21 Things Cajuns Say Must Be on the Table for a South Louisiana Thanksgiving Dinner
Lafayette, LA (KPEL News) - What will you serve for Thanksgiving? Every year, we stick to the traditional dishes that my family enjoys, but I wanted to add something new to our holiday fare. I took to social media to crowd source and ask my south Louisiana friends what must-have dishes they include during the holidays.
It turned out to be a great idea!
The tried-and-true items populated the list, but I found a few Cajun options that I will definitely be trying this year.
Check out the list, and you may find a dish you'd like to add to your family Thanksgiving dinner.
Turkey tops the list. I don't know if a Thanksgiving meal qualifies if turkey is absent from the table. Responses varied as to preparation: fried, baked, or smoked. Personally, fried turkey is my favorite. One thing that doesn't vary is the tryptophan-induced nap that follows.
Can you taste the picture in this post? Our family typically picks up a pre-made ham, and half of it disappears before it makes it to the table. If you're channeling your inner Julia Child, you could try the recipe available with the picture.
It's safe to assume that adding pork roast to the list of proteins on a Thanksgiving table is mainly a Cajun thing. My grandmother always offered several options, and pork roast always made the cut. I can still smell it simmering on the stove.
People seem divided in their affinity for cornbread dressing. You'll see in this list a few different iterations of the dish, and you may find a new way you'd like to try. Frankly, I'm good with most of them as long as they involve cornbread and a protein. The seasoning needs to be just right, though.
SEAFOOD CORNBREAD DRESSING
What's not to like about cornbread dressing with all the seafood in it? You could made a meal of it without anything on the side. Yum!
CRAWFISH CORNBREAD DRESSING
The picture may not look appetizing, but crawfish cornbread dressing is one of my family's favorite side dishes. I actually took this picture during the preparation phase of the process. My sister-in-law shared her family recipe with me many years ago and, much to her chagrin, I shared it with my Facebook friends. Incredibly good and unbelievably moist!
GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE
My second daughter may not attend family Thanksgiving dinner if green bean casserole doesn't appear on the table. The majority of the respondents to my unofficial poll listed it as a must-have. It's the perfect addition to the cornbread dressing and turkey!
SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
Sweet potato casserole is probably my favorite side. I've used several recipes over the years and landed on one that combines a bit of each. Pecans and brown sugar always go in, and my daddy loves my sweet potato casserole every year. A few comments showed a preference for the marshmallow top. Do what makes you happy!
Cranberry sauce represents the great Thanksgiving dinner divide. People either love it or hate it. Personally, I love the pureed version with my turkey. The pairing of savory and tart but sweet makes my mouth happy! I use the canned version, but would really like a recipe for homemade.
MAC N CHEESE
I was surprised by the number of people who said their holiday table must include mac n cheese! Is there any more perfect comfort food? I'll be searching for the perfect recipe and make sure it's on our Thanksgiving table.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH LASAGNA
If you're scratching your head over this dish and why it should be on a holiday table, you're not alone. I felt compelled to include it on this list because more than one person said they enjoy it as part of their Thanksgiving dinner, including my friend Dawn Foreman. It's also keto-friendly, so bon appetit!
Nearly every Cajun meal in Louisiana includes potato salad. It goes with barbecue, gumbo, rice and gravy, and etouffee. People even enjoy potato salad sandwiches in Acadiana. So why not include it with Thanksgiving fare?
Because bread. What more is there to say?
BOUDIN AND CRACKLINS
Cajuns bring to a meal at a friend's house boudin and cracklins in their brown bags and cardboard containers in the same way that other folks bring wine. Whether you eat it as a snack before the meal or add it to your dinner place, you can't go wrong adding it to the menu.
Desserts make the must-have list for every holiday. Calories don't count on special days, right? Carrot cake leads the pack because it's delicious, and it makes me think of my friend Rhonda. She makes the best carrot cake I have ever tasted! Truthfully, I wouldn't try to make it on my own because no one should mess with perfection.
The crunchy pecans, the gooey center, and the flaky pie crust. Did your mouth water reading that? Pecan pie is the perfect dessert for your Thanksgiving table.
The fruity, tasty confection is my favorite in the pie world. I love all versions: deep dish crunchy, lattice top, dutch, or one with a pretty top, like the one in the picture. Truthfully, I prefer mine without ice cream, but don't mind a good a la mode. Yum!
Pumpkin pie falls in line with cranberry sauce. You either love it or you hate it. While it's not something I particularly like, quite a few commenters believe it belongs on a holiday table. How much more fall can you get than pumpkin anything?
Prepare to have your world rocked if you taste what my family has dubbed "apple crack." Why do we call it that? After one bite, we are licking the plate. You cannot stop eating it! Look at the list of ingredients in the post. You may figure out why. It's ridiculously delicious.
I can already hear the groans and see the green emoji puke faces. Let me explain. My mom has made this for every single holiday since I was born! She uses a recipe of my grandmother's that includes fruit, no vegetables (because veggies in jello is just nasty). Mom makes a lime jello version and a strawberry jello version. Luckily, my wonderful momma prepared two container for my sister and me to take home because we would be arguing over what's left from dinner.
What would make your holiday table complete? Someone else to cook the food. Yes, that was the reply from more than a few commenters. The honest truth is that I don't think they were joking!
I hope your Thanksgiving table is filled with all your favorite dishes. I pray that you have family and friends to share it with you.
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