Would you try any of these unusual Thanksgiving dishes?

Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet Potato Casserole
7:00am, Thu 26 Nov 2020
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

Even if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving most of us know what the traditional holiday meal looks like.

American TV shows like Friends feature heaving tables of roast turkey, potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

But what about the more unusual dishes you might not have heard of? Many of these unique recipes are made all year round, but are often whipped out for a special occasion like Thanksgiving…

Sweet potato casserole

TODO: define component type factbox

Sweet potatoes are a staple on the Thanksgiving dinner table, and can be cooked various ways: candied, mashed, or maybe even in a casserole. This dish sounds like a tasty dessert – sweet potatoes are sliced and cooked with sugar and butter, most often topped with pecans and marshmallows – but it’s actually considered a side dish. That’s right, it’s common for many people celebrating Thanksgiving to eat marshmallows alongside their turkey and gravy.

Frog eye salad

TODO: define component type factbox

The name might not sound particularly appetising, but according to The New York Times, frog eye salad was the most Googled Thanksgiving recipe in the states of Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and Wyoming between 2004 and 2014.

The Atlantic talks about frog eye salad in an article about Mormon cuisine, writing: “This is made from small pasta balls called acini de pepe – Italian for peppercorns (fregola or orzo can be substituted) — that have been cooked, drained, and cooled, then mixed with a tub of whipped topping, canned crushed pineapple, and canned mandarin orange segments.”

Like sweet potato casserole, it’s often served as a side dish.

Ambrosia salad

TODO: define component type factbox

Next on our list of desserts masquerading as side dishes is ambrosia salad. It’s a type of fruit salad – often involving canned pineapple and mandarin segments – mixed with marshmallows, coconut and some kind of dairy – like whipped or sour cream.

Ambrosia refers to the heavenly food of the Greek gods.

Watergate salad

TODO: define component type factbox

Americans certainly seem to use the word ‘salad’ loosely. NPR describes this dish as “a combination of pistachio pudding mix, canned pineapple, whipped cream and chopped nuts”.

Watergate salads tend to be eaten as deserts, and have a distinctly retro feel to them – particularly when topped with a Maraschino cherry.

Scalloped corn

TODO: define component type factbox

This is the kind of side dish eaten at celebratory dinners, and Thanksgiving is no exception. The base is creamed corn, topped with crushed crackers for a bit of saltiness and crunch.

Strawberry pretzel salad

TODO: define component type factbox

For Epicurious writer Andrew Spena, strawberry pretzel salads are a Thanksgiving tradition and a throwback to his childhood. It’s a sweet side dish served during the main meal, and Spena writes: “The recipe is so simple, I’ve long had it memorised. The crust is butter, sugar, and crushed pretzels. The middle layer is of Cool Whip (one tub), cream cheese (one block), and sugar. It’s topped with a strawberry Jell-O layer, where, in an inspired bit of country chemistry, frozen strawberries take the place of the ice cubes that set the gelatin.”

Sign up to our newsletter