Tired of turkey? Try a Thanksgiving alternative

By Mina Radman • Published: November 20th, 2012
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Like peanut butter and jelly, Halloween and candy, and red, white and blue, Thanksgiving dinner and turkey just go together. But what if you aren’t a fan of turkey or have special dietary restrictions? Can you have a big Thanksgiving feast without the big bird?

Over the last few years, the Internet has been abuzz with turkey alternatives that can be the centerpiece of a Thanksgiving meal. There are options for everyone, including vegetarians, people with diabetes and folks monitoring their sodium intake.

If you want a bird but don’t have the time or money for a turkey, try a roasted chicken. Chicken can be a cheaper alternative to a large bird. It doesn’t take as long to cook, and the change-up may please some of your guests. Recipes for roasted chicken can be found all over the Internet, including Martha Stewart’s concoction for a six-pound chicken stuffed with lemon, garlic cloves and fresh thyme.

Not fond of fowl? For vegetarians, eggplant Parmesan or spinach-and-mushroom lasagna can add a bit of Italian flair to the American holiday. Both dishes take about an hour to make and cook and can be prepared the night before.

But if you want an unforgettable alternative, turn to the turducken, which is a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey and layered with stuffing. The dish became popular in 2005 but has existed since the 18th century. Various online retailers and local grocery stores sell prepared turduckens, but you can also find recipes for the dish online. Warning, if you are watching your waistline, the turducken may not be for you.

Turkey doesn’t always have to be the star of Thanksgiving dinner, and any of these alternatives will make your big meal memorable.

Just don’t forget the pumpkin pie.