21 Yummy International Dishes for your Thanksgiving Potluck
Thanksgiving is just around the corner! It can be tough deciding what delicious dishes should be on the menu. For many of us, there will definitely be an assortment of foods outside the traditional American staples such as turkey and sweet potatoes. As many of you already know, Shoplet’s headquarters are located in downtown NYC. We are in the cultural hub of the US! With so many different cultures comes a pretty amazing Thanksgiving menu! Our office Thanksgiving potluck is coming up and we are super excited to see all of the different foods that will be present from cultures around the world. We asked some of our employees to share a few of their staple Thanksgiving dishes that are a bit outside the standard American norm. Lets check out what cultures from all over the world are bringing to the Thanksgiving table!
Greece: Spanakopita (Spinach Pie)
“Spanakopita which is spinach pie! My mom always makes it no matter what. It’s definitely a Greek thing,“ says one of our very own Shopletters. This savory pie is made of sautéed spinach, onions, cheeses and herbs all wrapped up in a flaky pastry crust. Sounds like a delicious potluck option to us!
Puerto Rico: Pernil (Roast Pork Shoulder)
We talked to a few people who came from the Puerto Rican culture and got the low down on a few staple dishes. First up is pernil. This dish uses pork shoulder and a host of super tasty seasonings like sazon, salt, pepper, lime juice, garlic and more! This dish takes time to cook. Anywhere from 3 to 8 hours depending on your preferences. But if done right, this meat will fall right off the bone and will be an instant potluck favorite!!
Puerto Rico: Coquito
This beverage is pretty much a coconut eggnog. This drink mixes coconut milk with sweet milk, cinnamon and rum. This drink is most commonly made during Christmas but is becoming increasingly popular for Thanksgiving too. Why not make the best of the holiday season and share the joy of this creamy drink twice!
Puerto Rico: Arroz con Gandules (Rice and Peas)
This dish is a staple in many Puerto Rican households. This seasoned rice dish includes, chopped ham, yellow onion, bell peppers, garlic, peas and other ingredients to create this hearty rice dish. Ask virtually any Hispanic household what’s on the menu this Thanksgiving and they will almost certainly say, “arroz con gandules!”
Israel: Pumpkin Spice Jello Shots
“I’m not sure if this is an Israeli thing, but aside from the traditional Thanksgiving staples, we always concoct a new signature drink every year, like these Pumpkin Spice Jello Shots,” says one of our very own Shopletters. Pumpkin Spice Jello Shots are a fun way to take a traditional fall ingredient and give it a twist. These shots include caramel coffee, gelatin, sweet milk, pumpkin pie spice, whipped cream vodka and whip cream for garnish. Check out this super fun recipe here!
The American South: Beer Battered Chitterlings
Beer Battered Chitterlings originated in the American south and is definitely an old school dish. This recipe makes a great side dish and includes chitterlings, onion, potato, garlic powder, beer batter, pale ale beer, flour and oil for frying. This dish takes about 2 hours to cook and can leave your kitchen with a pungent smell, so this one is best done well in advance of guests arriving.
India: Poori Masala
Our Indian friends unanimously agreed that for Thanksgiving, this dish is a must. Poori Masala is a potato dish that goes very well with Pooris (fried bread) Dosa (rice and lentil crepes) or Chapti (flat bread). It Is typically used for dipping and is made from onion, tomatoes, ginger, green chilies, turmeric and various other spices. Add a little bit of spice to your table with this one!
Philippines: Adobo Sa Gata (Pork Ribs)
If you are celebrating Thanksgiving in a Filipino household, you might find Adobo Sa Gata (pork ribs) on the menu. This dish combines pork ribs, onion, garlic, pepper corns, bay leaves, water, vinegar, soy sauce, coconut milk and Thai chili peppers into a creamy and savory dish. The meat simmers in a traditional marinade and then is finished with coconut milk. This creamy braised dish is definitely one to try!
Philippines: Lumpia (Egg roll)
“It’s the perfect appetizer,” says one of our Shopletters. This classic Filipino dish is reminiscent of Chinese egg rolls, but with a twist. It’s made with a crepe pastry skin called lumpia and has a host of savory fillings such as carrots, cabbages, bamboo shoots and leeks. You can also add minced meat. This dish is typically served deep fried and makes an easy potluck finger food.
