Thanksgiving is a time for reflection and family togetherness. But, let’s be honest, the food is the star of the show.

Of course, there are the classics: beans, greens, potatoes, tomatoes, turkey… But when was the last time you and your family spiced things up with an unconventional Thanksgiving dish?

We have some interesting side dishes that may become new classics.

Exotic Stuffings

Stuffing is almost as iconic as the turkey. The beauty of it is that you can make it with largely whatever you want. Traditionally, stuffing is made with either cornbread or breadcrumbs, along with an assortment of seasonings and ingredients like celery and sausage.

If you’re interested in getting a bit more adventurous you might want to try some of these exotic stuffings

Cajun Stuffing with Shrimp and Andouille Sausage: If you’ve got a taste for spice and seafood, this might just take your Thanksgiving to the next level.

This is a cornbread stuffing with vegetables, shrimp, sausage and spicy Cajun seasonings to give it that extra kick. This one isn’t for everyone. However, those who do have a taste for the spicy will never forget it.

Cauliflower Rice Stuffing: Hear me out… I realize it doesn’t sound especially appetizing on paper. However, the beauty of cauliflower is that it doesn’t really have much of a taste of its own. While that may sound like a detriment, it can actually act as a flavor sponge.

Plus, the major draw of this dish is that it cuts way down on the carbs on a day when you’re already likely to go into carb overload.

Does it taste like cornbread stuffing? No. But, while it may not fool your taste buds, it will please them.

Red Curry Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are tricky. Conceptually, they should be an easy dish to make.

Boil potatoes until they’re soft


You have mashed potatoes.

In reality, it’s much more complicated. Do you peel your potatoes? How much butter do you add? Do you add milk? Should you leave lumps? It goes on and on.

The blank slate nature of mashed potatoes is actually something of a blessing. Adding as few as one ingredient can change the dish in considerable ways.

Consider adding red curry paste to this year’s mashed potatoes. Not only will it give them a flavorful twist, but it will also create a beautiful orange coloring that is sure to wow your family or guests.

Rosemary Quinoa Mac and Cheese

The idea of “healthy” mac and cheese is usually a non-starter, especially on Thanksgiving. The thing about this one, though – it’s actually really good. Not only does the dish have a cauliflower-based sauce to cut out some of the dairy, but the quinoa substitutes a lot of the carbs for more protein. Plus, as previously stated, it’s really good.

It’s Thanksgiving; maybe even make one regular mac and cheese and one with quinoa. If you are somehow not a rosemary fan (I’m so sorry), you could consider swapping it out with thyme.

Thanksgiving is about comfort and familiarity, so trying new things can be a hard sell. However, all traditions start somewhere. 2018 may be the start of a new one for your family.