What Thanksgiving-Food Haters Eat On Thanksgiving

Turkey and mashed potatoes isn’t everyone’s jam. Here are some alternatives.

This may come as a surprise to some, but not everyone looks forward to the Thanksgiving gorge fest. To some people, turkey is too dry, ham is too sweet, yams can take a hike, and stuffing is just wrong. In fact, a quick look at Twitter returned some strong opinions about what haters of traditional Thanksgiving foods prefer to eat on the holiday.

"It's about that time of year again when we can start talking about how Thanksgiving food sucks and is the worst food. Beige-ass plate," tweeted @LucaCimarusti, doubling down on a dislike of this holiday's cuisine by rejecting sweet potatoes and cranberries before adding, "pumpkin pie kinda sucks, too tbh." User @GeoffNews said, "A former colleague eats spaghetti—after his grandfather nearly choked to death on a turkey bone years ago. It's a family tradition." Even our very own staff writer Dennis Lee's family has adopted a White Castle holiday tradition in recent years.

Personally, my Thanksgiving this year is going to be very different. A giant roasted turkey might not even make an appearance, and I'm okay with that. While there are some staples I always look forward to (my dad's stuffing), there's plenty of nontraditional Thanksgiving food I'll be happy to slot in. With rising food prices and potential shortages on the traditional stuff, finding some alternative options won't hurt.

Eat takeout as Thanksgiving dinner

If you want to forgo cooking altogether and let the professionals handle your Thanksgiving meal (no judgement), you can always go the takeout route. If people have made a tradition of ordering Chinese food on Christmas, there's no limit to what we can order out on Thanksgiving (as long as the restaurant is open, of course).


In fact, based on information provided by Grubhub, the number of takeout orders on Thanksgiving Day saw some big increases from 2019 to 2020, likely due to the pandemic. People who obviously wanted tradition without all the fuss made "roast turkey dinner" the top order, with more than four times more turkey dinners being ordered in 2020 than in 2019. The second dish to gain the most popularity as a takeout order went the nontraditional way: pork soup dumplings. Enjoying hot, steamy, easy bites sounds like a cozy way to spend a holiday.

Also on Grubhub's list were some breakfast options like bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches (number 3) and a plain egg sandwich (number 5). Breakfast for dinner is not unheard of and if you're already going against the norm why not go all out? A breakfast spread can provide you just as much indulgence as a turkey dinner. Imagine stacks of french toast and waffles with different toppings, breakfast ham or sausage for the meat lovers, omelets packed with vegetables and cheese. Plenty of colors on that table. And then how about cinnamon rolls or apple cider donuts for dessert?


In similar fashion, DoorDash provided information on the Top 20 Ordered Items on Thanksgiving (based on 2019 and 2020 data). Looks like regardless of Thanksgiving food preference, everyone has a sweet tooth: at the top of the list was Peach Mango Pie. Some other interesting orders that made the top 20 included: Bolognese (11), Horchata (13), Fish & Chips (17), and Turkey Potato Balls, whatever those are (18). You can see the top 10 here:

  1. Peach Mango Pie
  2. Dinner Rolls
  3. Sirloin Steak
  4. Potato Wedges
  5. Roasted Turkey
  6. Spaghetti
  7. Corn Bread muffin
  8. Mac and Cheese
  9. Pesto Pasta
  10. Fried Chicken

Screw tradition—eat what you want

When asked what alternatives to Thanksgiving food opposers eat on the holiday, Twitter users were happy to chime in. @Reneenicolegray wrote, "I hate Thanksgiving food! It's my least favorite holiday. I prefer to do a lobster or even Chinese food if not at my family's house. Shrimp cocktail is a must as an appetizer. If with the fam I'm stuck with tradition and eating at a god awful hour like 1pm."


If sticking your hand inside a turkey's ass and pulling out a bag of its insides doesn't scream holiday fun for you, then here are some ways other people buck tradition that you can try out:

  • Lasagna: My family loves to carbo-load on Thanksgiving, so this one's a no-brainer. We typically always have some kind of pasta dish (cold or hot) on the table, so that's a crowd pleaser right there. Twitter user @jkt710 suggested a turkey lasagna, which could be a nice way of marrying the old with the new.
  • Lobster: This is a great opportunity to get fancy. For me something like lobster is a special occasion delicacy, perfect for a holiday meal.
  • Potluck style (no rules): @Megbornfree tweeted, "everyone in my family gets to pick two of their favorite foods – so typically a lot of fruit and desserts for my fam." This is a great option to ensure everyone has the chance to eat at least one thing they like. Sure, you might end up with a dessert table and no entree, but like I said before, there are no rules.
  • We all know that the tradition surrounding the Thanksgiving meal is mostly made up anyway—there was no turkey on the table at the first Thanksgiving, and the "dinner party" we heard about was anything but peaceful. But we should always take up an opportunity to share lots of food with people we love. From there, you can—and should–make it your own.