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Turkey Substitutes For Thanksgiving

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You’ve come to the correct spot if you’re seeking for a turkey substitute this Thanksgiving. This article offers gluten-free and vegan choices for your vegetarian and vegan visitors. You’ll be able to choose a tasty, protein-rich dinner without foregoing traditional holiday rituals. Continue reading to find out more! Some of the most common turkey replacements are listed below. You may even try seitan, a wheat-gluten-based meal that resembles meat in texture.

A large turkey is not for everyone, so this Thanksgiving may be the moment to break with tradition and try something different that will be received with just as much, if not more, enthusiasm. What if the bird isn’t a turkey? The possibilities here are just as beautiful as a whole or carved bird, and they are beautiful enough to stand alone. Whatever entree you pick, don’t allow the fact that it’s unusual deter you from making enough of the possibly more important holiday sides.


What is Turkey?

Turkey Substitutes For Thanksgiving

Although turkey is a traditional main course for Thanksgiving dinner, it is not essential. Salmon with Pomegranate Glaze, Oranges, Olives, and Herbs Alternative Thanksgiving meal options include Crackling Coppa Roast with Fennel and Onions and Garlic-Butter Rib Roast, to name a few. Do you need a meatless meal? There are also vegetarian steak options. Continue reading for those dishes, as well as numerous more turkey-free Thanksgiving dinner options.

Some Best Alternatives to Turkey

1. Roasted Crowns

Consider a crown roast as a centerpiece that can compete with a whole bird. These lovely circular roasts cook in half the time it takes to roast a turkey, feed a crowd, and include stuffing. With 16 chops around the crown (which compensates for the fact that lamb chops are significantly smaller), there are enough pork chops to feed up to 16 people and enough lamb chops to satisfy six to eight people. Our Crown Roast of Pork with Chestnut-Rye Dressing and Crown Roast of Lamb with Pilaf Stuffing are two seasonal meals to try.

These exquisite crowns seem complex, but they are quite easy and entertaining to construct, and the final product is very satisfying. Use our Crown Roast 101 to learn how to prepare the meat and make a crown using two racks of pig.

2. Tenderloin Roasted

As the name implies, tenderloin is one of the most delicate cuts of cattle and pork. It also cooks fast and looks great when sliced and topped with roasted vegetables and herbs. Try our Marinated Beef Tenderloin (which infuses the meat with a tangy Worcestershire and lemon marinade), or add a festive crust like our Leek Crusted Beef Tenderloin, or serve it with harissa and veggies like our Succulent Pork with Couscous and veggies dish.

3. Wellington Beef

Instead of cooking a turkey, amaze your visitors with Beef Wellington. Despite its age, this meal has endured the test of time. It’s usually prepared with beef tenderloin covered in pate and a mushroom mixture, wrapped in Parma ham, then wrapped in flaky golden buttery puff pastry. It’s a whole meal in and of itself. For a contemporary touch, try our Pork Wellington with Prosciutto and Spinach-Mushroom Stuffing, which mixes fresh tastes with the traditional crust.

4. Centerpieces of Vegetables

Choose something different from the sides if you’re substituting turkey with a major veggie entrée. Which route is the best? Consider the alternatives. Bring a dish of stuffed squash out.Decorate these mixed grain stuffed acorn squash with a pomegranate relish, or arrange a large roasted head of cauliflower in the middle of the table with a wonderful sauce nearby. As an alternative, try our hearty Broccoli and Potato Samosa Pie.

5. Seafood

While seafood may seem unusual for Thanksgiving, consider the following: Traditional Thanksgiving feasts, according to culinary historians, are predominantly composed of fish. Salmon cooks rapidly in the oven and tastes delicious when coated with a brown sugar and maple sauce before baking. If you live someplace warm or can take a few steps into the cold, grilled lobster is a wonderful and sumptuous centerpiece for the Thanksgiving table.

6. Other Animals

Roasting a full turkey takes a lot of time, work, and sometimes even food. Replace the turkey with chicken, Cornish game hens, or stuff and roast individual quails for each guest for an outstanding plated feast. Cranberry Stuffed Cornish Game Hen and Roast Chicken with Sourdough Stuffing provide a festive touch to the Thanksgiving table.

7. Ham

Finally, baked ham offers the warm, rich autumn tastes we associate with a Thanksgiving meal. It’s just as much fun to cut at the table, and leftover ham makes delicious sandwiches. Looking for a place to begin? Seasonalize your ham with a jammy pomegranate glaze and our fantastic ham baking instructions.

Which Wines go Best with Turkey on Thanksgiving?

