As much as I love Thanksgiving, I can really only take the meal once a year. (Plus a few days of leftovers, of course.)

Part of what makes the feast so great is how much it relies on what’s in season and what feels right for the season. Maple, cranberries, turkey, pumpkin, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes: All of them are welcome on my table at this time of year.

Plus, if Christmas starts as soon as Halloween ends (or before), surely we can enjoy some of the flavors of Thanksgiving in the days leading up to, or after, it. Now’s the time to embrace those traditional ingredients, and here are a few ideas from our archives to get you started.

Warm Lentil and Sweet Potato Salad With Maple Vinaigrette, above. You can feel really good about this one, with the nutritional powers of lentils and sweet potatoes combined in one bowl. A zippy but sweet dressing breaks through the earthy lentils and contrasts nicely with the potatoes. It’s just as good cold as warm, too.



(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; food styling by Amanda Soto/The Washington Post)

Pasta With Creamy Pumpkin Sauce. Stock up on canned pumpkin while it’s front and center at the grocery store for a fast and light dinner that would be perfect in the days before Thursday.



(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; food styling by Bonnie S. Benwick/The Washington Post)

Turkey and Sweet Potato Skillet Pie. This savory pie from Ellie Krieger is a dish for getting in the spirit without all the excess typically associated with the holiday. The turkey is ground, so you can leave roasting the bird for the big day.



(Renee Comet for The Washington Post)

Maple and Cranberry Drumsticks. A trifecta of maple, cranberries and sage channel the season’s typical flavors. This would also be a great way to use up extra relish post-Thanksgiving.



(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Turkey Tetrazzini With Butternut Squash Sauce. This baked pasta dish combines white-meat turkey with a creamy-without-cream butternut squash sauce. It’s worth picking up a turkey breast to make, or hold onto the recipe for leftovers.



(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Pumpkin Cranberry Waffles. Don’t leave all the fun for lunch and dinner. Here’s an ideal fall brunch dish that will also help you work through all that canned pumpkin.



(Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Cranberry Rice. If you were so tempted by the bags of fresh cranberries at the store, use a bunch of them here. Or make the dish and freeze it so you can pull it out later and enjoy a tasty, colorful flashback to this time of year.

More from Voraciously:

6 simple tips for Thanksgiving pie crust success

8 of our favorite ways to get that Thanksgiving turkey on the table

How to tactfully take over the family Thanksgiving meal without ruining a tradition-filled holiday