It’s almost Thanksgiving again – that time of year when families get together around the table and vegetarians (like myself) politely decline the turkey, insisting that there’s plenty on the table they can eat. Somehow – despite the mound of mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, braised greens, salad, green bean casserole, and roasted root veggies on my plate - someone at dinner usually asks me (in a very concerned voice), “But, are you going to have enough?”
For the last several years, health and sustainability advocates have encouraged people to eat less meat, or go vegetarian for a few meals a week. When a meal does include meat, they recommend that it be treated as a “side dish,” – not as the primary food item on the plate.
More importantly, traditional side dishes should not play second fiddle to a pile of turkey! They deserve to be delicious and prepared with love, not as an afterthought. So, whether your table includes a bird, a Tofurky (though, I don’t recommend it), or absolutely no turkey-like item, celebrate your sides!
Leah’s Top 5 ”stand up” side dishes…
1. Apple Chesnut Soup with Parsely Croutons - Recipe from Chow
2. Mashed Potatoes with Caramalized Garlic and Parsnips – Recipe from Epicurious
3. Pear, Arugula, and Endive Salad with Candied Walnuts – Recipe from Epicurious
4. Fresh Cranberry Relish – Recipe from my mom - 1 12 oz bag fresh cranberries, 1 oranges – scrubbed well and quartered with peel left on half, 3/4 cup-1 cup raw sugar. Pulse cranberries and oranges in a food processor until they form a chunky relish. (My mom uses an old fashioned food grinder she found at an antique store, but the processor works fine. Stir in sugar, a little at a time – to taste.
5. Braised Greens with Garlic - Recipe from me! Start with a boat-load of greens (ideally a mix of collards, kale, mustard, dandelion, and chard). Chop up a bunch of garlic. Steam/saute greens in a big pot with a lid, with garlic and a little bit of water and oil. Once mostly wilted, drain off excess water and add soy sauce to taste. Recover and continue cooking until greens are soft, but still chewy.
Other worthy side dishes: roasted Brussels sprouts, delicata squash with rosemary and sea salt, cheddar and kale biscuits, Jerusalem artichoke salad…
What are your favorite celebratory sides for Thanksgiving?