20 Best Italian Thanksgiving Food Ideas

Best Italian Thanksgiving Food Ideas

It’s time to start thinking about Thanksgiving, and there are still plenty of people who don’t know what they’re bringing yet.

This means you could be the day’s hero if you offer up one of these delicious Italian recipes.
From pizza and lasagna to parmesan and mozzarella. We have you covered on the best Italian Thanksgiving foods that won’t make your non-Italian friends feel left out.

1. Caprese Salad

This famous salad can be found on just about every Italian restaurant menu. The traditional Caprese salad consists of basil, tomato, and mozzarella cheese, but variations are all over Italy.

Any of them will work for a great side dish at Thanksgiving dinner, whether you prefer cherry tomatoes or traditional beefsteak tomatoes, fresh basil or dried.

Hard to go wrong with a Caprese salad on the table at Thanksgiving; make sure you have plenty of balsamic vinegar because that is what makes a Caprese salad unique for an Italian Thanksgiving Food. 

2. Roasted Garlic Bruschetta

The recipe for roasted garlic bruschetta combines two of Italian cuisine’s most unusual ingredients garlic and tomatoes.

Serve it as an appetizer or a light meal alongside an Italian red wine or Chianti. Roasted garlic gives these bruschetta tons of flavor without much effort.

So, you slice and toast some bread, dice some tomatoes, boil water, and cook your garlic until browned and caramelized.

The result is a spread that’s creamy, garlicky, and fresh-tasting. Spread on your toasted bread before topping with diced tomato, basil leaves, and salt to taste.
For a little extra PIZZAZZ., Drizzle with balsamic vinegar or extra-virgin olive oil just before serving this Italian Thanksgiving Food. 

3. Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce

When in doubt, especially when preparing an Italian Thanksgiving Food, we say always go for pasta.

This classic Italian dish is a simple staple that you can dress up in any way. A homemade tomato sauce and spaghetti noodles make an excellent meal. 

Especially when paired with a green salad on the side and topped off with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese, and in true Italian style, don’t forget to serve sauce with your choice of cured meats and fresh crusty bread.

The tastiest turkey day has never been so easy—or delicious!

4. Spaghetti With Cherry Tomatoes and Basil

This recipe is a definite crowd-pleaser. Cherry tomatoes are in season during fall, making them a perfect addition to your Italian Thanksgiving food.

It’s best to use fresh basil; dried can be substituted. Just know that its flavor will be more pronounced than new. 

Also, feta cheese adds protein and creaminess without adding many calories or fat. Together, these ingredients combine for an unforgettable dish that isn’t hard to make. 
Plus, it only takes about 30 minutes from start to finish. If you have some extra time on your hands, consider serving it with homemade garlic bread

5. Eggplant Parmesan

This Italian classic is a surefire way to please any crowd. You’ll wow your guests with crispy breaded eggplant layered with fresh tomato sauce and melted mozzarella cheese.

They’ll have no idea you started with frozen breaded eggplant, and we always have leftovers of these. So we warm them up for breakfast the next day – delicious!

This Italian Thanksgiving food takes on a new life when made into frittata-style eggs. It has all of the same flavors as traditional lasagna but without that work.

So, you start by cooking sausage in a skillet until it browns and cooks through. Then add onions, garlic, spinach, parsley, and basil to make everything smell divine.

6. Stuffed Peppers with Rice

These Italian stuffed peppers are served with a side of vegan pasta. But feel free to help them with your choice of grain or enjoy them on their own.

If you can’t find portobello mushrooms, substitute them with any other kind of mushroom that you like or leave them together.
Also, You can prepare these as meatless appetizers by substituting vegan sausage for chicken. Then you have one of the best Italian Thanksgiving food.

7. Risotto with Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Shrimp in Lemon-Butter Sauce

Risotto is always an excellent option for parties because it’s easy to prepare in advance and reheat just before serving.

You can substitute with vegetables or add some extra protein if you want a heartier meal. I like cooking risotto in an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven or pot.

