If cooking or serving a whole turkey seems like an overwhelming task this Thanksgiving or Christmas, or if you are simply too busy to organise the bird ahead of time, then these delicious and healthy turkey alternatives for the holiday season might just be the better options. I cover everything from beef, chicken and fish to vegetarian-friendly options.
The holiday season is just around the corner, so I’ve decided to dedicate this post to some amazing, non-turkey-based edible centrepieces for your festive table. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in for juicy roast turkey but it’s oh-so-predictable and let’s face it…a slightly time-consuming main. Why not try something different this year?
Below is a list of healthy Christmas and Thanksgiving turkey alternatives, including a few vegetarian options, that will be the focus of attention at your dinner party. These are equally perfect for a family dinner or lunch.
Other types of poultry like chicken is an obvious choice after turkey, and although roasted chicken is always a crowd-pleaser, I wanted to include other types of poultry in this category.
Roast Chicken with Inside-Out Stuffing
This is one of my favourite festive ways to serve whole chicken and my stuffing is all sorts of awesome. If you’re hosting a small gathering or cooking for two, try my Greek-style lemon and garlic roast chicken.
Slow Roasted Duck A Lorange with Lingonberry Port Gravy
This impressive dish from Eat In My Kitchen makes my mouth water. You can use any other port or fruits to replicate this recipe.
Spicy Roast Chicken With Curry Sauce & Potatoes
East meets West in this main roast dinner dish from Isle of Flora. You can use any root vegetables in place of potatoes and I think pumpkin or any type of winter squash would work really well with the curry sauce.
Whole Roasted Lavender Duck
I love the sound of this dish from The Saffron Girl as well. Aromatic herbs and spices go really well with duck meat.
Georgian Chicken Chkmeruli
This juicy fried chicken with dairy-free creamy garlic sauce is inspired by the famous Georgian chkmeruli recipe. This dish is dairy-free, paleo and Whole30 friendly and would be amazing on a festive table.
Puerto Rican Pasteles
Amanda from The Curious Coconut shows us how to make her family’s Thanksgiving tradition – chicken pasteles. This dish is paleo and AIP-friendly.
Garlic & Basil Roasted Chicken with Squash from Anya’s Eats
Apple & Herb Roast Chicken from Real Food With Danna
Roasted Chicken Thighs With Garlic & Oregano
Fish & Seafood Mains
Whole Baked Trout with Onion & Herb Salsa
This dish would make a great main dish for a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. You can use any whole fish in this recipe or multiple fillets.
Sweet Potato Salmon Fish Pie
A tasty, family-friendly sweet potato fish pie is made with delicious salmon, prawns and parsley sauce. Sweet potato is a healthier, more nutritious alternative to regular potato. Great for Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter.
Half Shell Scallops
These scallops from Well Nourished are not only delicious (cooked with garlic, parsley and slivered almonds) but they also look sensational, and even though they are on the lighter side, they would be a great platter to have on your dinner table.
For something more adventurous you could learn How To Boil A Dungeness Crab from Paleo Flourish and serve it with some garlic butter sauce.
Roasted Sea Bass Provencal from Relish
Lamb Thanksgiving Dishes
Macadamia-crusted Rack Of Lambs With Roasted Tomatoes
Roasted Leg of Lamb
This recipe from The Domestic Man is absolutely sensational and would be great as a centrepiece dish.
Lamb Loin Chops with Tarragon Sauce
Jalapeno-Pesto Minty Rack of Lamb from Cavegirl Cuisine
Italian Stuffed Leg of Lamb from Gutsy By Nature
Thanksgiving Beef Mains
Oven-Cooked Brisket With Caramelised Reduction
Slow-roast a whole beef brisket in the oven with a delicious, caramelised balsamic and Worcestershire reduction, onions and garlic. This oven-cooked brisket is braised in the broth that is then caramelised and the meat is browned during the roasting process, resulting in the most succulent meat full of flavour.
Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
Thanksgiving is all about comfort food and you certainly can’t go past a good Shepherd’s pie. It’s a great opportunity to combine two festive dishes – sweet potato casserole and a meat pie – in one family-friendly dish. You can make individual pies or bake a couple of larger casserole dishes to serve on the table.
Whole Beef Brisket Pot Roast
Beef brisket cooked as a pot roast couldn’t be easier. Just sear and then cook it in the oven with onions and garlic all afternoon until it becomes fall-apart tender. The leftovers freeze beautifully, too! Recipe from Simply Recipes.
Pomegranate Habanero Shredded Beef
This recipe from Steph Gaudreau looks like a real family affair and the best part – it’s super easy. Paleo and Whole30.
Beef Stuffed Acorn Squash
These adorable little ground beef stuffed acorn squash pumpkins are so delicious! They make the perfect fall main and are healthy and affordable. You can use any type of pumpkin to stuff with the meat filling.
Festive Pork Mains
Pork Tenderloin With Mushrooms & Balsamic Onions
Crispy Pork Belly
Or you can try this Pork Belly Roasted with Garlic & Cider from Comfort Bites. And learn how to make the perfect pork crackling every time from The Sistermixin.
Glazed Smoked Ham
And who doesn’t love a good glazed ham!?! Learn how to cook an amazing-looking, paleo-friendly Thanksgiving ham from Everyday Maven.
Vegetarian Thanksgiving Mains
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Inspired by Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavours, these quinoa stuffed peppers are filled with delicious vegetables, spices, nuts and dried cranberries. It’s a nutritious meal that is vegetarian-friendly and gluten-free.
Baked Sweet Potatoes With Walnut & Parsley Crumbs
Mushroom Nut Roast
Living in the UK, I got obsessed with nut roasts. I wanted to make a homemade recipe that is both vegan and paleo-friendly. This recipe is made with lots of mushrooms, veggies and mixed nuts, plus a few secret seasonings that make it irresistible. It’s egg-free, dairy-free, legume-free and grain-free.
Vegetarian No-Meat-Loaf (Nut-Roast)
This vegetarian meatloaf from A Couple of Cooks is made entirely of nuts, rice, mushrooms, onions, herbs, and cheese. Somehow, it all melds into an appearance and texture just like a meatloaf. And it tastes AMAZING. Perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Sunday roast and more
Whole Roasted Tandoori Cauliflower
You can use this fabulous Thanksgiving cauliflower recipe from My New Roots as a template really. She uses homemade Tandoori spice using pretty accessible pantry staples but you could inspiration from other cuisines.
Roasted Mushrooms with Thyme from Paleo Leap
Seed & Carrot Roast Loaf from Trinity’s Kitchen
Sesame Roasted Sweet Potatoes from Pinch of Yum
Turkey Recipes With A Twist
Want to stick with the tradition of serving up turkey but with an added a twist? Try one of these variations.
Perfect Smoked Turkey
Turkey Breast In A Crockpot
Turkey & Cranberry Stuffed Squash
Smoke Roast Turkey Breast
Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatballs from Plaid & Paleo
Stuffed Turkey Breast from The Saffron Girl
Do you have a favourite alternative to roast turkey or a traditional family dish you serve up for Thanksgiving? Have a question? Leave a comment below.
Wow you list is so overwhelming. It took me a lot of thinking before choosing what to prepare. I know that thanks giving is over so I notice Roasted Leg of Lamb recipe. I’ll be preparing this for Christmas dinner.