My Imaginary 2016 Thanksgiving Menu

November 21, 2016


I’m cooking Thanksgiving this week. I’ve not gotten to make the whole meal since 2008, so I’m feeling pretty giddy about the whole thing. However, as I’ve planned the menu and made lists, I’ve realized that my fantasy Thanksgiving and the reality of the one I’m cooking are pretty far apart.


In my fantasy, I’d make all sorts of fun, new things, taking inspiration from some of the new cookbooks I’ve gotten recently. However, I’ve come to realize that the classic are where it’s at for the crowd who will be gathering around my table. So I’m satisfying my urge for the new by sharing my dream menu here.


For nibbling before the meal begins, I’d make the Sriracha Pimento Cheese from Kristin Donnelly‘s gorgeous book Modern Potluck. I’d serve it with baguette rounds and cucumber slices. And for the very start of the meal, the Creamy Sunchoke Soup from The Vegetable Butcher by Cara Mangini.


For the main event, I’d use the recipe for Herb-Roasted Turkey with Gravy from Jenny Rosenstrach‘s book, How to Celebrate Everything (I love this book. There’s nothing that I like more than a good food tradition).


I confess that I like a traditional cranberry sauce (we’ll have a honey-sweetened one on the table this year), but this one combining cranberries and persimmon from Vegan Vegetarian Omnivore by Anna Thomas speaks to me.


My husband would be very sad if I omitted traditional mashed potatoes, or did anything to them that made them “interesting,” but if I had my druthers, I’d make a batch of this celery root, potato, and celery stalk mash from the book Mashed by Holly Herrick.


This roasted sweet potato pudding from Rebecca Ffrench‘s Whole Protein Vegetarian looks awfully good and might be something I make for Christmas at my sister’s house. I like that it’s minimally sweetened with maple syrup.


If the table could hold one more root vegetable dish, I’d call on the Healthy Root Vegetable Gratin. It’s another one from Modern Potluck and is something that is on my to-make list this winter.


No meal is complete without a green vegetable (at least, so says my mother) and the Roasted and Raw Brussels Sprouts Salad from Modern Potluck looks a good, seasonal one.


For dessert, the Normandy Apple Cake Tatin Style from French Desserts by Hillary Davis. Served with vanilla ice cream, of course!


Now, a bonus recipe. This one for Wild Rice and Turkey Muffins, from Cooking Wild by John Ash and James O. Fraioli seems like a really great one for using up leftover turkey and would be far more inspired than my typical pot of soup.

I’m curious. What are you guys making come Thursday?

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11 thoughts on "My Imaginary 2016 Thanksgiving Menu"

  • Michael Symon on The Chew has a great make ahead recipe for gravy using turkey necks. Around here they sell them in packages of four so I just use water. Since I spatchcock a turkey breast and cook it over the stuffing, I don’t have drippings to add but the gravy comes out great anyway. It’s nice to have at least one thing done early. Good luck with your dinner!

  • That’s an interesting menu.

    One thing I notice though. Most of the menu, except for the turkey, are mashed or otherwise very soft foods. Nothing to really bite and chew. While the different tastes would be interesting, I find I like a variety of textures. The only solid thing besides the turkey seems to be the raw salad (which on a personal note, I probably wouldn’t be able to digest as I have issues with raw broccoli and cauliflower so I’d assume raw brusselsprouts too.)

    I think the raw cranberry and Fuyu persimmon relish has caught my eye the most.

    1. I feel like Thanksgiving is traditionally a meal of soft things. I’m curious what you make that brings chew and crunch to the meal!

  • I only get invited to Thanksgiving for my grandma’s pumpkin chiffon pie. We eat the same menu every year, too. I get to be creative for Christmas though, as long as it isn’t too far out of the box. When the group is small enough, I can get away with odd things like quail and purple sweet potato pudding.

  • That is a very interesting menu, especially the sweet potato pudding and the root vegetable gratin. This year we’re going to my son’s house so my wife won’t have to make a thing. A welcome change. I usually like to brine a free-range turkey in apple cider but my son bought a turkey fryer this year so I guess that will be something new. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Brined and roasted turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy(half cauliflour, don’t tell!), mac and cheese(with butternut in the Bechamel), roasted root veggies, stuffing, and collards. Hubs is making pumpkin-cheescake slab pie and rolls.

  • We can celebrate several days of Thanksgiving with my list! Mediterranean salmon dish with spinach salad baked on top to steam it, and glazed bacon-wrapped turkey tenderloin. Your honey maple cranberry sauce sounds good! I saw organic persimmons at the co-op, so would like to try the other recipe, too! (So many good examples – you sold me on at least one book!) Herbed, crispy chunks of butternut squash – and plain sweet potatoes, good to have on hand . Pumpkin tapioca or pumpkin custard for me. And for my husband to share with friends and neighbors, apple pie cheesecake – which requires homemade gluten- and dairy-free ginger cookies for the crust (so I can save a few for myself). Also making mixed berry sorbet and mango sorbet to have on hand because I discovered 4 mangoes in the fridge. That’s a ton of food for two people, but I need to cook while inspired so we can have leftovers when I don’t feel inspired (or pressured)…except
    to throw a salad together as needed. Then I think I will need a vacation…

  • We travel & have Thanksgiving with my husband’s family, where I don’t plan the menu and only chop what I’m asked. But I always cook our own mini-feast some time in the next week. For me, it’s all about the sides: stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce are essential, the rest we can experiment with. Pie is a requirement.

  • Isn’t it funny that we all want to try new things at holiday time but someone always wants everything to stay the same. Some day I want to hold a holiday meal where everyone brings something new or a at least a little different than the traditional dish. Adding something crunchy to this meal comes in the way of the appetizer plate of crunchy veg (carrot slices, celery with some sort of stuffing, pickles, that sort of thing). And one last thing: I always miss something chocolate at this meal. Have to go sneak a bit, even though stuffed at the end of the night 😉