maple roasted butternut squash and carrots with rosemary
Lunch & Dinner

Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Recipes for a Non-Traditional Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is almost here! Can you believe it? 2020 has been one heck of year, and Thanksgiving will just be added to the chaos. For many of us, Thanksgiving will be a quite different than many years. We may just be celebrating with our immediate families, zooming our extended relatives, instead of the large family gatherings. I know many of my fellow grad students are not traveling home for Thanksgiving in order to not unnecessarily expose their family members or themselves to COVID-19. I feel very blessed that all my family members live in the same town as me and we see each other on a regular basis so we feel comfortable in sharing Thanksgiving together. Whatever your situation, this thanksgiving will probably look a little (or a lot) different. The CDC offers some guidance on small gatherings on how to keep you and your loved ones safe.

A non traditional holiday calls for a non-traditional menu! I’m offering up two Thanksgiving recipes to add to your spread: Maple Rosemary Roasted Root Veggies and Savory Sweet Potato Muffins!

Maple Rosemary Root Vegetables

Forget green bean casserole, there’s a new veggie side dish in town! This roasted root vegetable dish combines sweet and savory to add a nutrient dense accompaniment to your turkey and stuffing. I made this dish using butternut squash and carrots, but you could also include sweet potato, other winter squashes, turnips, parsnips, or even beets. Roasting the veggies brings out their natural sweetness and a touch of maple syrup elevates it to the next level. I used fresh rosemary sprigs, however you can substitute dried rosemary for convenience. The hardest part of this recipe is chopping the veggies (you can also buy pre cut squash), but besides that you let the oven do the work. If you’re looking for a new side dish to add to your meal, look no further!

Maple Rosemary Root Veggies

Becca Schulte
Bring out the natural sweetness of squash and carrots to add some color and nutrients to your Thanksgiving meal
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Side Dish


  • 4-5 cups winter root vegetables, chopped butternut squash, other squash, sweet potato carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets*
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbs water
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary *take
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Start by chopping your veggies. They should be bite sized pieces. If you using baby carrots, you can leave as is. Spread veggies on a baking sheet
  • Take rosemary off the sprig and roughly chop.
  • In a measuring cup or small mixing bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients and whisk together with a small whisk or a spoon
  • Pour the mixture over the veggies. Using your hands, mix the veggies with the olive oil mixture so that all of the veggies are covered.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, flipping the veggies half way through. If desired, you can broil for the last couple minutes to get an extra crisp on the veggies.
  • Garnish with extra Rosemary and Enjoy!


*I used a combination of butternut squash and baby carrots, but you could include any root veggies in this recipe. 
Keyword healthy, maple, rosemary, Thanksgiving, vegetables

Savory Sweet Potato Muffins

savory sweet potato muffins on a plate near a window

Time to step up your dinner roll game. Forget about Hawaiian rolls or boring wheat rolls. How about some sweet potato muffins to make those taste buds sing! This recipe was actually used for our most recent Bake it Forward, where we were able to donate $300 to the Food Bank for Larimer County.

These muffins have natural sweetness from the sweet potato, but a mix of spices gives these muffins a savory, umami flavor. This recipe uses a combination of whole wheat flour and chickpea flour to give these muffins a dense, nutrient-filled structure. This recipe calls for eggs, but you can easily make this vegan with flax eggs (I have made them both ways successfully). These muffins would be the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving spread, but would also taste great to accompany chili or soup.

Savory Sweet Potato Muffins

Becca Schulte
Sweet and Savory muffins filled with sweet potato and nutrient dense ingredients, perfect to add to your Thanksgiving, Christmas, or soup season dinner.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Side Dish
Servings 12 muffins


Wet Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked and mashed sweet potato *
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup can omit for added sugar free
  • 2 eggs or flax eggs for vegan
  • 1/2 cup non dairy milk

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour or AP
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Combine all the wet ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
  • In a separate medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients so that spices are distributed evenly
  • Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and thoroughly mix.
  • Pour the batter into a muffin tin, either with muffin liners or greased.
  • Bake muffins for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Let cool and enjoy!
  • Muffins will stay good at room temperature for 3-4 days in an airtight container, or can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months


*To get a cooked sweet potato, roast a medium-large sweet potato wrapped in foil at 425 for 50-60minutes or until the flesh is soft. 
Keyword apple, chickpea flour, dairy free, healthy, muffins, sweet potato

BONUS: Mini Sweet Potato Pies

If you haven’t nailed down your desserts yet either, check out my recipe for these adorable and delicious mini sweet potato pies!

plate of mini sweet potato pies

We hope you consider adding some new sides to your table with these Thanksgiving recipes. But whatever you do, we hope you have all a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving! Give time to be thankful, give yourself some rest, and celebrate your family and friends in whatever form you are able:)

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