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4 Unique Thanksgiving Recipes to Try This Year

We’ve finally come to the month of November, where the excitement for Black Friday shopping and Thanksgiving dinner begins. As college students wrap up the fall semester, I can only imagine how each and every one of us are itching to go home to our families for Thanksgiving break. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays not only because I can spend quality time with my family, but because I also get to eat all the wonderful food! Normally, I enjoy taking charge of the Thanksgiving menu and every year I try to make something different that hopefully, my family can enjoy. Here are 4 of my favorite recipes that are a little unconventional, but still delicious!

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes

I know after a big turkey, many feel absolutely stuffed. This recipe is quick and easy, and is only the size of a cupcake! Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts and when I found a recipe where I could make mini versions of these treats, I knew that I had to try it! All that’s needed are a cupcake pan, 12 whole oreo cookies, 6 chopped oreo cookies, 16 ounces of cream cheese softened, ½ cup of granulated sugar, ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract, 2 large eggs, and ½ cup of sour cream. The whole oreo cookies are placed in each cupcake holder on the pan as the base. The cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, eggs, and sour cream are used to make the cheesecake batter and are placed on top of the cookie. The oreo crumbs are sprinkled on top of the batter. Pop these in the oven for about 30 minutes and you’re good to go! Also pro tip: I personally think that these taste better cold, so I would put them in the fridge for a few hours before eating it!

Pumpkin Bread

I know that pumpkin pie is a classic Thanksgiving dessert, but I actually think that pumpkin bread is a better alternative. The minute I saw this recipe about 2 years ago, I knew that I had to try it and I’ve been making it every Thanksgiving since! This recipe is also rather easy and is absolutely delicious! All you need are ½ cup of granulated sugar, ½ cup of brown sugar (dark or light), 1½ tablespoons of all-purpose flour, ¾ teaspoons of baking soda, ½ teaspoon of baking powder, ½ tablespoon salt, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 large egg, ¾ cups of pumpkin puree, ⅓ cup of oil and ⅓ cup of water. Then, combine the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet ingredients in another bowl, and then mix these contents together. Place this batter in a  9×13-inch loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes and it should be ready! Take the bread out and cover it with aluminum foil to maintain the soft texture of the bread. The combined flavors of cinnamon and pumpkin are what I love about this recipe and it also stays soft for days!

Roasted Red Pepper Rigatoni

Pasta isn’t exactly what everyone thinks of when it comes to Thanksgiving, but the sauce is really what makes this recipe special. I used rigatoni pasta, but really any type of pasta would taste amazing with this sauce. To make the sauce, you need about 3-4 cloves of minced garlic, 3 thinly sliced shallots, 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 cup of half and half, 4 ounces of cream cheese, ½ cup of grated parmesan cheese, and a 12-ounce jar of roasted red peppers. While the pasta is cooking, first add the shallots and heat it for about 2-3 minutes. Then, add the minced garlic and let it cook for about a minute. Next, pour the half and half, parmesan cheese, and cream cheese. Stir this for about 2-3 minutes and then add the roasted red peppers. Then, put this mixture in the blender and blend until it’s creamy. Next, add some salt and pepper to taste, pour the sauce over the pasta, and toss to coat it. This sauce is super creamy but absolutely delicious with the slightly spicy flavor of the red peppers!

Zucchini and Summer Squash Casserole

Green bean casserole is generally what most people make for their Thanksgiving meals, but I wanted to try something a little different last year. I came across this recipe and thought that this was a super healthy and delicious alternative to the traditional casserole that we all know and love. The best part is that this recipe doesn’t really call for many ingredients! You will need 2 zucchinis, 2 yellow summer squashes, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, ⅓ cup of grated Parmesan cheese, ⅓ cup of panko bread crumbs, and finally salt and pepper. To make this dish, thinly cut the zucchini and squash into ¼ inch slices, then place them in circles on a pie plate. Then, drizzle the slices with olive oil and sprinkle with cheese and bread crumbs. Then, put salt and pepper on top of the casserole. Bake this in the oven, uncovered for 25 minutes, until the top is lightly brown or golden. The result is a casserole filled with the fresh flavors of crisp zucchini and squash!

These recipes might sound a little different compared to your traditional Thanksgiving meals, but I encourage you all to try these recipes for the upcoming holiday or even other celebrations! I promise that you won’t be disappointed. 

Aditi Samavedy

Wake Forest '24

I'm currently a freshman at Wake Forest University and love to write, bake and sing!
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