Okay, when we think of Thanksgiving through the foggy lens of history, most of us see a vision of Native Americans and Pilgrims settling down to a comfy meal somewhere in Massachusetts. But Thanksgiving isn’t necessarily limited to that vision or even a Hallmark picture of turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. In fact, it has evolved a lot in the last 300 years as the country has changed, grown and diversified. The dishes found on our Thanksgiving tables now are as wide and culturally varied as the country itself. Fortunately, what brings friends and family together remains unchanged. In the spirit our diversity and good eating, WellWell has pulled together a list of tasty cultural additions and possibilities for your table.
Let’s start with coleslaw done Romanian-style—known as salata de varza—as an alternative to a traditional green salad. It’s similar enough to American slaw, but lighter so that it doesn’t overwhelm your other dishes. The ingredients are basic: cabbage, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Notice there’s no mayonnaise or sugar, making it not only different and lighter but healthier than the usual slaw.
If giving your traditional table fare a boost is in order, consider tandoori chicken. It is extremely popular in Asia and will definitely add a spicy alternative to the traditional table turkey. The ingredients for an especially tender bird include plain yogurt, onions, garlic and traditional Indian spices such as cilantro, turmeric, cumin and ginger. Consider a curry sauce on the side.
A traditional Filipino meatloaf called embutido is a great and tasty alternative or addition to turkey. Served at the holidays, embutido is made from ground pork but turkey can be used as a healthier alternative. Vienna sausages, a mix of finely chopped carrots and onions and peppers, cheese and hard-boiled eggs are combined with the ground meat and baked.
Indian-Spiced Acorn Squash Salad
Acorn squash isn’t that unusual at Thanksgiving, but this Indian variation is a wonderful and spicy option. The key to upgrading your squash roast is garam masala, a spice blend common in Indian and South Asian cuisine. Consider adding some torn mustard greens to the presentation and serve it all with a vinaigrette whipped up from pomegranate juice, red wine vinegar and honey.
Turkish fig-and-cranberry chutney
Go bold with your cranberry sauce by tapping into this Turkish treat. It involves adding dried brown figs, lemon and orange zest, garlic, ginger, cloves and cumin to a traditional sauce. After it has cooked and cooled, it is sweetened with honey.
This dish is a light and refreshing dessert option from China. It is a somewhat soupy treat made from coconut milk, cow’s milk, sugar and sago, making it milky and mildly sweet. Usually served with melon.
What unique dishes hit your Thanksgiving table? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org