August 25, 2019 | 76° F

Branch out with unconventional Thanksgiving dishes

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It’s finally the time of the year everyone looks forward to. Midterm season has ended, family is coming home, pumpkin bread is being baked and turkey is in the oven. That’s right, everyone’s favorite holiday: Thanksgiving. We look forward to sharing our favorite college stories with our families, and what better way to celebrate than over a feast of traditional recipes? 

Sure, you’ve got recipes that are never to be missed, like grandma’s oven-roasted turkey or pecan pie, but what if that dry turkey was pushed aside this year and swapped for something different? Every now and then, we love the idea of “stuffing” the traditional meals away and switching them out for something unexpected. Changing the standard Thanksgiving foods may seem sacrilegious, but sometimes those mashed potatoes could use an upgrade. 

Fried Mashed Potato Balls

Time to finally stop eating those boring mashed potatoes and try something different. These fried balls are crispy on the outside and cheesy on the inside. Even if you make your mashed potatoes, this is an easy recipe to turn those boring leftovers into something magical. This recipe is great for the perfect family gathering. 

Recipe:  Fried Mashed Potato Balls

Thanksgiving Cauliflower 

If you're looking for a healthier alternative to mashed potatoes or those greasy sides, baking cauliflower is the next best thing. With limited ingredients, such as herbs and mushrooms, you can have a great vegetable as a healthy side in only an hour. They take more preparation time than mashed potatoes, but are definitely better for you.    

Recipe: Thanksgiving Cauliflower

Stuffed Apples

Yes, you read that right. Turn baked apples into a savory side dish filled with sausage stuffing for a delicious and gorgeous addition to the Thanksgiving meal. Stuffing is serious business, and though not usually cooked with apples, this unique dish will make all your guests hungry for more! 

Recipe: Stuffed Apples

Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole 

Thanksgiving can be hard for people with dietary restrictions. Not everything is made with nutrition in mind, especially those mashed potatoes and desserts. Thankfully, this dish is not only healthy, but also vegan. It only takes 10 minutes of preparation, since the majority of the time is spent boiling the sweet potato and baking the casserole. Simple and delicious. 

Recipe: Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole

Pumpkin Pie Popsicles 

Who would have thought popsicles could be a year-round thing? The flavors of Thanksgiving and fall are all about pumpkin. Frozen popsicles are everywhere these days, and are one of the most flexible treats. Not to mention, with homemade popsicles, you can use the freshest ingredients, save on cost and use much less sugar than store bought options. Great for kids and adults, these pumpkin popsicles should be on everyone’s to-do list this year. 

Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Popsicles

Cranberry Ice Cream

The sauce that everyone enjoys putting on their turkey, but in ice cream form. While it may sound odd, it's one of those dishes where you can’t “knock it before you try it.” It has all of the tart cranberry flavor blended with creamy, sugary deliciousness. Instead of traditional desserts, this new ice cream flavor might just be the next best thing. 

Recipe: Cranberry Ice Cream

These non-traditional Thanksgiving items are sure to make your guests question your cooking skills, but once they try these foods, they'll never question you again. These are some of the best alternatives to those boring, dry meals that are typically on the table. Switching it up can be fun and these dishes are sure to give a twist on tradition. 

Recipes available on

Elizabeth Leoce

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