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Say Hello To More Than 30 Of Our Very Best Thanksgiving Recipes

Best Thanksgiving Recipes

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If the mix of food on Team Salt & Wind holiday tables is any indicator, there is no one Thanksgiving menu.

Thanksgiving should reflect your family’s traditions, flavors, and foods, even if that means making mole instead of gravy!

Our Best Thanksgiving Recipes

Since we’re all about California, Hawaii, France, Italy, and Mexico, it’s probably no surprise that our Thanksgiving recipes reflect those places.

We’re talking seasonal farm-to-table flavors from California, twists on classic cocktails, our favorite mashed potatoes inspired by France, and a chocolate recipe that is a showstopper.  

We figured it was time to share the recipes we pull out for all our autumn entertaining, from harvest dinner parties to Thanksgiving!

Best Thanksgiving Cockail Recipes

Pear Bourbon Cocktail Recipe

Ciderhouse Pear Cocktail Recipe

dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian

Come fall, we cannot get enough of the pears from our favorite fruit farm in Northern California. To us, pears do not get nearly enough love during harvest time, but this cocktail makes up for it. By reducing pear cider to syrup over a few hours, you have a cocktail with the most deliciously intense pear flavor.

Spiced Cranberry Whiskey Sour Cocktail Recipe

Spiced Cranberry Whiskey Sour Cocktail Recipe

dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian

Our signature cocktail of the season is this Spiced Cranberry Whiskey Sour. We took the classic whiskey sour cocktail that you know and love, then made it even more delicious thanks to adding a cinnamon-and-clove-spiced cranberry simple syrup. The aroma of the syrup is so good we wish it were a candle scent!

Sparkling Apple Cider Punch Recipe

Pomegranate Ginger Apple Cider Punch Cocktail Recipe

dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian

Speaking of cider, this apple cider drink is not too sweet, not too boozy, and all-around a perfect pick if you need to make something low-effort but high payoff for a crowd.

Sage Bee's Knees Cocktail Recipe

Sage Bee’s Knees Cocktail Recipe

dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian

Inspired by the scent of wild sage that wafts through the air in our home state of California, this twist on the classic Bee’s Knees Cocktail is our choice if you have just a few guests and can make drinks to order. FYI, you can’t use wild sage in this cocktail as it’s not edible — it’s just inspiration!

Persimmon Old Fashioned Cocktail

Persimmon Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian

It is a cocktail so simple you can have your guests make their own. This twist on the classic cocktail with spices and smashed persimmons is as comfy as a real-deal drink as an Old Fashioned gets.

Best Thanksgiving Appetizer Recipes

Roasted Butternut Squash Dip

Pepita Pesto Roasted Butternut Squash Dip Recipe

dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian

This oh-so-healthy dip is a light but flavorful way to start the holiday meal, a little sweet, a bit earthy, and loaded with herbs. Oh, and did we mention it’s vegan, gluten, nut, and dairy-free?

Roasted Garlic Pumpkin Hummus Recipe

Roasted Garlic Pumpkin Hummus Recipe

gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian

A twist on hummus that brings the fall flavors, this pumpkin hummus gets layers of flavors from a slow-cooked garlic oil and an oh-so-fall topping of fried sage and pepitas.

Burrata Smashed Green Olive Bruschetta Recipe

Burrata Smashed Green Olive Bruschetta Recipe

gluten-free (if using gluten-free bread), vegetarian

If you ask us, any party is made better with things on toast. This burrata crostini gets topped with smashed green olives, citrus, pistachios, and mint, which brings fresh flavors no matter the time of year. 

Grape Agrodolce Sauce Recipe

Roasted Grape Agrodolce Sauce Crostini Recipe

dairy-free, gluten-free (if using gluten-free bread), vegetarian (if excluding meat)

Have you ever had an agrodolce sauce? It’s a sweet-sour sauce you find in Italy and here we make a quick (make ahead!) version of it with grapes. This sauce would go smashingly well on salmon, pork, or roast turkey but we like it as an appetizer too. 

Caramelized Onion & Roasted Butternut Squash Danish Recipe

Caramelized Onion & Roasted Butternut Squash Danish Recipe

gluten-free (if using gluten-free crust), nut-free, vegetarian

Another squash appetizer that’s always a winner? This squash “danish” is made with thyme-scented caramelized onions. The best part is that you can bake these a day ahead and warm them up in a low oven before serving.

