First let me say thanks again for all of your feedback about whether you like round up posts and whether you find them helpful. There was definitely a spectrum of views on the topic but many readers thought a focused Thanksgiving post would be helpful. So, here it is! I’ll highlight a handful of favorite recipes for the various categories (appetizers, sides, desserts, etc.) If you’re new to hosting Thanksgiving and not sure where to start, I highly recommend taking a look at the series of posts I did on my Thanksgiving prep methods. You may find them helpful (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3). Also be sure to check out my Thanksgiving Pinterest board, where I’m continually adding all kinds of amazing recipes from my favorite bloggers.
Let’s start with appetizers. It always seems a bit counterintuitive to start with appetizers on a day already filled with so much eating, but guests definitely need something to nibble on while the meal is cooking. Keep it super simple. This is not the highlight of the meal so this is not where you need to spend your time. I nearly always do a cheese board and sometimes charcuterie, and maybe one other thing. These are the bites I deem simple enough for Thanksgiving:
- Roasted pumpkin hazelnut crostini
- Sparkling cranberry brie bites
- Pear riesling compote (a nice addition to a cheese board)
- Parmesan crusted goat cheese with basil oil
- Kale pesto white bean dip
- Chèvre and roasted bell pepper crostini
Thanksgiving cocktails are a requirement, at least in my family. Of course a standard beer and wine selection is necessary, but having a signature cocktail available takes things up a notch. Here are a few of my favorites that work well for this time of year.
- Cranberry margaritas (perfect for a crowd since it makes a large pitcher)
- The sharp shooter
- Cranberry sorbet champagne fizz
Of course, turkey is typically the main event. This roast turkey with herb butter is a reliable method that will turn out a perfect bird every time. If you are hosting a really small gathering or want to do something different from the usual, a garlic rosemary roast chicken is also a great option. If you are looking for a vegetarian alternative main dish, these portobellos with herbed stuffing and sweet potatoes are awesome. I would be perfectly happy with them as a meatless menu option.
The category of Thanksgiving side dishes really encompasses a few different subsets of must-make items. Potato and grain sides, bread or rolls, and vegetables (however doctored up they may be by the time they reach the table). Here are a few different versions of potatoes. I like to serve at least two or three renditions on potatoes since everyone’s personal preference can differ. A few whole grain based sides are also included below, and I always include at least one item like this in the spread.
- Classic roasted garlic mashed potatoes (my personal favorite)
- Creamy chive potatoes
- Twice baked potato casserole
- Sweet potatoes with sage butter topping
- Mushroom and brown rice casserole
- Mushroom gouda quinoa bake
Veggie sides are generally not the shining star of the holiday spread and some people could probably do without them all together, but I love them and find them absolutely necessary.
- Green bean casserole from scratch
- Harvest apple spinach salad
- Massaged kale Caesar salad
- Baked spinach
- Roasted cauliflower with red pepper coulis
Bread, rolls and biscuits have always been my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal. (That and the potatoes.) Again, this is something where I typically try to include at least two versions for the sake of variety and to suit everyone’s tastes. Keep in mind that fresh baked breads freeze beautifully, so you can make these now and to have them ready for the holiday.
- Honey yeast rolls (my all time fave)
- Buttermilk cornbread
- Multigrain bread
- Soft garlic knots
- Buttermilk chive biscuits
- Potato rolls
Not quite sides but not to be forgotten, these are three things that are essential parts of the Thanksgiving table! In particular the herb butter is not to be missed.
Of course, we can’t forget the grand finale – dessert! More like Thanksgiving, Phase 2. After we’ve all had time to relax and digest a bit, things should end on a sweet note. Here are my favorite pies as well as a few less traditional dessert options.
- Caramel-spiked pumpkin pie
- Cranberry blueberry pie
- Caramel apple cheesecake pie
- Chocolate silk pie
- Double chocolate pecan pie
- Classic apple pie
- Pear crumble pie
- Pecan pie thumbprint cookies
- Pumpkin whoopie pies
- Pumpkin mousse parfaits
I hope you find this post serves as a helpful resource, especially if you are new to Thanksgiving planning. More recipes for the holiday coming later this week and early next week!