A Thanksgiving Menu With an Israeli and Jewish Twist

Middle Eastern and Jewish ingredients augment the classic American Thanksgiving staple foods, for a meal that’s both kosher and offers plenty of filling options for your vegetarian/vegan guests.

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A traditional Thanksgiving meal
A traditional Thanksgiving mealCredit: Dreamstime
Vered Guttman
Vered Guttman

There’s no doubt that Thanksgiving is superior to other American culinary traditions. For many Americans, Thanksgiving is a time for both embracing classic American Thanksgiving foods, as well as incorporating family traditions and ethnic identity.

This menu draws its inspiration from the Middle East and from Jewish tradition, incorporating local favorites like pomegranate, couscous and the obsession with stuffing vegetables into more traditional Thanksgiving choices like cranberry sauce, sweet potato and Brussels sprouts. Challah, the traditional Jewish sabbath bread, makes for a natural choice for a richly flavored stuffing. This meal is not only kosher; it also gives your vegetarian and vegan cousins plenty to choose from. Traditionalists may consider supplementing with store-bought canned cranberry sauce.

For those who keep kosher, all the butter, cream and bacon that go into the traditional dishes in this Turkey-centered meal are out of question, leaving you craving for fat and flavor. This menu incorporates many good substitutes, and as long as you keep away from margarine, you’ll be fine. Coconut milk and coconut oil are excellent in place of butter and cream in savory and sweet dishes. Schmaltz or duck fat taste so good with any roasted veggie. And miso adds umami where cream is missing (even in chocolate mousse).

Chag Sameach.

Thanksgiving menu

Roasted turkey - Any turkey recipe will work. A family recipe is best, or you can try this roast turkey recipe.

Challah, sausage and mushroom stuffing

Pomegranate, cranberry and beet relish

Couscous salad with sweet potato, walnuts and pomegranate

Brussels sprouts and chestnut in coconut milk

Stuffed butternut squash

Kale salad with avocado

Mashed potato with white miso

Pecan and chocolate pie

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