A Bounty of Thanksgiving Recipes

By Ann Thelen

Discover seven new recipes to celebrate the biggest feast of the year. These foods are perfect complements to turkey and with a variety of delicious flavors and spices, create a bountiful buffet of deliciousness.

It’s almost time for the biggest feast of the year! While a perfectly cooked and juicy turkey is the star of the Thanksgiving show, wow your guests with new recipes for appetizers, side dishes and desserts. These award-worthy supporting foods add a variety of delightful flavors and spices while creating a bountiful buffet of deliciousness.  

Combining familiar and must-have favorites, such as green bean casserole and mashed potatoes and gravy, with these new twists on stuffing, corn casserole and sweet potatoes, creates palate-pleasing gratitude for nutritious and delicious food.

While gathering about the dinner table this year with family and friends, it’s a time to be extra thankful for this year’s plentiful harvest. From growing crops to raising healthy livestock, Iowa’s farmers likely had a hand in many items on the dinner table. For some extra fun this year, use the “Thankful Tidbits” for a trivia game!

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Spinach Salad | Iowa Egg Council

Start the meal with a beautiful salad topped with delicious, hard-boiled eggs (which are packed with essential nutrients and 6 grams of protein!), mushrooms, red peppers and cranberries. Spinach is a highly nutrient-rich vegetable. It packs high amounts of carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, iron and calcium. This salad is sure to help fuel your holiday list-making for Black Friday! Find the recipe here.

Thankful Tidbits:

  • When it comes to eggs, Iowa owns the spotlight as the No. 1 egg-producing state in the U.S.

  • Eggs have all nine essential amino acids and are rich in choline, which promotes normal cell activity, liver function and the transportation of nutrients throughout the body. Think of it as a commuter train for vitamins and minerals.

Flaky Beef-Stuffed Pinwheels | Iowa Beef Council and Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.

Whether you’re having a Friendsgiving, hosting the family overnight or need a hearty snack to tie people over before the main meal, this beef appetizer is perfect. Fully cooked beef pot roast from your grocery store is mixed with cheese and wrapped in puff pastry. Even though the recipe takes a shortcut, you can take all the credit. Shredded asiago cheese and sliced green onions add zip to every popable bite! Find the recipe here.

Thankful Tidbits:

  • Iowa is a major beef producing state with more than 3.6 million head of cattle as of Jan. 1, 2021, and the beef cattle industry generates approximately $6 billion of economic activity annually in the state.

  • A 3-ounce serving of beef provides 25 grams of delicious protein in just 173 calories!

Cheddar Puffs with Tomato Jam | Midwest Dairy

Make your guest feel like they are enjoying Thanksgiving in France with these cheese puffs, also known as “gougères” in French cuisine. Each bite is warm, savory and satisfying! A delicious homemade tomato jam with its zesty flavors of red pepper, sugar and lemon juice complements the delicate cheesy puff. Play with any other savory jam you may find; red pepper jelly would be a delicious substitution. Find the recipe here.

Thankful Tidbits:

  • Iowa has 1,592 dairy farms. Dairy farmers live and work on their farms, so it’s essential for them to protect the land, water and air for their families, their communities and future generations. All dairy farms must meet the standards for manure storage, handling and recycling set forth by their state and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

  • Studies indicate dairy foods may contribute to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes.

Edamame, Carrot and Potato Soup | The Soyfoods Council

This appetizer or snack soup is just right for sipping while waiting for the main course and is perfect served with a loaf of crusty bread and a small bite of cheese. Because this soup can be served hot or cold, it can be easily made before the kitchen becomes hectic with preparing final dishes for the hot meal. Beyond soup, silken tofu works well in creamy and blended foods like smoothies, desserts, puddings, salad dressings, sauces and dips. Find the recipe here.

Thankful Tidbits:

  • Soy, which has been a traditional food in Asian diets for centuries, provides high-quality protein, along with fiber, healthy fats, minerals and vitamins.

  • Soy’s “health halo” continues to grow as more consumers add soyfoods to their diets. The 2021 Food Industry Insights survey shows that 74% of consumers view soyfoods as healthy.

Turkey Italian Sausage Stuffing | National Turkey Federation & Iowa Turkey Federation

A gorgeous, perfectly stuffed turkey is what Thanksgiving dreams (and Instagram-worthy food pictures!) are made of during this holiday of gratitude. This recipe for Turkey Italian Sausage Stuffing might be destined to become a Thanksgiving classic. A hearty, herbaceous turkey Italian sausage stuffing is the perfect complement to a Thanksgiving turkey. The recipe creator recommends using a high-quality, rustic bread like sourdough or Italian. A sweet or spicy Italian sausage would work equally well in this recipe. Find the recipe here.

Thankful Tidbits:

  • Iowa has about 130 turkey farms, with the majority comprised of second- and third-generation farmers.

  • Turkey is high in L-tryptophan, an essential amino acid. The body can’t make it, so diet must supply tryptophan. Amino acids are building blocks of proteins. While many think turkey’s tryptophan leads to post-meal sleepiness, it’s more likely related to overeating. Turkey does not contain any more tryptophan than other kinds of poultry. In fact, turkey has slightly less tryptophan than chicken!

Sweet Potato Tart with Candied Bacon and Caramel Sauce | Iowa Pork Producers Association

Pumpkin pie lovers, watch out! There’s a surprising pie on the scene vying to be a new favorite. With each bit of this luxurious pie, you’ll never know that you’re eating sweet potatoes. Blended with cream, yogurt, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, the kitchen will smell as fabulous as the pie tastes. Served with a smooth, homemade caramel sauce and topped with candied bacon, it will test your guests’ willpower to save this dessert for after the meal! Find the recipe here.

Thankful Tidbits:

  • Iowa is the No. 1 pork producing state in the U.S. and the top state for pork exports. Compared to 1960, the use of natural resources per pound of pork produced has been reduced significantly. Nearly 76% less land is used, 25% less water and 7% less energy.

  • A 3-ounce serving of lean pork contains 54% of the Recommended Daily Value of Thiamin. Without this crucial vitamin, metabolism of carbohydrates, protein and fat would be significantly compromised. Animal protein is one of the best sources of this nutrient, and among the choices, pork is tops.

Creamed Corn Casserole I Iowa Corn Promotion Board

This casserole is loaded with flavor and color while being easy to make. The recipe takes creamed corn to the next level with a blend of cream cheese, jalapenos, Parmesan cheese and red bell pepper. Once on the plate, it just might become a new family favorite. Corn casserole is also known as corn pudding, particularly in the South. It’s believed that the dish originated with Native Americans, who cooked corn and water together to create corn pone, making it an excellent dish for this holiday. Find the recipe here.

Thankful Tidbits:

  • Iowa is No. 1 in the nation for corn production (field corn, which is different than corn from a can or sweet corn).

  • Approximately 4,000 products consumers use regularly can be made from corn and corn byproducts. When traveling this holiday season, know that Iowa-grown fuel – 44% of Iowa’s corn crop creates ethanol – has an important role in transportation.