Turkey-Free Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is approaching fast and a lot of people are planning their menus for the dinner. Included in some of these menus are alternatives to turkey that can also invoke the holiday season. There are some individuals who basically do not enjoy turkey meat as much and prefer some other kind of meat, such as pork or beef.

Others find it too much to cook an entire bird just for a few people and prefer to have just a slice or two of turkey. The truth of the matter is that there are a lot of alternatives that are just as healthy or just as delicious.

1.   Smaller Servings and Other Birds
One of the main problems of cooking an entire turkey for Thanksgiving is the size of the bird. If you really need to have turkey but balk at the size of a whole bird, you can get turkey breasts from the supermarket and cook it according to your own preferences. Recipes of these include herb-roasted turkey breasts with pan gravy, roasted turkey breasts with peach rosemary glaze and oven roasted turkey breasts with leeks and cornbread stuffing.

Some individuals really do not like turkey but would like to follow the traditional bird for Thanksgiving. Roasting a whole chicken may be more manageable, in terms of size and the taste is something that is already familiar to you. Duck is also another smaller and more manageable option for those who want to eat fowl for the holidays. Optional chicken recipes include brined roast chicken with olive bread panzanella, roasted Cornish hens with morels and leeks and soy ginger lacquered Cornish hens.

Squab is also another alternative to turkey, if one is set to dine on a bird for Thanksgiving. There are many different ways to cook this bird and the size is relatively small and easy to manage in the oven. Some examples of recipes that may suit the holiday season include roast squab with bacon and grapes and pan seared squab with rice and port wine.

2.   Pork, Beef and Lamb
Those who produce pork are quick to point out that it is “the other white meat”. The reality of it is that some pieces of pork are considered white while others are considered red, depending on their origin and location on the animal. Pork is usually eaten on any occasion and there are certain recipes and cuts of pork that are premium. Some recipes of pork that will make Thanksgiving totally outstanding and make other people forget about the turkey are pork roast, pot roast, Dr. Pepper Glazed ham, cranberry pork tenderloin and steaks.

Beef is also another favorite alternative to turkey during Thanksgiving. It is very versatile, just like pork but it is a red meat, which means that it is richer and fattier than the other types of meats. When beef is made into steaks, you can expect the meat to be a bit greasy and have a meatier taste. Other recipes include roast beef, beef stew, beef tenderloin with celery root gratin and many more.

Lamb has a particular taste that some people prefer over other meats. It needs to be prepared properly to get rid of the meaty or gamey taste and smell. Some preferred recipes include, but are not limited to, curried lamb potpie, honey-glazed lamb with herbs de Provence, Sichuan racks of lamb with cumin and chili peppers and roasted leg of lamb.

3.   Fish and Seafood
Fish is another alternative to Thanksgiving turkey for those who want to go for a healthier alternative. Salmon is a favorite among many and it can be served in many different ways. Cod is also another fish that many people prefer over meat. Examples of fish recipes are microwaved salmon with saffron sauce, baked cod, slow-roasted salmon with tamarind, ginger and chipotle and steamed cod with vegetables.

Seafood is also an impressive alternative to the Thanksgiving turkey. Lobster tops the list as an impressive change while clams and other kinds of shells might also do the trick. Lobster is usually steamed and buttered.

4.   For Vegetarians
Vegetarians do not eat any kind of meats and they focus mainly on vegetables, fruits and fungi, among other things. While the actual vegetables, fruits and fungi can be eaten as part of the Thanksgiving meal, there are products that are made to mimic turkey. These are usually ground up vegetables and other ingredients that are acceptable to a vegan or a vegetarian. Quorn Turk’y is one of the highly recommended roast alternatives to the actual bird. Tofurky is also a popular brand name of mock turkey that comes in a package labeled as Thanksgiving feast. Vegetarian Plus whole turkey is a vegan or vegetarian meal that is shaped just like the bird and comes with its own stuffing.

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