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19 Best Non-Traditional Christmas Dinner Recipes

Forget traditional mashed potatoes and overdone pork roast. Jazz up your holiday table with these dishes.

‘Twas the week before Christmas and you’ve shuffled through your tried-and-true cookbooks only to find the same traditional recipes you’ve prepped one-too-many times. This year, you’re ready to jazz up your Christmas dinner spread with something a little different. But where do you start?

From Indian-inspired lamb meatballs to whiskey-spiked cranberry sauce to a finger-licking hybrid of your top two desserts, we’ve rounded up the 19 best non-traditional Christmas dinner recipes. Because yes, traditions have their place, but these exciting eats bring a fun and creative twist to your Christmas spread. If these amazing eats don’t impress your friends and family, we don’t know what will!

1

Vegan Mushroom Stuffed Tofu Roast

Vegan tofu roast Courtesy of Cassandra Gates

Ditch your go-to beef roast for this delicious vegan alternative that packs in loads of lean protein from tofu as well as brain-boosting omega-3 fats from the walnuts. And with flavorful add-ins such as thyme and rosemary, even the hungriest carnivore won’t miss the usual meaty centerpiece.

Get the recipe from Cassandra Gates

2

Corn Pudding

Corn pudding Courtesy of Lil' Luna

If you’ve never heard of or tried corn pudding, now’s the time to introduce the sweet and savory side to your holiday table. The buttery base is made up of sour cream, eggs, and a quick baking mix for an easy-to-prep dish that’ll impress more than cornbread or creamed corn ever will.

Get the recipe from Lil’ Luna.

3

Crock Pot Caramel Hot Apple Cider

Caramel hot apple cider Courtesy of Flour On My Face

Caramel and apples are like the pasta and marinara sauce of desserts: a seriously tasty power couple. This recipe jazzes up a good ol’ apple cider with decadent caramel, which adds just the right touch of sweetness. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate Christmas than with some fuzzy socks and a tall glass of this warming hot apple cider in hand.

Get the recipe from Flour On My Face.

4

Vegan Creamy Green Bean Casserole

Vegan green bean casserole Courtesy of Cassandra Gates

We get it: Christmas is incomplete without a creamy casserole dead-center on your spread. Blogger and food stylist Cassandra Gates upgrades the usual deep dish with a vegan twist. This casserole contains tofu for protein and creaminess, as well as hearty cremini mushrooms and a crispy onion topping that’ll have guests going in for seconds. We bet your guests won’t even realize it’s vegan!

Get the recipe from Cassandra Gates.

5

Instant Pot Thai Grilled Chicken

Instant pot Thai grilled chicken Courtesy of Paint The Kitchen Red

This recipe cooks Gai Yang, a traditional Thai street food, in the Instant Pot for the perfect Christmas dinner dish. Instead of whipping up your tried-and-true lemon-herb chicken, try these sweet chili-sauce-glazed thighs that are cooked overnight to fall-off-the-bone tenderness.

Get the recipe from Paint The Kitchen Red.

6

Pecan Pie Cheesecake

Pecan pie cheesecake Courtesy of Lil' Luna

If you usually find yourself stumped at the dessert table, contemplating between pecan pie and homemade cheesecake, this hybrid is your sweet solution. The untraditional dessert combines a pecan pie filling with a cheesecake layer and a delectable crunchy pecan topping for the ultimate post-dinner treat.

Get the recipe from Lil’ Luna.

7

Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Pork Loin

Slow cooker honey balsamic pork loin Courtesy of Mommy's Home Cooking

Jazz up your roast pork dish with this spice-rubbed and honey-balsamic-sauce-smothered twist. The slow cooker allows the meat to tenderize and marinate in the savory spices for a fall-apart centerpiece that’s juicy and bursting with unexpected yet complementary flavors.

Get the recipe from Mommy’s Home Cooking.

8

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Twice baked sweet potato with marshmallow Courtesy of Lil' Luna

Instead of serving a traditional, baby-food-like sweet potato casserole, retain the taters shape by baking them twice: first on their own, and again after they’re mashed with maple syrup, butter, cream cheese, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, and piped back into their skins. Not only do they make for a decorative side dish, but they also look as appetizing as they taste, thanks to the crunchy pecan streusel topping.

Get the recipe from Lil’ Luna.

9

Roasted and Stuffed Butternut Squash, 3 Ways

Roasted butternut squash three ways Courtesy of Feasting At Home

Because a Christmas table is incomplete without at least one veggie side, we’ve added this stuffed butternut squash dish to the mix. Rather than roasting the winter veggie with olive oil, salt, and pepper, these three recipes liven up the squash with ingredient combinations like ground turkey, sage, apples, and cranberries; a second combo of miso and mushrooms; and a third option with lentils, tart yogurt, and cranberries.

