Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Extras

16 November 2022

There is no doubt that the stars of Thanksgiving dinner are the turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and various desserts.  However, if you are bored with the usual veg and dip, green bean casserole, and other standards, here are a few less common choices.


Roasted Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Crostini


  • 2 cups diced raw pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon of ground sage
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 baguette
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 (4 ounce) log goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon balsamicDirections:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Pile the diced pumpkin on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and toss to lightly coat. Spread evenly and sprinkle with sage, salt, and pepper. Bake in the preheated oven until tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Add leek and cook until softened and beginning to caramelize, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove roasted pumpkin from the oven, add to the pan, and stir to combine.
  • Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil the grate or preheat an indoor grill pan.
  • Slice the baguette at an angle into 1/2-inch slices. Brush 1 side of each slice with remaining oil. Cook on the preheated grill until lightly browned, about 1 1/2 minutes per side.
  • Remove from the grill and rub the garlic clove over the oiled side of each baguette slice . Spread goat cheese over each slice and top with a spoonful of the pumpkin-leek mixture. Drizzle lightly with balsamic and serve immediately.


Cranberry-Jalapeno Relish


  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup red onion, diced
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • In a mixing bowl, combine the cranberries, orange juice, onion, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, lime juice, cumin and salt.
  • Stir together and chill 2 hours before serving.Sweet Potato Rolls


  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ cup canned sweet potato puree
  • ½ cup warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flourDirections:
  • Dissolve yeast, warm water, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a mixing bowl. Let stand 5 minutes.
  • Add remaining sugar, sweet potato, butter, salt, and slightly beaten eggs. Stir to mix well.
  • Stir in 3 cups of flour.
  • Turn out on a lightly floured surface. Knead 2 to 3 minutes, adding just enough remaining flour to prevent sticking. Do not knead too heavily. When smooth, shape into a ball. Place in an oiled bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover, and let raise about 1 hour or longer.
  • Punch down, and allow dough to rest for 2 minutes. Divide into 16 to 20 balls, and place on a greased cookie sheet or in a 9×13 inch pan. Allow to rise until doubled.
  • Bake at 375 degrees F for 12 to 20 minutes. Serve warm.


Maple Pecan Shortbread Squares


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup chopped pecansDirections:
  • Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F
  • Combine flour and 1/3 cup brown sugar in a mixer. Add softened butter until a dough has formed. Press into an ungreased 8×8-inch baking dish, and prick with a fork
  • Bake the shortbread in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  • While the shortbread is baking, beat the egg in a mixing bowl along with 1/3 cup brown sugar, maple syrup, and pecans. Pour the pecan mixture over the hot crust, and return to the oven. Continue baking until firmed, 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, and immediately run a knife around the edges to prevent sticking. Cool completely, then cut into 1-inch squares to serve.


Apple Pie Shot


  • 1 fluid ounce vodka
  • 1 fluid ounce apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon whipped cream
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon


Combine vodka and apple cider in a 2-ounce shot glass. Top with whipped cream and a pinch of cinnamon.

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