Thanksgiving without Turkey

Thanksgiving can be a trying time for those who don’t love — or can’t eat — turkey and all its requisite fixings. Not only does every family dinner feature the ubiquitous bird, but it seems as though every restaurant that remains open that day does it for the single purpose of serving a traditional turkey dinner.

This leaves both vegetarians and the turkey-shy out in the November cold. But don’t dismay — there are options out there for turkey-free celebrations.

In the Monadnock region, Keene’s Salmon Chase Bistro (357-7070, will serve a plated dinner from noon until 6 p.m., offering several choices of entrée. One of these will be a vegetarian option. Even turkey traditionalists would be tempted by Chef John Norris’ past meat-free specialties, which have ranged from Gorgonzola ravioli or veggie-loaded Gardener’s Pasta to spinach- and ricotta-filled tortelloni, sautéed with house-smoked tomato coulis.

Not far from Keene, in Jaffrey, Alymer’s Grill (532-4949) will serve leg of lamb, sliced tenderloin and ham along with turkey, and a selection of low-carb “fixings” to replace the mashed potatoes and stuffing. There will be several other dishes on the menu, too, including vegetarian options.

Chef Jeannine Carney of Colby Hill Inn in Henniker (428-3281) will serve a turkey dinner, but there will be other choices as well. Last year it was steak, coquille St. Jacques and for vegetarians a heavenly pumpkin-apple risotto with truffle oil. At the Potter Place Inn (735-5141,, Chef/owner Giovanni Leopardi plans an a la carte menu with ample choices, including duck breast, prime rib and a vegetarian entrée. Regulars can hope he will offer his grapefruit-Campari sorbet or cheesecake made with his own in-house-made mascarpone — much better than pumpkin pie.

For a complete turnaround from turkey and mashed potatoes, reserve a table at Concord’s House of India (227-5266), where on Thanksgiving Day they will serve a full menu of their usual (and authentic) entrées. Vegetarians will be especially happy with the choices on all sections of the menu, from vegetable samosas or coconut soup to the Palak Panir.

Chef John Richelli of the Pasquaney Restaurant at The Inn on Newfound Lake in Bridgewater (744-9111) borders on fanatic about using locally grown and produced ingredients, and among his entrée and appetizer selections on Thanksgiving Day will be choices for both vegetarians and red-meat aficionados. The Bedford Village Inn (472-2001, Chef Joe Brenner plans to serve a traditional five-course holiday dinner, but will also offer several alternate selections, including at least one for vegetarians. The Inn at Thorn Hill, in Jackson (383-4242) plans to offer a set menu with choices that will add beef, fish and vegetarian entrees to the usual turkey.

On the Seacoast, The Library (431-5202, caters especially well to those who prefer red meat. Although billing itself as a steak house, The Library is far more versatile, and Chef Keith Cowan plans to offer a full menu on Thanksgiving Day, along with a few specials. A vegetarian entrée will be among these. The regular menu includes five different cuts of steak, as well as pork, lamb chops and lobster.

Wentworth by the Sea (373-6558) in Newcastle, will serve dinner from 1 p.m. until 10 p.m. and brunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Vegetarians should order entrées when they make reservations for the holiday dinner.

Susty’s Café (942-5862) in Northwood, doesn’t even offer the token turkey. This vegan restaurant will cook you a custom Thanksgiving dinner from start to finish, and it’s 100 percent vegan. They’ll even pack it up for you to take home and serve. Shepherd’s Pie or a tofu pot pie are hearty November choices, and festive enough for a holiday dinner.