ThanksgivingWhat to Cook

Beyond Turkey: 14 Recipes to Help You Rethink Your Thanksgiving Main

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For something like 51 weeks of the year, I pay turkey no mind. We might meet at a Renaissance Fair and I’ll lug a turkey drumstick around as a primordial snack, or at my neighborhood deli where its thin slices so softly announce themselves between pale cheddar and coarse mustard. But otherwise, turkey, for the most part, is lost to me.

Enter Thanksgiving, and turkey takes hold. We wear them on our heads and run mini marathons in their name. We debate for hours on the best ways to prepare them. We burn them, we recover them, we serve them. And very often, they’re very good—because a well-prepared Thanksgiving turkey is no small feat.

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But maybe there’s time (and space!) for change. Maybe turkey, as good and traditional as it is, doesn’t have to be the crispy focal point of our mid-autumn celebrations. Of course, this is no mandate; rather, it is a thought exercise. Why don't you try swapping out that turkey for say, as Alice Medrich does, a salmon? Or catering to the predilections of your meat-eschewing guests? In this year full of surprises—both welcome and unwelcome—why not add one more?

things with wings

Pucker-Up Lemon Sumac Chicken with Lemon Herb Board Sauce

Pucker-Up Lemon Sumac Chicken with Lemon Herb Board Sauce by Leith Devine

Spatchcocked and Braise-Roasted Chicken

Spatchcocked and Braise-Roasted Chicken by Amanda Hesser

Game Hens with Roasted Grape Mostarda

Game Hens with Roasted Grape Mostarda by meganvt01

Honey-Roasted Chicken with Garlic, Lavender, and Roasted Vegetables

Honey-Roasted Chicken with Garlic, Lavender, and Roasted ... by Caroline Choe

Break From Tradition

Sesame Encrusted Salmon with Pinot Noir Reduction

Sesame Encrusted Salmon with Pinot Noir Reduction by coffeefoodwrite

Porchetta

Porchetta by Sara Jenkins

Porcini and Rosemary Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Port Wine Sauce

Porcini and Rosemary Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Port Wi... by TasteFood

Sausage and Apple Pie

Sausage and Apple Pie by Kate McDermott-Art of the Pie

make it meatless

Alon Shaya's Whole Roasted Cauliflower and Whipped Goat Cheese

Alon Shaya's Whole Roasted Cauliflower and Whipped Goat C... by Genius Recipes

Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Parsnip and and Potato Mash

Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Parsnip and and Potato Mash by Gena Hamshaw

Thanksgiving Root Vegetable Pie

Thanksgiving Root Vegetable Pie by Marian Bull

Lentil Walnut Loaf

Lentil Walnut Loaf by Gena Hamshaw

Roasted Delicata Squash Stuffed with Autumn Farro

Roasted Delicata Squash Stuffed with Autumn Farro by danielle majeika | the perp...

Baked Penne with Butternut-Sage Sauce

Baked Penne with Butternut-Sage Sauce by Alexandra Stafford

That being said, I could just be spewing nonsense. If that's the case, then head over to our Automatic Menu Maker and find the turkey recipe that works best for you.

Do you lean towards turkey or like to try something new? Let us know about your traditions in the comments below.

Automagic Thanksgiving Menu Maker!
Automagic Thanksgiving Menu Maker!