Forget traditional mashed potatoes and overdone pork roast. Jazz up your holiday table with these dishes.
‘Twas the week before Christmas and you’ve shuffled through your tried-and-true cookbooks only to find the same traditional recipes you’ve prepped one-too-many times. This year, you’re ready to jazz up your Christmas dinner spread with something a little different. But where do you start?
From Indian-inspired lamb meatballs to whiskey-spiked cranberry sauce to a finger-licking hybrid of your top two desserts, we’ve rounded up the 19 best non-traditional Christmas dinner recipes. Because yes, traditions have their place, but these exciting eats bring a fun and creative twist to your Christmas spread. If these amazing eats don’t impress your friends and family, we don’t know what will!
Vegan Mushroom Stuffed Tofu Roast
Ditch your go-to beef roast for this delicious vegan alternative that packs in loads of lean protein from tofu as well as brain-boosting omega-3 fats from the walnuts. And with flavorful add-ins such as thyme and rosemary, even the hungriest carnivore won’t miss the usual meaty centerpiece.
If you’ve never heard of or tried corn pudding, now’s the time to introduce the sweet and savory side to your holiday table. The buttery base is made up of sour cream, eggs, and a quick baking mix for an easy-to-prep dish that’ll impress more than cornbread or creamed corn ever will.
Crock Pot Caramel Hot Apple Cider
Caramel and apples are like the pasta and marinara sauce of desserts: a seriously tasty power couple. This recipe jazzes up a good ol’ apple cider with decadent caramel, which adds just the right touch of sweetness. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate Christmas than with some fuzzy socks and a tall glass of this warming hot apple cider in hand.
Vegan Creamy Green Bean Casserole
We get it: Christmas is incomplete without a creamy casserole dead-center on your spread. Blogger and food stylist Cassandra Gates upgrades the usual deep dish with a vegan twist. This casserole contains tofu for protein and creaminess, as well as hearty cremini mushrooms and a crispy onion topping that’ll have guests going in for seconds. We bet your guests won’t even realize it’s vegan!
Instant Pot Thai Grilled Chicken
This recipe cooks Gai Yang, a traditional Thai street food, in the Instant Pot for the perfect Christmas dinner dish. Instead of whipping up your tried-and-true lemon-herb chicken, try these sweet chili-sauce-glazed thighs that are cooked overnight to fall-off-the-bone tenderness.
Pecan Pie Cheesecake
If you usually find yourself stumped at the dessert table, contemplating between pecan pie and homemade cheesecake, this hybrid is your sweet solution. The untraditional dessert combines a pecan pie filling with a cheesecake layer and a delectable crunchy pecan topping for the ultimate post-dinner treat.
Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Pork Loin
Jazz up your roast pork dish with this spice-rubbed and honey-balsamic-sauce-smothered twist. The slow cooker allows the meat to tenderize and marinate in the savory spices for a fall-apart centerpiece that’s juicy and bursting with unexpected yet complementary flavors.
Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
Instead of serving a traditional, baby-food-like sweet potato casserole, retain the taters shape by baking them twice: first on their own, and again after they’re mashed with maple syrup, butter, cream cheese, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, and piped back into their skins. Not only do they make for a decorative side dish, but they also look as appetizing as they taste, thanks to the crunchy pecan streusel topping.
Roasted and Stuffed Butternut Squash, 3 Ways
Because a Christmas table is incomplete without at least one veggie side, we’ve added this stuffed butternut squash dish to the mix. Rather than roasting the winter veggie with olive oil, salt, and pepper, these three recipes liven up the squash with ingredient combinations like ground turkey, sage, apples, and cranberries; a second combo of miso and mushrooms; and a third option with lentils, tart yogurt, and cranberries.
Lamb Meatballs With Indian Curry Sauce
Spaghetti and meatballs always lure your little ones to the table, but this upgraded meatball dish serves up something special for the adults. Ground lamb is paired with a rich curry sauce made with ghee and turmeric, as well as fragrant garam masala spice. Serve it over basmati rice, low-carb cauliflower rice, or even zoodles for a balanced dish.
Orange Bourbon Cranberry Sauce
There’s no doubt that typical jellied cranberry sauce is due for a makeover, and this twist is spiked with bright citrus and full-bodied bourbon. This delightful sauce calls for fresh cranberries as well as freshly squeezed orange juice, which helps balance the berries’ tartness, and bourbon, which adds a slight bite.
Cheddar-Stuffed Sweet Potato BBQ Turkey Meatloaf
Meatloaf might be just as divisive as your choice to wear a red sweater with bright green pants to Christmas dinner. However, this hearty turkey meatloaf raises the bar with its barbecue glaze and sharp cheddar stuffing. Try it alongside a mixed veggie dish, and you’ll start a new Christmas combination everyone will love.
Garlic Chili-Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate and Gorgonzola
Combine comforting sweet squash with fiber-rich Brussels sprouts and top with a garlic-chili-maple sauce for the ultimate side dish that pairs well with literally everything. The tart gorgonzola crumbles pair perfectly with the warm spices sprinkled in. Plus, you can up the holiday flavors with a chopped pecan garnish.
Instant Pot Wild Rice Stuffing
Whether you’re pairing it with a traditional turkey or going the red meat route, this wild rice stuffing surely won’t disappoint. The wild rice adds a satisfying bite, while the sage, thyme, and rosemary lend it serious flavor. What’s more, the stuffing is spiked with two cheeses—goat cheese and Parmesan—for that indulgent factor that comforts during chilly weather.
Toasted Sesame Mashed Potatoes
Upgrade traditional mashed potatoes this year with a hefty sprinkling of nutty toasted sesame seeds. Trust us, this is a slight change that everyone will rave about around the holiday table. It’s the dressed-up mashed potatoes you’ve always wanted! The taters are smooth and velvety, as they should be, thanks to a mixture of heavy cream, butter, and sesame oil and are delicately blended with black pepper.
Cheddar Chive Biscuits
Try something different this season and opt for making buttery biscuits at home rather than relying on the store-bought rolls. This dinner essential is concocted with a mouth-watering cheese-and-chive combo for a biscuit that’s far from basic and definitely not from a can.
Small-Batch Stovetop Apple Butter
This decadent condiment requires just under 10 ingredients, all of which are probably sitting in your pantry at the moment. Crisp apples are cooked in a large saucepan with cloves, cinnamon, sugar, and lemon juice for an apple butter that can be paired with biscuits and toast, as well as act as a complement to a meat dish.
Rustic Pear Galette With Walnut Crust
Crafted with a simple yet flavorful walnut crust and a cardamom-spiked pear filling, this golden galette is as impressive as it is delectable. Pair the tart with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert, and save leftovers for a sweet, post-holiday breakfast that’s well-deserved. Amid a sea of pumpkin and sweet potato pies, this pear version will truly stand out.
Vegan Cauliflower, Tofu, and Chickpea Salad
Spice up your holiday spread this season with this hearty appetizer that can double as a light lunch the next day. However, because this salad is clad with a scrumptious blend of bright parsley, spiced chickpeas, and a savory mustard dressing, we’re doubtful you’ll have any leftovers.
By APRIL BENSHOSAN
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