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Thanksgiving Recipe Inspiration

I love cooking and eating with a big group of people. I love the holidays. My favorite part of any big meal is the sides.  They are the most interesting and the part of the meal where you can be extra creative. Side are often the most vegetable centered, as a former long-time vegetarian and current vegetable farmer I love a vegetable heavy meal but I'm also completely against boring/soggy/unpalatable veggies. A good recipe is important in achieving a delicious dish but also remember to salt your food! add acid (lemon juice, vinegars), use plenty of butter or high quality olive oil, mix up the textures, and get some color (caramelization) on your food by turning up the heat. 

Here are a few of the vegetable dishes I'm considering for my Thanksgiving table. These all feature produce that's still growing in our fields or in storage on the farm. Get some for yourself by placing your order here.  

Ok starting with the basics, every thing can benefit from roasted garlic. It's creamy, delicious and good for you here's one way to roast it! Now that you have roasted it add it to your mashed potatoes, spread it on toast, put it in salad dressing or in whatever else you've cooked (ok not dessert)

Cauliflower is not boring or bland if you know what to do with it. It's actually one of my favorite vegetables. Here are two ideas to get you started. Broiled Cauliflower Steaks with Parsley and Lemon or Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

Did parmesan roasted cauliflower sound good? Why not try Roasted Garlic-Parmigiano Broccoli in place of that cheesy orange broccoli casserole I saw a thousand recipes for. If you are a vegan or catering to vegans you could replace the garlic-parm butter in this recipe with some nutritional yeast-garlic-olive oil-lemon zest-pumpkin seed deliciousness. 

I'm a big butternut squash fan, it's silky and just a little sweet and can be prepared in a thousand ways: soup, pie, pasta dishes, roasted or in salads. A simple way I like to prepare Butternut Squash is too cube it, roast it with oil and salt and then toss it in a sage brown butter sauce right before serving. Here are a few more recipes for you. 

This Bean and Winter Squash Gratin is a filling offering for non-meat eaters (way better than tofurkey) and a tasty side for turkey eaters too. Or another Vegan option: Wild-Rice Stuffed Butternut Squash. Lastly I offer this Butternut Squash and Kale Gratin recipe for those of you who want to eat something tasty that also has a healthy leafy green (if making this one I'd add pats of butter...).  

Did you know that carrots get sweeter after a hard frost. The carrots currently in our soil are sweetening up nicely. They will certainly be better than the storage carrots you find in the grocery store. Here's a recipe that highlights the sweet notes of carrots, with out over doing it, like some of the glazed carrot recipes out there. Balsamic Roasted Baby Carrots

I love heavy, creamy, traditional Thanksgiving food but I don't enjoy a one dimensional plate. I reserve a small part of my Thanksgiving plate for crunchy uncooked things or at least something that has a acidic, herby pop to it. Think about this Arugula, Fennel and Orange Salad or this Roasted Beets Recipe

My father isn't much of a vegetable eater. He'll take a small portion and eat it but he's not usually heading in for seconds. I try hard to find vegetable recipes that he will love and want more of. I like to pander to my audience and while I've found he likes curried zucchini burgers and lemon tahini cauliflower, these two greens dishes are classics that most meat and potato loving, vegetable skeptics will enjoy. They are easy to love, one has smoked meat and the other a creamy sauce but hey it's a holiday meal so go for it: Creamed Spinach and Southern Collard Greens.


Liam Miller