Alternatives to a Turkey on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving seems to be defined by the turkey dinner. Every picture you see and recipe you read is probably centered around this classic main course. But maybe you don’t like turkey or have other reasons for wanting something different. 

Fortunately, you have a ton of options. Plenty of people take a break from tradition and serve something other than turkey for their Thanksgiving meal. If you’re looking for inspiration, here are some alternatives to a turkey on Thanksgiving. 

Alternatives to a Turkey on Thanksgiving

Prime Rib

Prime Rib is a popular alternative to a traditional Thanksgiving turkey meal. Of course, there are hundreds of prime rib recipes to choose from, so you’ll want to find one that meets your tastes. Many, however, will include ingredients like minced garlic and olive oil. Then, slowly roast the meat for up to two hours over low heat to get the best results. 

Roast Chicken

If you’re thinking of cooking a different kind of bird, consider the tried and true roast chicken. You can’t go wrong with Julia Child’s Favorite Roast Chicken recipe, which includes lemon juice, celery leaves, and chicken stock. 

Beef Wellington

Beef Wellington is a definite showstopper of an entree. The traditional dish consists of beef tenderloin coated in a pate and mushroom mixture, which can also be wrapped in a Parma ham. Then, the entire dish is covered with a golden flaky puff pastry. Because of this mix of ingredients, the entree can almost be a complete meal in one. 

Baked Salmon

Seafood might seem way outside the box for a Thanksgiving meal, but it’s really quite traditional. In fact, historians believe that much of the original Thanksgiving feast consisted of seafood. And something like salmon doesn’t take long to bake in the oven, and it’s delicious when you include a maple and brown sugar glaze. 

Rack of Lamb

A rack of lamb is a pretty impressive dish to set in the middle of your Thanksgiving table. It’s also delicious when paired with something like tiny potatoes or cranberry chutney. Even though it looks complex, it’s fairly simple to make. You simply rub the meat with plenty of herbs, garlic, and oil, and cook it over medium heat for a short period. 

Pork Loin

Pork loins are one of the most tender cuts of pork. Once cooked, they are also easy to slice and serve with herbs and roasted vegetables used as a garnish. A quality tenderloin is delicious with just a few herbs, salt and pepper, or a mild marinade. You can also add a brown sugar dijon glaze. Another bonus is the leftovers make delicious sandwiches. 

Broiled Lobster Tails

Lobster sure sounds like a fancy Thanksgiving entree. But many people don’t realize how fast and easy it is to cook. Once you prepare your side dishes, like rice or baked potatoes and salad, it will only take about 15 minutes to prepare and cook your lobster tails. You only need a few simple ingredients and the actual cook time is under 10 minutes!

Mushroom Steaks

Not everyone wants to celebrate Thanksgiving with a big platter of meat. For health or other reasons, you or your guests might choose to have an alternative main dish. Fortunately, you have a ton of options. One is to cook mushroom steaks. You can grill or cook them on a cast iron skill, choosing different ingredients, like garlic, to add flavor. 


Maybe you and your loved ones lean more toward pasta dishes for holiday celebrations. Lasagna is a long-time Italian-American tradition, and you can’t go wrong with it. It’s simple to pre-make, and the leftovers can be handed out to guests or sent to the freezer for later. 

Baked Ham

Another tried and true holiday main course is baked ham. The trick to cooking the juiciest and tenderest ham in the oven is to keep it wrapped in foil as it bakes and rests. If you remove the foil too soon, your ham can get dried out. Depending on the recipe, you can glaze your ham with honey, brown sugar, cinnamon, or something else delicious. 

Shop at Nick’s of Calvert for the Freshest Cuts of Meat

Whether you are sticking with a family tradition or trying something new for your Thanksgiving meal, using high-quality ingredients is a must. At Nick’s of Calvert, we take pride in bringing you only the best quality food at the most affordable prices.

Nick’s offers a full-service meat counter that is the centerpiece of our store. We vow to deliver complete customer satisfaction and would be happy to help you choose the perfect cut of meat for your Thanksgiving meal. Call us today at (410) 414-7105 or visit our Prince Frederick location. 

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