Seafood for Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes

Traditional dinners are quickly being replaced by new and trendy options. The popularity of Thanksgiving seafood dishes is currently on the rise, and there are two rather distinct opinions on the suitability of seafood for Thanksgiving. While some hold strong to the tradition of turkey and a full range of side dishes. Others are exploring the healthier options of using fish for Thanksgiving, or sampling other seafood choices. 

Adding Seafood to Traditional Turkey Thanksgiving

Seafood can be added as a side dish, or as an alternative choice for those attending your Thanksgiving feast. Offering something a little different may bring some added enjoyment to those in attendance. It also allows you to make a meal that will stand out and be remembered. Thanksgiving seafood dishes can be served alongside the turkey and the regular side dishes with little additional effort. Adding seafood into already existing side dishes is another way to change up the meal without changing everything about it or starting over. 

Stuffing is one of the most common places to add seafood for a different approach to a traditional Thanksgiving. It can be added to your current favorite recipe or a whole new recipe can be sampled. Replacing an appetizer or adding a chowder as a side dish can also help to introduce this new tradition. Who knows, it may soon become one of the family favorites.  There are several resources online that have an assortment of different menu options and with full recipes. 

Looking for a specific dish, shrimp for Thanksgiving is wonderful. Shrimp thanksgiving recipes can be easy and there are so many available online. These little shellfish are perfect on their own as an appetizer, or added to a salad alongside other traditional thanksgiving dishes. Grilled shrimp or even shrimp cocktail is a wonderful way to start off the holiday feast. 

Leaving the Turkey for a Seafood Thanksgiving

For a more drastic change, to start a whole new tradition, or to stake your claim on the next holiday main dish, perhaps trading the turkey out for something else entirely will be a welcome approach. Boiled lobster is working its way to popularity as a replacement for the turkey. Lobster goes well with most of the already present side dishes it is easy to swap out. Stuffed lobster is another option that is sure to have people talking about your meal for weeks to come. Switch the turkey for lobster stuffed with a traditional seafood stuffing to surprise your guests with a new favorite. 

An overhead look at cooked crab on two plates

Favorite Seafood dishes for Thanksgiving

Halibut is another popular choice to change for turkey, thanksgiving fish can provide a lighter feeling and a fresh approach. Use fresh when possible and expect the tradition of taking home leftovers to continue. To offer a personal touch, provide each guest with crab stuffed acorn squash for their main dish and avoid the cutting of the turkey and passing of the plates entirely. Another option for individual services is to create a mini seafood pot pie, which can be served to each person individually and allows for easy serving. Seafood Thanksgiving dinner is sure to be a staple.

A full Southern seafood Thanksgiving menu is also a wonderful option if you want to add some amazing flavor to dinner. Try a traditional crab or crawfish boil for an involved dinner that won’t soon be forgotten. Who can resist potatoes, corn, and sausage along side delectable seafood. Better yet, put some cajun shrimp and grits on the menu for the night. Make a big splash with your Thanksgiving guests with an unexpected Southern seafood menu.

There are many health benefits to enjoying fish and seafood rather than turkey. Seafood offers a high protein content with smaller portions. The lack of the tryptophan will help keep everyone awake for the whole day. The omega acids and the extra vitamins are a healthy alternative to many meats. These can make your Thanksgiving meal a healthy option for anyone. It also allows for those who choose not to eat many other dishes an option to enjoy and can create an inclusive meal. Be careful to avoid any allergies, and you are sure to have a hit with your seafood Thanksgiving. 

Why Fish is Perfect for Thanksgiving

Remaining true to the tradition of Thanksgiving means considering that turkey was not the original meal. Fish is a traditional inclusion in the holiday, going back to the first Thanksgiving. This meal was not the turkey and vegetables that are common today. Rather it would have been with local foods that were readily available including fish and shellfish, turnips, squash, and cabbage. Many of the vegetables and foods that are found around the holiday table were either unavailable or in some cases did not exist at that time. Going back to the original fish and seafood for dinner can offer a look back in time to what may have actually been present. 

It is also easier to cook, with less preparation. Say goodbye to the days of getting up at 5 am to put the turkey in and basting it every hour. Instead replace it with a fish that can be cooked in the hour or two before the gathering. Start from fresh, rather than frozen. This change will also offer a more inclusive meal if there are any dietary restrictions, as fish is a healthier alternative. 

Thanksgiving Fish Recipes

With so many reasons to choose seafood for Thanksgiving, it is time to look at some of the most popular options for adding to your meal. Whole roasted salmon or baked halibut can easily take the center stage as the fish for thanksgiving. They both create an appealing alternative to a turkey. These are easy recipes to make and will take hours off of your cooking time. Change to a lobster or crab based stuffing for a cohesive meal, and introduce some side dishes that are simple, elegant, and full of flavor. 

Crab cakes are almost always a welcome addition to a meal and can be added to your holiday table as well. For appetizers and a meal, shrimp scampi dip is easily made with fresh or frozen shrimp.  Crab and bacon stuffed mushrooms are sure to please and can get anyone excited for the meal to come. Cajun sausage and oyster stuffing adds a new spin to stuffing that will go with almost any meal, and the bit of spice makes a noticeable change. 

Impress everyone who attends your feast with your new approach. You will find the meal is easier to cook. With fewer hours invested you’ll get to spend time with family. These choices provide a healthy alternative to the carb heavy meal that is often served. Plus, by avoiding turkey you can prevent food waste, ease the burden of the cooking and cleaning. While you will not have turkey leftovers for days, you also won’t find yourself falling asleep around the table. 

outdoor dining

Where to Celebrate Thanksgiving

PIER 39 is one of the best places to spend your Thanksgiving holiday. Whether you are a San Francisco local, have family and friends visiting from out of town or are on vacation yourself, PIER 39 is a great place to go. You won’t be able to beat the killer SF Bay views, cute wildlife, and incredible food options available. We know that if you’re traveling it’s not always easy to find good restaurants that are open during the holidays. If you are looking for an alternative to cooking this Thanksgiving, Fog Harbor Fish House is open from 11:30am to 9pm. As one of the best San Francisco restaurants on the water, we have you covered for delicious seafood, and the best crab in San Francisco, for the holidays, not to mention an unbeatable view!