10 Turkey Alternatives for Your Thanksgiving Feast

Posted: November 16, 2021 4:36 pm

A turkey is not for everyone. While turkey is the definitive meat of choice for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, you should not feel obligated to serve this iconic big bird on the holiday. There are plenty of alternatives to turkey if you feel like something different. If you are hosting a big enough group, you may also want to consider serving an additional entree alongside a juicy turkey.

Here are 10 of the best alternative options to a classic Thanksgiving turkey.

Beef Wellington

It is hard to imagine anything being more elegant than this beef wellington recipe. The exterior consists of a buttery pastry crust topped with sea salt. Inside, you will find decadent layers of prosciutto, wild mushrooms, cream, and foie gras. All of this surrounds a beef tenderloin. A bit of mustard adds more flavor to the tender beef. There is no doubt that this can be a difficult dish to execute. However, the hard work and little details will be well worth it when you serve this masterpiece for your Thanksgiving feast.

Cranberry Stuffed Game Hens

If you like the idea of turkey on Thanksgiving but do not need a large bird, you may want to consider serving this cranberry stuffed game hens recipe. This is the perfect choice for smaller Thanksgiving crowds. The hens are stuffed with bread cubes, dried cranberries, shallots, and an abundance of fresh herbs to create a seasonal stuffing worthy of your Thanksgiving table. A sauce made with chicken broth, real maple syrup, and cranberries is a delicious finishing touch. This recipe goes wonderfully with all of the classic Thanksgiving sides.

Brown Sugar Mustard Glazed Ham

If you are looking for an additional meat entree for your Thanksgiving meal, this brown sugar mustard glazed ham is a great complement to turkey. The sticky glaze consists of butter, brown sugar, honey, dijon mustard, cinnamon, garlic, and cloves. The sweetness of the glaze cuts through the saltiness of the ham. The glaze will form a flavorful crust on the surface of the ham while adding back juices to the meat. As a bonus, this glazed ham smells amazing as it bakes up in your oven.

Crown Roast of Pork with Chestnut-Rye Stuffing

This crown roast of pork with chestnut-rye stuffing recipe is a real showstopper. You will need two eight-chop packs of pork along with fresh herbs and kumquats for garnish for the main star of the dish. This is all stuffed with a dressing made of rye bread, roasted chestnuts, celery, sage, onion, fresh orange juice, and more. Do not forget to prepare the creamy gravy to bring it all together. This dish will look stunning on your table with the dramatic crown roast and the colorful stuffing.

Apple-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Looking for a hearty and festive dish for the vegetarians at your Thanksgiving dinner? Try this seasonal apple-stuffed acorn squash. The acorn squash is stuffed with a mixture of onions, granny smith apples, raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cheddar cheese and then baked until it is hot and bubbly. Not only does this dish taste amazing, but it also looks amazing on the table. You can easily add pork or chicken sausage to this dish for the meat lovers in your family.

Cuban-Style Roast Pork Shoulder with Mojo

Spice up your Thanksgiving by celebrating it as Cuban-Americans do with this roast pork shoulder with mojo. The secret to this moist pork shoulder lies in the zesty mojo dressing. The mojo is made with the juice of sour oranges, limes, garlic, oregano, cumin, and olive oil. Your local Latin market is a good place to find sour oranges. If you strike out in locating this fruit, you can achieve the same sour taste using Valencia and navel oranges. The key to achieving the perfect texture for the pork is to cook it low and slow in your oven. This pork goes well with white rice and black beans, creating an authentic Cuban feast.

Garlic-Crusted Roast Rack of Lamb

This impressive garlic-crusted roast rack of lamb recipe is much easier to prepare than it looks. The recipe includes only five ingredients paired with just 10 minutes of cooking time. The rack of lamb is rubbed with olive oil, salt, garlic, and rosemary. The beauty is in the simplicity of the preparation. You can pair this lamb with a number of side dishes, depending on your preferences. Go with the traditional Thanksgiving mashed potatoes and green bean casserole or mix it up with risotto and roasted vegetables.

Shepherd’s Pie

You can combine some of the best parts of Thanksgiving in a one-dish meal with this classic shepherd’s pie recipe. The ground beef and gravy mixture is balanced with vegetables such as peas, carrots, and corn. Do not hesitate to get creative with the vegetables that you add to this savory pie. All of this goodness is topped with mashed potatoes and cheese. This shepherd’s pie is comfort food at its finest, making it a great choice for a warm and cozy Thanksgiving at home.

Standing Rib Roast

While most families reserve the standing rib roast for Christmas dinner, it also makes a wonderful choice for the Thanksgiving holiday. The roast is rubbed with minced garlic, chopped thyme, olive oil, and dijon mustard. You will want to cook the prime rib roast to an internal temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit for the perfect medium-rare finish. The meat will finish the cooking process as it rests. Those who prefer a medium finish should leave the roast in the oven until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 130 degrees.


If you really want to stay away from all things Thanksgiving food, you would be wise to go with this mouth-watering homemade lasagna recipe. The homemade bolognese sauce takes this lasagna to another level of greatness. The longer that you simmer the sauce, the better that it will taste. Do not let the long ingredient list fool you. This recipe is easier to prepare than it looks. Serve this lasagna with a green salad and garlic bread for the complete meal.

With so many choices, it is easy to switch up your usual Thanksgiving turkey routine. Do not be afraid to go for something different this holiday season.



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