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8 Expert Recipes for an Outstanding Thanksgiving

Frank Guerriero

November 16, 2018


Thanksgiving is the day to express your love and gratitude for the folks around you, but more importantly, it’s also the time to flex your culinary muscles and wow your dinner guests. We suggest keeping it classic for the turkey centerpiece (James Beard’s version is practically foolproof), and getting adventurous with the sides (which are really the best part, anyway). Here are eight recipes—courtesy of our talented friends from across the culinary universe—that are sure to make you this year’s holiday hero.


Photo: Root & Bone

Vegan Callaloo Dip
Our friend, Chefs Boot Camp alum, and Waste Not contributor Kwame Williams crafts a decadent dip of hearty callaloo greens without a drop of milk or butter. Cook this up and free your vegan guests from the days of sad, naked crudité.

Drunken Deviled Eggs with Pickled Beets and Root Chips (pictured above)
No holiday appetizer spread is complete without crowd-pleasing deviled eggs. This twist on the classic from Chefs Boot Camp alum Janine Booth and her co-chef Jeff McInnis pickles the eggs in a beet-infused brine for a vibrant pink hue and adds some fried sweet potato chips for a bit of salty crunch.


James Beard’s Roast Turkey
While the apps, sides, and desserts allow for plenty of funky experimentation, this holiday centerpiece is tradition’s time to shine. We stick to our namesake’s tried-and-true method for an exquisitely juicy and perfectly seasoned bird every time.


Photo: Erin Scott

Oyster Dressing
This shellfish-savvy starch from Chefs Boot Camp alum Jim Smith throws an Alabama twist on the traditional stuffing (or dressing, we won’t pick a side). The state’s famous Conecuh smoked sausage and briny whole oysters bring a savory complexity to everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving accoutrement.

Pan-Griddled Sweet Potatoes with Miso–Ginger Dressing (pictured above)
Blend some Asian-inspired flavors into your holiday feast with this recipe from prolific cookbook author and multiple Beard Award winner Deborah Madison. The bracing char on the sweet tubers and the brightness of the incredibly versatile miso–ginger sauce will perfectly balance a menu of rich, traditional Thanksgiving fare.

Pimento Cheese Spoonbread
Chefs Boot Camp alum and Full Use Kitchen instructor Jennifer Hill Booker pumps up a soul food mainstay with a generous portion of extra-sharp cheddar and a handful of spicy diced pimentos.


Photo: Stephen DeVries for the Local Palate

Chocolate Chess Pie 
When this decadent delight from Beard Award nominees Marilynn and Sheila Brass finally hits the table, your supposedly stuffed guests are sure to find the room and the willpower to take it on.

Coconut–Pecan Cake (pictured above)
This craveable confection comes courtesy of our 2018 Outstanding Pastry Chef winner Dolester Miles of Highlands Bar & Grill, who has wowed diners with her signature treats at the iconic restaurant for over 30 years. Whip it up for a showstopping finale to your Thanksgiving feast.

Hungry for more? View our entire recipe collection


Frank Guerriero is the media assistant at the Beard Foundation. Find him on Instagram.