A Thanksgiving menu crafted with Indian recipes like samosa pot pie or crispy kale chaat that spice up the traditional holiday meal.
Thanksgiving in my Indian household is always a hodgepodge of dishes that my family loves to eat. We generally don't have the traditional turkey or the sides that accompany them but rather recreate American classics with a desi spin. Here is a curated menu of what your Indian-inspired Thanksgiving could look like this year.
Appetizers are crucial for Thanksgiving day. They are what keep your guests' hunger at bay while the main course is being prepared. Here are two Indian-inspired appetizers that can easily be made ahead of time and require little effort on the day of the big feast.
Caramelized onion puff pastry swirls are reminiscent of Indian puffs and a huge party hit. They have masala caramelized onions that can be made in advance and use store-bought puff pastry for their flaky layers. The best part is that they can be assembled in the freezer weeks ahead of time and popped into the oven right before serving.
These mini spicy sweet potato samosas are made with spring roll sheets and fried until flaky and crisp. They are near copycats of the Trader Joe's spicy pumpkin and paneer samosas but use sweet potato, which is easier to cook than pumpkin!
To the naïve observer, these look like Italy's beloved grilled bread appetizer, bruschetta. However, upon closer inspection, this Indian spin on bruschetta uses thakkali thokku, or South Indian tomato chutney, that is spiced with mustard seeds and curry leaves for a delicious holiday dish that will whet your guests' appetite.
The holidays are a time for meals that you want to create to impress. Here are my favorite Indian dishes that I love serving during Thanksgiving and don't require you to spend hours on the big day.
Pie is an iconic part of Thanksgiving. It is usually a centerpiece dessert. However, this oven-baked samosa pot pie encrusted with ajwain (carom) seeds and filled with a spiced potato and pea filling is a great vegetarian showstopper. The best part is that it can easily be made vegan and can be made weeks in advance!
This whole oven baked tandoori chicken is a juicy, tender, and vibrant show stopper! It has two layers of seasoning, oven baked and broiled, and then smoked with charcoal for a smoky taste!
Fall and winter is squash season! I love highlighting squash in sambar, which is an Indian lentil stew. The sweet flesh of the pumpkin or butternut squash soaks up the spices from the sambar and kisses the stew with its sweetness. Ladle this over rice for the perfect hearty, vegan main that will also satisfy the meat-eaters.
Spinach dal is that creamy, vibrant, emerald green lentil dish that is a way to sneak in your veggies! I love this rich dish that is creamy without being doused in cream like other traditional Thanksgiving greens.
This dish is a stovetop Indian stuffing which is I also call Kothu Bread or bread upma. It is inspired by kothu parotta, a chopped bread and masala dish. This version uses ghee-roasted bread croutons that are tossed in an onion and tomato masala and coated in egg for a bright stuffing with Indian flavors.
These are Indian oven-roasted Brussels sprouts that are tossed in chaat masala, tamarind date chutney, and topped with crunchy pistachios! They make for a delicious vegetable side dish for the holidays!
An Indian take on the traditional green beans dish.Beans poriyal is an Indian green beans preparation where the chopped greens are coated in a ground shredded coconut and curry leaf paste and roasted until the spices and beans caramelize into a spicy and rich side dish that has enough flavor to act as the main star.
This spicy and sour cranberry achar is an Indian-style pickle that is fermented and preserved in mustard oil, Kashmiri chili powder, and fennel seeds. It is the perfect condiment to liven up any dish.
Everyone is looking for a "green dish" for Thanksgiving that can balance the richness from the other dishes. Well, this crispy kale chaat is that perfect green dish. It won't be set aside like other salads but cherished for its bright, tangy, and sweet flavors. This dish has kale that is baked until it is a crunchy vehicle to carry fresh veggies and sweet and spicy chutneys.
Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without a potato dish. This is a bright and flavorful dish that coats baby potatoes in a rich masala for a flavorful potato that you can't resist getting seconds of.
This Indian rice pudding that is scented with cardamom is such a great warm dessert to serve guests. It comes together in minutes with the use of condensed milk and can easily be reheated. You can top it off with traditional toppings like raisins or nuts or jazz it up for fall with spiced apples!
Kaju Katli is a great dessert to serve at the end of dinner but also to leave out at the beginning of the day for folks to snack on throughout the day. This rich cashew fudge is addictive and gives the right amount of sugar to keep folks' blood sugar up.
This sophisticated gulab jamun cocktail features a saffron, cardamom, and rose-infused simple syrup, traditionally used for gulab jamuns, repurposed to craft a refreshing gin cocktail with floral and bright notes.
Thanksgiving is undeniably a long day of eating. When the time for dessert hits, I love serving a warm drink to accompany the sweets. Chai is the perfect warm drink for Indian Thanksgiving. It is a cozy drink that evokes fall and is perfect even for the folks that don't have a sweet tooth.