Great Turkey Substitute Ideas for Thanksgiving Dinner

Great Turkey Substitute Ideas for Thanksgiving DinnerPerhaps roasting a large turkey is becoming too physically demanding, or maybe you’re just getting tired of making Tom Turkey the star of your Thanksgiving dinner. Whatever your reason, you have plenty of substitutes for turkey.

Roast another fowl

Turkeys are affordable and can supply leftovers for days. For a change of pace, however, try one of these tasty birds.

  • Duck: If you’re cooking for a small group and want to serve a gourmet dish, duck will be hard to beat. You can stuff and roast it whole, or cut it up in pieces for pan frying. You can also buy just the breasts for easier preparation. Make a delicious fruit glaze or wine sauce for a celebrity chef touch.
  • smokerGoose: You can order a goose from a local farm, a specialty butcher or online. Goose can be smoked or roasted and stuffed with fruit or vegetables and herbs.
  • Cornish game hens: Another impressive alternative to a turkey dinner is serving your guests Cornish game hens. Stuff them with cranberries and roast them to golden perfection, or glaze the outside skin with a combination of fruit juice and molasses.

Go for the red meat

Red meat-eaters in your family might not care about having turkey for sandwiches when you serve one of the following.

  • Pork: Pork’s delicate flavor opens the door for creative preparation that also saves time. Roast a budget-friendly tenderloin with an herb and garlic rub, a tangy fruit sauce or herbed gravy. You can even add flavor by covering the loin with pancetta.
  • Beef: If your budget doesn’t permit buying a whole beef tenderloin or prime rib, choose a less-expensive rib eye steak, top round roast or bottom round roast that can serve a crowd. The flavor you infuse into the meat by coating the outside or stuffing it transforms beef. Consider serving a horseradish sauce on the side.
  • Lamb: If you don’t want to bother with roasting a whole leg of lamb, cook boneless lamb shoulder and cut the meat into cubes to make a curried lamb potpie. Another elegant alternative to a turkey dinner is easy-to-make lamb chops.

Search out other turkey substitutes

lobster potYou don’t have to live close to the ocean to enjoy seafood at Thanksgiving. There’s no argument that pricey whole lobsters or lobster tails make an impressive addition to any holiday table. Less budget-busting is slowly roasting a whole salmon or large salmon fillet and glazing it with spicy maple syrup or another sauce.
Casseroles are popular time-saving, make-ahead main courses. Add a creative culinary flair and find a yummy recipe for pumpkin lasagna that’s sure to prompt requests for the recipe.

- Diane Quinn


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