I don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. What’s not to love about a day based solely on eating and spending time with people you love? I’m sure that everyone’s Thanksgivings of past years consisted of some variation of turkey, green beans, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, and maybe some pie. However, this year, it’s time to mix it up. If you’re looking for something a little different to go alongside your turkey and carry you into the sweet world of food comas, then we’ve got you covered.

1. Instead of sweet potatoes, try: Butternut squash with garlic and thyme
While I love a good sweet potato, this recipe for butternut squash is a candidate for your new Thanksgiving classic. The savory flavors of the garlic and thyme work to balance out the inherent sweetness of the squash without being overbearing. Feel free to sub thyme with sage or rosemary, depending on what you have- it’ll still be good.


Photo by Julia Maguire, Spoon NU

2. Instead of green beans, try: Roasted Cauliflower
Cauliflower is seriously underrated. While it’s not great raw, when you roast cauliflower, it gets amazingly crunchy while still retaining its soft interior. The roasting also brings out an entire repertoire of flavor that simply isn’t there before it’s cooked.


Photo by Justin Shannin, Spoon NU

3. Instead of bread rolls, try: Baked Brie with Fig Jam
Bread is, and always will be, pretty darn delicious, but sometimes you need something a little more fancy to start off a meal. Enter baked Brie: a gooey, warm, flaky, sweet and salty appetizer that is perfect with crackers and apples. After baking, the Brie melts while the exterior puff pastry stays golden and crispy. Perfection.


Photo by Leia Idliby

4. Instead of roasted turkey, try: Turkey Meatballs
It might seem sacrilegious to omit the entire roast turkey from the Thanksgiving dinner equation, but meatballs can be a smart choice for those of us who may not have the time (or the space, or the money) to roast a whole turkey. All you need is some ground turkey, spices, and a few other bits, and you have turkey that’s worthy of the Thanksgiving table, as well as a few extra bucks in your pocket.


Photo by Dana Salzman, Spoon Syracuse

5. Instead of pumpkin pie, try: Mini Caramel Apple Pie
What’s cuter than mini desserts? Answer: absolutely nothing. These babies are so tiny you can eat at least 4 and still feel okay about it. From flaky crust to soft apples to creamy caramel, you can’t go wrong with this recipe. I’m sure you won’t even be missing the pumpkin pie.


Photo by Adam Weiss, Spoon Michigan

Want even more Thanksgiving inspiration? Check out the Spoon guide to Thanksgiving.