When you attend Thanksgiving Day at someone else’s house, you forget subtle details of the planning. For example, what to do for lunch! Thanksgiving Day lunch recipes and ideas are needed because they are often thought of too late. Once stores close, it can be next to impossible to figure out what to feed everyone. Thankfully, if you are able to read this the night before grocery stores are closed for the day, you will be able to prepare for Thanksgiving Day lunch in time.
First of All, You Will Not Have a Stove
Most of the time, the kitchen is a well occupied mess for most of Thanksgiving Day. You will have a turkey and pies in the oven. The top of the stove will be boiling potatoes and making gravy. In other words, the idea of preparing one more dish or meal can seem like torture on Thanksgiving Day.
Forget About Food Delivery on Thanksgiving
Because you will want to have the kitchen occupied solely with cooking Thanksgiving dinner, you will want to focus on foods that are easy to prepare for Thanksgiving lunch. Keep in mind you may not be able to have food delivered to your home on Thanksgiving Day.
For this reason, your best bet is to have sandwiches, some desserts, and chips available for Thanksgiving lunch. One other nice additional menu item is cheese and crackers, fruit bowls, nuts, and veggies for dipping into dressing. All of these ideas will work fine unless someone has food restrictions or allergies.
What About Gluten Free and Restricted Diets on Thanksgiving?
Turkey, plain vegetables (butter on the side), and fruits are all perfectly fine for anyone with a restricted diet. Find out if anyone in the group is vegan, vegetarian, diabetic, lactose intolerant, has a nut allergy, or is gluten intolerant when you are inviting them. Re-arranging your menu for Thanksgiving lunch or dinner to accommodate a food restricted guest should not be difficult. If it gets complicated, have them be more active in telling you what the easy solutions are.
Tip: Always follow recipes precisely and have them available for the person with food restrictions to look over. You may forget that something has whey or casein but they will spot it immediately!
Thanksgiving Lunch Recipes That Work
Below I have listed 4 Thanksgiving lunch recipes from my personal collection that can potentially woo food restricted eaters. They also take ingredients that you will most likely find easily or be using in other Thanksgiving Day recipes for dinner. All can be prepared ahead of time, in a crock pot, or out of the way of other Thanksgiving Day preparations.
Koo Koo – This is basically a vegetarian frittata recipe. The idea is to use the heat from pre-heating your oven to cook this egg dish. It is a green way to use the heat you create when you pre-heat. Thanksgiving Lunch is usually a time when there is some residual heat to use for cooking. Koo Koo helps you harness this heat easily.
Directions: You take several onions, a helping of oil, and put it in a big pan. This can be a giant cast iron skillet or a brownie pan. You can add several (9-16) scrambled eggs over the top of the onions. I like to make it in the traditional Iranian way with spinach (frozen chopped is fine), feta, and a touch of salt and red hot pepper flakes. The onions caramelize and make this recipe rule. You can look online for variations and cooking times for Koo Koo. Low heat is the key.
Apple Walnut Celery Salad – This recipe is this author’s own invention made from frequent Thanksgiving lunches. It is completely raw and extremely easy to make the night before. I even store it on the counter when we run out of fridge space. We use all of these ingredients in our cornbread dressing, fruit salad, and pumpkin bread.
Directions: Chop and core 6 large apples (I prefer gala) into bite size chunks. You should have twice as much apples as celery. You should have twice as much celery as walnuts. To this, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and the same amount of sugar. You should also add a sprinkle of salt. This sounds like a big mess, but is actually very delicious. You can add a couple of tablespoons of water to it if the juices don’t want to mix well.
Fruit Compote – This is the one awesome Thanksgiving lunch idea that most people have never heard of and no food intolerance individual can refuse. This is a family favorite we make each year in a crock pot. It involves inexpensive dried fruits and fruit juice. We leave out the figs and make ours extra tangy with extra pineapple juice and orange juice. My mother claims that this is the one we use but we use everything dried: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/recipefinder/spiced-winter-fruit-compote-recipe
Tofu Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie with a Graham Cracker Crust – This is a quick recipe for Thanksgiving Lunch when you have a vegan or lactose intolerant person in your life. My suggestion? Have them make it late the night before when the kitchen is less busy. You can store it in the freezer for most of the day to save fridge space and let it thaw on top of the fridge for four hours before you want to eat it. This is so simple to make that countless variations are available online (such as Turtle “cheese” cake).