Red Zinfandel and Maple-Glazed Turkey

A turkey recipe, such as our Maple-Glazed Turkey, tries to achieve a wonderful, crispy crust on the skin of the bird. When the bird is covered in maple syrup during the final hour of cooking, a crystalline coating develops, imparting a sweet, earthy flavor. A maple-glazed turkey has enough taste to stand up to a glass of red wine. Red Zinfandel is one of America’s oldest grape varieties, as seen by the 2018 Bogle Old Vines Zinfandel ($10.99, and the 2019 Ridge Paso Robles Zinfandel ($33.99, With your succulent maple turkey and favorite side dishes, it’s a fruity, red severe wine with all the baking spice characteristics.

Sparkling Wine and Deep-Fried Turkey

Deep frying turkey results in wonderful, juicy flesh with a crunchy, softly cooked skin. If you don’t match your fried items correctly, they may be rather filling. As a consequence, we recommend a high-acidity wine, such as sparkling wine. The acid in the wine cuts through the weight of the fried fowl, much as pickles do on a fried chicken sandwich. Pairing sparkling wines with fried dishes is a nice method to balance your taste while enjoying the meal. A blanc de noir (a sparkling wine made from red grapes) or ros is a nice option.

Red grapes provide greater body to sparkling wines than white grapes, enabling them to stand up to heavy fried meals. The 2018 Gerard Bertrand Cremant de Limoux Brut Rose ($22.99, or Chandon Blanc de Pinot Noir ($18.99, are also excellent choices.

Some Herbs that Give Flavor to Thanks Giving Dinner


The taste of woody-stemmed herbs enhances the flavor of hearty autumn dishes. Thyme has a rich taste with earthy and flowery overtones that lends a mild pepperiness to turkey and stuffing. When given enough time to cook, the herbs’ aromas and oils come to life, making it excellent for the long process of roasting a turkey. The leaves of thyme may be separated from the stem and used in cooking. If you keep the thyme whole, you must remove the stem before serving any recipe that includes it.


Sage is essential whether you’re making a traditional stuffing or one with odd components like our chorizo-almond filling. The herb has a powerful taste with mint, eucalyptus, and lemon undertones. Sage works well in heavier dishes with rich ingredients, such as stuffing or cornbread dressing, since its strong aromas do not fade soon. When fresh sage leaves are crisped in melted butter in a pan, they become exquisite. JeanMarie Brownson, recipe creator and proprietor of JMB Culinary Consulting, suggests floating the leaves in a bowl of pumpkin soup or using them as a garnish on a dish with your carved turkey.


Because parsley is so readily accessible, it’s easy to ignore it at Thanksgiving, but it’s an essential herb to have on hand for the big dinner. Instead of curly parsley, which is often used as a garnish due to its mild taste, use flat-leaf or Italian parsley. Stuffing, roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, and other Thanksgiving staples are all flavored with parsley. In the days after Thanksgiving, it may also be used to make a thick, savory stock.

What are Some Other Vegan Turkey Substitutes?

Tofu from Burma (Aka Chickpea Flour Tofu)

Burmese tofu, a nutritious tofu-like dish made from chickpea flour, oil, and water, is a pleasantly flavored alternative to turkey that can be prepared in the same way as any other protein. If you want to keep it traditional, serve it with vegan gravy, vegan cranberry sauce (which is almost usually vegan! ), dairy-free mashed potatoes, and vegetarian stuffing.

Pistachios & Turmeric-Tahini Sauce over Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Why not substitute a veggie for the turkey? Sure thing. Whole roasted cauliflower may sound simple on paper (or in your family’s Thanksgiving planning spreadsheet), but wait till you put it on the table. The brassica is topped with a herb combination, almonds, chopped chiles, and dried Kalamata olives, making it more than simply a cauliflower. Does it seem difficult? It will undoubtedly take less time than bringing a turkey.

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with Potato and Parsnip Mash

This warm lentil shepherd’s pie is practically a vegan Thanksgiving meal in one dish. To fulfill gravy and protein appetites, the rosemary and thyme-scented mushroom and lentil combination is topped with mashed potatoes (and parsnips!). Don’t reject them until you’ve given them a shot!). For a satisfying sensation, serve the meal with a huge loaf of sourdough bread.

What are the Sides and Sauces that Must be Served for Vegetarians?

Gravy for Vegans

For a crowd-pleasing plant-based gravy, try the New York Times’ Vegan Mushroom Gravy recipe. Make your own vegetable stock from vegetable scraps, add mushrooms, and a splash of soy sauce, then liberally pour it over everything from main dishes to sides. Make plenty for leftovers the next day.

Vegan Biscuits And Breads

Even if you are not hosting, bring your own vegan-friendly buns or biscuits. Minimalist Baker’s Pumpkin Sage Biscuits are a seasonal twist on a traditional biscuit recipe.

Stuffing Vegan Style

This Thanksgiving classic is still delicious and easy to make using plant-based ingredients. Simply replace the chicken or beef broth and traditional bread with vegan alternatives. Looking for more information? Check out this recipe for Real Simple stuffing.

What are Cheaper Alternatives of Thanksgiving Turkey?

