Skip the Turkey: Here's How to Have a Sides-Only Thanksgiving

Why should turkey steal the show every year? It's not that we have anything against turkey, it's just that there are so many other wonderful alternative main dishes to try, or not (link to article on alternative mains for Thanksgiving). Plus, cooking a turkey just takes so. dang. long.

Don't let turkey become an obligation. This year, instead of spending hours basting your turkey and hoping that it will be done on time, have a sides-only Thanksgiving. Indulge in creamy green beans topped with crispy onions. Sop up your gravy with decadently fluffy rolls. Mix your mashed potatoes with your cranberries because you can. This year do Thanksgiving your way.

Need some ideas how to create a menu without a turkey? Don't worry, we have it all planned out for you.


Easy Sparkling Sangria

I Am a Food Blog
I Am a Food Blog

This recipe pulls together Prosecco, Aperol, cinnamon, and a few other ingredients for an incredibly easy table-side cocktail. Pass the pitcher, please!

Get the recipe here.

Honey Vanilla Pear Margaritas

How Sweet It Is
How Sweet It Is

Who said margaritas were only for the summertime? Though this recipe portions out individual sizes, some simple math will get you to pitcher quantities. Or you could just throw it all in one pitcher, anyways.

Get the recipe here.


Crispy Butternut Squash Spinach Salad with Bacon-Shallot Vinaigrette

thanksgiving side salad

Start off your Thanksgiving feast with some greens. That way, you know you've gotten your vitamins, so you can eat as much as you want of everything else. Right?

Get the recipe here.

Main Course

Classic Thanksgiving Stuffing

thanksgiving side stuffing
Averie Cooks.

Technically this is dressing because it won't have been stuffed inside a bird, but who cares. It's good.

In keeping with the turkey-less theme, this dressing is all about the herbed bread. No turkey juice, no shredded turkey. Just pure, unadulterated classic goodness.

Get the recipe here.


Vanilla Bean Sweet Potato Casserole with Crunchy Pecan-Oat Topping

sweet-potato-casserole thanksgiving sides
Well Plated.

You can't skip the sweet potato casserole on Thanksgiving. However, since this year things are a little different, why not spice up this dish with some vanilla bean and oat topping. Go ahead, tantalize your tastebuds.

Get the recipe here.

Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions

Smitten Kitchen.

To help you differentiate between all the casseroles that end up on your Thanksgiving table you have to get creative with toppings. This green bean casserole uses toppings wisely.

You won't be able to resist its mushroom béchamel sauce whose texture is nicely complemented by its crispy onion topping.

Get the recipe here.

Golden Mashed Potatoes

golden mashed potatoes thanksgiving sides
The Kitchn.

Let's be honest, Thanksgiving is kind of an indulgent holiday. So why not have two kinds of potatoes at the table?

Get the recipe here.

Potato Rolls

potato rolls side
Boastful Baker.

No Thanksgiving meal is complete without some delicious homemade rolls. How else are you supposed to sop up the extra gravy, potatoes, and cranberry sauce!? Just make sure the rolls are worthy of the sides they're scooping up.

Get the recipe here.


Truly when it comes to Thanksgiving you need two desserts. Always. Since this year you're omitting the traditional turkey centerpiece, you may as well stick to traditional desserts and make them unbelievably tasty.

Pumpkin Meringue Pie

Preppy Kitchen.

Because no Turkey Day is complete without pumpkin pie.

Get the recipe here.

Pecan Pie

Pretty.Simple. Sweet.

If you are from the South, you know that this nut is pronounced pee-cawn and there is only one way to fully enjoy it: in a pie. Really, there is no shame in dedicating an entire pie to their glory.

Get the recipe here.

Read More: The 4 Best Beer Styles to Pair with Thanksgiving Dinner

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