Five Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Dishes

With Thanksgiving just days away, we are already drooling over all the yummy food we get to eat! Of course, we love traditional turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, and potatoes. But if you’re looking to change it up this year, the following non-traditional Thanksgiving dishes are worth a try.

Fire and Spice Ham

If you’re not a turkey fan, this fiery ham recipe courtesy of Cooking Light is a flavorful alternative thanks to the red pepper jelly, which you could make from scratch or buy, and pineapple preserve.


  • 1 (5½-6 pounds) 33% less sodium ham half, smoked, fully cooked
  • Cooking spray
  • ½ cup red pepper jelly
  • ½ cup pineapple preserves
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Trim fat and rind from ham half. Score outside of ham in a diamond pattern. Place ham on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Combine jelly and remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk until well-blended. Brush about one-third of the jelly mixture over ham.
  3. Bake for 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F (do not remove ham from oven); bake an additional 45 minutes, basting ham with jelly mixture every 15 minutes. Transfer ham to a serving platter; let stand 15 minutes before slicing.

Tortilla Chip Chorizo Stuffing

For our pork lovers, this chorizo stuffing recipe from The Bitten Word is a game-changer. Chorizo is one of the stars of this dish, which is enhanced by the flavors from the green chiles, cilantro, and queso fresco.


  • 9 Tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
  • 12 ounces dried chorizo, chopped
  • 4 bunches scallions, chopped
  • Four 4-ounce cans chopped green chiles, drained
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 cups low-sodium turkey or chicken broth
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • One 13-ounce bag corn tortilla chips, coarsely crushed
  • 8 cups stale white bread cubes
  • 2 cups queso fresco cheese, cubed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 3-quart baking dish. Melt 8 Tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add the chorizo, scallions, chiles, and cumin, and cook, stirring until the chorizo is slightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer.
  2. Whisk the eggs and cilantro in a large bowl. Add the tortilla chips, bread, and cheese and season with salt and pepper. Slowly pour in the chorizo-broth mixture and toss to combine.
  3. Transfer the stuffing to the prepared baking dish; dot with the remaining 1 Tbsp butter. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake until golden, about 30 more minutes.

Chef’s Note: If you’re using fresh bread, dry the cubes in oven at 300°F for 15 to 20 minutes.

Brown-Butter Garlic-Maple Roasted Carrots

This brown-butter garlic-maple roasted carrots side dish from Olive & Mango belongs at your Thanksgiving table. It is an easy recipe that doesn’t require many ingredients.


  • 2 pounds carrots, scrubbed clean or peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme plus more for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. In a medium saucepan, add butter and cook over medium-high heat, whisking until the butter starts to become frothy, nutty smelling, and golden-brown. This will take approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Then add maple syrup, thyme, and garlic and remove from heat.
  2. Place carrots in a large bowl and carefully drizzle the brown-butter maple sauce on top. Toss until coated and spread evenly on a large baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cover with foil and roast for 10 minutes, then remove foil and continue roasting for another 10 to 15 minutes or until carrots are tender. Transfer to a serving dish or platter and garnish with some fresh thyme. Serve immediately.

Cider and Bourbon-Glazed Shallots

Bon Appetit’s cider and bourbon-glazed shallots is another easy side dish recipe that even onion “haters” will love. This recipe also includes maple syrup, which complements vegetables so well!


  • 2½ pounds shallots, peeled
  • ⅔ cup (or more) apple cider vinegar
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt, plus more
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Bring shallots, vinegar, butter, bourbon, maple syrup, ¼ tsp salt, and 2 cups water to a boil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, adding water by the tablespoonful if needed, until shallots are crisp-tender and liquid is partly evaporated, 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. Uncover shallots and cook until liquid is evaporated and shallots begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook, swirling pan often, until shallots and surface of skillet are covered in a rich brown caramel, about 6 minutes. Add ¼ cup water to skillet and stir to deglaze caramel and coat shallots. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a microwave-safe bowl and let cool.
  3. Shallots can be made one day ahead. Cover and chill. To reheat, cover bowl with plastic wrap and microwave on high in 30-second intervals, tossing in between, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and vinegar if needed.

Spiral Sweet Potato Bake

Instead of a sweet potato casserole this year, why not try this spiral sweet potato bake side dish from Nagi over at RecipeTin Eats. Whether you use a cast-iron skillet or a baking dish, it doesn’t matter; if you’re in charge of bringing a side dish to Thanksgiving dinner, you will surely impress everyone in attendance with this tasty recipe.


  • 2½ pounds sweet potatoes (each approximately 2.5-inch wide, 8-inch long, as evenly shaped as possible), finely sliced, skin on
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra for brushing the skillet
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped, plus more for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush skillet base and sides with a little olive oil.
  2. Slice potatoes 3-4 mm thick. A mandolin will make short work of this.
  3. Place potatoes in a large bowl, then pour in all butter plus 1 Tbsp olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Toss well with hands, separating the slices so they are all coated with oil.
  4. Layer potatoes into skillet in a circular pattern, overlapping the slices.
  5. Cover with foil, bake for 30 minutes until potatoes are quite soft (almost fully cooked).
  6. Remove from oven, turn up to 430°F. Remove foil, brush potatoes with the remaining 1 Tbsp oil.
  7. Bake uncovered 20 minutes until tops are golden and slightly crisp and potatoes are cooked through (check with a knife or skewer).
  8. Scatter with more rosemary leaves, a whole sprig of rosemary, and a pinch of sea salt flakes if desired. Serve immediately. Sweet potatoes lose their crispiness as they cool.

Do you have a favorite non-traditional Thanksgiving dish? Share with us in the comments below!

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