Fried Sage, Goat Cheese Persimmon Bites Recipe

Persimmon, Fried Sage, and Goat Cheese Bites Recipe

gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian

We’d like to enter this as an applicant for the simplest but most delicious appetizer of all time. With just a few ingredients and everything but the assembly can be done ahead and flavorful but not too heavy, it’s the Goldilocks of appetizers!

Whipped Goat Cheese Roasted Sweet Potato Chips Recipe

Roasted Sweet Potato Chips and Whipped Goat Cheese Recipe

gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian

We know, you don’t want heavy appetizers before Thanksgiving, lest you ruin the main affair. A light, airy, but the elegant starter is in order, which, this recipe very much is. Make it even easier by using store-bought root vegetable chips! 

Pear Cranberry Brie Mini Tartlets Recipe

Pear Cranberry Brie Mini Tartlets Recipe

gluten-free (if using gluten-free crust), nut-free, vegetarian

This is an appetizer we serve more at December cocktail parties than any other time, but it’s been creeping into our other fall holiday celebrations lately. The classic combo of cranberries and brie get paired with pears and spiced honey for an appetizer that’s a perfect pairing with bubbly wine!

Best Thanksgiving Salad Recipes

Persimmon Pomegranate Wild Rice Salad

Pomegranate Pistachio Arugula Wild Rice Salad Recipe

gluten-free, vegetarian

If you have a bunch of dietary restrictions to deal with, this is the recipe for you. This salad is dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegetarian – take out the pistachios to make it nut-free! Oh, and the citrus miso salad dressing is as good on this as it is on a classic green salad. 

Arugula Orange Beet Salad

Arugula Beet Orange Salad with Achiote Dressing Recipe

gluten-free, vegetarian

The classic beet citrus salad gets a definitely Mexican treatment thanks to the addition of deeply toasted walnuts and sesame seeds as well as a cinnamon-laced achiote sauce that’s used as the dressing.

Walnut Parmigiano Celery Salad

Parmigiano-Reggiano and Walnut Celery Salad Recipe

gluten-free, vegetarian

Inspired by the abundance of produce at the open-air markets in Bologna, Italy, this fresh, crunchy, simple salad of celery, walnuts, and Parmigiano-Reggiano is a favorite around here! It’s a classic Italian salad made during the colder months, and the zingy vinegar flavor is a perfect balance to all the heavier Thanksgiving flavors.

Shaved Root Vegetable Salad

Goat Cheese and Hazelnut Shaved Root Vegetable Salad Recipe

gluten-free, vegetarian

If there’s ever a time to pull out the mandolin, this shaved root vegetable salad is it. The veggies are sliced paper-thin and then tossed with goat cheese, hazelnuts, and, of course, avocado because we Californians basically can’t eat a meal without it!

Best Thanksgiving Main Recipes

Herbed Roasted Turkey Breast Recipe

Pear Gravy And Herb-Orange Roasted Turkey Breast Recipe

dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free

How to do Thanksgiving when you’re fewer? A roasted turkey breast! We add a definitively California twist–read: lots of herbs and citrus–to make this dish anything but boring!

Best Thanksgiving Sides Recipes

Pistachio Thyme Roasted Beets Recipe

Pistachio Thyme Marinated Roasted Beets Recipe

dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian

It’s easy to go overboard during the holidays. To make too much food with too many flavors, and then it all gets to be just too much. That’s why we always try to work in a side dish that’s just so straightforward it can mix and match with pretty much anything like these roasted beets.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Slaw Recipe

Dates and Pepitas Shaved Brussels Sprouts Slaw Recipe

dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian

Have you picked up on the constant? Around here, we tend to do Thanksgiving a little lighter and fresher. It’s our California roots if you ask us! And that’s why we make our brussels sprouts more like slaw and add in some crunchy pepitas and sweet dates for a CalMed take on Brussels!

Spiced Mulled Wine Cranberry Salsa

Spiced Mulled Wine Cranberry Salsa Recipe

gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian, vegan

Why do we have a toast recipe down here in our list of Thanksgiving sides? Because the Cranberry Salsa makes an unexpected (but welcome!) twist on classic cranberry sauce. The key is that you make a quick take on mulled wine which brings sweet, spiced holiday flavor.

