Nov 20, 2019

Ultimate CWCR Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

You will find recipes here for every type of Thanksgiving gathering.

Want a classic turkey day with family all gathered around a dining room table? Take inspiration from the Classic Thanksgiving dinner menu featuring an herb-brined roast turkey. Want to host a more upscale dinner and serve classics with a twist? Serve the “get fancy” menu. Want to add a punch of flavor to the feast? Go with the “Out-of-the-box” Thanksgiving dinner menu which combines classic preparations with some more unique flavor inspiration like the chili rubbed turkey with orange. Opting for a “Friendsgiving” potluck this year instead of a larger family gathering? Check out some inspiration for easy and unique dishes to bring to your Friendsgiving. Trade a whole turkey for a more manageable turkey breast roulade or stuffed pumpkins.

Ultimate CWCR Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

Classic Thanksgiving Menu

These Thanksgiving recipes are timeless for a reason. They are the tried and true ones my family turns to year after year. While brining the turkey takes a bit of planning and prep work, the tender, juicy meat is well worth it!

I start the feast with a Butternut Squash Soup with Maple Cream. The Herb Brined Turkey is served with Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Honey-Glazed Roasted Carrots, Buttermilk Biscuits. The meal is followed by Apple Crisp topped with lots of vanilla ice cream for dessert.

For classic Thanksgiving décor decorate the table with intertwined eucalyptus branches (I also like to use willow, silver dollar and true blue) and small candles on a wood table with a simple table-runner.

Butternut Squash Soup with Maple Cream

Butternut squash has a sweet nutty taste similar to pumpkin that is complimented by the maple cream in this soup. I like this roasted butternut squash soup because it is so simple to make yet the flavors are deep and complex.

Herb-Brined Turkey with Classic Stuffing

Soaking your Thanksgiving turkey overnight (or longer) ensures that the meat will stay moist after roasting. The aromatic herbs add extra depth and flavor to your turkey. While this recipe requires a bit of foresight, it’s well-worth it!

Save leftover turkey for leftover recipes like these pot pie bites and more here.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

My mom is known for her creamy, garlic mashed potatoes. They are always the favorite dish on thanksgiving in my family. The secret is to use cream cheese in this recipe.

Homestyle Green Bean Casserole

I have received many requests this year for some re-imagined and healthier spins on some classic Southern holiday dishes. One such dish is green bean casserole. For a more simple (and gluten free) dish check out my simple blanched and sautéed green bean recipe here.

Honey Glazed Roasted Carrots

This roasted carrot recipe is easy to make and sure to be a hit. Tossing the carrots in the honey before roasting intensifies the caramelizing. Look for carrots that are all about the same size so that they cook evenly.

Apple Crisp

This apple crisp recipe is the best fall dessert! Sliced apples in cinnamon sugar topped with a crumbly, oat topping baked until golden brown. I find it impossible to resist eating the sugary oat mixture off the top of the dessert before, during and after cooking it!

Get Fancy Thanksgiving Menu

This colorful Thanksgiving dinner spread features a turkey made with a unique preparation called “sous vide” to slowly cook the meat at a precise temperature. Start the feast with a brightly-colored Fall Roasted Squash Salad with Yogurt-Tahini Dressing. The Turkey is served alongside Roasted Acorn Squash with Sage and Brussels Sprouts Gratin topped off with a Sweet Potato Pie with Meringue Topping.

Try decorating your table with simple, monochrome garnishes to let the vibrant dishes shine. Think white mini pumpkins lining the table with candlesticks, white dishes, white napkins and gold silverware.

Fall Roasted Squash Salad

This rich and colorful gluten free salad is a great addition to any Thanksgiving dinner table. Delicata squash, also known as bohemian squash or peanut squash, is a mild winter squash that is easy to cook and becomes creamy after roasting – plus you can eat the skin.

Lemon Rosemary Sous-Vide Turkey

Thanksgiving can be a stressful day, especially if you are in charge of the centerpiece of the meal – the turkey. Sous vide is a cooking method where food is sealed in an airtight container and precision cooked in a water bath at a low constant temperature.

Rustic Rosemary Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Shallots

Red potatoes are mashed with cream cheese and butter and mixed with shallots that are roasted until a jam-like texture is achieved, much like roasted garlic. 

Roasted Acorn Squash with Sage

This colorful gluten free thanksgiving side dish is made with roasted acorn squash tossed in brown butter with crispy sage leaves topped with pomegranate seeds.

Sweet Potato Pie with Toasted Meringue Topping

This spiced sweet potato pie has a sky-high fluffy meringue topping that is baked until the peaks are golden brown. It’s like sweet potato casserole in dessert form! Sweet potato pie is a Southern favorite and a great alternative to pumpkin pie.

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

The Brussels sprouts are first roasted so that they are tender and lightly charred. They are then mixed together with béchamel sauce, crispy pancetta, shallots and lemon zest and topped with a mix of Gruyère and Parmesan cheese.

Out-of-the-Box Thanksgiving Menu

Starting with an appetizer of Pancetta and Toasted Breadcrumbs, this menu stars a flavorful Chili-rubbed Turkey with Orange and is served alongside unique dishes like Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup,  Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola & Walnuts and Cheesy Mushroom and Kale Strata with Brioche. Finish with a German Almond-Apple Butter Cake for dessert with coffee.

Add bright and colorful elements to the table with fruits like pomegranates and flowers like dahlias or chrysanthemums. They provide shades of red and orange which can be filled in with vibrant green branches. Add small sprigs of sage or rosemary above the silverware on the napkins and also above the plates.

