Most people love a traditional Thanksgiving meal. The usual turkey with gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, pumpkin pie — it wouldn’t seem like Thanksgiving without the staple recipes. It’s also nice to throw in a surprise dish or two each year on your Thanksgiving table — dishes that are new but still in keeping with the flavors and the feeling of the season.

Here are some Thanksgiving recipes, most of them with seasonal ingredients, that would fit in nicely with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Many of them are also vegetarian recipes that you can add to your menu for those who pass on the turkey. Who knows, perhaps one of these new dishes will become a regular Thanksgiving recipe that you'll make year after year.

Appetizers

Only the most experienced of chefs can get Thanksgiving dinner on the table at the scheduled time. These appetizers will keep your friends and family from starving until you’ve pulled the whole meal together.

Pumpkin Hummus – Hummus is a crowd favorite, and putting out a bowl of this dip flavored with pumpkin along with crudite and some pita chips is a good, low-fat option before the main meal.

Butternut Squash Bruschetta – This twist on bruschetta uses seasonal squash, walnuts and caperberries (derived from the same plant as capers but not the same thing). Chances are your guests will have never had anything like it.

Wild Mushroom and Goat Cheese Puff Pastry Pockets – The filling for these pastry pockets can be made ahead of time and put into the unbaked pastry pockets and frozen for up to one month. Take them directly from the freezer and pop them in the oven.

Soups

Sure, soup is often considered an appetizer, but it’s usually not the type of appetizer you can put on the coffee table for casual munching. You can start the sit-down portion of dinner with one of these seasonal soups.

Sweet Potato, Chipotle and Apple Soup – This is a creamy soup that doesn’t add any cream and uses two abundant, seasonal foods — sweet potatoes and apples.

Green Bean Soup – The flavors from the green bean casserole from yesteryear are all in this healthy, creamy soup that uses vegetable broth, fresh green beans, onions and, surprisingly, a vanilla bean.

Side dishes

A new side dish needs to be special to compete with the mashed potatoes, stuffing and sweet potato casserole. Maybe one of these less starchy sides will do the trick.

Glazed Acorn Squash – A very simple side dish. The squash can be sliced up a day or two ahead of time and roasted in the oven while the cooked turkey is resting.

Roasted Baby Beets – Dijon mustard, shallots, and olive oil are all tossed with red and/or yellow baby beets and then roasted to make this seasonal side dish.

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Onion – A recipe that’s adapted from Alice Waters’ "The Art of Simple Food," this Thanksgiving side dish adds some flavor to the often-ignored Brussels sprouts.

Roasted Parsnips – Another abundant fall food, parsnips are roasted then tossed with horseradish herb butter.

Desserts

Don’t risk being stabbed with a pie server by not serving pumpkin pie after dinner, but no one will harm you if you add an option or two to the traditional dessert.

Cranberry Tart with Hazelnut Crust – Who says the cranberries in your Thanksgiving have to come in sauce form? Tart cranberries, sweet syrup and a nutty crust combine for an unconventional Thanksgiving dessert.

Almond-Pear Galette– Apples are usually the first fruit that comes to mind when considering fall fruits, but pears are plentiful in fall, too. This free-form pie pairs a creamy almond paste with fresh pears.

Know of other Thanksgiving recipes? Let us know in the comments below.

See also:

Thanksgiving activities for kids

History of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving crafts

Thanksgiving poems

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