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27 Daring Recipes for Thanksgiving

Written by Margie of More Please

Thanksgiving is a celebration of gratitude for family and friends, home and harvest. The holiday meal is steeped in tradition, and for most of us, that means the iconic turkey sits plump and proud at the center of the table. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a little daring with the rest of your Thanksgiving menu.

Here at the Daring Kitchen, we’ve tapped into the collective wisdom of our member Bakers and Cooks to compile this selection of recipes to complement your Thanksgiving table. The recipes range from adventurous to audacious, and include side dishes, desserts, and even some ideas for leftovers.

So go ahead, pay your respect to tradition -- roast the turkey and pour the gravy -- but then click through and whip up something new. The recipe titles below link to the blog post where you’ll find the recipe. Click on blog titles to go to blogger's most recent post.

If you’re entertaining for Thanksgiving, you’ll want some nibbles to keep hungry guests happy while the turkey is resting and the gravy is simmering. A thin wedge of this Butternut Squash, Spinach, & Goat Cheese Tart would make a luxurious starter. Mary of Mary Mary Culinary uses an all-butter crust for this savory tart which she says is good served warm or at room temp.

For an appetizer that combines easy elegance with holiday appeal, try Warm Cranberry-Walnut Brie. This baked brie recipe by Heather of Pretty Peas is surely sumptuous.

The sisters at Who Needs Takeout? recommend this zingy Cucumber Chip Dip for a foolproof appetizer. A blend of cucumbers, cream cheese, and jalapenos make an irresistible dip for chips or crudités. And it’s not a party without dip, right?

This Harvest Salad with zesty pecans and dried cranberries hits all the right notes for an autumnal feast. Denise of Chez Us toasts the pecans with orange zest and black pepper, then tosses them with spinach, sliced pear, and blue cheese for a colorful salad that’s worthy of a holiday spread.

Mandy from What the Fruitcake? tosses up another festive salad with julienned raw beets and pomegranate seeds. Her Pomegranate, Feta, & Beetroot Salad is a vibrant mix of earthy, sweet and salty flavors, and it’s guaranteed to be a bright spot on the table.

If soup is on your Thanksgiving menu, consider this Carrot Soup from the daring cook at Onions and Chocolate. It’s a smooth and silky blend of carrots (lots of carrots!), onions, celery & garlic, enriched with a bit cream. It would make an elegant interlude before the turkey hits the table.

Thanksgiving dinner always includes some type of soft dinner roll, but there’s no reason you can’t shake things up and serve biscuits instead. These Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits would be right at home on a Thanksgiving plate. Tonya of What’s On My Plate declares them quick and delicious and I suspect they might upstage the mashed potatoes.

Although... you might consider making this delectable casserole in place of mashed potatoes. Hatch Chilies in Scalloped Potatoes and Gruyere Cheese combines layers of potatoes with roasted chilies, cheese and cream. This decadent recipe by Dragana of Pritjano is a spicy and sophisticated way to perk up your holiday potatoes.

Corn casseroles have become popular for Thanksgiving but none are so irresistible as this Corn and Bacon Pie. The daring cook at Five and Spice fills a piecrust with bacon and corn, pours on eggs and cream, and bakes up a savory pie that's bursting with flavor.

For a side dish that combines autumn flavors with stylish simplicity, try these Honey Roasted Root Vegetables. Carter of The Kitchenette dices up sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips, and carrots, then tosses them with honey and olive oil, and roasts till golden.

Or maybe you’d prefer these Glazed Turnips by Annie of Phoo-d. The unassuming turnips, braised in butter and beef stock, are transformed into savory nuggets of burnished gold that are sure to win over your guests.

Although it’s difficult for some people to pick a favorite Thanksgiving side dish, for others it’s no contest; it’s all about the dressing. For a recipe that gives a nod to tradition but then delightfully breaks the rules, try this Corn Bread Pudding with Sausage, Cranberries, and Leeks. According to Lo of Burp! Where Food Happens, it’s part savory bread pudding and part dressing. Lo makes her Cranberry Corn Bread, then bakes it with Italian sausage, cream, and fontina for a sensational side dish.

If you’re daring enough to serve wild rice for Thanksgiving, you’ll love Elle’s Wild and Brown Rice with Cranberries. Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms combines brown and wild rice with orange zest and dried cranberries for a side dish that’s sure to surprise and delight your guests.

If you’re looking for an alternative to turkey, check out these Cornbread Stuffed Game Hens Wrapped with Prosciutto. Rose & Adam of The Bite Me Kitchen make cornbread stuffing with celery and sage; they pile the stuffing into Cornish hens and wrap each hen with a slice of prosciutto. The result is a Thanksgiving dinner that’s traditional with a twist.

Barbara of Barbara Bakes takes two Thanksgiving side dishes – corn and green beans – and dresses them up for the holiday. Her Caramelized Corn is a tantalizing combination of corn and lots of butter. And her Green Beans with Pecans and Blue Cheese are a classy alternative to the old green bean casserole.

