Thanksgiving is next week! I can hardly believe it, every year it seems to come around quicker and quicker. Here on the blog, I usually post a full menu of non-turkey day options as if I’m going to be cooking up the big holiday meal myself. In reality, Jack and I will be going to someone else’s house and I’ll likely bring the salad. So this year I thought I’d cut to the chase and post some of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes. Because let’s be real, the sides are really the star of the show anyway.
pictured above: Vegan Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
Simple Lemon Green Beans / Kale & Shiitake Mushroom Stuffing
Sweet Potato Pomegranate Salad / Pumpkin Spiced Corn Muffins
Carrot Soup with Carrot Top Pesto
Poblano Cornbread Stuffing / Sweet Potato Pomegranate Crostini
Maple-Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts / Shredded Brussels Sprout & Apple Salad
As a kid, my favorite thing about Thanksgiving was hands down, the pumpkin pie. After the turkey was all done and the green bean casserole was divided into tupperware containers, the desserts would come out and my grandpa Donofrio would yell in a high pitched voice “Puuuuuuunkin Pieeeeee!” Always without the “m” sound because that’s the way my sister and I pronounced it back then. Years later, I would learn to prefer apple pie for dessert, but while my grandfather was at the table, his energy for pun-kin pie was infectious and this moment was the highlight of our holiday.
But here comes the less charming part of the memory: we’d all sit around eating our pie, but my sister and I (being the picky eaters that we were) would scoop out the creamy pumpkin middle and leave the shells of our crusts behind. The adults would shake their heads. Sometime’s I’d eat the crispy edge piece, but the soggy bottom crust? No thank you.
Which brings us to pumpkin pie parfaits! It’s what crust-less dreams are made of.
This recipe comes with a few options. I tested these a few of different ways and honestly both of these taste so good that I couldn’t choose a winner. One option uses cashews and coconut milk as the base and requires the use of a high speed blender. The other uses coconut cream and will work with any blender or food processor. In lieu of crust, I layered these with toasted chopped pecans. They are so easy and delicious, even if they are a bit of a modified tradition.
Ok, so if you really know your vegetables, you’ll notice that those guys in front are actually Jester Squash and not Acorn Squash. Technicalities aside, they work just as well for roasting and stuffing. Something I really love about my local Farmhouse Delivery is that vegetable varieties show up that even I – the girl that literally wrote a book about vegetables – have to occasionally Google.
This recipe is comfort food on the lighter side. Sometimes fall foods make me feel just so darn full, so what I did to avoid a near-food coma situation was stuff the squashes with a light & bright quinoa salad. Serve these to your veggie friends at Thanksgiving, or make them for yourself on a weeknight. The salad can be made ahead of time, so this recipe is really pretty easy to throw together.
Step 1: Scoop out and roast the squash.
Step 2: Make the salad. This one is made with quinoa, spinach, apples, pomegranates, and toasted pecans. It’s tossed with a zippy lemon-shallot-dijon vinaigrette that I make at the bottom of the bowl before adding the rest of the salad ingredients.
Step 3: Stuff!
Since this recipe is half-salad, I suggest serving it at room temperature with an extra drizzle of olive oil or (optional) the maple-tahini sauce from this recipe. If you’re not vegan, some crumbled feta cheese would be delicious.
Let the Thanksgiving countdown begin! This year we’re starting with the vegetable that everyone used to hate that everyone now loves – Brussels sprouts! This recipe is a spin on one of our first-ever blog posts where I roasted the sprouts with a combo of balsamic vinegar and maple syrup – they become nicely sweet and caramelized and have a great tang from the balsamic vinegar. The photos were so bad that I would have deleted it by now if it weren’t for the continuous emails I still get about that recipe.
The basic concept of this recipe is the same – Brussels sprouts are roasted in the oven with maple and balsamic. This time I added roasted onions and farro to make this side dish a little more substantial, and I added cranberries and pecans because they’re so festive for fall. It’s all tossed with fresh lemon juice and a little Dijon for extra brightness. I really love the balance of flavors and textures here – it’s perfect as a holiday side dish or as a delicious weeknight dinner.
Bonus – if you end up with leftover farro and Brussels sprouts, you’re already halfway to having Farro Fried Rice the next night!