Italian Thanksgiving Menu: Holiday Feast with a Mediterranean Flair!

Thanksgiving, a quintessentially American holiday, is a time for family, friends, and, of course, food. But who says you can’t add a dash of international flair to this traditional feast? This year, let’s transport our dining tables to the rolling hills and ancient cities of Italy. From a rosemary-infused roasted chicken to delectable Mont Blanc and Tiramisù for dessert, we’re about to embark on a culinary journey that marries the best of both worlds. Welcome to PIATTO’s 2023 Italian Thanksgiving Menu!

Appetizers: A Prelude to the Feast

Before we dive into the main course and its accompaniments, let’s whet our appetites with some Italian-inspired starters. These appetizers set the stage for the Italian extravaganza that follows.

Italian Focaccia

Italy is home to many types of focaccia and so we have many focaccia recipes on our website, depending on your taste. Enjoy short, crispy focaccia? You are looking for a classic focaccia genovese recipe. Prefer soft and tall bread for sandwiches and dipping? Try our no-knead focaccia bread recipe. If you want a quick and dirty recipe, try our rosemary focaccia bread recipe perfect suited for the stand mixer.

Authentic Focaccia Genovese Recipe
Soft with those lovely fingerprints… It's the authentic Focaccia Genovese recipe from Genoa in the Liguria region of Italy.
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No Knead Focaccia Bread Recipe
This Italian NO KNEAD focaccia bread recipe is to die for! This bread dough— with 85% water— is a HIGH HYDRATION dough that produces a tall, soft focaccia.
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classic italian Focaccia Genovese

Italian Tuna Mousse

Tuna mousse is Italy’s answer to the tuna salad. Often served in crustless tramezzini bread in Italy, this tuna mousse can also be used to stuff roasted red peppers or even grape or cherry tomatoes. Or, just spread it on bruschetta or a piece of focaccia. It’s common bar and bakery food, but also a popular appetizer. Here’s our favorite recipe:

Tuna Mousse Recipe (Italian Tuna Salad)
Tuna Mousse is Italy’s answer to ‘tuna salad.’ It is often found in bars during the aperativo, coffee shops and even bakeries and convenient stores. The tuna mousse is typically served as a sandwich filling or inside rolled-up roasted red peppers.
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Italian Tuna Salad - Tuna Mousse
Creamy Italian Tuna Salad is easy to make and versatile as an appetizer.

Orange and Fennel Salad

So much better than a simple side salad, this fennel and orange salad will cleanse the palette as an post-meal salad (common in Italy) or offer a light and refreshing snack before the main course. Top the salad with some toasted or candied walnuts for an extra special holiday touch!

Sicilian Fennel and Orange Salad Recipe
Fennel and Orange Salad is a popular salad in both Spain and Italy—particularly in the region of Sicily!
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Jonathan, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Jonathan, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Jonathan, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Taralli Crackers

Taralli (or tarallini) are one of our favorite snacks! A dried cracker a bit like grissini (a dried breadstick), this treat far surpasses the grissini in flavor in our opinion.

Difficult to find in your average supermarket, Amazon actually has an excellent selection of Italian brands.

taralli image from Wikipedia (public domain)

Italian Thanksgiving Menu: Main Course

Italian Whole Roasted Chicken

The star of our Italian Thanksgiving is a succulent Rosemary Roasted Chicken with a crispy skin!. This dish pays homage to the Italian love for fresh herbs while offering a delightful alternative to the conventional turkey. Nonna Margherita’s recipe is our absolute favorite and we particularly love her trick to avoiding laborious basting.

Rosemary Chicken with Potatoes – Italian Whole Roasted Chicken
This recipe for Rosemary Chicken with Potatoes is quite common in the Umbria and Tuscan regions of Italy. This whole roasted chicken recipe is flavored with rosemary, lemon, fresh garlic, olives and olive oil!
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Italian Thanksgiving Menu: Sides

What’s an Italian meal without its hearty sides? Our focaccia, golden and crisp, serves as the perfect canvas for a medley of Italian herbs. Pair it with Tuscan beans, a rustic dish that brings the soul of Italian countryside right to your Thanksgiving table.

Chestnut Stuffing

Chestnuts are all the rage when they are in season in Italy during the fall. We think this old fashioned chestnut stuffing recipe is a great way of combining the flavors of Italy with Thanksgiving!

FDR Chestnut Stuffing Recipe: Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Side
Taste a bite of history with this old fashioned Chestnut Stuffing recipe from the presidential vaults!
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chestnut stuffing from the presidential recipe vaults!

Tuscan Beans

This traditional Tuscan Beans recipe will give you a vacation from the traditional Thanksgiving baked beans. Savory rather than sweet, these beans are nonetheless rich with flavor. These creamy beans have all but replaced the baked beans we used to prepare during the holidays.

Tuscan Beans Recipe with Sage, White Beans and Borlotti Beans
This authentic Tuscan Beans recipe is faithful to the Tuscan tradition. Creamy and delicious, you can use either olive oil and they become vegetarian. Or, use the famous healthy Tuscan lard as we did!
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creamy Tuscan beans

Desserts for an Italian Thanksgiving

No Italian feast is complete without indulging in dolci, and our Thanksgiving is no exception. We’re serving up Mont Blanc, a chestnut-based dessert that’s as elegant as it is delicious. And to help us beat the Thanksgiving food coma—a classic that needs no introduction—the dessert that Italians call ‘pick me up’ or Tiramisù! These desserts not only satisfy your sweet tooth but also add an Italian signature to the grand finale of your meal.

Mont Blanc Chestnut Dessert

Discover our creamy version of the famous Mont Blanc dessert recipe with chestnuts—blending rich chestnut purée and whipped cream.

Mont Blanc Dessert Recipe with Chestnuts!
Discover the ultimate Mont Blanc dessert recipe with chestnuts—blending rich chestnut purée and whipped cream. Recipe + Video
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this showstopper Mont Blanc is so easy!


A coffee lover’s dream! An otherwise classic tiramisu recipe with a mascarpone filling that is tasty and creamy without any risk of foodborne illness.

Tiramisù without Raw Eggs Recipe
Mascarpone cheese, eggs, coffee—all of the decadent deliciousness of the traditional tiramisu but without raw eggs.  As more Italians have become concerned about food safety, various no-raw-egg recipes for tiramisu have popped up in Italy. This is our tested recipe, which we feel arrives closest to the perfection of the traditional dessert.  
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Make this Tiramisù recipe as a cake (as we have here) or as a trifle in a trifle bowl or pyrex dish.
About the author

Classic recipes from Italy and beyond. Traditional Italian Cooking and Mediterranean Diet recipes!

PIATTO™ Recipes bring traditional Italian food recipes to your table with our tested, step-by-step recipes and videos. You'll find the best Italian recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Always tested, always delicious.

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