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Easy Thanksgiving Recipes By California Food Bloggers

Easy Thanksgiving Recipes By California Food Bloggers

This year, prepare easy Thanksgiving recipes you'll love from California's top food bloggers for a wonderful and memorable meal.


6 min read

November 14, 2021

A time for togetherness and gratitude, Thanksgiving is all about food and family—two of the most important things in life. The best part about the holiday isn’t Black Friday; it’s the priceless experience of sharing the table with your loved ones while consuming hearty, mouthwatering food. 

Turkey with cranberry sauce; mashed potatoes with gravy; a roasted vegetable side dish; a quintessential pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream; and only the best Thanksgiving appetizers—how could you resist? As delicious as Thanksgiving meals are, they take a lot of time to perfect, and sometimes, we just don’t feel like dedicating that many hours to cooking food.

Whether you’re spending the holiday at home, at a friend’s house, or in a cozy cabin with your special someone, prepare these easy Thanksgiving recipes to switch things up this year.

Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Healthy and delicious—my, oh my, we can't wait to try this green bean tomato sauté. Photo courtesy of Toriavey.

1. Green Bean Tomato Sauté

A green bean casserole is a typical Thanksgiving side dish, but a green bean tomato sauté is a healthier (but equally delicious) option. This easy Thanksgiving recipe is not only a lighter substitute, but also vegetarian (and vegan), gluten-free, affordable, and quick to throw together. Developed by Tori Avey, the easy Thanksgiving side dish is flavorful, satisfying, and further proof that food doesn’t need to be swimming in fat to be delicious.

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2 pounds green beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 sweet onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped (or 1 can diced tomatoes)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons fresh minced oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar 
Salt and pepper

Indulge in a warm, flaky sweet potato biscuit in lieu of regular bread. This side dish truly is the best of both worlds.

2. Sweet Potato Biscuits

Biscuits are an easy Thanksgiving side dish and a fantastic accompaniment to traditional meals. Foodie Goes Healthy adapted the popular dish by adding a new twist—sweet potatoes, extra flavors, and pumpkin pie spice. These biscuits can even be enjoyed after Thanksgiving’s day; they're perfect for preparing turkey sandwiches the day after. So, in a way, they’re also perfect Thanksgiving appetizers to make ahead.

1 medium-sized sweet potato or ¾ cup leftover sweet potato puree
1 ¾ cups white whole wheat flour, plus a sprinkle for the cutting surface
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, divided 
⅓ cup low-fat buttermilk
1 tablespoon orange juice 
½ teaspoon orange zest

Stay cozy this Thanksgiving and indulge in cheesy and gooey goodness. Photo courtesy of Jessie May.

3. Macaroni and cheese 

Is it even a complete Thanksgiving dinner without a hearty side of macaroni and cheese? This recipe from Jessie May is perfectly gooey and unbelievably decadent. Try this easy Thanksgiving side once and you’ll never be reaching for the boxed kind ever again.

1 cup chopped carrots 
2 cups cooked chickpeas
¼½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 cups milk
810 ounces of elbow pasta
4 cups of broccoli florets
Sea salt to taste

Easy thanksgiving dinner recipes

This Thanksgiving, expand your horizons a bit and feast on the scrumptious chicken tetrazzini. Photo courtesy of Sippity Sup.

4. Chicken Tetrazzini 

Everyone has heard of turkey tetrazzini, a mid-century American dish that’s usually thought to be Italian due to its name. Sippity Sup’s Greg Henry changed up the easy Thanksgiving dinner to create a generously unfussy dish that’s designed to feed as many people as possible.

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ large onion, peeled and chopped
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
½ pound cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup whole milk
2 cups cooked chicken, diced 
5 ounces cheddar cheese, coarsely grated and divided
1 ½ ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated
½ pound dried spaghetti
½ cup frozen peas
½ cup fresh asparagus, chopped

This Thanksgiving, treat the family to a delicious dish of mini stuffed pumpkins. The fam will love you even more for this dish.

5. Stuffed Mini Pumpkins

There's no Thanksgiving dinner without a pumpkin-based dish, and the most photogenic holiday meal is none other than stuffed mini pumpkins. While you pick the bigger ones for carving jack-o’-lanterns, use the smaller pumpkins for this easy Thanksgiving appetizer or dinner created by Two Broads Abroad

8 mini pumpkins 
Maple syrup
1 pound pork sausage 
1 large brown onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 large shallots, chopped
½ stick of butter, divided
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped and divided
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped and divided
1 large sage leave, chopped and divided
2 large tart apples, cored and diced into small cubes
3 stalks celery, chopped
½ cup white wine
1 cup apple cider
Poultry seasoning
15-ounce package of bread stuffing
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
Salt and pepper
2 cups chicken stock
1 large egg, beaten

Easy Thanksgiving Desserts

Pumpkin spice + churros = heaven. Seriously, it's the perfect combination. Photo courtesy of Louisemellor.

6. Pumpkin Spice Churros

What happens when you combine Thanksgiving with carnival food? You get pumpkin spice churros. This delicious and easy Thanksgiving dessert contains all the best flavors of autumn. Louise Mellor is the mastermind behind this scrumptious treat; the culinary genius created this easy Thanksgiving recipe for the entire family to enjoy after the large feast.

1 cup water
⅓ cup unsalted butter
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3 large organic eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3–4 cups canola oil
½ cup organic granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

Everyone will devour this divine pecan-crusted caramel pumpkin pie and demand another slice. Photo courtesy of Cooking on the Weekends.

7. Pecan-Crusted Caramel Pumpkin Pie

This pecan-crusted caramel pumpkin pie is the answer to a gluten-free easy Thanksgiving dessert. Valentina Wein, the chef behind Cooking on the Weekends, created the delightfully smooth and rich treat that’s oh so simple to make.

2 ½ cups whole roasted salted pecans
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup granulated sugar
Spiced caramel sauce 
1 cup pumpkin puree
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ginger
1 tablespoon whole milk
½ teaspoon cornstarch
2 large eggs


This mixed berry concoction by Bakers Royale is a treat indeed. If the smell alone doesn’t make your mouth water, the look of it after you pull it out of the oven definitely will. Whether you serve this easy Thanksgiving recipe for breakfast, brunch, or dinner, chances are your guests will ask for a second serving—how can they not?

1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoon water
1 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
3 cups mixed berries
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup marsala
1 cup and 2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound croissant, split horizontally
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks

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