Think outside the bird this Thanksgiving: How about some seafood?

“Turkey Day” doesn’t have to be all about turkey. The pilgrims traveled by sea to get here, after all, and we imagine they were probably very thankful for surviving that part of their journey to start a new life in America.

Fried scallops with sesame seeds, asparagus and lemon.

Fried scallops with sesame seeds, asparagus and lemon. (Image credit: iStock)

While we often don’t hear about it, the first Thanksgiving meal offsite link probably included various types of fish and shellfish. So if you want to get super-traditional or just add some flare, consider bringing both land and sea to the dinner table this year for a meal that your guests will remember.

Fish for your holiday dish: delicious ideas

Recipes for haddock stuffing, oyster stuffing, or warm sea scallop salad can be a fun internet search to stir up a savory twist on the usual fare — offer your guests some lighter meal options as an added bonus. NOAA’s FishWatch website has a host of tasty recipes —  such as salmon with broccoli, currants, and pecan sauce or salmon over a fennel and herb salad — that pair well with traditional sides like roasted squash and cranberry sauce.

Maybe you’re not into the idea of eating turkey, turkey and more turkey for the next week. Are you looking to replace the main dish altogether? What about turkeyfish, better known as lionfish? They are an invasive species in the U.S. Caribbean and parts of the Gulf of Mexico and one way to beat them is to eat them! Some Whole Foods stores and other grocers sell lionfish, and they can provide buyers with suggestions for how to prepare them. (Tip: Be sure to ask whether the grocer is trained to safely remove the poisonous spines for you.) With a little planning, you can help the environment and serve your guests a heart-healthy dish at the same time.

If lionfish aren’t readily available in your area, other sustainable seafood dishes will delight your guests and allow your creativity to shine: Try pollock encrusted with caramelized onions, for example, or potato crusted halibut. Any dish, fish or fowl, could pair nicely with comfort food such as traditional clam chowder.

Eat local for our ocean's sake

All the recipes suggested above feature fish that are sustainably managed in the United States. That means that whether farmed or wild-caught, you can feel good about your selections from this menu and wow your guests with something new at the same time.

Happy Thanksgiving!