If your Thanksgiving dinner includes wine, there’s really nothing better than bubbly to toast the holiday. Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies shares a recipe for Pomegranate Bellini’s, a delightful blend of sparkling Prosecco with pomegranate juice.

Hopefully, there’s room for dessert, because the Daring Kitchen has no shortage of talented bakers. Thanksgiving means pumpkin pie, but you may want to dial it up this year with these Pumpkin Custard Tarts. Rebecca of Cakewalk makes gorgeous miniature tarts with buttery dough, a layer of hazelnuts, and a pumpkin filling made with coconut milk. It’s classic, only better.

For an ideal balance of sweet and tart, try these Cranberry Squares. Asha of Fork Spoon Knife bakes whole cranberries and toasted cashews into a dense buttery cake.

If apples are your fruit of choice, you’ll love this Apple Yogurt Cake. Ozoz of Kitchen Butterfly artfully arranges thin slices of apple on top of a vanilla cake, creating a sweet masterpiece.

Chocolate lovers will be powerless to resist this Pomegranate Queen of Sheba Cake. Megan of Stetted whips up a chocolate cake flavored with pomegranate and almonds, then tops it with a layer of chocolate ganache.

Shake things up with a gorgeous frozen dessert from Mary of One Perfect Bite. This Cranberry Chambord Sorbet makes a delightful finish to any feast.

Cheesecake becomes even more creamy and dreamy in the hands of Mardi of Eat Live Travel Write. Her Marbled Pumpkin Cheesecake with a gingersnap & pecan crust captures the traditional flavors of holiday desserts in cheesecake form.

The daring baker behind Sinful Southern Sweets transforms the classic pecan pie into miniature Pecan Pie Tartlets. A soft cream cheese dough holds a sweet and buttery pecan filling for a bite-size treat.

We can’t resist just one more dessert from the daring baker at Creating Nirvana. Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread combines pumpkin and chocolate chips in a whole grain loaf sweetened with honey & brown sugar.

Some people look forward to Thanksgiving leftovers as much as the holiday meal itself. So here are some recipes that will make the most of leftover turkey. At Family Spice, you’ll find a luxurious recipe for Turkey Tetrazzini. With mushrooms and red peppers in a creamy wine sauce, it will feel like a holiday all over again.

Faith of An Edible Mosaic suggests using leftover turkey in these delectable Turkey Croquettes. Shredded leftover turkey is bound together in a luscious velouté sauce, then sautéed in oil till golden.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our recipe round-up and maybe found inspiration to try a new dish or two this holiday season. The Daring Kitchen wishes all of you a happy, healthy, and delicious Thanksgiving. Thank you to all the participating bloggers for sharing their holiday recipes.

Photography Credits
1. Butternut Squash, Spinach, & Goat Cheese Tart by Mary of Mary Mary Culinary
2. Warm Cranberry-Walnut Brie, by Heather of Pretty Peas
3. Cucumber Chip Dip by Who Needs Takeout?
4. Harvest Salad by Denise of Chez Us
5. Pomegranate, Feta, & Beetroot Salad by Mandy of What the Fruitcake?
6. Carrot Soup by Liz Fischer of Onions and Chocolate
7. Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits by Tonya of What's On My Plate?
8. Hatch Chilies in Scalloped Potatoes and Gruyere Cheese by Dragana of Pritjano
9. Corn and Bacon Pie by Five and Spice
10. Honey Roasted Root Vegetables by Carter of The Kitchenette
11. Glazed Turnips by Annie of Phoo-D
12. Corn Bread Pudding with Sausage, Cranberries, and Leeks by Lo of Burp! Where Food Happens
13. Elle's Wild and Brown Rice with Cranberries by Elle of Feeding my Enthusiasms
14. Cornbread Stuffed Game Hens Wrapped with Prosciutto by Rose & Adam of The Bite Me Kitchen
15. Caramelized Corn by Barbara of Barbara Bakes
16. Green Beans with Pecans and Blue Cheese by Barbara of Barbara Bakes
17. Pomegranate Bellini by Natashya's husband, Living in the Kitchen with Puppies
18. Pumpkin Custard Tarts by Rebecca of Cakewalk
19. Cranberry Squares by Asha Pagdiwalla, FSK Photography
20. Apple Yogurt Cake by Ozoz of Kitchen Butterfly
21. Pomegranate Queen of Sheba Cake by Megan of Stetted
22. Cranberry Chamboard Sorbet by Mary of One Perfect Bite
23. Marbled Pumpkin Cheesecake by Mardi of Eat.Live.Travel.Write
24. Pecan Pie Tartlets by Sinful Southern Sweets
25. Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread by Creating Nirvana
26. Turkey Tetrazzini by Family Spice
27. Turkey Croquettes by Faith of An Edible Mosaic

marymaryculinary
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What a great round-up! Thanksgiving is long gone here, but I am definitely bookmarking some of these recipes for the Christmas season. Thanks for including one of mine.
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