Thanksgiving traditions die hard, don’t they? My husband’s a traditionalist and for the most part, he wants his traditional holiday dishes. But this year, I’m making a chestnut stuffing for the first time and he’s excited about it. I’m all for tradition, but it’s fun to shake things up a bit, too. It doesn’t mean I’d make steak for Thanksgiving, but it does mean I like to try new side dishes that might even be a little healthier than our usual fare.
In the past we’ve brought side dishes to Thanksgiving get-togethers, and it’s not usual for the hostess to dictate or at least “approve” what’s being brought. Which is usually the same thing as “dictate.”
“Why don’t you make …. instead?” That’s more than a strong suggestion.
Or “The kids don’t eat….” Of course, I have yet to see a Thanksgiving meal that didn’t feature numerous kid-friendly options. They won’t starve if there’s one side they don’t like.
I have a friend who only cooks Thanksgiving meals out of Bon Appetit and strictly controls her menu. Folks like that miss out on some tasty dishes they might love or that might even become part of a new Thanksgiving tradition. If new Thanksgiving tradition isn’t an oxymoron.
I like asking people to bring a new dish–telling them what I’m preparing so they don’t duplicate, but giving them the freedom to contribute something they love to make.
If you’re able to bring a different kind of side-dish to a family get-together or if you’re looking for something new for your Thanksgiving meal –or any fall meal, really– this post is for you. These dishes are fairly to very healthy and make interesting substitutes for some of the same old things we see on the table every November.
If it’s hard to see the live link, just click the first few words under the subhead. Yep, that’s live. Not the subhead itself.
Roasted Cauliflower with Aromatic Sage Butter
Roasted cauliflower with aromatic sage butter is a great alternative to mashed potatoes, if your family can bear skipping that traditional side dish. If not, it’s a way to make a leftover turkey meal different. Just go easy on the butter.
Swiss Chard & Caramelized Onions
Swiss chard and caramelized onions make a healthy and tasty side for any meal, including Thanksgiving. I like it as a substitute for a salad.
Nutty, Roasted Delicata Squash
Nutty, roasted delicata squash is another yummy fall meal dish that might change up your usual Turkey Day menu. My husband loves this and says it has a chestnutty taste to him. I don’t get that flavor, but I like it just the same.
Sausage & Lentils One-Dish
Scrumptious sausage and lentils is for the day when you simply can not look at another turkey dish. It’s an easy, one-dish meal that’s just right for a busy day.
Chestnut Stuffing for Turkey (makes 8-10 cups for a 12-14 lb turkey w/ extra on side)
Oh, and did you want that chestnut stuffing recipe? Here it is:
Skillet-cook the onions, the celery, the sage, the thyme, the rosemary, and the savory in butter over moderately low heat. Stir often until the vegetables are softened. Then add the chestnuts and cook the entire mixture, stirring, for a minute. Add the vegetables mixture to the stuffing bread, tossing well. Then stir in parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Let the stuffing cool completely before stuffing the turkey. You can make it one day in advance, but keep it covered and in the fridge. Remember, DO NOT STUFF TURKEY IN ADVANCE OR BACTERIA WILL GROW AND MIGHT MAKE YOU SICK.
If you’ve got a favorite you’d like to share in Comments, we’re all listening!