Crowd-Pleasing Turkey Alternatives for Thanksgiving Dinner

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Who says that turkey must be the main attraction on Thanksgiving?

Roasted Chicken

Try These Meaty Turkey Alternatives

Instead of slaving over your oven for hours cooking a bird many people won’t even want, try making other seasonally appropriate dishes that your family and friends will enjoy and that the pilgrims would have enjoyed, too. A roast chicken or a sweet pork roast are both crowd pleasers. But if you aren’t quite ready to let go of turkey, you could make a simpler version of the big bird with turkey tenderloins or turkey breast.

After all, this is your holiday. Make whatever you’ll be most thankful to eat!

Pork Tenderloins

Pork Tenderloins
Shutterstock

Pork tenderloin is an elegant, simple, and satisfying meal, but the plum salsa really puts this dish over the top. Plums are perfect in a salsa because they don't break down when you cook them. They add a fresh, bright element to the pork by balancing that savory flavor with sweet fruit. After it's prepared, this salsa looks absolutely beautiful, and the flavor and color adds to the appeal of the tender pork. This is a great dish for entertaining because it's low in calories, low in fat, and high in protein without sacrificing flavor. It is also easy to prepare because the pork is roasted whole and then individually sliced for your guests.

Click here for the recipe. 

Duck Breast

Looking to impress some dinner guests? Look no further than this recipe. Who can resist a perfectly cooked duck breast? It's a feast for the senses, and although there are a few different components involved, they each come together with ease.

Click here for the recipe

Roasted Chicken

With a balance of seasoning that includes fresh herbs and lemon, this recipe makes the perfect roast chicken every time. It is a lighter and faster alternative to turkey for a tasty Thanksgiving meal guests will be grateful for.

Click here for the recipe.

Pork Roast

Sweeten up a pork roast using this recipe. It will bring out different layers of flavors ranging from sweet to savory. The fall flavors in this dish will melt away any stray feelings of missing out on Thanksgiving turkey.

Click here for the recipe. 

Roasted Turkey Tenderloins

Roasted Turkey Tenderloins
Shutterstock

Want a semi-traditional a Thanksgiving meal? Try making turkey tenderloins for a quicker, easier alternative. This roasted turkey tenderloin recipe takes one-third of the time of a big Thanksgiving turkey, but promises to have all of the flavors. This savory dish is all you need for a mini Thanksgiving dinner.

Click here for the recipe

Steak

What is more American than a slab of steak? This recipe for porterhouse steaks, from Clos du Bois ambassador Katie Lee, makes a perfect nontraditional Thanksgiving dinner for a small crowd. The steps are simple, as are the ingredients, making the flavors of the steak pop, and pairing it with Clos du Bois Rouge makes for a smooth and sultry combination.

Click here for the recipe. 

Bison

Bison
Jane Bruce

Taken from the Bison’s short plate, the skirt steak is a tender cut of meat that is less expensive than other cuts. Simple seasonings such as lemon zest, garlic, and red pepper flakes add a mild flavor to this grilled steak, letting bison’s natural and rich flavor speak for itself. And really, what more could you ask for on a holiday like Thanksgiving than a plan early European settlers ate?

Click here for the recipe. 

Venison

It was very likely that the Pilgrims actually ate venison at the first Thanksgiving, so why not try serving it at your own holiday?  This recipe is an imitation of a classic Bourguignon, but the venison makes it a more flavorful, less fatty meal than your typical Bourguignon.

Click here for the recipe. 

Roasted Chicken Leg

Does your family typically fight over the turkey leg come Thanksgiving? Skip the battle this year and try making roasted chicken legs instead. They are especially great for football-loving families on Thanksgiving, as it is the most portable main dish ever!

Click here for the recipe. 

Braised Short Ribs

Braised Short Ribs
iStock/Thinkstock

It's hard to do short ribs wrong, but this recipe does them oh-so-right. The short ribs are braised in a chocolaty Guinness marinade to give them a uniquely rich flavor.

Click here for the recipe.

Salmon

Not only is this hearty main dish supremely delicious, it is actually likely the Pilgrims even ate seafood at the first Thanksgiving! Plus, this dish will make all of the pescetarians at the table very happy! This recipe takes the classic flavors and textures of beef Wellington and transforms them into an elegant preparation for salmon. Use any mushroom you like — white button, cremini, or mixed wild mushrooms are all good choices.

Click here for the recipe.

Tasty Turkey Alternatives

Instead of slaving over your oven for hours cooking a bird many people won’t even want, try making other seasonally appropriate dishes that your guests will enjoy and that the pilgrims would have enjoyed, too. A roast chicken or a sweet pork roast are both crowd pleasers. But if you aren’t quite ready to let go of turkey, you could make a simpler version of the big bird with turkey tenderloins or turkey breast