During the holiday season, many look forward to spending time enjoying a feast with friends and family. But for some, traditional holiday foods may conflict with dietary choices or restrictions, making it harder to enjoy the meal. What better time than Thanksgiving to expand culinary horizons and explore delicious alternatives to the classic turkey and stuffing? Here are some alternatives to the traditional Thanksgiving feast. 

Vegetarian/vegan  

As a juicy turkey with a side of gravy arrives at the table, you may be searching for some meatless alternatives to satisfy vegetarian or vegan guests. Fortunately, there are many delectable and satisfying plant-based dishes that deliver on flavour and nutrients, such as maple roasted carrots and lemon-garlic Brussels sprouts 

Starting with soup is a great way to kick off Thanksgiving dinner. Research shows soup is a great way to slow down and enjoy your feast in smaller courses. Why not try a vegan carrot-ginger soup or vegan mushroom soup as an appetizer? 

Some vegetarians may be used to loading up on mashed potatoes, but a nutritious alternative is mashed cauliflower. This often overlooked vegetable boasts six times the Vitamin C, more than twice the fibre, and nearly twice the potassium of a standard potato. 

If your entire gathering is willing to think outside the Thanksgiving box, there’s no law that says you can’t ditch the turkey and try something new for your main course, like a hearty vegan mushroom chili or vegan lasagna 

Have you ever considered a tofu turkeyTofu is a good source of protein and contains all nine essential amino acids. It is also a plant source of iron and calcium, manganese and phosphorous.  

Keto  

The keto diet involves reducing the amount of carbs you consume and upping the fat intake, which allows the body to burn fat as fuel instead of carbs. While you can enjoy a succulent turkey leg on this diet, you may struggle to balance your plate with traditional Thanksgiving appetizers and sides.  

A keto-friendly devilled egg made with avocado cream filling, or a cheesy sausage-stuffed mushroom cap can make a great starter or side dish. And that mashed cauliflower works for keto diets too.  

Steer clear of recipes that use flours to thicken, and opt for plenty of low-carb veggies, such as brussels sprouts, spaghetti squash and mushrooms.  

Gluten-free 

Gluten-free diets remove foods that contain the protein gluten, which can be found in wheat, barley and rye. This diet can help to manage symptoms of diseases like celiac and wheat allergies. Some people choose a gluten-free diet for other benefits like weight loss and increased energy.  

Much of what’s on a traditional Thanksgiving plate can work for a gluten-free diet, but you’ll want to say no to bread (or go with a gluten-free variety), as well as many traditional stuffings. Instead, try a wild rice, fruit and pecan stuffing or even a quinoa stuffing dish. 

And while you’ve got the quinoa out, try these no-flour dark chocolate quinoa cupcakes for dessert. You may also want to try a twist on old classics like a pumpkin mousse pie or apple tart with walnut crust. They are not only gluten-free but vegan, as well.  

Lastly, if you are making a turkey, roasting it in its own juices is the healthiest way to go; and avoid adding butter under the skin. Make an even better choice by avoiding the skin altogether, which is where the saturated fats live. 

Leftovers are arguably the best part of Thanksgiving dinner. Here are some post-holiday recipes that will have you enjoying the feast for days to come. Happy Thanksgiving!