By Lydia Walshin, Perfect PantryThis year, with the kids off to in-laws for the holiday weekend, weve invited four friends to join us for Thanksgiving dinner. Our small group decided to create a menu inspired by but not wedded to tradition, and that means no huge turkey sitting in the middle of the table. Instead, were using versatile, budget-friendly ground turkey to anchor a feast with around-the-world flair. All of these recipes cook quickly, and can be made a day ahead. Easy for the cook, fun for the guests, and something new with a nod to the old.
Turkey Meatloaf with Fig Gravy
When you absolutely, positively, want to stick close to New England tradition, consider turkey meatloaf. This variation, studded with dried cranberries and fresh basil, includes a fig gravy that pairs perfectly with the turkey. Serve with roasted potatoes and a Brussels sprouts salad.
Turkey Mole Chili
Bring the flavors of Mexico to your table, with this turkey chili made with black beans, tomatoes and beer. Use store-bought mole sauce, or make your own, to get that hint of cocoa and smoky heat into the chili. Serve over rice, with bowls of guacamole and tortilla chips.
Greek Turkey Meatballs
Of all the many turkey meatball variations I make, these Greek meatballs are my familys absolute favorite. Use a seasoning blend that includes oregano, thyme, and dried lemon peel; keep the meatballs moist with a bit of Greek yogurt mixed in. Serve with orzo and green beans, seasoned with herbs and lemon.
Slow Cooker Thai Red Curry Turkey
If I were eating Thanksgiving dinner on my own, Id definitely go with Asian flavors. This Thai red curry turkey can be mildly spicy, or more spicy, and best of all, you can set it in the slow cooker and forget about it while you make rice or rice noodles, and a simple cucumber salad. Serve in lettuce cups for an elegant presentation.
Tex-Mex Turkey Lasagna
Dont overlook the American Southwest when it comes to choosing a main dish for your Thanksgiving meal. Layers of tomato sauce made with ground turkey, tomatoes and green chile, tortillas and cheese come together in this wholly satisfying lasagna that will please adults and kids. Serve with a salad of chopped lettuce and avocado.
Meet the Author
Lydia Walshin lives and teaches cooking classes in a log house in rural northwest Rhode Island, where she writes The Perfect Pantry, featuring 250+ pantry ingredients and recipes that use them, and Soup Chick, highlighting the best soups, stews and chili recipes from around the Web. She also is the founder and director of Drop In & Decorate: Cookies for Donation.