Turkey isn’t the only star of the Thanksgiving feast. Meatless side dishes can sparkle with variety, nutrition, and exotic ingredients. They’ll dazzle the vegetarians in your family and please the meat eaters too.
For a holiday meant to give thanks for an abundant harvest, make use of bountiful fall vegetables, grains, beans, and peas. It’s easy to focus on meatless ingredients for each course of the holiday meal. For example, begin with a cream of broccoli soup, spiced butternut squash bisque, or garden vegetable and bean soup. Then try the carrot, cranberry, and walnut salad featured here.
If you decide to omit the turkey this year, hearty sides can substitute for main dishes. Serve a mushroom risotto with pine nuts, roasted squash, or the Native American favorite “Three Sisters” stew of corn, squash, and beans. For vegetarian stuffing, start with cornbread, whole wheat, wild rice, or quinoa. Add kidney beans, cranberries, or almonds for a change of pace.
Highlighting fall vegetables in several side dishes reaps nutritional benefits as well. Squash, turnips, pumpkin, beets, and sweet potatoes are loaded with beta carotene, vitamins C and A, other antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and folate. Veggie and bean dishes are low in saturated fat and cholesterol (when not smothered in butter or cream sauces), low in sodium, and high in fiber.
The following meatless recipes satisfy with traditional holiday flavors—and healthy, natural ingredients. Happy Thanksgiving!
Carrot, Cranberry, and Walnut Salad
Roasted Squash with Garlic & Thyme
Cranberry and Sage Cornbread
New England Baked Apples