Moroccan-Inspired Thanksgiving

Easy ways to add a little extra spice to your Thanksgiving meal

Thanksgiving is that special kind of holiday where food is at the core of the celebration. The historical significance is minimal, and the traditional activities take place entirely at the dinner table. It says a lot that the alternative name of the celebration is “Turkey Day.”

While everyone prepares their meals with their own family traditions, covering all the fundamental elements is of the utmost importance. There must be all or most of the following: a whole turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, some form of green vegetable (usually beans or Brussels sprouts), often squash, and either apple or pumpkin pie.

The seasonal Thanksgiving flavors pair nicely with traditional Moroccan cuisine. As a result, there are many easy ways to add a hint of Moroccan spice to your traditional Thanksgiving feast.


  • The Splendid Table penned this recipe for Moroccan-inspired turkey, which uses fresh lemon and Charmoula to add a “rich and mellow” flavor to the bird.
  • A different recipe from the blog My Marrakesh calls for cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, and cardamom, to add a bit more spice to the turkey.

Cranberry Sauce

  • Florida Coastal Cooking came up with a subtle way of adding a hint of Moroccan flavor to cranberry sauce. In addition to the fresh cranberries, dates and apricots give the sauce rich, complex flavors, while fresh lemon juice adds acidity and a hint of tart to complement the cranberry.
  • Another version, by Cupcake Rehab, uses preserved lemon instead, and adds cardamom and cumin seeds for additional Moroccan flavor.



Veggie & Appetizer

  • Gordon Ramsay has a recipe for Moroccan spiced pumpkin and butter bean soup, which is a particularly good fit for a Thanksgiving appetizer. Ginger, turmeric, paprika, and cumin offer rich spices and a healthy start to a notoriously unhealthy meal.
  • AllRecipes.com has a festive and seasonal Moroccan-Style Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe:
    “vegetables, garbanzos, raisins and couscous in a lovely Moroccan broth taste delicious inside butter and brown sugar-brushed acorn squash.”


[Cover photo by Ian Westcott]



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