Pie for shepherds

Shepherds pie is a meat and potato dish that can be made cheaply, according to Tangela Walker-Craft, editor of the lifestyle site Simply Necessary Inc.

According to Walker-Craft, shepherds pie is usually cooked using lamb. There are, however, exceptions.

She stated that when beef is substituted for lamb, the dish becomes cottage pie. Cottage pie is most often known as shepherds pie in the United States.

The meal is made up of onions and other veggies blended with beef or lamb, then layered with melt-in-your-mouth mashed potatoes. Shepherd’s pie typically costs less than $20 to make and feeds 10 to 12 people, according to Walker-Craft.

Pot pie with pumpkin

If you Google pumpkin pot pie, you’ll find an infinite number of variations. The key components in this dish are pumpkin (of course) and a handful of veggies of your choosing (typically celery, carrots, peas, and onions). (See these nine tips for additional ways to save money on fruits and vegetables.)

Pumpkin pot pie is another inexpensive alternative, with pumpkins as cheap as $5 this time of year and the other ingredients just a few dollars apiece.

Lemon chicken with rosemary

According to Walker-Craft, another meat option for those who do not want to eat turkey is rosemary lemon chicken, which is tasty and easy to make.

What makes this recipe even better is that much of the prep work can be done ahead of time, she adds.

The chicken may be prepared up to 24 hours in advance and cooked just before supper. It’s a meal that goes nicely with both dark and light meat.

Walker-Craft claims that this meal, like shepherd’s pie, is easily around $20 and can feed 10 to 12 people.


Thanksgiving is all about gratitude, spending time with family, and eating delicious food. The traditional roasted turkey is the centerpiece of most American meals, but it is far from the sole choice. There are more main dish recipes for an inexpensive star on the Thanksgiving table than ever before, whether the goal is to explore different cultures’ dishes, include non-carnivores in the meal, or explore other protein options such as pot roast, pork loin, baked ham, or even roasting a whole fish. Here are 30 main-dish substitutes for turkey roast. People also like Quark Cheese Substitutes


What can I serve instead of turkey for Thanksgiving?

Whatever the cause, here are 20 turkey-free Thanksgiving dishes.
Roasted Chicken with Maple Butter and Rosemary. Picture of beef Wellington. Skillet Pork Chops and Apples with Miso Caramel Image. Samosa Pie Image. Maple-Baked Salmon Image. Lasagna. Image from Ina Garten’s Make-Ahead Coquilles St.

What are good alternatives to turkey?

29 festive turkey substitutes
Roast goose with spices.
Goose roast.
Duck roasted.
Roasted duck in Marsala sauce.
Roast duck for Christmas with crispy potatoes and port gravy.
Spanish roast chicken that is quite excellent.
My ideal roast chicken.
Roast chicken for two people.

What is a good substitute for turkey for small families?

Families with Small Children

A whole chicken is an excellent turkey replacement. Try this recipe for Parmesan Crusted Garlic Butter Chicken with Cauliflower to make it extra special! This dish is also keto-friendly, so it is suitable for anyone following a low carb or keto diet.

What’s a good alternative Thanksgiving dinner?

24 Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas to Impress Your Friends and Family
Caitlin Bensel is a woman.
Turkey wrapped in bacon.
Galette de pommes.
Garlic Bread in Pull-Apart Form.
Mushrooms Stuffed with Crab.
Roasted Beef.
Sweet potatoes mashed.
Casserole with chicken and stuffing.

What is the most popular alternative to turkey?

Rich and fatty duck or roasted chicken are two more popular bird alternatives that will stand in effortlessly and combine wonderfully with traditional Thanksgiving sides. Beef cuts to consider include prime rib, beef tenderloin, brisket, and pot roast.

What are 4 other traditional Thanksgiving foods?

Roast turkey, stuffing with onions and celery, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, corn, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie are all typical Thanksgiving fare.

What meat tastes similar to turkey?

In fact, the meat that tastes the most like turkey is really pig! To find out, researchers made ground meat patties out of beef, chicken, hog, lamb, or turkey and had a panel of tasters score how strongly each meat tasted based on 18 distinct qualities.

What meats are better than turkey?

Beef has more iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 than turkey, which are elements that support good blood, immune, and nervous system health.

What is the closest meat to turkey?

1 pound ground veal

However, ground veal may be found in certain local food shops. It will most likely taste and feel similar to ground turkey, but with a stronger flavor. Unlike many other varieties of ground beef, veal is not often used in cookery.

What do vegans eat on Thanksgiving instead of turkey?

Gardein Plant-Based Turk’y Roast is one of the best vegan turkey alternatives, according to a registered dietitian.
Tofu baked in the oven.
Stuffing with tofurky and wild rice.
Celebration Roast with Sage and Garlic from Field Roast.
Tempeh that has been marinated.
Oven-Roasted Turkey Slices from Tofurky.

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