Here at Weekday Pescatarian HQ (aka, my apartment kitchen), we eat mostly pescatarian and vegetarian, with room for meat on weekends and special occasions. Thanksgiving fits squarely in the special occasion category.
So while I plan to enjoy turkey on the big day, I still take every opportunity to make and serve seafood so that all my meat eater friends and family learn to love it as much as I do. See my evil plan?
And since you're reading this article, I assume we're on the same team. Thanksgiving dinner (and brunch / lunch / happy hour) is a great opportunity to familiarize those we love with a pescatarian diet, without it getting weird or preachy. Just rave reviews and moans of delight.
I've put together 42 menu options for your Thanksgiving table, including some luxurious main course options, appetizers, soups, sides and brunch ideas.
If you've been following along with the adventure, you know that I see pescatarian living as a mostly plant-based diet, supplemented with seafood. So I'm including some of my favorite vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes, as well.
Let's break out the Friendsgiving menu spreadsheet, and plan some November magic.
Pescatarian Thanksgiving Recipes - Brunch
Let's kick off our holiday with some gastronomical delights. Here are a few of my favorite special occasion brunch options for your consideration.
It's the pescatarian cousin of quiche lorraine, full of all the nutty gruyere, fresh chive and salty protein vibes we all crave. A lovely, savory start to your holiday morning.
Thanksgiving morning deserves this stunner of a brunch dish. Luscious brioche french toast, stuffed with orange and ricotta filling and topped with a butter orange marmalade maple syrup. Throw on some fresh fruit and call it a balanced diet!
All of our favorite bagel toppings, on one, freshly-baked flatbread crust. This is a perfect dish for serving a crowd, and has special occasion brunch written all over it.
Honey and lime bring the perfect balance to a bowl of finely diced fruit, making this simple fruit salad a rockstar side dish for both sweet and savory brunches. The recipe is easily customize-able to your favorite fruit combinations and whatever is in season in your neck of the woods.
These gorgeous mini-sandwiches make a lovely brunch spread to tide everyone over until the Thanksgiving meal is on the table. Bonus: all of these sandwiches can be made ahead, freeing you up to focus on the main event!
This savory pie brings complex and satisfying flavor with Dijon, Gruyere and Boursin, and rustic charm with the simple fold-over pie crust – no blind bake or pie weights required. It's an ideal addition to your holiday brunch table. Bonus: it can be made with puff pastry or gluten-free pie crust to suit all of your guests!
This fresh and refreshing dish is the best salad to serve alongside your quiche or savory pastry brunch. It's a delicious recipe full of all the Spanish gazpacho soup flavors you love, in a light and bright salad dish.
I spent more than two decades of my life in the American South, so no brunch list is complete without the ultimate Southern comfort food - sausage gravy to serve over your favorite biscuits or grit cakes. In this classic recipe for white gravy, I've left out the pork sausage, and added savory tofu breakfast sausage crumbles. It's a healthier alternative that misses none of the flavor or textures of this traditional dish. Make it. I know you'll love it.
Pescatarian Thanksgiving Recipes - Appetizers & Soups
You have a house full of hungry people and the turkey is still a few hours away from perfection. Take a look at some sophisticated and memorable soup and starter ideas for your holidays.
A holiday just isn't fully festive without the pre-game snack table, and this smoky tuna dip is the perfect pescatarian star for your charcuterie board. Saltine crackers are the traditional dipper for this savory dip, fresh veggies or crispy tortilla chips add even more crunch to the party. For a special occasion, I like to use a buttery toasted bread bowl to hold the dip, with toast points.
All the best parts of the seafood boil (shrimp! potatoes! corn!), plus some gooey cheese, all served up in a crispy, salty potato skin. Perfect when you want to relive those summertime shrimp boil parties at Thanksgiving or anytime of year.
The updated classic can be made into mini-cakes and served with a creamy and refreshing lemon dill sauce. Perfect for your appetizer round on Thanksgiving afternoon.
The classic Louisiana seafood pie, rich with all those crawfish and veggie flavors we adore, wrapped in an empanada shell and baked with flaky salt for the perfect seafood snack. To dial up the spice, make a batch of spicy aioli to serve alongside.
