14 Alternative Christmas Dinner Ideas

Chef John's Cassoulet
Photo: Chef John

Many families have classic dishes they make again and again for holiday meals. But if you're feeling a little burned out by honey ham or crown pork roast, avoid monotony this holiday season by choosing one of these alternative Christmas dinner main dishes. From creamy lasagna to impressive pork tenderloin, guests will be surprised and delighted by these delicious recipes.

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Peking Duck

Do you have a Christmas tradition of ordering take-out? Recreate your favorite flavor profiles in this Peking Duck recipe.

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Cranberry BBQ Chicken

Upgrade basic BBQ chicken with a wintery twist. Whole cranberry sauce adds crunchy texture and a tangy tartness to the entire dish.

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Butternut Squash Lasagna

Seasonal veggies layer with creamy cheese sauce in this wintery lasagna that's perfect for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. It's a one-dish meal, so you'll only need to serve with a side salad and a roll for sopping up the last bites of sauce.

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Grandma Carlson's Turkey Pot Pie

Don't bother with a whole bird this year. Instead, make a cozy turkey pot pie. "This is the best homemade pot pie recipe that I have made. The crust is excellent," says Allrecipes user cawael.

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Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
Carolyn Zele

Hearty pork tenderloin combines with seasonal veggies and salty prosciutto for an unbeatable main dish. Several reviewers suggest adding a sprinkle of cheese, like feta or Parmesan, to amp up the flavor.

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Roasted Cauliflower 'Steaks'

Simple cauliflower makes for a surprisingly elegant main dish when cut into hearty planks or "steaks." The key to getting uniform slices is to buy a large cauliflower.

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Fabulous Beef Tenderloin

Fabulous Beef Tenderloin

Just three simple ingredients are needed to make this impressive main dish. User Maya Smith says "This was a HUGE hit."

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Spatchcock Chicken

It's hard to beat a mouthwatering roasted chicken, especially when it's spatchcocked to create extra crispy skin while staying moist. Season with your favorite spice blend to create a delicious Christmas dinner.

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Meatloaf Wellington

Meatloaf Wellington

It's a playful take on another holiday classic, Beef Wellington. Jazz up everyone's favorite comfort food dish with a little crescent roll dough. Serve with a side of gravy to complete the meal.

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Butternut Squash and Shiitake Mushroom Wild Rice Risotto

Colorful (and flavorful) butternut squash-studded risotto is a beautiful main dish for Christmas. Shiitake mushrooms lend a rich depth, and the addition of wild rice makes for an interesting texture.

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Bolognese Stuffed Bell Peppers

Bolognese Stuffed Bell Peppers

Take all the hearty flavor of bolognese sauce and conveniently stuff it into bell peppers. This is easier than pasta for serving a crowd, but just as delicious.

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Salmon en Croute

Salmon en Croute

Skip the classic beef Wellington and surprise guests with a delicious seafood version. "If you want people to be impressed, serve this," says Allrecipes user Yancando, "It's not difficult even though there are many steps."

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Harvest Vegan Nut Roast

Harvest Vegan Nut Roast
Mackenzie Schieck

Why should vegans be left out of the holiday fun? This flavorful main dish is a sure hit with any type of eater. "I have served this to vegetarian friends who have raved, and to my meat-n-potatoes family who insist they have never had better," says user Angela. "I love this recipe!"

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Chef John's Cassoulet

Chef John's Cassoulet
Chef John

It may be a challenging dish, but the end results will be well worth it when you see your guests' faces after their first bite. Hearty white beans and tender cuts of meat will make it an unforgettable meal.

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