Thanksgiving Recipes With a Twist
November 20, 2020

Thanksgiving Recipes With a Twist

Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce: these are the traditional Thanksgiving foods found on nearly every carefully-set table come November. And while we all look forward to the classic dishes, sometimes we just need a change.

Due to COVID-19, this year’s Thanksgiving table may look a bit different, as families are encouraged to keep gatherings to a minimum, and not everyone wants to spend days in the kitchen cooking an elaborate meal for just a few people. No offense to pumpkin pie or green bean casserole, but there are so many other great Thanksgiving dishes out there that deserve a little attention. Following are some of our favorites.


Starters & Sides


Acorn Squash Soup

Photo courtesy Well Plated

This warm & comforting recipe from Well Plated is like autumn in a bowl. Roasted acorn squash (you can substitute butternut if you prefer) is blended with carrots, shallots and herbs, then topped with parmesan and fried sage. You can even add bacon or toasted pumpkin seeds — whatever you happen to have on hand.


Fall Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad

Photo courtesy Iowa Girl Eats

Looking for a salad that’s a step above iceberg and croutons? Try this shredded Brussel sprouts salad from Iowa Girl Eats. Shaved Brussels, cranberries, gorgonzola, pecans and whatever fall fruit you have on hand (like pears or apples) are mixed with a maple balsamic vinaigrette, with all the flavors of fall in one bite. Best of all, it’s gluten free!


Potato and Leek Gratin

Photo courtesy Smitten Kitchen

Some type of potato dish is almost expected at the Thanksgiving table, whether mashed, roasted or scalloped. This recipe from Smitten Kitchen is similar to scalloped potatoes, using Yukon golds and big chunks of leeks to lend a rustic quality. Topped with gruyere and buttered bread crumbs and you’ve got an elevated side dish the whole family will love.


Butternut Squash Risotto

Photo courtesy Cookie & Kate

Creamy, sweet, savory and filling — this risotto recipe from Cookie and Kate can be served as a side or as a vegetarian main dish. It uses carmelized butternut squash and brown rice to create deep, complex flavors, and parmesan cheese and fried sage to brighten it up. Unlike traditional risotto, this version is baked in the oven, so you can skip the constant stirring.




Turkey & Dressing Casserole

Photo courtesy The Kitchen is My Playground

If Thanksgiving without turkey isn’t Thanksgiving, try this one-dish meal from The Kitchen is My Playground. There’s no need to roast a whole bird, you can easily use turkey tenderloin. Mixed with a box of stuffing mix and cheese and you’ve got those classic flavors in one bite — no basting required.


Parmesan Apple Stuffed Turkey Tenderloin

Photo courtesy Garlic and Zest

This Thanksgiving-y recipe from Garlic and Zest is a creative take on an autumn classic. It rolls flattened turkey tenderloin with a parmesan apple stuffing, then wraps the whole thing up with prosciutto. Once sliced, you drizzle it with a sweet and savory maple apple gravy.


Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage Butter

Photo courtesy Pinch of Yum

If you’re looking for a vegetarian main dish, look no further than this recipe from Pinch of Yum. Handmade gnocchi (don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds) is tossed with a creamy, buttery, sage-infused sauce, then topped with parmesan and fried sage. Yum!


Butternut, Apple and Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Photo courtesy How Sweet Eats

This dish from How Sweet Eats is the perfect Thanksgiving entrée, as it combines the flavors of the season (butternut squash and apple) with tangy goat cheese and nutty wild rice. It’s relatively simple to make, just stuff & roll, but it is sure to impress your guests (and by guests we mean members of your household).




Pecan Pie Cake

Photo courtesy Liv for Cake

Pecan pie is a staple of Thanksgiving. Cake is a staple of, well, anytime. This recipe for Liv for Cake combines the two. A custardy filling is layered with a brown sugar cake (feel free to use a box mix) and topped with a simple brown sugar buttercream, then accented with pecans for a unique take on a traditional dessert!


Air Fryer Cinnamon Apple Rings

Photo courtesy Daily Dish Recipes

If you haven’t gotten on the air fryer bandwagon yet, now is the time. These workhorses blast your food with hot air, giving you a crispy outside in half the time. This recipe from Daily Dish Recipes is so simple: apple rings are battered, topped with cinnamon sugar and air fried, resulting in a gooey, crispy treat. Dunked in caramel and they’re over the top!


Cute Turkey Chocolate Pies

Photo courtesy Mom Endeavors

How adorable are these mini chocolate pies from Mom Endeavors? If you’ve got little ones in your family, this is the perfect dessert. A simple chocolate pudding, pre-made pie crusts and candy corn is all it takes to transform these scrumptious desserts into a fun showpiece kids (and adults) are sure to gobble up.


Pumpkin Tiramisu

Photo courtesy Champagne Tastes

Pumpkin pie gets a makeover with this pumpkin tiramisu recipe from Champagne Tastes. Like the classic Italian dessert, this version has layers of mascarpone and espresso-infused ladyfingers, but the addition of a pumpkin puree makes it fitting for the season.




Honeycrisp Bourbon Spiced Cider

Photo courtesy Spoon Fork Bacon

Wine is fine. Beer is basic. But if you want to really celebrate all you have to be thankful for, kick it up a notch with this cider cocktail from Spoon Fork Bacon. Mulling spices, hard cider and bourbon are combined for a soul-warming drink that looks festive with apple cutouts and star anise.


Pumpkin Martini

Photo courtesy Kylee Cooks

This recipe from Kylee Cooks is a dessert and a cocktail in one! All you need is pumpkin spice liqueur, cinnamon schnapps, and garnishes like whipped cream, nutmeg or shaved chocolate and you’re set.

Category Home Inspiration

Elizabeth Penney

Elizabeth Penney is a content writer for Lyon Real Estate and the Lyon Local blog. A Sacramento native with a marketing background, she shares her insider knowledge on restaurants, attractions and outdoor activities throughout the greater Sacramento area and beyond.