cranberry sauce

Traditional Thanksgiving Recipes with a Twist

Gary St. JohnLifestyle & Entertaining

It’s that time of year again, time to plan Thanksgiving dinner. If you’re looking to cook something a little different, these Thanksgiving recipes with a twist will be excellent additions to your menu. They’re interesting yet still feature your favorite dishes and flavors.

Vegetable Side Dishes

Vegetables are an important part of the traditional Thanksgiving meal. They are an excellent way to experiment with some Thanksgiving recipes with a twist. These recipes will get the attention of everyone at the table.

Lemon Maple Squash

Even though this recipe is easy and requires little prep work, it’s still big on flavor.


Prep: 15 min. Cook: 45 min.

Makes 8 servings

  • 4 pounds butternut or calabaza squash
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Slice squash into large wedges and take out the seeds. Place cut-side up in a baking dish.
  • Mix maple syrup, water, lemon zest, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and a little salt and pepper. Pour on top of the squash and dot with butter.
  • Bake 20 minutes at 350° then turn the squash and bake 25 more minutes, basting halfway through. Squash will be caramelized and tender when done.

Cauliflower Puree

Often used as an alternative to potatoes, cauliflower is a good source of nutrients and very low in calories.


Makes 4 servings

  • 1 head of cauliflower (2-2.5 lbs.)
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Pull the leaves off the cauliflower and cut out the core.
  • Break or cut the florets into 1 1/2 inch pieces and use a steamer insert to steam them. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until you can insert a knife into the stems. Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking.
  • Put half the cauliflower into a food processor. Reserve cooking liquid.
  • Add 1/4 cup liquid and puree until smooth.
  • Add the rest of the cauliflower on top and just enough of the remaining liquid to puree.
  • With the processor running, add butter, salt, and pepper through the feed tube. Taste for seasoning and serve hot.


These Thanksgiving recipes will have cranberry lovers everywhere excited.

Whipped Cranberry Dressing

This super easy recipe is a cross between a side dish and a dessert. Freshly whipped cream gives it a unique fluffy texture.


Prep: 5 min. Cook: 5 min.

  • 1 can whole-berry cranberry sauce
  • Grated zest of half an orange
  • 2 cups whipped, lightly sweetened whipping cream
  • Combine cranberry sauce and the orange zest in a skillet and warm over low heat, stirring just until the cranberry sauce loosens.
  • Fold whipped cream into cranberries until ribbons of color form, stopping before the two mix completely.

Maple Honey Cranberry Sauce

Here is another easy recipe with a little more flavor than traditional cranberry sauce. It’s made on the stove top in just 25 minutes.


Makes 8 servings (about 2 cups)

  • 2 C cranberries, can be fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 C maple syrup
  • 1/2 C honey
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • In a saucepan, mix together the cranberries, maple syrup, honey, and orange zest.
  • Cook on stove top over medium heat until berries pop open, usually about 15 minutes.
  • Cool slightly, cover, and store in the refrigerator.

With these Thanksgiving recipes, you’ll be able to impress your guests and make those leftovers just a little more interesting.

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