These restaurant-style shrimp wontons bring big, juicy flavor, highlighted by fresh cilantro, scallions and deeply savory sesame oil. So simple to make, these pockets of magic are even easier to dip and eat with spicy soy sauce dipping sauce (recipe included!)
Crawfish Bisque is an ideal seafood first coarse to serve before Thanksgiving dinner. This creamy soup is rich and savory, full of all the complex, earthy flavors of the The Big Easy. Instead of the long process of cleaning and stuffing crawfish shell heads, we make a rich stuffing and shape it into mini-cakes, to float like tasty little islands in our river of bisque.
This soup is intensely fresh and flavorful, like our childhood memories of soup and grilled cheese on a rainy day. Except really delicious. If you're planning a happy hour on your holiday, serve the soup in small glasses with mini caprese grilled cheese sandwiches.
These two-bite stuffed peppers are full of a savory shrimp stuffing and nestled in a rich and smoky romesco sauce. The stuffing can be used in multi-colored mini-peppers if you want to avoid any spicy factor.
This vegetarian bruschetta recipe brings so much rich and silky flavor from the roasted eggplant and tomatoes. The parmesan and balsamic glaze take the whole dish to "unforgettable" status.
This calamari is sautéed with garlic oil, feta cheese and red chilis, then tossed with arugula for the most flavorful pescatarian bruschetta or toast topping. The incredible flavor combinations make this the dish everyone will be talking about post-party.
Pescatarian Thanksgiving Recipes - Side Dishes
Some of us believe the side dishes are the very best part of the Thanksgiving meal. And everyone else? They're just wrong.
Your favorite Thanksgiving side dish meets your favorite low country vacation dinner. if you’re looking for a new Thanksgiving tradition or Friendsgiving side this year, take this savory shrimp and grits dressing to the party! You’ll be the talk of the town, in the best way possible.
Do you want to turn a ho-hum Thanksgiving garnish into a show stopping side that you eat all year round? This dreamy spiced cranberry sauce with pears and pecans (and a cinnamon stick or two for good measure!) is the flavor and texture extravaganza you've been waiting for - make it this year!
This roasted veggie dish, studded with cranberries and roasted chestnuts, is the best possible way to kick off the most wonderful time of year. It's a simple and fabulous recipe for your Thanksgiving feast.
Who knew that a baking sheet and a handful of pantry ingredients could create this superstar for your Thanksgiving menu? The flavor profile of orange and pistachios with carrots is deeply satisfying and perfect for the holiday season. It's the dish that both the grown-ups and the kids will all be going back to for seconds.
If your holiday feast is looking for a green bean casserole upgrade, this stunner of a vegetable side dish brings all the texture and plenty of flavor to the Thanksgiving season or Christmas dinner. It's a perfect pairing for any of your fish recipes, or a more traditional turkey spread.
Your pescatarian Thanksgiving sides dish list wouldn't be complete without this festive recipe. Toasty green cauliflower shoots tossed in olive oil, garlic, anchovies and pine nuts – it will be the star of your holiday meal.
These roasted new potatoes are the stuff of easy side dish dreams – crispy on the outside, tender and pillowy inside, then piled high with roasted garlic over a schmear of creamy whipped feta. The perfect, simple side dish for your holiday table.
Seafood loves lemon, and it loves dill. So if you’re looking for a new side dish to dress up your pescatarian holiday table, this Mediterranean basmati rice with lemon and dill will be just the ticket!
The holiday season demands that every good party includes a lovely roasted squash. This roasted kabocha squash with smoky chili powder and maple is just the right answer. The spiced squash seeds make the perfect topping!
The perfect crispy side dish for your pescatarian recipes this holiday season, your Thanksgiving day brunch menu, or to accompany the delicious dishes on your happy hour appetizer platters. Simply assembled with salt, pepper, parmesan and butter, these grits will complement your fish dishes, or your turkey and gravy.
