This holiday season, we’ve made a vow to think outside the roasting pan and serve up some delectable original recipes—dishes that aren’t so far from tradition that they’ll turn off guests, but will elevate the annual big-day spread to unforgettable feast. We’ve rounded up the best from the blogosphere for everything from appetizers to entrees and a truly inspired dessert, and we’ve even got your table-setting needs covered. Our forks are ready when you are.
Kick off your dinner with this saladlike appetizer, featuring the comforting warmth and heartiness of cayenne-laced bacon dressing with the twist of nutritious and flavorful Brussels sprouts.
The holiday bird takes flight with the sweetness of honey and buttermilk balanced with a kick of ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Bonus: the buttermilk really helps the meat retain moisture, so you’ll hear nary a complaint about shoe-leather meat.
This recipe is especially good if you have a hard time finding quality, organic cranberries in your area. We love the interplay of tart cherries and cranberries with the juicy sweetness of orange. Double or even triple the recipe so you have plenty of weekend leftovers for spreading on your morning toast or on a club sandwich for lunch.
The idea of not serving stuffing with Thanksgiving dinner might sound like heresy, but give this this savory delight a try. The spicy taste of fennel is offset with the mild sweetness and decadent creaminess of the coulis and chunky bread pudding.
Some of the most traditional flavors of fall—sweet potatoes, cinnamon, cloves, maple syrup—get a hip upgrade with a splash of bourbon and a handful of addictive spicy pecans. Your guests will be talking about this one for years to come.
If you’re considering a Tofurkey for your non-meat-eating friends this holiday, stop. Right now. (Really. Spare your loved ones.) Instead, make this low-stress, high-impact dish, featuring flavor-packed delicata squash—you can even eat the skins!—stuffed with chewy farro and cranberries.
What could be better than spiced pumpkin crème layered with amaretto- and espresso-soaked cake? Not much. Did we mention that this one’s vegan, and can even be made gluten-free? Pass the trifle bowl, please.