However, you can also use a big skillet that can go from stovetop to oven. Just make sure your pot is tall enough so you don’t end up with too much liquid at the end of cooking.

A splash of white wine and fresh lemon juice brightens up the flavor when serving.

Though this Italian Thanksgiving Food ingredients list might look long, most are thrown into one big bowl at once. So no need to measure out anything unless it calls for specific quantities.

8. Tiramisu Tartlets with Mascarpone Cream

These dessert tartlets put a festive twist on tiramisu with mascarpone cream, orange zest, and cocoa powder.

But they are just as simple to prepare, whether you make them for Italian Thanksgiving food or Christmas dinner. These little tarts will have your guests drooling all over their plates.

However, you can throw them together in no time and probably already have most of these ingredients in your pantry.

Top each tartlet with whipped cream and chocolate shavings to wow your guests!

9. Olive all’Ascolana (Stuffed and Fried Green Olives)

These olives are stuffed with cheese and breadcrumbs, then coated in a mixture of eggs and breadcrumbs before being fried. They are served warm as an appetizer or snack.

This recipe is inspired by Chef Valentina Vivarelli’s Stuffed Green Olives recipe from her cookbook Il Cucchiaio d’Argento (The Silver Spoon). 

However, If you don’t have time to marinate your olives overnight, you can boil them for 5 minutes. First, the heat will help open up their flavor.

10. Classic Sicilian Arancini

This flavor-packed risotto combines saffron, pignoli nuts, and Parmesan cheese to create moist and flavorful stuffing for fried rice balls.

If you can’t find fresh saffron at your local grocer, you can order it online. Plan on making these arancini at least an hour ahead of time. They have to chill in their sauce before frying. 

While they taste best freshly made, they can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator. For about three days, make sure they are completely cooled before storing. 

However, to reheat them later on, pop them into a 350°F oven for 10 minutes or until hot. Yields 12 arancini balls; serving size is two balls for an Italian Thanksgiving Food. 

11. Butternut Squash Ravioli With White-Wine Sauce

This delicious recipe is inspired by Italian cuisine and will leave you with a new take on a classic fall favorite.

For an impressive Italian Thanksgiving food appetizer, serve these ravioli in bite-sized squares or opt for a small plate. Butternut squash is a mild, sweet flavor that pairs well with cheese. 

However, if it’s not your favorite veggie, feel free to substitute it with sweet potatoes or pumpkin or use your recipe.

Now get cooking and prepare one of these best Italian Thanksgiving food ideas for your holiday table.

12. Turkey-Breast Roulade with Mushroom Stuffing

Turkey breast is healthy and lean, but it can be dry if you cook it wrong. That’s why I suggest making a roulade, in which you roll up your turkey breast with stuffing in between.

The slow-roasting process will also ensure that both sides of your dish are cooked perfectly. 

This roulade pairs well with pasta and potatoes, so serve it as a special meal for family or friends. (Serves 4) Ingredients 1 turkey breast (about 3 pounds) Kosher salt, 11⁄2 cups sliced mushrooms, two garlic cloves minced. 

Also, 1⁄2 medium onion diced, 1⁄2 cup butter or margarine, two tablespoons chopped parsley, 3 cups breadcrumbs, 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper four eggs. And Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

13. Garlic Bread

It may not be any of the traditional Italian cuisines. But garlic bread is an excellent choice for a side dish for your Italian Thanksgiving Food.

Any bread will work for garlic bread, including ciabatta rolls, crusty French baguettes, or flatbreads(pita).

So, Butter one side of each slice and then spread it with roasted garlic clove. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over bread or create herb butter by mixing olive oil and fresh herbs to add flavor.

Also, you can make garlic butter by melting butter and adding roasted crushed garlic. Serve with bowls of warm marinara sauce to dip your bread in.

14. Lasagne alla Bolognese

Nothing beats lasagne alla Bolognese; best of all, it’s a simple Italian recipe that you can make at home.

Make your meat sauce or buy it in a jar. Either way, you won’t go wrong. Using dried pasta is best if you plan to freeze your leftovers, but fresh egg pasta is a healthier alternative.

