Thinking Outside of the Bird: Turkey Buffet Alternatives for Thanksgiving

Turkey—a staple on Thanksgiving tables since… well… the beginning.  But what’s the main course for vegetarians on Thanksgiving? Or, for those folks who simply dislike turkey?  Fear not—boundless turkey-free options exist for inclusion on the Thanksgiving buffet.

The Meat-eater’s Alternatives

If turkey is the traditional main-course star of the Thanksgiving show, ham is a close holiday second.  Slices of ham glazed with brown sugar will pair nicely with Thanksgiving sides and serve as a great alternative to turkey.

Meat-focused guests who aren’t keen on turkey may look for a “beefier” option.

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Setting up a carving station for prime rib (or serving it pre-sliced) may be just what these guests are looking for. Alternatively, serve slices of a fall-inspired apple and leak-stuffed pork tenderloin and your guests will be sure to come back for seconds!

Vegetable-Only Options

If you want your veggie-seeking restaurant guests to feel like they are eating more than just a plate of all side dishes, one great (and filling) alternative to turkey is fall vegetable lasagna. Not only is lasagna a great buffet-friendly dish, but also it is substantial enough to serve as a main course option. Think of your Thanksgiving lasagna as the perfect way to incorporate those fall vegetable favorites: butternut squash, leeks, hazelnuts and spinach; or one with zucchini, yellow squash, roasted red peppers and onions. Similarly, those great fall vegetables can also be incorporated into a quiche, savory tart or pie. Or, how about serving a vegetable “stuffing”? Your guests will still get that Thanksgiving flavor sans the bird. You’re sure to please the vegetarians and meat-eaters alike!Although turkey may be what most people expect to eat this Thanksgiving, provide your guests with alternatives to the traditional bird. Vegetable-only and alternate meat options can still bring that Thanksgiving feel, incorporating fall vegetable favorites and seasonings. Those with diet restrictions, vegetarians or guests seeking something other than turkey will be sure to thank you. Gobble, gobble!