Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup: Delicious, Vegetarian Side Dishes
Thanksgiving a la Enriched Family
Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. I love coming together with family and friends to share a meal and focus on our many reasons to be grateful. While I am a vegetarian, my husband and children are not. Without the centerpiece of turkey on my plate (I substitute with "nurkey") my focus has always been on the side dishes. Below are the tried-and-true recipes compiled over the years that we will be having at our house this Thanksgiving, as well as some new recipes that we might try out as well. All of these recipes are flavor-forward, vegetarian dishes (with a few tweaks here and there).
Baked Brie en Croûte with Apple Compote by Williams Sonoma
This is simply delicious. Sweet apple compote + savory, creamy baked brie, + buttery, crispy puff pastry = all around good. This appetizer was so loved the last time I made it that I barely got a taste! Great way to keep the crowd happy and busy while you are cooking. This dish can be made up to two weeks in advance and then frozen until you are ready to bake.
Smoky Butternut Squash Soup by Grace Parisi for Food & Wine (November 2012)
I am thinking of making two batches of this soup this year. One without the chiles for the kids and another for the adults who like spicy foods. Love the addition of the chive crème fraîche. I might also toast some pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and sprinkle on top for some crunch. (V) Sub-in vegetable stock instead of chicken or turkey stock to make this soup vegetarian.
Macaroni and Three Cheeses by David Walzog for Food & Wine (March 2000), aka Cauleen’s Mac n’ Cheese
A delicious Food & Wine recipe; it is named in our house after the dear friend that made it for us the first time. Creamy and tangy on the inside, with a nice crispy top. The perfect mac n’ cheese, in my opinion. (V) For vegetarians like me, replace the Worcestershire sauce with vegetarian Worcestershire or soy sauce.
Mashed Potatoes with Crème Fraîche and Chives by Rachel Soszynski for Food & Wine (November 2008)
In our house, this dish is usually served with Whole Foods’ vegetarian mushroom gravy (I go with this store-bought option as it is delicious and I don't think I could improve on it). Look for it in the deli area of your local Whole Foods.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Chile Yogurt and Mint by Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott for Bon Appétit (November 2017)
Even though sweet potatoes were a Thanksgiving staple in my family growing up, as an adult I typically did not make them as my memories of the cloying sweetness of cinnamon, honey, brown sugar, and even marshmallows (I am from NC, after all) simply did not excite me. However, when I came across this recipe I decided to reintroduce sweet potatoes to our thanksgiving dinner with a savory kick. You could always tone down the spice or make a smaller batch of the yogurt without it.
Cranberry-Pomegranate Sauce by Melissa Rubel Jacobson for Food & Wine (November 2008)
Every year my girls help make this sauce and it is one of my favorite holiday moments. We all love this sweet and tangy pomegranate sauce with added tartness from pomegranate juice and added texture and pop from fresh pomegranate seeds. I like to mix in some orange and lemon peel zest (~1/4 tsp each) for added brightness before cooking.
My Dad’s Nurkey
Growing up, my dad always made “nurkey” for thanksgiving, a delicious combination of savory tofu (made with the same seasonings and herbs one might use on a turkey) and stuffing. It's a "secret" family recipe, but imagine sautéing cubes of tofu in sage, rosemary, garlic, onions, and white wine, then finishing with a sprinkling of nutritional yeast and combining with your favorite stuffing in a casserole dish to be baked off briefly (~10 minutes) in the oven (@350) before serving. Yum.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Garlic by Mark Bittman for NY Times Cooking
Love Brussel Sprouts and love this simple recipe.
Simple, Steamed Haricot Verts
Steam haricot verts for about 5-6 minutes, making sure they are still a vibrant green and just tender; serve with butter, squeezed lemon, and salt and pepper, to taste. Right before serving, sprinkle on some toasted, slivered almonds if you are so inclined.
Kale Slaw with Red Cabbage and Carrots by Martha Stewart (Source: Whole Living, January/February 2012)
Though this Martha Stewart recipe is called a slaw, we treat it like a salad in our house. We have taken to adding about a half a cup or so of fresh pomegranate seeds to the salad at the end. They add a nice pop of texture and tangy sweetness. The combination of the kale and cabbage, along with the sunflower, hemp, and pumpkin seeds, and the tart dijon mustard and apple-cider vinegar dressing, makes a super crunchy, healthy, AND delicious salad (even my kids love it). It’s nice to have a very fresh, vibrant, and crunchy salad to balance out the oozy comfort of some of the other Thanksgiving dishes.
Happy eating and thanks-giving!
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