Friendsgiving! A Holiday Menu for a Meal with Friends

Happy Friendsgiving! Gather your best pals and serve them this menu of festive treats, from traditional fare like stuffed squash and roasted sprouts to non-traditional treats like tiramisu!

If “friends are the family you choose,” then celebrating Friendsgiving is the only way to ring in this season of gratitude and cheer. This Friendsgiving menu provides a chance to break away from traditional holiday meals and have a little fun.

For some whose family members live too far to travel for the holiday, Friendsgiving replaces traditional Thanksgiving dinner but still offers a sense of togetherness.

For others, Friendsgiving is great way to extend the holiday season by gathering old and new friends around a table to raise a glass to people who know all of your inside jokes and love you anyway.

Whatever your reason, when it comes to Friendsgiving anything goes. You don’t like turkey? No big deal. Apps only? Go for it! The rules are already broken so make Friendsgiving your own.

What’s on your Friendsgiving menu?!

What to Drink

A good hostess should have drinks ready and waiting for when guests arrive. Make it easy on yourself by offering a selection of self-serve alcoholic and zero-proof options. A selection of two or three should be plenty. Chances are someone is going to bring wine or beer.

Holiday Punch

I’m all for holiday punch bowls. They remind me bygone era of white gloves and finger-wave hairstyles. Plus who doesn’t like carrying around an etched glass filled with boozy drinks? Not to worry: this recipe, rich with cinnamon and citrus (my favorite flavor combination) has a zero-proof option as well. One recipe, two drinks. It’s your first Friendsgiving win!

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Hot Mulled Cider

Your guest might arrive chilled to the bone. Help them warm up and relax with this hot mulled cider. It’s sweet and spiced with earthy cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. This recipe is zero-proof. Make some for your guests enjoy on its own, or place a bottle of good whiskey or spiced rum next to the pot with a note and personal spiking recommendations.

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How to Get the Party Started

Dinner is great and everything, but it’s the pre-dinner snacking hour that livens up the party and puts everyone in a festive mood. These four apps are some of my favorites, and they all take 20 minutes or less to prepare.

Mini Salmon Quiches

Mini Salmon Quiche are tasty bite-sized wonders filled with a hint of tang from cream cheese and smoke from the fish. They can be made ahead of time, frozen and reheated for the Friendsgiving Day!

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Boursin Stuffed Mushrooms

Boursin is a seasoned soft cheese available in most supermarkets. If you can’t find it, substitute plain cream cheese and add your favorite herbs. You only need 15 minutes to pull these together.

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Cranberry Glazed Meatballs

Nothing says "holiday celebration" like meatballs. They go great with toothpicks. These bright red, sweet and spicy balls will go great in your belly!

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Swiss Chard Tzatziki

This twist on a traditional Greek yogurt sauce just needs crudités, toast points, or crackers. Or all three.

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What to Eat for Dinner

I like to make sure everyone feels well fed and cared for around the holidays. When cooking for friends with different dietary needs, it’s nice to forgo one main and replace it with two. This year skip the turkey! Cue the Beatles song: “Come Together.”

Prime Rib

Sometimes is nice to take a break from the bird — try this prime rib for the carnivore friends among you. Prime Rib can cost upwards of $100 for a roast — it’s a great splurge worth every penny! If money is tight this year, get everyone to chip in a few bucks.

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Vegan Stuffed Squash

Vegan friends need not miss out on holiday deliciousness. Welcome them — and all veggie lovers — with this robust and filling stuffed acorn squash. This recipe is one of my personal favorites.

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What to Serve on the Side

Let’s be honest with each other here: Thanksgiving — and Friendsgiving — is all about the sides. Each of these sides takes about 15 minutes to prep. Here, you have delicious sides for the gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian among you.

Sweet Potato Yukon Gold Bake

Purple, orange and yellow potatoes are layered together on bed of sweet caramelized onions to build this show-stopper side.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate-Balsamic Glaze

Add a little green to balance out all of that color with this roasted Brussels sprouts dish. The sweet and tangy pomegranate glaze is sure to please everyone at the table.

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Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes Slow Cooker potatoes in a dish with butter and a napkin

Ahhh, the lovely potato. Who doesn’t love a bowl of pillowy, creamy mashed potatoes? You have a lot going on for Friendsgiving so let your slow cooker do a little heavy lifting. Cut the potatoes into small cubes and go all out with heavy cream for this slow cooker version of everyone’s favorite dinner-time side.

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What to Serve for Dessert

We cannot forget those who see dinner as the pathway to sweet treats! I certainly won’t; I’m the girl in the corner with two desserts. I’m not ashamed. When planning a dessert menu try to provide a balance of flavors and textures. Do you have something rich, creamy, crunchy or fresh?

Chocolate Pavlova

Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert with a marshmallowy inside and a crisp exterior. They are great for the holidays because you can make the whipped cream 24 hours and the meringue base up to 72 hours  in advance and assemble them just before serving. Plus, who doesn’t love chocolate and raspberries?

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The boozy, coffee flavors and creamy texture of Italian Tiramisu will take any Friendsgiving to unforgettable status. It’s the perfect dessert because it combines both your after-dinner coffee, and dessert into one! Make everything ahead of time and dust it with cocoa powder and dish it up right before serving.

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Summer Miller

Summer Miller is the Senior Editor for Simply Recipes based in Nebraska. Her work has appeared in Bon Appetit, Eating Well, Grit, SAVEUR, and Every Day with Rachael Ray, among others. Her first book is New Prairie Kitchen (Agate Publishing, 2015).

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No ImageFriendsgiving! A Holiday Menu for a Meal with Friends

  1. Lisa B

    Love this Summer! Not everyone can be with family over Thanksgiving or the holidays. I’ve attended several “Friendsgiving” holiday dinners over the years which have been a ton of fun, and with a menu similar to this one, non-traditional. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  2. Ruth Riley

    Name does not matter Just enjoy the time together. !! And give thanks for who you have .

  3. Martha

    I love this! With everyone so busy getting ready for family gatherings having a Friendsgiving is a great idea!

  4. Sandra Roggenkamp

    Looks great . I just want to say it is Thanksgiving even if its Friends. As the Holiday is for us to be thankful for what God has given is. Thankful for friends and family no matter if your together on Thanksgiving or not.