Do you have what it takes to forgo tradition this Thanksgiving?

By Lauren Wicks
Updated November 12, 2018
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Samin Nosrat Salt Fat Acid Heat Netflix
Credit: Adam Rose / Netflix

Samin Nosrat’s cookbook, Salt Fat Acid Heat, and wildly-popular Netflix series of the same title have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt she knows what she’s doing in a kitchen, but what about when it comes to her Thanksgiving menu?

Nosrat is ditching the traditional turkey for a feta-brined roast chicken recipe this year, and she is in good company. Former Executive Editor at Cooking Light, Ann Taylor Pittman, is also trading out turkey this year; however she’s opting for leg of lamb with a garlic-herb sauce as the main attraction instead. In light of the recent salmonella outbreak in raw turkey, forgoing the token Thanksgiving bird altogether could be a safe option this year, in addition to being an exciting change of pace.

Watch: How to Truss and Carve a Leg of Lamb

We spoke with Pittman about why she chose lamb and what else is on her Thanksgiving menu this year.

“In my family, we would prefer lamb that much more,” Pittman said, regarding her nontraditional meat choice. Pittman said lamb was a richer, moister, and ultimately, more desirable option for those who sit around her Thanksgiving table, herself included. However, she is keeping Thanksgiving tradition alive through still serving classically festive side dishes, like one her of her favorites, cornbread dressing.

Feeling inspired to shake things up this Thanksgiving? Take a page from Nosrat and Pittman’s book, and follow your own appetite. To get you started, here are five turkey-free main dishes that won’t leave anyone missing the holiday meal’s typical centerpiece.

This beautiful dish with an autumnal relish will make guests swoon.

If the truffled wine sauce wasn’t enough to convince you, serving this tenderloin is hassle-free and everyone gets an equally mouth-watering piece.

This three-step lamb recipe is key to a relaxed Thanksgiving day. The orange rind and balsamic vinegar are festive, adding a rich sweetness and cheerful acidity to the dish.

This recipe is especially great for when your Thanksgiving table is large and full of traditionalists. Garlic, rosemary, and thyme will create an irresistible aroma throughout your home, so guests will not want to miss out, even if it’s not turkey.

A tempeh dish is perfect for those really looking to push the envelope this year with an entirely meat-free dish. This plant-protein is extremely versatile, firm and meaty, and will fit right in amongst more traditional side dishes.