The Best Thanksgiving Menu Plan — Including an Elegant Vegetarian Entrée Option

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Creating a Thanksgiving Menu and game plan is a great way to tackle your Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving meal. After years of experience hosting and planning, this post includes my best recipes, tips and tricks to help you create your own traditions for your annual gathering.

thanksgiving table set with candles and gourds

Our Original Thanksgiving Menu…

It all started with my now tattered copy of The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. My brother and sister-in-law and my now husband and I would trade off Thanksgiving hosting and we always made The Silver Palate turkey and stuffing. Over the years, Thanksgiving became an annual affair in our home and my brother and SIL now host Hanukkah. The recipes have evolved but are still rooted in the originals. Sage sausage in the stuffing, orange flavor with the turkey and a day when calories don’t count and seconds are a must.

silver palate cookbook - source of original Thanksgiving menu ideas

A Mostly Make-Ahead Stress-Free Thanksgiving Menu with a Vegetarian Option!

Hosting Thanksgiving can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to. Even if you are an experienced host, having a menu plan will take all the stress out of the preparation. My recipes, tips, tools and tricks will give you confidence so you’re all set to enjoy family and friends on Thanksgiving day.

We even run/walk a 5K race the morning of Turkey Day and still have everything ready to go by mid afternoon. And you can too!

3 pairs of running shoes at turkey trot

Here’s my general planning calendar that gets me through the process with ease every single year. Sub in your specific recipes and planning details and you’ll reach the Thanksgiving finish line with ease! (double click on the calendar for a printable pdf)

Thanksgiving planning calendar

Thanksgiving Menu Ideas

From a fantastic vegetarian entree to a fool proof dry brine turkey to all the sides and desserts, my recipes will help you create the Thanksgiving gathering that you want without the stress.

Turkey, Trimmings and a Vegetarian Menu Idea!

Everything you need to know about stock, stuffing, turkey plus a main course for the non-turkey eaters!

Homemade Stuffing Cubes -- A Simple Way to Elevate your Thanksgiving Meal

Preparing your stuffing cubes couldn't be easier and will make your stuffing taste the best ever!

Sage Sausage Stuffing with Cornbread and Challah

We have been making a variation of this stuffing forever! I give you all the instructions you need to have it ready to go the day before so all you have to do is heat on Thanksgiving day.

How to Make Turkey Stock for your Thanksgiving Feast

Making your own turkey stock can be done weeks in advance and adds so much flavor to your gravy, stuffing and leftover turkey soup creations!

How to Dry Brine Turkey for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

We tried so many methods - dry brining is the only one that works every time. No mess - by Thanksgiving day, all you have to do is roast the turkey.

An Elegant Vegetarian Entree for your Holiday Meals

This Vegetable Wellington will wow your vegetarian guests but your meat-eating diners will love it as well.

Thanksgiving Shepherd's Pie with Stuffing Crust

Photo Credit: pastrychefonline.com

This super creative shepherd's pie with a stuffing crust will be your favorite way to use up leftovers or an unusual main course on Thanksgiving Day.

Side Dishes

So many ideas of seasonal side dishes to accent your turkey and stuffing.

How to Cook Green Cauliflower – Roast your Way to Success

Roasted cauliflower - green, purple, yellow or white - is a simple side dish easily accented with pomegranate seeds to brighten up the table. Can even be made a day ahead and served room temperature.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower with Pomegranate Two Ways

Make this with or without the extra yogurt sauce - pop a few pomegranate seeds on top and it will look stunning on your table!

Roasted Delicata Squash with Pomegranate Molasses and Date Syrup

Another make-ahead marvel and remember - you don't have to peel delicata squash!

Squash Soup Shooters to Toast the Arrival of Fall

Don't want to serve a soup course? Serve this in little shot glasses as an appetizer. Your guests will think you're brilliant.

Cranberry Orange Jam: A Simple Staple for the Holiday Season

This is a simple refrigerator jam you can make ahead - serve with the turkey or the day after on sandwiches.

Pomegranate-Glazed Hasselback Butternut Squash

Photo Credit: thewimpyvegetarian.com

This creative dish can serve as a side dish or a main for vegetarians and vegans.

