A Filipino-inspired menu for this Thanksgiving holiday

Filipinos are known to be adaptive and creative. Whenever we try to assimilate something, be it language or food, we are fond of reinventing and putting a fresh Filipino spin to it.

Take the American time-honored Thanksgiving dinner, for example. Filipinos in the United States have had the opportunity to showcase their creative culinary flair by throwing in their own unique ingredients to traditional Thanksgiving dinner recipes to make it feel a bit like home.

Here are some Thanksgiving dinner ideas for the Filipinos, Filipino-Americans or even the Filipinos-at-heart:

1. Roast Turkey Inasal or Turkey Adobo?

No doubt, turkey is the centerpiece of any Thanksgiving dinner table (except for when you have lechon (roast pig) on your table. You may want to stuff the traditional turkey recipe with lemon, lemongrass, garlic ginger and onion and make a Filipino inasal marinade (onion, more ginger, garlic, and lemongrass; coconut vinegar, brown sugar, calamansi juice, lemon soda, salt, and black pepper) for that succulent Bacolod treat.

Another option is the Filipino favorite, adobo, by putting it as a stuffing.   A tip: You may want to cook the leftover turkey for the next day’s breakfast of lugaw or arroz caldo  (Filipino version of congee)!

 2. Butternut Squash with Gata (coconut milk) 

Pumpkin or squash are also Thanksgiving dinner staples, regardless if it is roasted with spices or made into a pie.  Pair your roast pumpkin or butternut squash with the creaminess of gata (coconut milk). This dish brings back memories of your grandparents’ recipe of squash and long beans in coconut milk back in the Philippines.

3. Garlic Mashed Potato

We know how Filipinos love rice. However, if it isn’t readily available, mashed potatoes come in handy. Filipinos love their dish with a bit more garlic flavor on it. Garlic mashed potato is best served with gravy on top and is best complimented with the turkey and other grilled dishes.

4. Ube pie

Cap off your Thanksgiving dinner by delighting your guest with a sweet treat. Instead of a traditional American pecan pie, use ube  (purple yam) instead. Ube is a certified Filipino favorite dessert ingredient. Top these purple pies with sweetened macapuno strips for a total Filipino take on your Thanksgiving dessert.

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