture and method of eating is different. The great thing about this is that homemade sweet potato chips are so easy to make.

Another great thing about this recipe is that these homemade potato chips make a perfect Thanksgiving day appetizer.

Information on how to make these is here.

Photo taken by: Kim
Photo taken by: Kim | Source

Homemade Plantain Dessert Chips

Another unique spin is to use plantains and make a dessert chip with those (the side photo shows salsa and guacamole, but I am not sure I could recommend that). Plantains taste like bananas but have a lot more starch and slightly less sugary. This makes them perfect to turn into chips. One fantastic idea is to serve these chips “a la mode” with a nice vanilla bean ice cream.

Photo taken by: Asha Pagdiwalla
Photo taken by: Asha Pagdiwalla | Source

Grape Focaccia Bread

During the upcoming Christmas holiday season, we give out a food brick known as fruit cake. The idea behind this concoction isn’t very complicated - fruit mixed in cake. The same idea is there for the grape focaccia bread. This is a type of bread with grapes on the top. The unique thing about this particular bread is that it can be created where the inside is stuff with a flavorful fruit mixture. This turns the bread from a fancy way to serve a sandwich (as shown to the right) to a full on dessert.

For information on how to build this delicious dessert, go here.

Photo taken by: Meal Makeover Moms
Photo taken by: Meal Makeover Moms | Source

Pumpkin Soup

Nearly every Thanksgiving has a version of pumpkin pie. However, few Thanksgivings have a pumpkin soup. The great thing about this soup is that small pumpkins can even be hollowed out to make bowls. This soup is created by adding cream, maple syrup, nutmeg, and pumpkin to a soup stock. This soup can be garnished with some extra cream, chopped walnut pieces, or with baked pumpkin seeds.

For more information on this recipe, please go here.

Which dish sounds the best?

See results

Have a unique dish you want to share? Disagree with one of the selections above? Have a tip on how to make one of these?

Feel free to leave a comment below!


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    • daxamite profile imageAUTHOR

      James Livingood 

      4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      That makes a lot of sense to me. Getting together just to slave in the kitchen all day doesn't sound fun to me.

    • Sara Krentz profile image

      Sara Krentz 

      4 years ago from USA

      Some of these sound really good. When we do non-traditional, we go all the way. For instance, Thai or Mexican.


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