12 Thanksgiving Proteins That Aren’t Turkey

Sure, we all love the idea of a roasted turkey on Thanksgiving, but IRL they’re usually overcooked, bland and in need of a good dose of gravy to make up for their lackluster flavor. This year, think outside of the box and treat your friends and family to a stellar meal that will awaken their tastebuds. You’ve DIYed your own pie stand, you’ve created the perfect tablescape and you’ve even worked extra hard on your place settings. You might as well make one of these main course dishes (including some veggie options!) that are just as impressive as your decor.

1. Garlic Roast Beef: Feed a carnivorous army with this gorgeous garlic roast beef that is as juicy as it is flavorful. Slice this baby tableside and your guests won’t be able to resist the aroma. (via Life Tastes Good)

2. Maple Walnut Crusted Salmon: This salmon deserves a place front and center at your Thanksgiving table. Not only do you have the sweet maple glaze, but you also get a welcomed crunch from the walnut crust. (via The Healthy Foodie)

3. Stuffed Butternut Squash With Tempeh: This meatless dish is a feast for your eyes and your mouth! It’s a vegan treat that is almost too pretty to eat… almost. Bring this out of the oven and let the “ohhhs” and “ahhhs” ensue. (via Pickles and Honey)

4. Beef Wellington With Roast Pumpkin, Parsnip and Mushrooms: This luxe beef wellington is sure to impress even your classiest of Thanksgiving guests. Whip this up for your in-laws and your M.I.L. will be wrapped around your finger! (via What’s for Lunch Honey)

5. Cranberry Apple Stuffed Cornish Hens: If you’re having a small Thanksgiving gathering this year, go with cornish game hens. Everyone gets their own, which makes for a beautiful presentation, and this recipe is stuffed with fresh cranberry and apples. (via Running to the Kitchen)

6. Bacon- and Apple-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin: Time is of the essence during the holidays, so a 30-minute main dish is as precious as gold. Plus, if there is bacon involved, it’s already a hit. This bacon- and apple-wrapped pork tenderloin will be gone faster than it took you to make it! (via Very Culinary)

7. Herb Crusted Lamb Chops: Have someone you’re trying to impress this Thanksgiving? Break out these herb-crusted lamb chops and you’ll be considered a T-Day queen for many years to come. (via The Gourmet Gourmand)

8. Chickpea Vegan Meatloaf: Sure, meatloaf isn’t a traditional Thanksgiving main course, but with a sweet maple tomato glaze, it sure fits the bill flavor-wise. (via Connoisseurus Veg)

9. Roast Duck With Blood Orange: If you still want poultry as your main dish but are looking for something more flavorful, then duck is your best bet. This roast duck with blood orange would look beautiful on any Thanksgiving tablescape. (via A Drunken Duck)

10. 1-Hour Vegan Pot Pies: These individual pot pies are so adorable and full of rich flavor, no one will even notice they’re vegan. Plus, who doesn’t love getting their own little dish of food? Presh! (via Minimalist Baker)

11. Slow Cooker Pineapple Honey Mustard Ham: Ham isn’t only for Christmas, people. This juicy pineapple-glazed ham is perfect for any holiday meal. Bonus: It’s made in the slow cooker, which frees up tons of vital oven space. (via Serena Bakes Simply from Scratch)

Leave a comment below if you’re planning on ditching the turkey this year. We would love to know what is going to be at the center of your table!