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup with Pancetta and Toasted Breadcrumbs

This creamy soup is perfect for Thanksgiving. I try to keep an assortment of healthier soups on rotation during fall and winter and I recently added this soup with its deep, delicious flavors to my arsenal.

Chili Rubbed Turkey with Orange

The chili rub is full of deep flavors and just a little spicy. It contrasts perfectly with the sweet fruity oranges the turkey is stuffed with.

Whipped Honey Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola & Walnuts

Thanksgiving dishes should take up only limited amounts of preparation time, and these sweet whipped potatoes are a case in point, as they are made easily with a food processor.

Ancho Chili Roasted Acorn Squash with Queso

This dish makes for a great unexpected side for your Thanksgiving table. I like roasting acorn squash because the skin becomes tender over time so it can be eaten – the skin is in fact delicious and adds a bit of texture to the dish.

Cheesy Mushroom and Kale Strata with Brioche

This hearty cheesy bread pudding and stuffing hybrid can take the place of traditional holiday stuffing or be served as a Thanksgiving side dish for dinner.

German Almond-Apple Butter Cake

This gooey cake with just a hint of almond is layered with tart apple slices for an autumn confection. Serve this cake as a unique swap for classic apple pie.

“Friendsgiving” Menu

Since “Friendsgiving” is typically a potluck. don’t let anyone take on the daunting task of roasting a turkey for everyone. That job is stressful (and expensive) for one person to do themselves! Instead opt to incorporate turkey in different ways.

Use a whole turkey breast and make Turkey Roulades with Sausage Cornbread Stuffing, or use ground turkey which is easy to buy and on the cheaper side for recipes like Mini Thanksgiving Turkey & Cranberry Pot Pies, Thanksgiving Turkey Meatballs with Gravy & Red Wine Cranberry Sauce, or Ground Turkey & Brown Butter Sage Stuffing Filled Mini Pumpkins. For a super simple side (read, foolproof for those who don’t cook except for the holidays) opt for the Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Bacon.

As for the Thanksgiving table décor, keep it simple for easy cleanup – choose an assortment of mix-and-match china. To ensure that there are enough place settings for everyone, ask for volunteers to each bring several or opt for sustainable single use plates like the bamboo ones found here. One year we went with kids Thanksgiving placemats and crayons on the table for a nostalgic feel.

Apple Cider Brined Turkey Breast for Two

Thanksgiving gatherings are more intimate due to the current climate with COVID. This year I, like so many others, am changing my travel plans and keeping things more low key.

Mini Thanksgiving Turkey & Cranberry Pot Pies

A combination of ground turkey, onions, celery, potatoes, chunky cranberry sauce and Havarti cheese is all wrapped together by flakey, buttery homemade pie crust.

Turkey Roulades with Sausage Cornbread Stuffing

These rolls of roast turkey and stuffing are perfect for this sort of dinner party, which is usually a potluck. Rather than using typical stuffing inside, I make cornbread stuffing with sausage for a southern inspired filling.

Ground Turkey & Brown Butter Sage Stuffing Filled Roasted Mini-Pumpkins

Pumpkin bowls filled with the mix of the Gruyère cheese, stuffing and ground turkey, is like a savory bread pudding.

Thanksgiving Turkey Meatballs with Gravy and Red Wine Cranberry Sauce

These turkey meatballs are tender and easy to make and have all of the delicious components of a Thanksgiving dinner when they are smothered in homemade gravy and cranberry sauce.

Roasted Butternut Squash & Balsamic Brussels Sprouts Flatbread

The combination of roasted butternut squash, balsamic Brussels sprouts, goat cheese and pancetta is perfect for a flatbread full of fall flavors.

A Few Other Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas

Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

These Brussels sprouts are one of the easiest vegetable side dishes and also one of the biggest crowd-pleasers! I add bacon to these sweet and savory Brussels sprouts (because bacon makes everything better) so that they appeal even to those people who are skeptical of green vegetables.

Buttermilk Biscuits

These southern-style biscuits are big, fluffy and buttery just as biscuits should be.

Butterscotch Pie with Caramelized Pecans

This non-traditional pie with a creamy, custardy, butterscotch base topped with caramelized pecans is a great option for any holiday dinner. Butterscotch is a soft yet rich and creamy alternative to caramel.

Kabocha Squash Mac and Cheese

Kabocha squash, also known as Japanese pumpkin, has a flavor similar to sweet potatoes and a creamy, velvety texture when it’s roasted. Butternut squash can also be used in this recipe.

Honey Glazed Hasselback Butternut Squash with Cinnamon Mascarpone Spread

Hasselback is the process of creating thin fan-like slices cut part-way through (typically potatoes but here I use butternut squash) before roasting until tender. The roasted butternut squash is paired with a cinnamon mascarpone spread. Make this a vegan Thanksgiving recipe by omitting the mascarpone mixture or substituting a vegan cream cheese.

Maple Roasted Pumpkin Crostini with Blue Cheese & Pumpkin Seeds

This simple crostini combines so many of my favorite warm fall flavors into one. The maple roasted pumpkin contrasts nicely with the sharp, salty flavor of blue cheese. Mashing the pumpkin by hand after it’s roasted gives it a rustic feel and allows it to be spread more easily on the crostini.

Crispy Smashed Fried Potatoes

These buttery, crispy smashed roasted potatoes topped with luxe contrasting textures of creme fraîche, caviar, salmon roe and chives is one of my favorite ways to eat potatoes.

No matter the menu I love to go around the table and share what I’m thankful for! This year I am thankful for all of you reading this post and for all the others on my site – thank you for enabling me to do what I love every day.

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