This dish has already taken hold as an up and coming Thanksgiving staple, even amongst non Italian families. Everyone at one point or another has probably feasted in their fair share of Lasagna during a thanksgiving meal. Why? Because everyone loves lasagna! With layer upon layer of pasta, tomato sauce, ground meat and cheese, what’s not to love!
There is one thing that you’ll always find in every Korean household. And that’s kimchi. Kimchi is a traditional fermented Korean side dish made of vegetable and a variety of spicy seasonings. Kimchi can be made of Napa cabbage, radish, scallion or cucumber and is always served cold. This spicy dish offers a refreshing break from heartier side dish selections.
Pierogis or Polish dumplings are traditionally made during Christmas but are definitely making their way onto Thanksgiving tables. Pierogis are basically potato stuffed pastries that are boiled and then fried with butter until browned. You can also fill pierogis with sauerkraut or ground meat. Toppings include melted butter, sour cream or fried onions. Sounds delicious!
China: Sai Mai Lo
This Chinese dish offers a refreshing and light dessert option after a filling Thanksgiving meal. This soupy dessert is made from coconut milk, cow’s milk, sugar and sago. The flavor is milky and mildy sweet and perfect for those who don’t love super sugary desserts. Top this dessert off with fresh melon and you have yourself a sweet treat!
China: Hong Dou Tang (Red Bean Soup)
Hong Dou Tang or red bean soup is another refreshing Chinese dessert that will add some variety to your assortment. This dish includes red beans or azuki beans, water, coconut milk, fresh tangerine peel, rock sugar and sago. The flavor is also mild and reminiscent of sweet potato desserts. Blend it all up and serve warm or cold. YUM!
Russia: Olivye Salad (Russian Salad)
Olivye salad is a staple cold salad dish in Russia and many other European countries. This dish consists of diced potatoes, carrots, brined dill pickles, peas, eggs, onions, chicken, tart apples, seasonings and mayonnaise. It is also known as Russian salad. It’s a popular dish to serve during the new year but is creeping it’s way onto Thanksgiving tables. “There is never a Russian gathering without it, even during Thanksgiving,” says one of our Shopletters. Give this one a try!
Germany: Grummbeerkieschelscheris (Crispy Potato Pancakes)
The name of this tasty German dish is quite the tongue twister, but the execution is simple! This dish is made using onions, leeks, potatoes, eggs, flour, salt pepper and nutmeg. The pancakes are then poured onto a skillet and friend. You can top these pancakes with applesauce or serve with Bibbelsche Bohnesupp (A traditional bacon, onion and potato soup). This Thanksgiving, serve these as a finger food with applesauce and savor the sweet/ salty finish. Pass the plate please!
Middle East: Hummus
This staple dip has been adapted by American culture as the go-to dip for entertaining! In most households that serve, chips, veggies or pita, odds are there will be a hummus dip to accompany it. All you need are chick peas, tahini, olive oil, black pepper, cumin and lemon juice. Blend everything together into a creamy consistency and serve! This mild condiment is perfect for dipping veggies, spreading on breads or even to top meat dishes.
Middle Eastern: Baklava
The sweet goodness of this flaky, layered pastry will have you hooked in no time. This dessert is made using phyllo dough that is layered between a honey nut spiced filling. It’s topped with a simple syrup to finish. These are perfectly portioned which makes them great for potluck events and are oh so delicious!
Guyana: Pepper Pot
Traditionally served at Christmas time, this dish is making it’s way to Thanksgiving tables too! Pepper pot is a stewed meat dish that is seasoned with some pretty intense ingredients like cinnamon, cassareep and hot peppers. You can use Beef, pork or lamb for this dish. Because this dish is so time intensive (4-6 hour cook time), it’s usually reserved for special occasions. What better occasion to start your holiday season than Thanksgiving!
El Salvador: Tamales
“We always have a turkey on the table but we also have tamales. It’s a family staple,” says one of our Shopletters. Tamales are made using masa flour, poultry seasoning, chicken, baby carrots, banana leaves and various other ingredients. The result is a flavorful and moist little wrap that is super fun to eat! This south American dish is sure to impress your guests!
“In our household the food is always changing, but one thing that it is almost always served on is injera.” This flatbread is essential to Ethiopian cuisine. Almost every dish is served on it. It’s made from teff grass that is fermented with water for several days and then baked. It has a similar taste profile as sourdough. Various dishes are served on top of this bread. To eat, simply tear off a piece of injera, pinch some food with it, roll it up and eat! It’s a nice hands-on approach to a Thanksgiving meal.