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Top 10 Alternatives to Turkey Dinner

By Editorial Staff

Contributed by Aurora LaJambre, Info Guru

Whether you’re vegetarian or don’t particularly like turkey, you probably already have a few alternatives to a turkey dinner on holidays.

Or maybe you fill up on all of the tasty side dishes because you feel self conscious being the only non-turkey eater? Regardless, everyone loves variety and enjoys feeling uncomfortably satisfied after a home cooked holiday meal.

These top 10 alternatives to turkey dinner include mouth-watering recipes for both vegetarian and meat comfort foods.

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10. Lasagna

As no hard rule states that you have to have cranberry sauce, biscuits, mashies and all the fixings with your turkey dinner, there’s no reason you can’t look to other countries for dinner alternatives. Try Lasagna with tomato sauce, salad, brochette and olives. Layer your favorite veggies over noodles, ricotta and tomato sauce for a hearty dish that doesn’t take 4-6 hours to cook.

9. Stuffed Pork Chops

Meat eaters can skip the turkey and still enjoy white meat with the traditional fixings. Stuff pork chops with corn bread and apricots, sage and apples or your usual turkey stuffing. Pork chops roast in about 1 ½ hours and also cost less when compared to a whole turkey.

8. Veggie Loaf

Veggie loaves are hearty and lend themselves to a variety of ingredients. Similar to making veggie burgers, you can incorporate grains, lentils, chopped nuts, herbs and carrots, celery, onions, and peppers in one delicious loaf. Add cranberry chutney, a heaping bowl of mashed sweet potatoes and creamed corn or spinach for a colorful menu that leaves no room for turkey.

7. Roasted Chicken

Serve a roast chicken and enjoy the savory flavors and aromas of roasted meat seasoned with herbs and juices. Most importantly, you can use chicken in as many creative leftovers as turkey from chicken croquettes, and chicken salad, to sandwiches and sliced chicken with gravy and mashed potatoes. Note that chickens are smaller the turkeys so you may need to roast two or three to accommodate a house full of guests.

6. Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Indulge in an ultimate comfort food dish with a vegetarian shepherd’s pie. Layer sautéed lentils, soy crumbles or mushrooms as the “meat” of your dish. Saute peas, carrots, and zucchini with rosemary, thyme and garlic, and then layer them as your center. Top with mashed potatoes and broil until brown. Serve with biscuits, creamed spinach and pumpkin soup for a complete fiesta.

5. Cornish Hen

For a short guest list, roasting Cornish hens instead will save you from eating a week’s worth of turkey leftovers. Stuff Cornish hens with a lemon and season with thyme, sage, cumin, garlic or ground ginger. Pour chicken stock in your roasting pan to keep the hens moist, and consider roasting carrots, potatoes and bell paper in the same pan.

4. Indian Food

The multiple dishes, breads and condiments customary for an Indian dinner make this an appealing option for tables hosting both meat eaters and vegetarians. Prepare dahl (lentils), chana saag (chick peas and spinach), aloo dom (spicy potatoes) and begun (roasted eggplant mash) for your vegetable dishes. Grill tandoori chicken or prepare curried chicken. Add rice, chutney, yogurt and chilies. Your table may be crowded, but the spices and rich aromas will invigorate your party.

3. Bulgur Casserole

Try something a little different with a vegetarian bulgur casserole. Mix cooked bulgur with chopped onions, bell pepper, spinach and chopped tofu steak in a large pot on medium heat. Add soy sauce, sage and tahini. Top with pepper jack cheese and bake for about 10 minutes. The flavors are sweet and savory and go well with classic side dishes like roasted cauliflower, potatoes, creamed corn and cranberry sauce, but don’t count on having leftovers.

2. Ham

A number of people bake ham instead of turkey for holidays. You can use similar glazes to a ham as a turkey, including pineapple rings. Ham may not be as popular with gravy-lovers, but you can make up for it with a rich glaze and yams.

1. Tofu Turkey

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For the vegetarian craving tradition, you can stuff tofu turkey, layer it with mushroom or cashew gravy, and serve it with a creamed, roasted, sautéed and mashed vegetable side dishes. Use extra firm tofu, rosemary, sage and thyme, drizzled with a sesame oil, orange and honey glaze. Make enough for leftovers to enjoy the classic Thanksgiving sandwich of a scoop of everything-from the table between two pieces of bread.


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