The Best Dinner Roll Recipe for Thanksgiving (or Whenever)

Photo Credit: pastrychefonline.com

If you love to make bread, Jenni's dinner roll recipe will be a wonderful addition to your Thanksgiving feast.

Crazy Good Mashed Potatoes with Cream Cheese

Photo Credit: www.fearlessdining.com

At our house, no matter how many carbs are on the menu, mashed potatoes are a must. This recipe uses cream cheese for an extra level of velvety goodness.

Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce

Photo Credit: familyspice.com

And you all know my love for pomegranates, this cranberry sauce uses pomegranate juice and arils in a simple and delicious version of cranberry sauce.

The Finishing Touch

Even though we are all usually too full, dessert is a must and it always includes pie.

Pie Dough for Dummies -- Top Tips for the Doughaphobic

Once you master pie crust, you can make any kind of pie you want from pumpkin to pecan to apple. And if I can do it, anyone can.

The Now Famous Key Lime Pie Recipe -- Perfect Addition to your Holiday Menu

Sometimes it's nice to make a new tradition. This key lime pie is now a must every year, even though it's not rooted in traditional Thanksgiving fare - it's our family tradition.

Cranberry Orange Rugelach for Aunt Marilyn

I created this recipe the year that Thanksgiving and Hanukkah overlapped - it's a great way to use that cranberry jam or get ready for holiday cookie parties.

James Beard's Persimmon Bread: A Perfect Way to Use Hachiya Persimmons

This persimmon bread came about because I had a plethora of hachiya persimmons. It's a wonderful addition to fall and Thanksgiving flavors. Give it a try!

This post contains Amazon affiliate links – if you click on one and purchase something, I receive a very tiny percentage of the sale. Your price is never affected. 

My Favorite Thanksgiving Supplies

Turkey Brining Bags 

Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

These brining bags are perfect to hold your turkey while it dry brines. I've put a 20+ pound turkey in them - sturdy and large. Two to a package.

Buy

All-Clad Stainless Steel 13-Inch x 16-Inch Roaster 

Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

I love my All Clad kitchen products (they are not paying me) - durable, even heating and clean up well. This roaster will work for your stock prep and turkey roasting (and so much more all year long.)

Buy

Kizen Instant Read Meat Thermometer 

Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

Instant Read Meat Thermometer are the best - I use it all the time and it comes in so handy when you are cooking your turkey. Takes the guesswork out of the process.

Buy

Cuisinart 12-Quart Pasta/Steamer/Stock Pot Set

Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

I have an 8 quart pot like this - so versatile. Soups, pasta, steaming veggies, and making stock. If you like to make big batches of stock, I suggest this 12 quart size.

Buy

Nordic Ware Commercial Baker's Half Sheet (2 Pack)

Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

I use my half sheet pans almost daily - to bake and to roast. You'll love these for making your stuffing cubes, baking cookies, roasting vegetables and so much more.

Buy

Pyrex Glass Pie Plate (9.5-Inch, 2-Pack)

Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

Versatile glass pie plates to use at the holidays and all year long. These are deep dish so plan your dough and filling accordingly.

Buy

Polished Marble Rolling Pin with Wooden Cradle, 10-Inch, White

Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

I love my marble rolling pin because it stays cool, which is really helpful for rolling out rugelach dough and pie dough.

Buy

200 Pcs Unbleached Parchment Paper100 Pcs 12x16 Inches Rectangle 100 Pcs 9 Inches Round

Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

One of my favorite tools all year in the kitchen is parchment - these pre-cut ones pop right into your sheet pans and the round ones right into your cake or pie pans.

Buy

Oval Turkey Platter

Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

We love our inexpensive slightly cheesy turkey platter for serving our turkey - it's just part of our tradition!

Buy

Oval Serving Plates for Parties, 12 Inches, 14 Inches, 15.5 Inches, Set of 3, White

Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

I keep it simple and have almost all white plates and serveware. Food looks good on white and it all matches, no matter what color my table setting is.

Buy
Also check out my Amazon shop that includes some of my favorite food and food-related products. I am always updating it – please visit often. And let me know if you need specific products recommendations – I am happy to help!

The OMG! Yummy Thanksgiving Hotline is open for all of your questions. You can reach me:

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