Get the recipe from Feasting At Home.

10

Lamb Meatballs With Indian Curry Sauce

Lamb curry meatballs Courtesy of Feasting At Home

Spaghetti and meatballs always lure your little ones to the table, but this upgraded meatball dish serves up something special for the adults. Ground lamb is paired with a rich curry sauce made with ghee and turmeric, as well as fragrant garam masala spice. Serve it over basmati rice, low-carb cauliflower rice, or even zoodles for a balanced dish.

Get the recipe from Feasting At Home.

11

Orange Bourbon Cranberry Sauce

Bourbon orange cranberry sauce Courtesy of Gimme Some Oven

There’s no doubt that typical jellied cranberry sauce is due for a makeover, and this twist is spiked with bright citrus and full-bodied bourbon. This delightful sauce calls for fresh cranberries as well as freshly squeezed orange juice, which helps balance the berries’ tartness, and bourbon, which adds a slight bite.

Get the recipe from Gimme Some Oven.

12

Cheddar-Stuffed Sweet Potato BBQ Turkey Meatloaf

BBQ cheesy turkey meatload Courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen

Meatloaf might be just as divisive as your choice to wear a red sweater with bright green pants to Christmas dinner. However, this hearty turkey meatloaf raises the bar with its barbecue glaze and sharp cheddar stuffing. Try it alongside a mixed veggie dish, and you’ll start a new Christmas combination everyone will love.

Get the recipe from Ambitious Kitchen.

13

Garlic Chili-Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate and Gorgonzola

Brussels sprouts with squash and gorgonzola Courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen

Combine comforting sweet squash with fiber-rich Brussels sprouts and top with a garlic-chili-maple sauce for the ultimate side dish that pairs well with literally everything. The tart gorgonzola crumbles pair perfectly with the warm spices sprinkled in. Plus, you can up the holiday flavors with a chopped pecan garnish.

Get the recipe from Ambitious Kitchen.

14

Instant Pot Wild Rice Stuffing

Insant pot wild rice stuffing Courtesy of Show Me The Yummy

Whether you’re pairing it with a traditional turkey or going the red meat route, this wild rice stuffing surely won’t disappoint. The wild rice adds a satisfying bite, while the sage, thyme, and rosemary lend it serious flavor. What’s more, the stuffing is spiked with two cheeses—goat cheese and Parmesan—for that indulgent factor that comforts during chilly weather.

Get the recipe from Show Me The Yummy.

15

Toasted Sesame Mashed Potatoes

Sesame seed mashed potatoes Courtesy of Love And Olive Oil

Upgrade traditional mashed potatoes this year with a hefty sprinkling of nutty toasted sesame seeds. Trust us, this is a slight change that everyone will rave about around the holiday table. It’s the dressed-up mashed potatoes you’ve always wanted! The taters are smooth and velvety, as they should be, thanks to a mixture of heavy cream, butter, and sesame oil and are delicately blended with black pepper.

Get the recipe from Love And Olive Oil.

16

Cheddar Chive Biscuits

Cheddar chive biscuits Courtesy of Love And Olive Oil

Try something different this season and opt for making buttery biscuits at home rather than relying on the store-bought rolls. This dinner essential is concocted with a mouth-watering cheese-and-chive combo for a biscuit that’s far from basic and definitely not from a can.

Get the recipe from Love And Olive Oil.

17

Small-Batch Stovetop Apple Butter

Apple butter Courtesy of Love And Olive Oil

This decadent condiment requires just under 10 ingredients, all of which are probably sitting in your pantry at the moment. Crisp apples are cooked in a large saucepan with cloves, cinnamon, sugar, and lemon juice for an apple butter that can be paired with biscuits and toast, as well as act as a complement to a meat dish.

Get the recipe from Love And Olive Oil.

18

Rustic Pear Galette With Walnut Crust

Pear gallete with walnut crust Courtesy of Feasting At Home

Crafted with a simple yet flavorful walnut crust and a cardamom-spiked pear filling, this golden galette is as impressive as it is delectable. Pair the tart with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert, and save leftovers for a sweet, post-holiday breakfast that’s well-deserved. Amid a sea of pumpkin and sweet potato pies, this pear version will truly stand out.

Get the recipe from Feasting At Home.

19

Vegan Cauliflower, Tofu, and Chickpea Salad

Vegan chickpea tofu salad Courtesy of Cassandra Gates

Spice up your holiday spread this season with this hearty appetizer that can double as a light lunch the next day. However, because this salad is clad with a scrumptious blend of bright parsley, spiced chickpeas, and a savory mustard dressing, we’re doubtful you’ll have any leftovers.

Get the recipe from Cassandra Gates.

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