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12 Simple-Yet-Spectacular Thanksgiving Dishes for an Unforgettable Feast

by Tilly O'Brien

With Thanksgiving fast approaching we wanted to share some recipes with you to spice up your T-day meal this year. And while this holiday may not be celebrated by everybody, there’s no reason not to try these delicious recipes at your next dinner party. Whether it be how to season your turkey or create the smoothest gravy going, we’ve got your back! 

1. Dreamy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup 

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Butternut squash is the perfect vegetable for the Fall season and this soup is a wonderful appetizer for those having a 3-course meal this Thanksgiving. Being a low 170 calories per serving, this recipe for creamy, “dreamy” butternut squash soup will sure warm your stomachs in preparation for the main dish. All you need is aroasted butternut squash, olive oil, a large shallot, yellow sweet onions, ginger, yams or sweet potatoes, celery stalks, carrots, and cumin powder. (Photographed by Natalia Vaitkevich Pexels)

2. Pickled Turnips  

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Why not bring out something a bit unexpected to your Thanksgiving table or cheese-laden charcuterie (aka “shark coochie”) board? Not only do these pickled turnips taste amazing, but you can also make them way in advance of T-day. You just need some turnips, spices, vinegar and water, and you’ll be all ready to invite a new fall veggie into the festivities. Bonus points if you carve some of your extra turnips into creepy faces to add to your decor. Turnip for what??! (Photographed by Emily Hawkes)

3. Yum Town Turkey Thighs 

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Now onto the main attraction- the turkey! Turkey is the staple meat for any T-Day meal but it doesn’t always have to be cooked the same, and making a whole bird yields a LOT of meat, so why not try something different with this delicious turkey thigh recipe? Made especially for a smaller group, this recipe will certainly do the trick. (Photographed by Ify Yani)

4. Gloria Stein-ham  

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If you’re not a fan of turkey, why not swap it for a yummy ham recipe made in honor of Ms, Magazine’s founder, and face of the 70’s women’s lib, Gloria Steinam.  With a garlicky marinade, rich with flavor, this ham recipe is sure to fuel your feminist fire. (Photographed by Julia Stotz)

5.Gluten-free Stuffing  

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Are you gluten-free and in need of a stuffing recipe you can actually eat? Then look no further and try this gluten-free stuffing recipe. Stuffing is the perfect side dish to any Thanksgiving main and should be available to everyone no matter your dietary requirements. To make this recipe, you need a loaf of gluten-free bread (any  kind), golden raisins, a yellow onion, celery stalks, butter, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper, chicken or veggie broth, and some non-stick cooking spray. (Photographed by Rebecca Peloquin)

6. Pumpkin-dressed Fennel Apple Salad 

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Need new side dish ideas for this year’s Thanksgiving meal? BUST has your back with the perfect recipe for all those pumpkin lovers; a pumpkin-dressed fennel apple salad. This quick and easy dish includes  mellow fennel, sweet-tart apple, and spicy watercress- the perfect light and crispy dish to eat alongside the heavy main course. Plus, it’ll still fulfill your fall tastebuds with a pumpkin duo burst, using the spiced pumpkin vinaigrette and roasted pepitas. (Photographed by Shay Harrington)

7. Elizabeth Candied Stanton Sweet Potatoes 

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What would Thanksgiving be without sweet potatoes? And what’s better than a sweet potato recipe named after O.G. feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who launched the US feminist movement at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848? For this yummy dish, all you need are sweet potatoes, vegetable oil, harissa paste, honey, salt and pepper, and Scallions. (Photographed by Julia Stotz)

8. Colcannon  

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Colcannon is a hearty Irish dish perfect for the winter season, and a great addition to the traditional T-Day meal. Like many Irish recipes, the colcannon consists of cabbage, garlic, olive oil, kale, milk or cream, leeks, potatoes, butter, and salt and pepper- full of healthy greens. (Photographed by Laurel Morely Butterfield)

9. Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions 

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The same-old green bean casserole with canned mushroom soup, frozen green beans, and freeze-dried onions has its place, but to really kick it up a notch we recommend Deb Perelman’s made-from-scratch green bean casserole, which has been a regular fixture on BUST editor-in-chief Debbie Stoller’s Thanksgiving table for years now. A bit labor-intensive, it might be a bit much if you are the only one making the Thanksgiving dishes, but if you’ve been asked to bring a side to someone else’s party, THIS IS THE ONE. (Photographed by Deb Perelman)

10. Cranberry Sauce 

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Now it wouldn’t be a Thanksgiving meal without a dollop of cranberry sauce to top your meal with, would it? This simple recipe takes around 30 mins to cook and prep and requires minimal ingredients, including light brown sugar, fresh orange juice, cranberries (fresh or frozen) and the option of a zesty clementine or orange. 

11. Vegan Pumpkin Pie  

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Did somebody say dessert? Do you need a vegan alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie? Well try this delicious recipe to satisfy your love for pumpkin pie while keeping to your vegan diet. Just grab some unsweetened plain cashew or almond milk, or full-fat coconut milk, pumpkin puree, pure maple syrup, melted coconut oil, aram masala, ground ginger, corn starch, pure vanilla extract, sea salt, and  a 9- to 10-inch frozen or homemade pie crust. (Photographed by Emily Hawkes)

12. Vegan Almond Ice Cream 

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Need some ice cream on the side of your pumpkin pie? Well this almond flavored ice cream will go perfectly with the spice of the pumpkins, and it’s completely vegan too! When you go to the store, be sure to pick up this list of ingredients: raw (unroasted) freshly made almond cream, organic sugar, coconut oil, any flavored extract and some salt. (Photographed by Nikole Herriot and Michael Gradon)

Top photo Julea Stotz

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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