This rich and delicious meal makes for an excellent Italian Thanksgiving food idea! (Need more? See how to make lasagna).

Two pounds ground beef, one teaspoon salt, divided 1/4 cup olive oil, two medium onions, chopped fine. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until just tender but still firm to bite. 

Then, drain well, set aside, and Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until hot.

Add onion, and sauté for 5 minutes or until soft and golden brown; add garlic, and sauté 1 minute longer. Reduce heat to low; add beef and 1/2 teaspoon salt. 

So, you cook until the beef is no longer pink, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up clumps.

Add wine; simmer for 2 minutes longer, then you have your Italian Thanksgiving food.

15. Oven-Roasted Chestnuts

As soon as you pop them out of their brown paper shell, these chestnuts smell as good as they taste.

They are slightly sweet, with hazelnut flavor and a wonderfully crisp texture. You can roast chestnuts whole in an oven, but be sure to cut a slit on one side. 

Though not entirely through before placing them in your preheated 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes. Until soft enough to poke with a toothpick or paring knife. 

However, peel off their dark outer shells as soon as they’re cool enough to handle. Keep any leftover roasted chestnuts sealed in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

16. Nocino

With an aroma reminiscent of a fresh forest, Nocino is an after-dinner digestif that has been cherished in Italy for centuries.

Essentially a liqueur made from green walnuts, it’s a delicious blend of sweet and slightly bitter flavors.

Make some homemade Nocino with these easy instructions and pair it with dessert or make cocktails with friends. 

If stored properly, homemade nocino will last up to one year in your home.

Green walnuts are plentiful late in fall or early winter and easy to find at farmers’ markets in parts of America.

Here’s how to make nocino at home for Italian Thanksgiving Food. 

17. Italian Turkey Meatballs

Whether you want to say Thanksgiving, everyone’s invited to these meatballs.

The classic combination of turkey and cranberry sauce gives them a unique, flavorful twist that your guests will enjoy. 
So, add them as a side or make them into sliders; either way, you’ll love serving up these tasty balls.

Thanks for eating our Italian Thanksgiving Food; well, for this one!

18. Minestra Maritata (Italian Wedding Soup)

This dish hails from Tuscany and is traditionally made with an egg-drop broth, meatballs, and lots of parsley.

It may seem simple, but you’ll be surprised at how full of flavor it is. If you want to go vegetarian, you can skip adding meatballs.

And a squeeze of lemon to add freshness. Try garnishing with a teaspoon of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or serve with crusty bread on the side for dipping.

This soup will have everyone coming back for your Italian Thanksgiving food. 

19. Tortellini En Brodo

Tortellini is an easy-to-make Italian pasta that contains only four ingredients. In brodo means broth so that you can toss tortellini into your favorite homemade chicken or vegetable broth.

It’s a simple yet delicious dish that serves as a great alternative to turkey if you’re going meatless for Thanksgiving.

However, look for frozen tortellini at your local grocery store to make it even easier. It requires no defrosting and has just about zero prep time because it’s so versatile.

You can enjoy tortellini on its own with a low-calorie or vegan sauce. Or serve it with grilled fish, chicken, or pork chops for hearty and healthy Italian Thanksgiving food. 

20. Pork Chops al Limone (Italian Lemon Pork Chops)

These tender pork chops are packed with big flavors. The sweetness of honey, the acidity of lemon, and the crunchiness of pine nuts balance out perfectly with the savory pork chops.

Make sure to marinate your pork chops overnight so they absorb all that delicious flavor!

However, if you don’t feel like making homemade marinara sauce use your favorite store-bought brand instead and serve it over pasta or rice for hearty Italian Thanksgiving food. 


So there you have it, 20 delicious recipes for your next traditional or modern-day Italian Thanksgiving food.

Whether you’re trying something new or sticking with what works, you can’t go wrong with these dishes.
So, there are enough ideas here that everyone will be happy to come back for seconds (or thirds). Thanks for reading, and bon appetit!

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