Panko-crusted mashed potato latkes are easy to make and easy to modify based on your favorite cheeses, onions or herbs. Perfect for your holiday meal plan, or as a way to creatively repurpose leftover mashed potatoes. The topping options are endless, including sour cream dill sauce with smoked salmon, caramelized onions and mushrooms, turkey gravy and even spiced cranberry sauce.
Whether you’re grilling this asparagus over coals out on the deck in the middle of summer, or in a grill pan in the house on the 4th Thursday in November, this bright dish marries crispy, charred asparagus with creamy, lemony dressing and rich eggs with fresh chives. It’s all magic.
Pescatarian Thanksgiving Recipes - Main Dishes
The main event has arrived! Let's make a new favorite holiday memory for everyone at the table.
Stuffing salmon with a simple but super flavorful shrimp and crab mixture takes this baked seafood dinner to a holiday-worthy meal. I love easy recipes like this one because you don’t need very much shrimp and crab to elevate the dish and it’s a simple path to a restaurant-quality meal in under an hour. This dish is especially delicious served with parmesan cream sauce.
Grouper is the perfect headliner for this simple but sophisticated baked fish recipe. Creamy sliced potatoes serve as the foundation of the dish, topped with the flaky grouper, and a briny, citrusy olive tapenade. The entire mountain of magic is wrapped in parchment paper, sealed, and baked. 20 minutes later you’re digging into a super flavorful dinner and dreaming you are spending your holiday in the south of France.
This creamy risotto is a special occasion masterpiece, but it’s weirdly simple and worth the stirring time for any seafood lover. The asparagus and lime zest add so much fresh flavor to this ultra rich and creamy dish of carbs.
This rich and cozy meal is full of pescatarian protein, along with the warm rosemary herbaceous flavors that signal Thanksgiving. It's another under-30 minute meal, so you'll have plenty of time to catch the parade AND the dog show AND the football games.
It’s the easiest showstopper seafood dish on either side of the Atlantic. Easy Baked Colossal Shrimp give you that beachside vibe but with an upscale presentation. Like you’re eating in a white-tablecloth restaurant and you snuck in wearing flip-flops. Serve with garlic butter seafood boil sauce or classic shrimp cocktail sauce.
The most satisfying, golden crusted fish fillets doused in a buttery, lemony, capery magic sauce. Serve this flounder piccata for your holiday meal over parmesan polenta or garlic mashed potatoes and just wait for the standing ovation.
This easy parmesan baked cod with almonds is amazingly tasty and ridiculously simple. Whether you serve it as a second main dish next to the turkey, or as the star of the show, this is a dish your whole family will rave about.
One of the very best ways to cook shrimp any time of year is a simple grilling (outside or on a grill pan indoors) which really showcases their flavor. Served alongside a savory chimichurri with pistachios, this meal is unforgettable.
Creating an easy and impressive pescatarian option for your holiday dinner is as easy as cruising by the refrigerated section of your local grocery store, grabbing some quality lobster ravioli, whipping up the best lobster ravioli pink sauce in 10 minutes, and having dinner on the table with time to spare. This one is a winner!
Corvina, a mild and flaky white fish, is quick-marinated in harissa and pickling juice, then pan-seared, sealing in those richly savory flavors. The fish is stacked on top of creamy chickpeas and spinach and the whole gorgeous heap is topped with crispy shallots. It's an easy way to introduce a new fish to the family!
Nothing says special occasion like a pile of perfectly cooked king crab legs. Check out the recipe for full instructions on cooking frozen crab legs and don't miss the show-stopping lemon garlic butter sauce.
If you want shellfish to take the starring role in your holiday menu, these mussels are ready for showtime. Floating in creamy wine sauce and studded with caramelized fennel, shallots and garlic, the sweetest mussels you’ll ever see or taste are just a few minutes away.
Octopus is a great seafood option for an appetizer or as a main dish at your pescatarian Thanksgiving. This easy Greek style octopus is fast and simple and brings all the flavors of the Mediterranean to your doorstep, no passport required.
That's a wrap for this year! Is your Friendsgiving spreadsheet all filled out? Mine too!
Let's get the party started.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my US friends and all who celebrate. I'm grateful for you all.