Turkey Alternatives for Thanksgiving - Christmas Tree Market Blog

Turkey Alternatives for Thanksgiving

November 19th, 2012

Roast turkey has been a classic dinner favorite since it became associated with Thanksgiving. During the holiday, household dining tables are traditionally laden with turkey flavored with lemon, thyme, and rosemary. While most turkey recipes are simply delightful, you can still try a different main course if Thanksgiving meals are becoming a bit predictable for your family.

Photo from tuchodi via flickr. CC BY 2.0

This year, introduce a stand-in for the much-loved turkey to update your loved ones’ gustatory experience.


 This feathered fellow is often seen in zoos or bred for the eggs it hatches. But it has also become widely available in grocery stores for its meat, which has been used for centuries in Eastern cuisines.

Delectable whether coming from a quick grill or a lengthy preparation, duck meat also has nutritional values. It is enriched with a variety of nutrients, making it a great substitute for turkey. Vitamins B6 and B12, riboflavin, zinc, iron, and sodium are some of the supplements found in duck meat. This is great news for  families who are health-conscious.

Furthermore, this protein-rich alternative is chewier and more savory than its feathered cousin. Feel free to try out recipes and cooking techniques that will result in the perfect dish that will capture your family’s heart.


Salmon is known to be highly nutritious both for its high protein content and for its unsaturated fats (“good fats”), which help lower bad cholesterol. Just like any other fish, salmon protects the body from various health conditions through its healthy omega-3 fats.

Aside from the aforementioned health benefits, salmon is a versatile fish to cook for Thanksgiving. It’s also easy to prepare. It soaks in luscious flavors when cooked perfectly, making it a fine dish for people with discerning taste. Although salmon is thought to be an opulent choice for a meal, it can be bought from grocery stores at an affordable price.

Grilled, roasted, fried, broiled, smoked, or glazed, salmon is the ideal Turkey alternative for light eaters who are still looking for a juicy and flavorful Thanksgiving dish.


There is no doubt that a festive ham is easy to prepare.  A universal favorite, this cut of pork meat comes in a fully-cooked option glazed with brown sugar syrup so that you’ll only need to heat it up. You can also create your own version by curing your own ham. Not only will it give you the satisfied feeling of a “DIY-er,” it will also help sharpen your taste buds as you become more perceptive of the food you eat.

Tom Sykes admits in his article for The Telegraph that he was happy with commercially cured meat until he tasted the dry-cured bacon made by a local butcher. Indeed, there is something special about a dish when you put your heart into making it yourself.


Apparently, foie gras or “fat liver” is not the only proof that this waterfowl is a fatty. When roasted, goose meat tastes buttery and feels oily, which are some of the reasons why some people have an aversion to it. Despite a goose’s flabby skin or its abundance of liquid fat, its savory flavor is worth all the trouble. According to the Goose Fat Information Service in the UK, “goose fat is good for you in comparison to other animal fats.” In fact, people have been enjoying this kind of fat’s health advantages for many years by using it to fry some of the most delicious potato dishes in the world.

Remember, though, that goose is not the same as chicken and turkey when it comes to cooking. Go for recipes that can bring out its wonderful flavors. A red-meat bird, goose is more delicious when paired with red wine over an intimate dinner with friends.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful celebration and it becomes even more special when you exert effort into making it extraordinary. With any of these alternatives to the regular turkey dish, you can kick up the excitement of your loved ones for the coming Thanksgiving meal.

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