Texas Living

Thanksgiving Dinner Without the Turkey? Here’s How

By Brian Kendall 11.17.17

Who says Thanksgiving is all about the bird? Sure, most expect a spread full of turkey, stuffing, yams, green bean casserole, and the litany of other traditional sides your family might whip up.

But the truth is if roasting a big bird isn’t your thing, there are plenty of equally delicious alternatives that will keep the family happy and their bellies full. After all, any food can be Thanksgiving food as long as you’re with the ones you love.

Try these two Texas twists on the traditional Thanksgiving feast.

Thanksgiving Taco Fiesta

The beautiful thing about tacos is that you can experiment with any combination of ingredients to place in a corn or flour tortilla. That counts for Thanksgiving foods, too. We recommend adding some classic Thanksgiving sides to your taco to keep with a scrumptious Tex-Mex-Thanksgiving hybrid.

You can serve a mix of tacos all at once, buffet-style, or have a three-course meal with nothing but tacos; it’s entirely up to you.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos: A sweet and savory concoction, this taco includes sweet potatoes, black beans, avocado, and a top-off of feta cheese.

Mashed Potato Tacos: This traditional Mexican dish, which includes an assortment of spices to add to your mashed potatoes, is muy delicioso. In fact, you might have just discovered your favorite way to eat mashed potatoes.

Chorizo and Cornbread Stuffing Tacos: We completely get it if you’re craving stuffing on the fourth Thursday of November. This is a great way to stick with the theme and stay in the holiday spirit.

Thanksgiving Barbecue Bash 

Even though we’re all getting ready for the winter holidays when Thanksgiving rolls around, and many front lawns are getting drowned in tinsel, some years it still feels more like summer.

And nothing screams Texas culinary art — or summer — like barbecue. And the slow-cook way we go about making delicious brisket isn’t too far off from having a bird in the oven. So, why not get in touch with your inner cowboy-boot-wearing Texan and have a full-blown barbecue hoedown?

Sure, there’s nothing wrong with barbecuing a turkey. In fact, it’s a pretty common practice among Lone Star Thanksgivingers. But we’ll take any excuse to go with brisket and ribs. If it’s a particularly hot holiday, throw tradition to the winds and go whole hog with these substitutions:

  • Sub turkey for brisket and ribs
  • Sub mashed potatoes for baked beans
  • Sub stuffing for potato salad
  • Sub cranberry sauce for creamed corn
  • Sub pumpkin pie for banana pudding

Make the whole holiday stress-free from start to finish with these tips.

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