10 Non-Traditional Ideas for Thanksgiving Dinner

Are you bored with hosting the traditional turkey dinner on Thanksgiving? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Read the rest of this article to discover 10 ways to enjoy a festive, delicious meal on Thanksgiving without the conventional turkey-and-trimmings menu.

1) Host a Food Theme 

Break from traditional turkey this Thanksgiving and plan for cuisine with an international flair. Why not set up a tasty Mexican taco bar where everyone can design tacos to suit their individual taste buds? Or, what about creating an Italian buffet filled with lasagna, pizza, spaghetti, and garlic bread? If you’re thinking about a Chinese twist on Thanksgiving, try substituting the traditional turkey for Peking Duck.

2) Have an Outdoor Barbecue 

If you live in a geographical region with warm weather, treat your guests and family to an old-fashioned outdoor barbecue for Thanksgiving. Throw some hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill for a tasty meal that won’t break the bank. Serve your grilled meat with coleslaw and potato salad for a summery picnic vibe. If you’re wanting a different grilling treat, cook out steaks, ribs, or chicken skewers with side dishes of grilled corn-on-the-cob and baked potatoes.

3) Fill Up Your Slow Cooker 

A crock pot brimming with your favorite Thanksgiving food is sure to satisfy even the most discriminating guests. You can’t go wrong with old-fashioned favorites like pot roast with potatoes and carrots or a big pot of three-bean beef or chicken chili served with homemade cornbread. Stir up some beef stroganoff in your slow cooker for an irresistible dinner. Serve the stroganoff over noodles or rice and add a tossed salad to complete the hearty meal.

4) Plan a Progressive Dinner 

When you’re not up to the task of hosting any type of Thanksgiving meal by yourself, plan a progressive dinner to share responsibility while having loads of fun. Ask three or four friends or family members if they’d like to take part in this intriguing dinner. Each participant handles one aspect of the meal, such as an appetizer, dinner salad, main course, or dessert. Everyone in the dinner entourage travels first to the individual’s home where appetizers are served. Next, the group journeys to the person’s house responsible for salad, then the main course location, and lastly to the dessert residence.

4) Enjoy Comfort Food 

November can be a chilly month and warm, hearty comfort food might just be what you’re searching for in lieu of traditional turkey. Cook up a big pot of homemade chicken noodle or vegetable beef soup for starters. Serve the soup with hot rolls and a side dish of extra cheesy macaroni and cheese. Add a healthy vegetable salad alongside the soup. Complete the meal with warm chocolate chip cookies and ice cream drizzled with chocolate sauce for a sweet temptation that you can’t resist.

5) Go Out to Eat 

If you want the turkey and trimmings without the cooking and cleanup, treat your guests to a Thanksgiving dinner at a local restaurant. Many restaurants offer special turkey dinners on Thanksgiving Day that include all the traditional items, such as roast turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, and a dab of cranberry sauce. Going to a restaurant also gives each guest the choice of an alternative menu if turkey isn’t their favorite dish.

7) Create a Sandwich Buffet 

Give yourself a break from cooking on Thanksgiving by spreading out a sandwich buffet for your guests. Set out an assortment of fresh bread, deli-sliced meats, and flavorful cheeses for people to build their perfect sandwich. Don’t forget the condiments — pickles, mayo, mustard, banana peppers, black olives, jalapenos, lettuce, tomato. Accompany your sandwiches with sides, such as vegetables and dip, chips and salsa, and fudgy brownies.

8) Prepare a Festive Brunch 

Why not entertain guests on Thanksgiving Day with a festive brunch instead of a traditional dinner? Make your brunch fare fun with seasonal menu items, like pumpkin pancakes, hot apple cider, pumpkin-spice coffee, and warm apple streusel. Whip up a hearty breakfast casserole filled with cheesy scrambled eggs, hash browns, and bacon or sausage. Include healthy edible decor for your table, such as crisp apples, ripe pears, juicy plums, and a variety of grapes that guests can munch on.

9) Snack All Day Long 

If your Thanksgiving Day guests are coming over for an extended period, set up a table filled with delicious finger foods that they can snack on throughout the day. Ask each guest to bring their favorite snack food with enough recipes for everyone to share. Replenish the snack foods as the day progresses and remember to promptly refrigerate any foods that require storage in a cold environment, such as a meat and cheese tray.

10) Make Dinner a Surprise 

Tell your guests that Thanksgiving dinner will be a surprise for everybody — including you. Ask each guest to bring one or two food dishes for this potluck meal where anything goes. Tell your guests to keep the potluck items that they plan to bring a complete secret from everyone. What makes this potluck Thanksgiving dinner so much fun is the variety of food with nobody knowing what they will be eating until each guest arrives with their prepared food items.

After reading this article, are you thinking about breaking tradition and throwing a fun and different type of Thanksgiving dinner this year? You have 10 options to choose from. So, pick your favorite and start planning for this year’s non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner.