Easy Dinners for the Day Before Thanksgiving

Kale and Parmesan Egg Drop soup recipe (stracciatella soup with kale)

In honor of Thanksgiving Eve (the calm before the storm), weve rounded up some of our easiest dinner recipes you can pull off in no time, with a minimum of mess.

If youre hosting Thanksgiving dinner, no matter how much advance planning youve done, and no matter how many hacks you employ, the night before is often busy.

Youre making pie crust and cranberry sauce and realizing you somehow forgot to buy butteror maybe you just dont want to dirty your kitchen before the marathon cooking session and its mountain of dishes kicks off in the morning. Whatever the case, you still need to eat.

Related Reading: This 15 Minute Cashew Chicken Is Way Better Than Takeout

You can order takeout, of course, or you can cook these easy dinners that wont derail your Turkey Day prep, or wreck your kitchen. Theyre better and cheaper than ordering in, and in some cases theyre ready well before GrubHub could even get there. Theres also a minimum of meat, since youll likely be having loads of that tomorrow.

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Kale and Parmesan Egg Drop Soup

Kale and Parmesan Egg Drop soup recipe (stracciatella soup with kale)


This one-pot meal is simple yet satisfying, hearty yet healthy, and uses ingredients probably already in your fridge. Plus, you can make it even easier by eschewing the knife work. Just tear the kale leaves away from the stems and rip them into roughly even pieces instead; it saves you time and avoids dirtying your knife and cutting board. If you dont have kale, use spinach and saute it for a shorter time. Get our Kale and Parmesan Egg Drop Soup recipe.

Asian Pear and Gouda Grilled Cheese

Asian pear and gouda grilled cheese recipe


A good grilled cheese sandwich is nothing to sniff at, but this version with nutty gouda and sweet, crisp Asian pear ups the interest quotient without making it any more difficult. You can use a standard pear or even an apple if thats what you have in your fruit bowl. And sharp cheddar works just as well as gouda. Get our Asian Pear and Gouda Grilled Cheese recipe.

Pear and Spinach Salad

pear and spinach salad recipe


This simple salad is great alone if youre after a light bite, or serve it alongside the grilled cheese above; in fact, since you dont need the whole pear for the sandwich, you can use the rest for tossing with the tender, mineral spinach leaves and sharp, crisp slivers of red onion in their honey-Dijon vinaigrette. Get our Pear and Spinach Salad recipe.

Herbed Ricotta Spread

herbed ricotta recipe


No time for melting cheese? Stir some minced herbs, cracked pepper, lemon juice, and parmesan into rich ricotta and spread it on toasted bread or crackers, topped with rosy slices of prosciutto if you have some.

Since you probably have sage and thyme on hand for the turkey, feel free to swap them in for the basil and parsley called for (but use a lighter hand on the fresh sage). And if youre fresh out of ricotta, blend up some softened cream cheese with a smidgen of milk or whipping cream to lighten the texture.

These are great snacky bites that will fill you up fast enough, but may feel more like a meal with that spinach salad, or any simply dressed greens on the side. Get our Herbed Ricotta Spread recipe.

Tangy Apple and Beet Salad

beet apple salad with blue cheese


For a salad that truly stands alone, this chunky apple and beet combo with creamy blue cheese and bitter radicchio cant be beat. If you pick up the pre-roasted beets that are so prevalent in grocery stores these days, it takes almost no time at all to assemble. Get our Tangy Apple and Beet Salad recipe.

Grape and Almond Mixed Greens Salad

green salad with grapes and almonds


But if youre not into the earthy sweetness of beets or the bitter bite of radicchio, try this mixed green salad on for size. Chopped almonds, halved grapes, and shards of cheddar bulk it up, add textural interest, and inject loads of flavor. Its basically a stripped-down cheese plate in salad form. Get our Grape and Almond Mixed Greens Salad recipe.

Weeknight Carbonara

weeknight carbonara recipe

Anna Gass

Pasta might seem like a bit much the night before a feast, but this quick carbonara manages to be both rich and restrainedand its made with pantry ingredients, so you can whip it up whenever the mood strikes you. Do yourself a favor and scale back the recipe to only make as much as youll want to eat for dinner, because youre about to have plenty of other leftovers. Get the Easy Spaghetti Carbonara recipe.

Eggs in Purgatory

easy eggs in purgatory recipe


Eggs slipped into a skillet of simmering tomato sauce: Another one-pot meal thats ridiculously easy yet wholly comforting, and perfect with the addition of some toast. This is basically the Italian answer to shakshuka; either one may also be the answer to your prayers for an easy meal you can make on autopilot. Get our Eggs in Purgatory recipe.

Deli-Style Tuna Salad

deli style tuna salad recipe


Cracking open a can of tuna for dinner is a classic no-cook move, and not too shabby if you (a) use a good oil-packed brand of tuna, and (b) mix it up with a few lively add-ins, like the pepperoncini and cornichons featured here. You can make it into a sandwich, spoon it onto a pile of greens, or scoop it up one-handed with pita chips while youre finishing up your prep work for the big day ahead. Get our Deli-Style Tuna Salad recipe.

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Related Reading: 15 Delicious Things to Do with Canned Sardines

Indian Chickpea Curry with Spinach

Indian chickpea spinach curry recipe


Canned chickpeas can be transformed into a delicious vegan curry with tomatoes, spices, spinach, and a few minutes of sauteing onions, garlic, and ginger. Its pretty much diametrically opposed to the typically rich, heavy Thanksgiving meal, so youll appreciate that in addition to the ease of putting it together. Its great with rice, but in the interest of only sullying one pot, serve with store-bought naan this time around. Get our Indian Chickpea Curry with Spinach recipe.

Skillet Pizza

skillet pizza recipe


Admit it: Part of you still just wants to order a pizza. But this easy method for making pizza in a cast iron skillet is far more affordable and tastier than takeout. And you can absolutely apply it to a ball of store-bought pizza dough.

Since most tomatoes arent up to snuff this time of year, skip em; rub the dough with a little olive oil and cracked pepper before topping with shredded mozzarella, blue cheese, and thinly sliced apples or pears instead. If youre pre-cooking bacon for any part of your Thanksgiving meal, add an extra slice or two to the sheet pan and crumble it on top of this perfect pie. Get the Skillet Pizza recipe.

For more tips, tricks, hacks, and last-minute recipes, see our Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving.

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