Today, we bring to you four side dish recipes that are delicious and…vegetarian! You heard me! Vegetarian. My family (this is Hannah speaking – if you couldn’t tell from the vegetarian comment…because we know if Anthony was writing this, it would have 3 kinds of meat with a side of meat) has several vegetarians in it, so most of our side dishes have always been vegetarian friendly. I personally like having the delicious turkey (home grown on our very own Button Factory Farm (shout out heyyyy Momma Bear Williams!)be the star of the show, so I prefer to have a ton of veggies to compliment it.
I love Thanksgiving, and all the food that comes along with it. In the past, I have fallen victim to using Thanksgiving as an excuse to eat my bodyweight in mashed potatoes and stuffing. I just want to be clear about one thing…
THERE IS NO RULE THAT STATES ON THANKSGIVING YOU MUST EAT 10 PLATES OF FOOD. IT IS JUST ONE MEAL! EAT LIKE A NORMAL HUMAN BEING!
These days, I like to take a different approach to overloading my plate. I divide it up- half the plate is for my veggies, 1/4 is for the meat, and 1/4 is for the stuffing and mashed potatoes. The problem occurs, when people start by serving the meat and potatoes, then whoops! No more room for the veggies! Here are four dishes that will make you want to skimp a bit on the potatoes and stuffing (they are better for sandwiches the next day anyway), and fill up on something a bit healthier – with room saved for pie of course. There is no plate splitting on the pie. Go big or go home. lol.
Brussels sprouts with Pistachio
This is admittedly not at all my recipe. My cousin-in-law brought it to Thanksgiving years ago (Thank you Joanna!!), and I have been in love with it ever since. For the non-brussels sprout lover, this is a nice little brussels 101 side dish before you go in for the chunks of roasted heaven. Since you peel all the leaves off the core, you take the texture out of it that sometimes makes people hesitant to try these delicious little mini cabbages. But I think it’s bomb, and ate the entire test batch for lunch – it was not the full 2lbs – don’t worry.
serves about 6-8 as a side dish
2lbs Brussels Sprouts (about 14-16) trimmed, and leaves peeled off the core. Cores can be tossed – not using them for this salad.
¼ c. Shallot, minced
¾ c. shelled unsalted pistachios
3T grapeseed oil
3T fresh lemon juice
To trim the sprouts, chop off the bottom of the head, and discard the very outermost leaves. Then take continue to peel off the leaves, putting them in a bowl. As you get a couple leaves in, you may need to re-trim the bottom to get the leaves off. Once you are out of leaves, and they are the itty bitty wrinkly little ones that are hard to get off the core, just move to the next one.
Add the grapeseed oil to the pan, when it is nice and hot, toss in the minced shallots and stir for about 20 seconds or so. Add in the leaves and pistachios, and cook until the leaves begin to soften – about 3-4 minutes. You still want them to be bright in color and have a little bit of a bite to them. Once they are done, transfer to a serving bowl or plate, and drizzle lemon juice over it, season with salt & pepper.
Then, we have:
Bulgar Wheat Salad with Butternut Squash and Dried Cranberry
I whipped up the test run of this salad, and have fallen in love. I am not a fan of parsley. AT ALL. But somehow I cannot imagine this salad being as tasty without it. I found this online a while ago, but kept forgetting to make it. Seemed pretty perfect for a Thanksgiving dish given the flavor profile – so give it a go!
(serves 6-8 as a side)
1 Butternut Squash (about 2.5lbs), chopped into ¼ inch cubes
1c. Bulgar Wheat (I used red, but it doesn’t really matter – I just like the color of the salad with the red lol)
1c. fresh parsley chopped
¾ c. fresh mint chopped
1 large shallot (or 2 small) minced – about ½ c.
½ c dried cranberries
1 lemon, juiced
4T Olive Oil
Combine 1¾ c. water & 1c. bulgar into pot and bring to a boil at high heat, then cover and reduce to low and cook for another 10 minutes or so, stirring every once in a while. Taste as it gets close to 10 minutes, the water should be pretty much absorbed by then. Once done, remove from heat, and let it rest for 5 minutes in the covered pot – any remaining water will absorb into the bulgar. After the 5 minutes, fluff gently, and season LIGHTLY with salt, let cool to room temp.
While the bulgar is cooking, peel the butternut squash, and cut into small little cubes. Add a couple Tablespoons of olive oil in a pan – when the oil is hot, toss in the squash, sprinkle with a little salt and cover. Cook covered for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and continue to cook for an additional 6-8 minutes or and allow the squash to lightly brown & get that delicious caramelization. Transfer to a bowl to cool to room temp.
Once both the bulgar and the squash have come to room temp, gently combine them into a large serving bowl. Add the parsley, mint, shallots, and cranberry. I like to add them a little at a time, and taste as I go – especially with the shallots. Drizzle with the lemon juice, and season with salt.
I added a tiny bit of chopped walnuts to the salad right when I served it – if you mix the nuts into the salad they may get a bit mushy.
Back by popular demand…
Assorted Roasted Veggies
(serving amount depends on how much you cook up! This is pretty easy to determine though)
2lbs or so of Assorted Veggies (carrots, beets, parsnips, red onions, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, brussels sprouts etc. – whatever veggies you like!) cut into wedges/chunks
10 cloves Garlic – peeled & minced (more or less depending on preference – don’t worry – when roasted, the garlic isn’t so powerful)
1T chopped fresh rosemary or 1t dried rosemary
salt & ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425°
In large bowl combine all ingredients and toss in Olive oil to coat all veggies, season with S&P
Spread veggies evenly in a large shallow roasting pan or aluminum lined baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes or until veggies are tender & golden.
And last but not least, how can you have a Thanksgiving meal without…
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE canned cranberry jelly. I don’t know why, but I do. However, this cranberry relish is right up there these days. The tartness of the cranberry with apple, is cut by the sweet citrus from the orange, and creates a fresh and delicious topping to your Thanksgiving plate (and obviously the turkey sandwiches the next day!!)
⅓ Naval Orange (seedless orange)
¾ Green Apple, peeled and cored
¼ c. granulated sugar
3 c. fresh cranberries
Optional: ground pecans or walnuts, minced basil
Keep the peel on the orange, and cut into sections, then cut those in half. Peel the apples and cut into chunks as well. Put both into a food processor, and grind it up – I like to keep the relish a bit chunky vs. puréed. Remove from the food processor, and put in a bowl. Rinse the cranberries, then put into the food processor. Grind up until slightly chunky. Transfer into a separate bowl. Add the sugar into the cranberry in parts, mixing as you go. Then slowly add in the mixture of orange and apple spoonful by spoonful, mixing as you go. Taste as you go too! Some people like more of the citrusy flavor from the orange, some prefer the cranberry flavor to be more overwhelming. Keep blending it in until you have the flavor balance that you prefer!
If you are adding in nuts or basil to the mix, add them in once you have found the balance between cranberry and orange/apple.
We hope you all enjoy these recipes, and have a happy Thanksgiving!! We are truly thankful for all of you, and that we are able to work with you every day.