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Is lasagna good for Thanksgiving dinner?

Thanksgiving dinner is a traditional meal typically featuring turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. While lasagna is a popular Italian dish made with layers of pasta, cheese, and tomato sauce, it’s not a traditional part of the Thanksgiving meal. However, lasagna can certainly be served at Thanksgiving if desired. Here we’ll look at the pros and cons of serving lasagna for Thanksgiving and help you decide if it’s a good option for your holiday table.

Pros of Serving Lasagna for Thanksgiving

There are several advantages to incorporating lasagna into your Thanksgiving feast:

  • It’s a crowd-pleaser – Lasagna is a universally loved comfort food that will satisfy guests with all kinds of tastes.
  • Offers an alternative to turkey – Lasagna gives non-turkey eaters an entrée option for the big meal.
  • Easy to prepare ahead of time – Lasagna can be assembled 1-2 days in advance and then baked right before serving, making Thanksgiving morning cooking less hectic.
  • Makes great leftovers – Leftover lasagna keeps well and reheats beautifully throughout the week after Thanksgiving.
  • Can be made vegetarian – Vegetable lasagna is an excellent option for vegetarian and vegan guests.
  • Kid-friendly dish – Many children love lasagna, so it’s ideal for a family-friendly holiday meal.
  • Brings Italian flair – Lasagna offers a taste of Italy at your Thanksgiving table.
  • You can get creative – There are endless ways to customize lasagna with different pasta shapes, fillings, and sauces.

If you want to shake up the typical Turkey Day menu, lasagna is a tasty and easy way to do it. The rich layers of cheese will satisfy comfort food cravings, and the tomato sauce brings a bright acidic flavor to balance the other dishes. Lasagna also gives you an opportunity to get creative with different fillings and flavors – you could even do a Thanksgiving twist with a butternut squash or turkey lasagna!

Cons of Serving Lasagna for Thanksgiving

However, there are a few potential drawbacks to keep in mind if you’re thinking of bringing lasagna to the Thanksgiving table:

  • It’s not a traditional Thanksgiving dish – Some people prefer to stick with traditional Thanksgiving menu items like turkey and mashed potatoes.
  • Contains gluten – Lasagna noodles traditionally contain gluten, so it won’t work for gluten-free guests.
  • Can be time-consuming to prepare – Making lasagna from scratch on top of other Thanksgiving dishes may add too much effort to the big day.
  • Takes oven space – If oven space is limited, lasagna could crowd out other side dishes.
  • May involve more clean up – With all the layers and sauces, lasagna tends to be messier to serve than carved turkey.
  • Could clash flavor-wise – Lasagna has strong garlic, tomato and herb flavors that may compete with traditional Thanksgiving tastes.

While lasagna offers variety to the classic Thanksgiving lineup, its bold Italian flavors and oven requirements may not suit everyone’s Thanksgiving vision. If you’re looking to stick to Pilgrim traditions, lasagna may seem out of place. You’ll also need adequate time and oven space to accommodate both lasagna and turkey if you want both.

Tips for Serving Lasagna at Thanksgiving

If you decide to incorporate lasagna into your Thanksgiving plans, here are some tips for success:

  • Make it ahead – Assemble the lasagna 1-2 days before and refrigerate unbaked. Let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.
  • Cook it gently – Cover with foil and bake at 375°F for 45-60 minutes until hot and bubbly.
  • Check the texture – If the noodles seem too al dente or crunchy, cover and continue baking another 10-15 minutes.
  • Bring it to the table – Baked lasagna needs to rest for 15-20 minutes before cutting, so bake it early and serve it at the table.
  • Use a deep dish pan – A deep aluminum foil pan will contain the lasagna layers neatly for serving.
  • Accompany with salad – Offer a green salad as a lighter complement to the rich lasagna.
  • Offer individual portions – Cut the lasagna into squares and serve each guest a portion for easy plating.
  • Save the corners – The end pieces will keep their structure better for leftovers.

With proper planning and cooking, lasagna can be a delicious and memorable addition to your Thanksgiving celebration. But feel free to stick with the turkey and trimmings if you prefer to keep the menu traditional.

Lasagna Recipes for Thanksgiving

Here are a few tasty lasagna recipes that would work well for a Thanksgiving meal:

Pumpkin Lasagna Rolls

This unique lasagna recipe substitutes pumpkin for noodles to create a holiday-themed vegetarian main dish. The pumpkin slices are layered with a savory ricotta filling and marinara sauce then rolled up into spirals. It takes a bit more time to assemble but results in beautiful veggie rolls flavored with autumn spices.

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Butternut squash gives this vegetarian lasagna a seasonal fall twist. Thinly sliced squash is used in place of noodles along with layers of sautéed spinach, creamy bechamel sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan. The sweet squash and savory spinach and cheese combine for a comforting, gourd-geous dish.

Green Bean Casserole Lasagna

All the flavors of the classic Thanksgiving green bean casserole get layered into lasagna form. Tender green beans mix with crispy fried onions, creamy mushroom soup and melty cheeses for a spectacular spin on two holiday favorites. This is sure to become a new tradition at your table!

Turkey Sausage Lasagna

This savory turkey lasagna packs plenty of protein using Italian turkey sausage and ground turkey in the meat sauce. Layers of no-boil noodles, cheese and spinach make it extra hearty. It’s all the deliciousness of lasagna but with a Thanksgiving twist.

Cranberry Walnut Turkey Lasagna

Walnuts and fresh cranberries add festive fall flavor to this turkey lasagna. Ground turkey combines with Italian seasoning in the meat sauce layered with cranberries, spinach, walnuts, ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan. It’s topped with crunchy fried sage leaves for gorgeous presentation.

Alternatives to Turkey for Thanksgiving Main Course

In addition to lasagna, here are some other tasty alternatives you can serve as the main dish instead of turkey for Thanksgiving:

Main Course Description
Lasagna Layers of pasta, cheese, vegetables and/or meat baked into a hearty casserole.
Ham A spiral cut ham glazed with honey, maple or brown sugar.
Prime rib Slow roasted boneless rib roast served with au jus and horseradish.
Tofurky A vegetarian roast made from wheat gluten and tofu.
Cornish hens Small roasted game hens, often stuffed with herbs or dressing.

Switching up the main event can give your Thanksgiving meal a refreshing change of pace. A lasagna or ham may be simpler for hosts than roasting a large turkey. Whichever main you choose, you can still keep Thanksgiving sides like mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and stuffing.


Lasagna can be a tasty addition to the Thanksgiving table that provides a break from turkey and satisfies different tastes and diets. The rich layers of cheese, tomato sauce, veggies and optional meat will please most palates. However, preparing lasagna on top of the rest of Thanksgiving dinner does add extra work for the cook. And some Thanksgiving traditionalists may prefer to stick with turkey and classic holiday fixings.

If you want to include lasagna, bake it ahead of time and serve it proudly at the table alongside your other dishes. Accompany it with salad and garlic bread for an Italian-American fusion feast. Leftover lasagna also makes excellent sandwiches or can be frozen for later. However you celebrate, enjoy bringing family and friends together for a meaningful Thanksgiving meal.