Leave the turkey and stuffing for Thanksgiving - this is Friendsgiving, and anything goes! Whether you're putting together a feast for your friends or planning to bring along a potluck dish, get inspired by these festive, seasonal recipes that the whole crowd will love. Just be prepared to negotiate over who gets to keep the leftovers.
Easy and Tasty Friendsgiving Appetizers
Stave off the pre-meal hangries with easy and tempting appetizers to keep tummies from rumbling before the meal. Alternatively, choose a couple of these for an appetizer party and ask friends to bring their favorites as well.
Mango Apple Salsa
No gathering of friends is complete without dippable salsa for everyone to share. This version has apples, a fall (and Thanksgiving!) favorite, along with mangos. Serve this delicious apple mango salsa recipe with tortilla chips or to keep it seasonal, sweet potato chips.
Want an appetizer that seems like it was hard to make, but it was actually super easy? Of course you do! You don't have to tell your friends your secret. Simply dump a drained can of sweet corn into a bowl of your favorite jarred salsa and give it a stir. For bonus points, chop up an avocado and some fresh cilantro to stir in and add a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
Whoever thought of stirring spinach into a base of creamy, cheesy, melty goodness was an absolute genius. And your Friendsgiving guests will think you're one too when you serve them warm spinach dip with some pita or tortilla chips for dipping. Can you think of a better way to eat your veggies?
Brie With Figs and Walnuts
Figs are jammy and sweetly acidic, perfect for piling on a top of warm, creamy, gooey brie cheese. Try this and you won't be sorry - your besties will think you worked on it all day, when really it only took a few minutes. Bake a wheel of brie on a parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet at 350°F until it just starts to ooze, about five to seven minutes. Then, put it on a pretty platter, top with quartered fresh figs and chopped walnuts, drizzle the whole thing with honey, and top with a few sprigs of fresh thyme. Serve with crackers and/or crusty bread.
Roasted Sweet Potato Rounds
These delectable potato rounds are a modern twist on the traditional canapé. Roast ½-inch sweet potato slices in a 425°F oven for 30 minutes. Place on a serving tray and allow to cool slightly. Top with crumbled feta or goat cheese, then spoon whole berry cranberry sauce on top. Garnish with a pecan slice and a tiny sprig of rosemary. It's colorful, tasty, and just a little fancy.
Make your main the star of the show, whether you stick to traditional Thanksgiving proteins like roasted turkey or baked ham or choose to shake things up with some creative Friendsgiving dinner ideas.
Sweet Potato Chili
Chili is a great main dish to serve at any casual gathering of friends, especially when it's chilly outside. For Friendsgiving, try a recipe that features sweet potato chunks, which will add earthy sweetness to your chili. Use a sweet potato chili recipe or simply add diced sweet potato to your favorite pot of chili. For a nod to Thanksgiving, use ground turkey instead of ground beef or leave the meat out altogether for a satisfying vegetarian main course.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Sausage
Make an easy-peasy hearty meat-and-potatoes main that gives a nod to traditional Thanksgiving foods while mixing things up a bit. Cook some link or smoked sausage and serve on a yummy bed of smooth, earthy mashed sweet potatoes. Making sweet potato mashies couldn't be easier; boil some peeled sweet potatoes until tender, put them through a potato ricer, and then stir them up with melted butter, a dash of milk, and salt and pepper. You'll wind up with a fluffy, colorful dish that would put grandma's candied sweet potatoes to shame.
Shepherd's Pie Casserole
Casseroles make fab mains. In one pan, you can have a whole meal (even though you can serve it with sides if you want - after all, Friendsgiving is a party). So why not try shepherd's pie for your Friendsgiving main? With savory meat, veg, and a tater topping, shepherd's pie is very easy to make and super satisfying. Feel free to play with the recipe; use turkey for the meat, mashed sweet potatoes or winter squash for the topping, and seasonal veggies and herbs (carrots, parsnips, onions, garlic, and sage is a lovely combo) to round it out. You can even make a vegan shepherd's pie that is sure to wow, or replace mashed potatoes with cauliflower mash to satisfy your keto pals.
Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
Want to skew more towards the spirit of Thanksgiving without diving in head-first? How about a poultry-based main course like chicken and broccoli casserole? It's kind of like if you replaced mom's green bean casserole with something somewhat similar only cheesier, tastier, and poultry-based. It's super easy to make and serve, and it goes with just about any kind of side dish. If you want the casserole to be a little more Thanksgiving-like, you could substitute turkey for the chicken. Either way, this is a good comfort food option that will feel familiar without turning Friendsgiving into #ThrowbackThursday.
Sweet Potatoes, Sausage, and Sprouts
Sheet pan suppers, where have you been all of our lives? For a smaller Friendsgiving dinner, these super easy meals will minimize the mess so you can linger on after-dinner drinks with your friends instead of feeling like you have to jump straight up to do the dishes. Cut some sweet potatoes and smoked sausage into chunks and place in a single layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet along with some fresh Brussels sprouts. Drizzle olive oil over the top, then toss so everything is coated. Salt and pepper to taste. Roast at 425°F for 25 minutes.
