whole food ~ well made

A Thanksgiving Menu Plan for Everyone

Here’s a smaller, simpler, lighter Thanksgiving menu plan that gets back to basics with something for everyone at the table.

Smaller, simpler, lighter. That’s my Thanksgiving vibe this year. So, I’m sharing a Thanksgiving menu plan that gets back to basics.

Same big flavors, lots less labor. That means more time for reuniting with loved ones!

And it also acknowledges that we can eat less turkey {I’m getting a smaller bird}, offer a meatless main and enjoy all the sides. {Without creating holiday food waste this year.}

Plus, save room for more pie.

An Essential Thanksgiving Menu Plan for 2021

Something To Drink

Cranberry syrup recipe at
Holiday Cranberry Syrup & Garnish for Cocktails
This simple syrup recipe combines whole cranberries with lemon and ginger for making batches of holiday cocktails and mocktails. Just mix with your favorite liquor, sparkling wine or sparkling water . It also provides a festive garnish of sugared lemon peel and whole cranberries, so you're ready for your holiday party.
Check out this recipe
Cranberry syrup recipe at

A Small Bite

tamari almonds closeup
Smoky Tamari Almonds
Smoked and salted nuts are the perfect pairing for a holiday cocktail. I adore almonds, but feel free to use walnuts, pecans, cashews or a combination for an easy, make-ahead appetizer. I’ve tried them all and they’re addictive–so much that you may want to make an extra batch. This recipe is easily doubled and makes a sweet holiday gift, too.
tamari almonds closeup

Turkey with Cranberry Sauce

Homemade Cranberry Sauce without a Recipe
Here's the basic method for preparing your own cranberry sauce. It's super-easy and cooks up in minutes, so you'll be ahead of the game. It will be the best!
Check out this recipe
Cranberry sauce in a dish

A Vegetarian Main Dish

Winter Squash Galette with Mustard & Sage
This savory galette is a great way to turn winter squash into supper. Since you don't have to transfer the dough into a pie plate or make neat edges, it's a great way to practice working with pie dough. Serve this galette as a vegetarian main or side dish or as an appetizer for a celebratory meal.
Check out this recipe

Mashed Potatoes & Gravy

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
This is the method I use to make a batch of mashed potatoes for my family. It can be increased by any measure. The trick, I learned from a potato farmer, is to use the starchiest potatoes and to be liberal with the butter. Once they're mashed, you can hold the potatoes in a bowl over a double boiler for hours to keep them warm.
Check out this recipe
Mashed potatoes in a bowl

A Vegan-Friendly Side Dish

Roasted cauliflower pilaf recipe at
Roasted Cauliflower Pilaf
This vegan recipe is a main or side dish. You can add bits of leftover chicken or turkey or tofu–or top it with a fried egg–if you’re feeling the need for protein.
Check out this recipe
Roasted cauliflower pilaf recipe at

A Big Kale Salad

Kale Quinoa Salad with Citrus & Dates
A quintessential winter salad, this kale quinoa combination makes use of the season’s most available ingredients–including limes, Cara Cara oranges, dates and shaved coconut. This makes a great lunch or light dinner, or bring it to your next potluck.
Check out this recipe
Kale quinoa salad with orange and dates at

A Whole Grain Dinner Roll

Rye dinner rolls with three variations at
Buttermilk Rye Dinner Rolls
I adapted this recipe from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book to make a breadbasket variety of one dozen dinner rolls. The dough comes together quickly and makes an easy to handle dough for making shapes. Plan ahead for the two rising times.
Check out this recipe
Rye dinner rolls with three variations at

It’s the perfect time to make your Thanksgiving menu plan, and I’ve got more side dishes coming this week.

Looking for nontraditional options? Here’s my most popular post for green beans. Try my recipes for celery root puree, chard gratin, mashed sweet potatoes and roasted stuffed squash.


and become a forager

Are you lightening up this Thanksgiving? Let me know in the comments below or tag a photo #lynnesforage on Instagram or Facebook.

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