French Style Pureed Mashed Potatoes Recipe

French Pureed Mashed Potatoes Recipe

gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian

Mashed potatoes may be an American Thanksgiving essential, but our favorite spuds of all time are the traditional French way with lots of butter. The secret? There is lots of butter, but the potatoes are also passed through a food mill to make them extra smooth and airy!

Portuguese Sausage Cranberry Brioche Stuffing Recipe

Portuguese Sausage Cranberry Brioche Stuffing Recipe

gluten-free (if using gluten-free bread), nut-free

Our founder, Aida, often spends Thanksgiving in Hawaii, and this non-traditional stuffing recipe is a direct inspiration from her time there. Like the chorizo of the Rainbow State, Hawaiian Portuguese sausage (also known as linguica) is a fresh or smoked sweet-spicy sausage used in breakfast dishes, plate lunches, and at many tailgates.

Croque Monsieur Savory Bread Pudding Recipe

Croque Monsieur Savory Bread Pudding Recipe

gluten-free (if using gluten-free bread), nut-free

One of the all-time most popular recipes on our site, this savory bread pudding is a major crowd-pleaser. It works as well as part of a brunch spread as it does at the Thanksgiving table. But it is by no means traditional so it may upset the stuffing purists out there!

Acorn Squash with Apple Walnut Stuffing Recipe

Acorn Squash with Apple Walnut Stuffing Recipe

dairy-free, vegetarian

If you’re in need of a vegetarian main for your Thanksgiving table, consider this Acorn Squash with Apple Walnut Stuffing Recipe. It’s just as delicious in the roasted acorn squash as it is without so you could serve it as a whole grain stuffing if you’re looking to do things a bit healthier this year. 

Best Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes

Pumpkin Ricotta Cheesecake Bars Recipe

Pumpkin Ricotta Cheesecake Bars Recipe

gluten-free (if using gluten-free crust), nut-free, vegetarian

Using ricotta in desserts is classically Italian. Adding it to Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Bars most definitely is not. But the result is a light, airy, tangy twist on classic Pumpkin Pie.

Spiced Cranberry Hand Pie Recipe

Spiced Cranberry Pear Hand Pies Recipe

gluten-free (if using gluten-free crust), nut-free, vegetarian

Yes, we like using cranberries and pears this time of year. And we want them even better together!

Gouda Thyme Apple Hand Pie

Gouda Thyme Apple Hand Pies Recipe

gluten-free (if using gluten-free crust, nut-free, vegetarian

Need a switch from classic apple pie? We’ve got you covered with this sophisticated but oh-so-simple take with cheese, thyme, spices, and apples.  

Maple Shortbread Pecan Pie Bars

Pecan Pie Maple Shortbread Bars Recipe

vegetarian

Okay, yes, we also have a thing for bite-sized desserts. Our rationale is bite-sized means you get to taste more, almost like the tapas of desserts!

Pear Fritters Recipe

Ginger Sugared Fresh Pear Fritters Recipe

nut-free, vegetarian

There are certain fried foods we’re always game to make because they’re so delicious they are well worth the effort. Case in point? These Fresh Pear Fritters With Ginger Sugar Recipe. It’s the kind of recipe we make for a special occasion and the effort is well worth it!

Spiced Persimmon Pudding

Spiced Persimmon Pudding Recipe

gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian

Persimmon pudding isn’t really a pudding — well, in the British sense, yes. But to us Yankees it can be misleading. It’s like a boozed and spiced persimmon cake bar, which, semantics aside, is one of our favorite ways to bake with persimmons. and, if you’re not sold on pumpkin pie, this might just be a perfect swap!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart Recipe

Almond Butter Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart Recipe

gluten-free (if using gluten-free cookies for crust), vegetarian

If like us, it isn’t a party until some chocolate dessert is involved, we hear you. Steal the show with this make-ahead tart that combines so many of our favorite dessert flavors: almond butter, caramel, and chocolate!

Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie

{Haupia Pie} Hawaiian Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie Recipe

dairy-free, gluten-free (if using gluten-free cookies), vegetarian

Our favorite way to finish the meal? With this Coconut Cream Pie inspired by the classic pie shop on Oahu’s North Shore, Ted’s Bakery!

More Entertaining Ideas

Need some more help planning your holiday menu? Check out our Thanksgiving wine pairing guide and our top tips for holiday entertaining. Or, have some extras? Go ahead and make these leftovers.


Opening Photo: Natasa Mandic 

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