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Nontraditional Thanksgiving Recipes To Try This Year

Saying that the events of 2020 have been unexpected is a massive understatement. With COVID-19 still posing a threat, election results coming in and the holidays just around the corner, this year can only get more interesting. This Thanksgiving, why not try some recipes as nontraditional as 2020 itself? Even if your family dinner devolves like so many often do, you can find comfort in these delicious dishes.

Fried Oysters  

Okay, this one is weird but hear me out. It has become somewhat a tradition in my household to eat oysters on Thanksgiving. Why? I honestly don’t know, maybe it’s a Floridian thing. Whatever the reason, these are delicious and an interesting way to celebrate.


–   Peanut oil

–   Three-fourths of a cup of buttermilk

–   One teaspoon garlic powder

–   One teaspoon paprika

–   Dash of hot sauce

–   One cup of cornmeal

–   One cup of flour

–   Salt and pepper

–   36 Shucked oysters


  1. Heat peanut oil in a deep fryer until it reaches 365 degrees F.
  2. In a casserole dish, stir together buttermilk, garlic, paprika and hot sauce together. In another casserole dish, whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper.
  3. Add oysters to wet mixture and let soak for a moment. Remove and let excess drip off. Next, dredge the oyster in the dry mixture and tap off any excess. Repeat until all oysters are coated.
  4. Fry the oysters in small batches until golden and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and top with a pinch of salt and pepper.


Thanksgiving dinner place setting
Photo by Debby Hudson from Unsplash

Cauliflower Bake

My favorite Thanksgiving dish of all time. Seriously, it’s that good. My dad has recently incorporated cauliflower bake into our yearly feast and I am forever thankful. This is a great way to swap out mashed potatoes or mac and cheese for something a bit more fun.


–   One head of cauliflower cut into florets

–   Two tablespoons melted butter

–   Pinch of salt

–   Pinch of pepper

–   Two-thirds of a cup of sour cream

–  One-fourth cup heavy cream

–   Two cloves of minced garlic

–   One and a half cups of shredded cheddar cheese

–   Four green onions, chopped

–   Four slices of cooked bacon, broken into bits


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Toss cauliflower pieces with melted butter in a large bowl. Add in salt and pepper.
  3. Add cauliflower to a lined casserole dish. Roast in oven until soft (around 20 minutes).
  4. In the bowl, whisk heavy cream and sour cream together until smooth. Add in garlic, half of the cheese, half of the bacon and half the green onions. Fold in roasted cauliflower.
  5. Pour the entire mixture into the casserole dish and top with remaining bacon and cheese. Bake for five to ten minutes and garnish with remaining green onions.

Shrimp and Grits

Do you want to say goodbye to the turkey altogether? This is a mouthwatering recipe that is just as rich as the typical Thanksgiving lineup and a lot less work.


–   Two pounds of medium-sized shrimp, deveined and peeled

–   Six slices of chopped, cooked bacon

–   Two cups shredded cheddar cheese

–   One cup quick-cooking grits

–   Three cups chicken broth

–   Two tablespoons butter

–   Two minced garlic cloves

–   Two teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

–   Half a teaspoon of salt

–   Half a teaspoon of pepper

–   Squeeze of lemon juice

–   Four green onions.


  1. Boil chicken broth on medium-high and add in grits. Stir occasionally until thick (about five to seven minutes). Add in salt, pepper, butter and cheese. Set aside to warm.
  2.   Cook shrimp in a pan on medium-high until almost done (around three minutes). Add in lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and any fresh herbs you desire.
  3. Lastly, add bacon to shrimp and serve over grits. Garnish with green onion.

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Mollie Cavanaugh is a second year student at FSU majoring in English Literature and minoring in Classical Civilizations. Her passions include writing, cooking, and painting. In her free time, Mollie enjoys spending time with her dog Winnie and exploring Tallahassee with friends.