Super Sides For A Crowd
Thanksgiving is often a time of excess, but this year, it feels more appropriate to focus on thanks and giving. It’s also a fine time to explore new ways to celebrate abundance, such as volunteering at a soup kitchen or offering an informal, family-style Thanksgiving party at a local church for folks who don’t want to be alone on this festive day. Some families will have a houseful even without extending extra invitations, so large-scale recipes are especially welcome for this holiday of gathering.
The first Thanksgiving featured lots of homegrown produce, an idea that still resonates today. To keep costs down this year, round out the feast with garden-based sides. For example, Savoy Cabbage With Gorgonzola and Walnuts is an easy yet complex tasting dish, beautifully complemented by a green salad splashed with spicy Pumpkin Vinaigrette.
Savoy Cabbage With Gorgonzola And Walnuts
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon rosemary, minced
1/2 cup walnuts or hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 large red onion, chopped
1 large head (about 8 cups) Savoy cabbage, cored and cut in 1/4 inch ribbons
2 Braeburn or Fuji apples, cored and diced
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup Gorgonzola, crumbled
In a wide, shallow pan, heat oil, rosemary, nuts and half the salt over medium high heat until golden (2-3 minutes). Remove nuts to a plate, add onion and remaining salt and cook for 2 minutes. Add cabbage and apples, stir and cook for 3 minutes. Add vinegar, cover pan and cook until barely tender (3-5 minutes). Serve hot or at room temperature, garnished with cheese and nuts. Serves 12-16.
Try this spunky dressing on a Waldorf or green salad, over mashed sweet potatoes, or spooned over grilled fish or chicken.
Spicy Pumpkin Vinaigrette
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup cooked pumpkin pulp, mashed (canned works fine)
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon cardamom or coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne or smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a food processor, combine all ingredients and puree until smooth, adding water as needed to preferred consistency. Makes about 1-1/3 cups. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.
A Snappy Slaw
Brisk, refreshing flavors mingle in this crunchy, sparkly-fresh salad, which reduces well if you have fewer folks to feed.
6 cups Brussels sprouts, finely shredded
2 large Honeycrisp apples, cored and finely chopped
1 cup red onion, finely chopped
2 cups celery, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon shoyu or soy sauce
1 organic lime, juiced, rind grated
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
Toss all ingredients in a bowl and serve. Serves 12-16.
Perfect Vegetarian Gravy
Vegetarians will appreciate a bowl of Creamy Chanterelle Gravy. Spoon it over mashed potatoes or a delicious assortment of Roasted Winter Roots.
Creamy Chanterelle Gravy
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 pound (about 6 cups) Chanterelle mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon green peppercorns, drained
2 cups organic heavy cream or sour cream
In a wide, shallow pan, melt butter in oil over medium high heat. Add onion, sprinkle with half the salt and cook until slightly caramelized (5-6 minutes). Add mushrooms, stir to coat, sprinkle with remaining salt, cover pan and cook until barely tender (5-7 minutes). Stir in green peppercorns and cream and serve hot. If smooth gravy is desired, puree in small batches (or use an immersion blender) to preferred consistency. Serves 8-12.
Roasted Roots For A Crowd
Creamy inside with a delightfully chewy crust, these lightly caramelized root vegetables have a sumptuous flavor. Cut the recipe in half or in a quarter with equally good results.
Roasted Winter Roots
6 parsnips, cut in half lengthwise
6 turnips, cut in half lengthwise
12 rainbow carrots, cut in half lengthwise
12 Yukon Gem potatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup fruity olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon celery seed
Rub vegetables with oil to coat, arrange cut side down in a single layer in a baking dish and sprinkle with salt and celery seed. Bake at 350 degrees F. until tender (45-60 minutes). Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 12-16.
An Old Fashioned Side
Those who love their vegetables sweet will find Caramelized Parsnips a pleasing change from yams. This easy, old fashioned dish is a hit with all ages (this technique works with sweet potatoes, turnips, or carrots as well).
8 large parsnips
2 tablespoons fruity olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
With a spoon, scrape tender skin off whole parsnips and boil for 20 minutes in salted water. Arrange drained vegetables in a baking dish, toss with oil, sprinkle with sugar and salt and bake at 400 degrees F. until lightly caramelized (25-30 minutes). Serve hot. Serves 8-12.