Thanksgiving. It’s a time to gather with family and friends, have a few laughs, some fun conversation and enjoy delicious food. But it can be a bit of chore to cook for a horde of family and friends, no matter how much you love them. This year however, I made it my mission to gather some recipes for you that were not only quick and easy but on the healthy side as well. These Thanksgiving essential recipes are some of my tried and true – the ones I turn to year after year that never fail to delight! Shall we get started?
Feta Stuffed Marinated Olives (Gluten-Free, Vegetarian)
I’m all for hearty first courses, don’t get me wrong, but how many holidays have you experienced where everyone fills up on appetizers and then leaves almost no room for the main meal, let alone dessert? When I’ve been cooking all day, I want people to come to the table HUNGRY. These Feta Stuffed Marinated Olives are just the sort of appetizer I love to serve on Thanksgiving because they’re served at room temperature, they’re simple to make (and you can make them ahead of time!), they pair perfectly with cocktails and are a bite-sized something to nibble on without filling up!
Harvest Bowl Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette (Gluten-Free, Vegetarian)
This is one of those salads that is an explosion of flavor in your mouth – one that’s sweet, salty, and tart all at once. The idea of a harvest-themed salad is nothing new, but when you toss one together with the perfect homemade dressing, it is simply chefs kiss. Here I’ve combined fall favorites like apples and sweet potatoes in this delicious meal-in-a-bowl salad and topped it off with a tangy apple cider vinaigrette – think SweetGreen’s Harvest Bowl…. but better (and on your thanksgiving table!)
Hasselback Butternut Squash with Maple Sage Butter, Red Chile + Pumpkin Seeds (Vegan, Gluten-Free)
Thanksgiving is generally a time when we stick to tradition – and I’m all for it! But I want to encourage you to think of classic foods in new (delicious) ways. Butternut squash sides can often be a little bland, but this Hasselback Butternut Squash packs a flavor punch: The maple syrup, butter, sage, and chile add a lot of depth and a bit of crunch to the humble squash! The most intimidating part of making this dish is undoubtedly making the cuts, but I’ve got a little trick up my sleeve to help you make them near perfect every time!
Hashed Brussels Sprouts With Lemon + Poppy Seeds (Vegan, Gluten-Free)
Know someone at your Thanksgiving table doesn’t like Brussels Sprouts? Let’s change their mind! These Brussels are inspired by the famed Union Square Cafe in New York City, and they are SO delicious. They are sliced thin (I use a mandolin for this) and tossed with lemon, fragrant onion and garlic, and poppy seeds for a unique take on this controversial vegetable. They are light, bright, and the perfect way to add balance to your thanksgiving spread.
Make Ahead Gravy (Gluten-Free)
The day I found out I could make my Thanksgiving gravy ahead of time was the day my whole holiday life changed. Where had I been?! For many of us, myself included, making gravy the day of Thanksgiving always felt a bit stressful. This make-ahead gravy requires just five base ingredients: butter, onion, celery, starch or flour, and stock, and then on the day, while the turkey rests, I simply bring the gravy base to a simmer and add turkey drippings, which deepens and enriches the stock further. So easy!
Everyday Apple Tart (Gluten-Free)
Whether you are a skilled pie baker or not, we all appreciate a quick and easy recipe that can be thrown together any day of the week. And if you’re like me, you appreciate it a little more when you’re putting together a full thanksgiving menu! This tart is just that: no peeling of the apples, 10 minutes of prep time and a fruit filling technique that takes almost no time at all.
If you add any of these delectable Thanksgiving Essential Recipes to your menu, and I hope you do, please leave me a comment and rate the recipe. Your feedback means a lot to me! You can also post to Instagram and tag me so I can share your creations!
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