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BlogNutritionEasy Thanksgiving Dinner Menu Ideas With Recipes

Easy Thanksgiving Dinner Menu Ideas With Recipes

5 mins read
Olena Lastivka
Written by Olena Lastivka
Olena Lastivka

Written by Olena Lastivka

Olena is a nutrition and healthcare writer, runner, and gym enthusiast. She is keen on health and fitness research, modern studies on sports and nutrition, and various physical activities. 

on October 29, 2022

It’s never too early to start preparing for Thanksgiving. We’ve already made our preparations: take a look at the food ideas and recipes we’ve created for you. Thanksgiving cooking, timing, and celebrating explained.

Table of content

What is a traditional thanksgiving dinner

A typical Thanksgiving dinner differs in countries around the world. A generous meal is common for every family that celebrates this holiday. While you can find turkey, potatoes, and various desserts on every table, there are some interesting dishes that are popular in specific countries:

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  • USA. Traditions differ from state to state. You might see fried turkey instead of a roasted one in Texas, fresh salads on the West coast, pumpkin empanadas in Arizona and New Mexico, and sauerkraut in Maryland. 
  • Canada. This one is rather a decoration or appetizer than a dish. A cornucopia is a container with fruits in the form of corn. It symbolizes good harvest and prosperity. 
  • Philippines. A lumpia egg roll filled with veggies and meat is a traditional dish that is rather common for Thanksgiving. 
  • Liberia. They serve mashed cassava (or yukka root) instead of mashed potatoes. It is a starchy root vegetable of neutral or white color. 

China, Korea, Germany, the Netherlands, and Japan have their versions of thanksgiving too. They take the forms of a harvest festival, church service, and labor day. They celebrate the holiday a little earlier and have a deeper connection with religion. 

different traditions
different traditions

How many sides should a Thanksgiving dinner have?

The more guests you have, the more dishes and appetizers you need to make. Use this list to know the approximate number of sides and appetizers you will need: 

  • 5 people - 2 appetizers and 3 sides. 
  • 10 people - 3 appetizers and 4 sides. 
  • 15 people - 3 appetizers and 5 sides. 

At what time is Thanksgiving dinner 

There are no strict rules regarding the time you have to be at the table or start eating. You can start anywhen between 4 and 7 p.m. Most Americans start dining between 5 and 6 p.m., so make sure everything is ready before this time. 

How to time thanksgiving dinner with one oven

Have you mentioned that time management is one of your strengths in your CV? It definitely is if you can manage to cook a full Thanksgiving table with only one oven. 

Better start the preparation a day before Thanksgiving. It is a perfect time to bake all desserts, pies, and rolls. You can also cook the two dishes at a time if they require the same temperature. Don't worry if the temperature is a little different. 

For example, you can easily combine two dishes by selecting medium temperature if you see 350 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit in the recipes. Just set it at 375 degrees and check for readiness with a toothpick when the cooking time is up. You can also fry or grill some of the dishes you have planned to serve.

thanksgiving timing
thanksgiving timing

Top 10 Thanksgiving foods

Some people might not like traditional dishes or want to replace them with something else due to allergies or health conditions. Others like to experiment and surprise their guests. 

thanksgiving menu
thanksgiving menu

If you want to try something special this year, here is our list of ideas of what you can make for Thanksgiving dinner: 

  • Roasted chicken.
  • Mac & cheese.
  • Turkey and cranberry cupcakes. 
  • Vegan green bean casserole. 
  • Vegan mushroom gravy. 
  • Apple and cinnamon pie. 
  • Spiced baked nuts. 
  • Falafel with tahini gravy.
  • Homemade bread with garlic. 
  • Spicy cider or mulled wine. 
food ideas
food ideas

Thanksgiving dinner menu (Sample)

1. Sweet potato casserole

The softest dish possible with double topping is what we love Thanksgiving for. The mix of textures is incredible: crunchy nuts and soft sticky marshmallows go perfectly well with mashed or chopped sweet potatoes. You can make it as sweet as you want if you choose the right proportions of ingredients. We've explained it all in the recipe. 

2. Thanksgiving ham

Have you seen the shiny glaze it has? Well, you can find many pictures online, but you can feel the smell only when you cook it. But we warn you that you will get hungry and might try a couple of slices before your guests arrive. 

3. Thanksgiving rolls 

It is another traditional Thanksgiving dish that tastes much better than usual bread. Serve the rolls hot, and they will taste like soft clouds in your mouth. It's also what you can serve before dinner if your guests arrived a bit early. 

4. Brussels sprouts with bacon

Bacon and brussels sprouts go together so well! It is a healthy dish that gives you a lot of fiber but is much tastier than an average salad. 

5. Turkey breast

There cannot be a Thanksgiving table without a big turkey. Use the recipe to get a tender turkey with a yummy spicy crust on top. 

How much turkey do you need for a person? Well, it certainly depends on your appetite and the other dishes you eat. A standard serving is around 1-1,5 pounds per guest. As for children, you can prepare a little smaller portions. 

6. Turkey Gravy

Don't forget to top your potatoes and turkey with gravy! The juice left from roasting turkey shouldn't go to waste. Your dishes will instantly become juicier and more fragrant. And we know how to make it thick. Follow the recipe and see for yourself! 

7. Green bean casserole 

Perfect for vegans and for the ones looking for lighter dishes. It is low in calories and easy to prepare. Depending on your purpose, green bean casserole can become a great complement to meat dishes and salads.  

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Unimeal does not diagnose or suggest treatments. Any description of the diet, training plan or supplement should be discussed with your current physician or nutritionist. This article does not address specific conditions and is simply meant to provide general information on healthcare topics. Following any advice is at your own initiative and does not impose any responsibility on the blog authors for your health and safety.