Thanksgiving Shake-Up (or 40+ Recipe Ideas)

Every year around this time, Andy will turn to me and say something like “I think it’s time to shake things up a little at Thanksgiving.” Mmmm hmmm, I’ll respond, and if I wore glasses, I’d raise my eyeballs over the frames for a sec before turning back to doing what I was doing, which is, most likely reviewing last year’s menu with my mom. It’s not that I am ignoring him, exactly.  It’s more that I know myself by now. I’ll spend a lot of time poring over books and websites looking for interesting twists on tradition, only to end up right back at…tradition. Our menu, as outlined in How to Celebrate Everything, is classic, and, I might add, perfect: My Mom’s Herb-Roasted Turkey with Gravy, Confetti Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Raisins, Sausage and Apple Stuffing, Cranberry Relish, Potato Gratin with Gruyere, Horseradish Mashed Potatoes (yes, two potato recipes, need I explain?) and my mom’s world-famous Chocolate Pudding Pie. We definitely introduce new recipes into the equation (application permitting) but other than that cranberry relish from a few years ago, I can’t remember a dish that was good enough to be permanently entered into the rotation.

One thing that happily, evolves, however, is the crew in the kitchen. The older the kids get, the more they want to partake in the preparing, realizing, smartly, that the kitchen is the center of the action. When my nephew, Owen, texted me last week to ask me for a Thanksgiving assignment, I told him I’d send him a few options because most of the MVPs were already taken by his sisters and cousins. Turns out I came up with a pretty comprehensive list of options, excluding the turkey, that I thought you’d be interested in, too. Maybe it’s time to shake things up a bit in your house? Let me know how it goes.

Cocktails &  Snacks

Epic Thanksgiving Cheeseplate (photo: Gaby Dalkin)



Crudite with an array of these dips

Brown Sugar Spiced Nuts

Pomegranate and Orange Peel Fizz Mocktail


Best Shredded Kale Salad (vegan; photo credit: Oh She Glows)

Brussels Sprouts, Apple, and Pomegranate Salad (above, photo credit Deb Perelman)

Fennel-Apple Salad with Walnuts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes and Walnuts

Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Meyer Lemon, and Quinoa Salad


Hasselback Butternut Squash with Bay Leaves (photo credit: Bobbi Lin)

Roasted Carrots with Creamy Nuoc Cham Dressing

Creamy Green Bean Casserole

Roasted Cauliflower with Breadcrumbs and Anchovies

Smashed Carrots with Feta & Mint

Orange-braised Parsnips and Carrots

And another Green Bean Casserole with Mushrooms & Fried Onion Rings 

Heirloom Apple and Celery Salad

Holiday Slaw with Kale and Butternut Squash

Stuffing & Potatoes & Casseroles

Herbed Potato Gratin with Roasted Garlic and Manchego (photo credit: Petrina Tinsley)

Cheesy Potato and Kale Gratin with Rye Croutons

Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes

Classic Scalloped Potatoes

Challah, Mushroom and Celery Stuffing

Thomas Keller’s Bread Pudding

Cheesy Sausage and Sage Stuffing

Kale and Caramelized Onion Stuffing (photo: Deb Perelman)

Cracklin’ Corn Bread

Savory Sweet Potato Casserole with Brown Butter & Rosemary

Scalloped Potatoes with Caramelized Fennel

Thanksgiving Casserole for Everyone (gluten-free, vegan)

Pies & Tarts

Meta Given’s Caramelized Pumpkin Pie (via Facebook reader Libby; photo by James Ransom for Food52)

Sweet Potato Buttermilk Pie

Cranberry and Cornmeal Upside Down Cake

Salted Caramel Apple Pie (photo credit: Jennifer Causey)

Meyer Lemon Tart

Joy the Baker’s Sweet Potato Pie (via Facebook reader Whitney)

Apple Gingersnap Crumble

Bourbon-Pecan Pie

The Thanksgiving menu from How to Celebrate Everything begins on page 49.

Gratuitous Chocolate Pudding Pie pic. (Photo by Chelsea Cavanaugh for DALS)

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What an awesome list! I am only in charge of the apple pie this year, but this makes me want to make a whole separate Thanksgiving dinner just to try out some of the recipes!

One note: beware the Challah stuffing recipe from Food 52. I made it once and it was really, really wet – practically soup. I suspect it’s because “one large loaf of challah” varies depending on where you get it. Made it again and it was great, so just consult the comments for how much challah you should end up with!


I think my mom wins the award for “shaking things up” this Thanksgiving. When I sent her the date that we figured out would work best to get together for Thanksgiving (we couldn’t all be there ON Thanksgiving), she replied, “Okay. I can pick up some subs.” WHAT?! I vetoed her offer and will now be preparing the bird, a few sides and a pie to take to her house…


In preparation for tomorrow, I just read through the Thanksgiving section of How To Celebrate Everything. How to avoid empty celebration syndrome was just what I was looking for. I’m so thankful you wrote this book!