Side Dishes for Your Friendsgiving Menu
Sure you could make turkey with all the traditional sides, but what's the fun in that? Instead, opt for updated side selections with a bit more pizzazz to make a thoroughly modern meal for a contemporary holiday.
Warm Corn Salad
Corn is a traditional Thanksgiving food, but you can make it worthy of Friendsgiving with some easy updates. To make this version, saute red peppers in olive oil, stir in some whole kernel corn (canned, frozen, or fresh), and stir-fry until it's warm (a minute or two to up to about 8 minutes if the corn goes in frozen). If you want a nice, smoky flavor, add some diced ham or cooked chopped bacon and continue stir-frying until it's warm. Season to taste. For a bit of color and some fresh flavors, sprinkle with chopped, fresh herbs like chives or cilantro just before serving.
Baked Sweet Potato Bar
Your besties are sure to enjoy the Friendsgiving equivalent of a baked potato bar. This is an easy adaptation; use sweet potatoes instead of ordinary baking potatoes. Set out a container of foil-wrapped baked sweet potatoes (bake at 425°F, 40-50 minutes) near a serve-yourself topping station with sweet and savory selections like cinnamon, sugar, butter, corn salsa or salad, chili, sour cream, cheese, green onions, and more. It's a great way to offer your guests an interactive, bespoke food experience with just a little prep on your part.
Green Beans With Garlic and Almonds
Do you long for a pop of color at Friendsgiving? Veggies are a great option to add color and make light and fresh sides that balance heavy mains so everyone can save some room for dessert. Green beans are a traditional Thanksgiving veggie, but you don't need to mix them with condensed mushroom soup to serve them for Friendsgiving (unless you want to). Instead, make some green beans with garlic and almonds for a light but delicious and vibrantly colored side dish.
Rice-Stuffed Acorn Squash
Winter squash is such a satisfying and warming fall food with earthy, sweet flavors and a soft but toothsome texture. So naturally, winter squash makes a great Friendsgiving side dish. Prepare this simple roasted acorn squash recipe for an easy and elegant dish. Or take it to the next level. Once it is finished cooking, stuff the squash with cranberry rice pilaf. Your friends will love the explosion of flavors from the sweet, tart cranberry, nutty rice, and earthy squash.
Vegan Baked Beans
If you and/or your BFFs are vegan, then vegetarian baked beans are the perfect dish for Friendsgiving. If it's a combined crowd of omnivores and vegetarians, beans can serve as a side for the omnivores and a main for the vegans. Plus, the smoky flavors and aromas are heartily satisfying for everyone.
Delicious Ideas for Friendsgiving Desserts
Without a sweet ending, a meal just feels unfinished. So don't send your friends away feeling like they missed the end of the movie. Whip up a dessert that will satisfy everyone's sweet tooth. It's the perfect finale to your beautiful Friendsgiving story.
Sure, you could make a pumpkin pie. But this is Friendsgiving... go ahead and mix it up. Twist the pie tradition with a tasty homemade pumpkin roll. This elegant dessert gives a nod to Thanksgiving, but with a gourmet flair. It's a Friendsgiving dessert worth sticking around for.
Look, it's fine if you want to serve glazed carrots at Friendsgiving, but you could probably do better. For instance, aren't carrots even tastier in a cake? Your friends probably think so! Whether you make an old fashioned carrot cake recipe or you opt to prepare a vegan carrot cake (or maybe both!), your guests are sure to delight in eating veggies disguised as dessert.
Pumpkin and Cranberry Yogurt Parfait
Chances are if it is creamy and sweet, you can turn it into pumpkin spice something. Take Greek yogurt, for instance. Whisk in some pure maple syrup or honey and about a teaspoon of ground ginger or freshly grated gingerroot. Then, layer it in pretty parfait glasses with whole cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie filling. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and some fresh cranberries for an easy and colorful dessert your friends are going to love.
Mousse. It sounds fancy, doesn't it? Good news - it's super easy! With easy-to-use ingredients like canned pumpkin puree and vanilla pudding mix, you can make a creamy, fluffy pumpkin mousse for your pals. It's a great gluten-free dessert option for guests who have sensitivities or celiac disease.
Dried Fruit Tray
Dried fruit is like nature's candy, and it makes a super-easy dessert. Choose any dried fruits that tickle your fancy. Arrange them on a pretty tray and garnish with some edible flowers. What could be easier?
Give Thanks With Great Friends
Great friends and great food - that's what Friendsgiving is all about. Whether you're getting together with your current friend group or long-cherished besties from college, high school, or even before, everyone is sure to have an incredible time. When you pair the great company of your very best friends with awesome food, the fun is sure to expand exponentially.