Easy Thanksgiving recipes if you're away from home

By Marta Gintowt

Many Americans find themselves being summoned to the homes of friends and relatives far and wide across the country. As there is nothing more uncomfortable than coming empty-handed to any event, there is also nothing worse than showing up with the same generic bottle of wine like everyone else.

Sharing food can be considered a way of showing love and care, so why not get creative with these easy Thanksgiving recipes for when you're not at home and make something that will be remembered? From things that will last the ride to things that can be made in a flash in your host's kitchen, this collection features gourmet delicacies that everyone will enjoy.

Canapés

Canapés are elegant starters that are both simple to make and easy to eat. Since assembly can be fast and cooking is not necessary, they are perfect to bring along to any Thanksgiving gathering. Impress other guests with bright colors and interesting ingredients that will leave everyone hungry for more. Our favorite combinations are blinis covered with crème fraîche, salmon roe, and dill, as well as crackers topped with goat cheese, honey, and rosemary. Let's just hope there is enough counter space for assembly!

Roasted butternut squash soup

Is there anything more cozy and comforting than a big bowl of roasted butternut squash soup? After a long day of waiting for the feast to begin, this healthy soup can be introduced as a light, delicious, and warming appetizer. This soup actually tastes better when made ahead of time, so the flavors have time to blend, making it perfect for transporting in a Thermos during a car ride. It can be easily made vegetarian or vegan when cream is omitted and vegetable broth is used, so it's perfect for those who find it hard to find meat-free options on Thanksgiving.

Baked macaroni and cheese

A favorite Thanksgiving staple, baked macaroni and cheese is always sure to please. When preparing for a journey ahead, this recipe can be made the morning of and easily taken to the next destination, where hopefully an oven with plenty of room awaits. The traditional recipe calls for plenty of cheese and milk, but bolder chefs can add a twist by mixing in other ingredients, such as onions or broccoli, as well as traditional fall flavors, like smoked cheeses, pumpkin, and butternut squash.

Gourmet coleslaw

Thanksgiving calls for heavy, salty dishes that usually leave guests wishing they had something more fresh. This crunchy and colorful classic side has just that! Perfectly paired alongside turkey and heavier sides like stuffing and mashed potatoes, guests will be thrilled to dig into this red cabbage coleslaw. The crunchiest coleslaw is mixed right before serving to avoid wilting, so the light apple cider vinegar and vegan mayonnaise-based dressing can be mixed ahead of time, and the cabbage can be shredded at home before traveling commences.

Homemade biscuits

Homemade biscuits might sound underwhelming, but they are perfect when traveling long distance. Biscuits can even be made the evening before so they have time to cool down. With simple ingredients, like flour, butter, and baking soda, cooks can feel free to experiment with adding cheeses, herbs, seeds, or dried fruits, as well as substitute normal flour with a more healthy alternative.

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Some consider dessert to be their favorite part of a Thanksgiving meal, and pumpkin cupcakes will certainly not disappoint. Simple yet delicious, those looking forward to baking these can do so ahead of time and pop them in the fridge until it's time for them to be served. As easy as using boxed vanilla cake mix and adding a can of pureed pumpkin and a half-tablespoon of cinnamon, these light cupcakes are the perfect compliment to heavy Thanksgiving fare. Top them with a whipped, cream cheese icing and orange and brown sprinkles, and watch them steal the show.

Apple Crisp

Perhaps the most complex dish on our list, apple crisp is certainly worth the effort. When bringing this dessert to another destination, feel free to assemble the ingredients ahead of time. When dinner plates are being cleared and guests are having a breather, pop the pastry in the oven for 20 minutes for the perfect crispy texture. Depending if you are trying to impress, you can opt to make a beautiful creation or a beautiful mess, as both will be equally delicious.


You've got the food sorted, but what about an alternative accommodation or a list of things you're grateful for? Don't worry—we've got you.