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Thanksgiving Vegetable sides

I'm tasked with providing my in-laws with some of the food for Thanksgiving. It's going to be a pretty big potluck...let's say 40-50 people...so a ton of food is necessary. I need ideas for vegetable side dishes, I'm at a loss of ideas. My in-laws are simple people...ethnic/exotic ingredients are wasted on them...I've done glazed carrots and sauteed green beans for them in the past, but would like to try something different. I will be making mashed potatoes, too, so no potato ideas, please. Any of your creative yummy ideas would be much appreciated!

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  1. Brussel sprouts roasted with olive oil and garlic would be a colorful addition to the meal. Spinach salad with warm bacon dressing?

    2 Replies
    1. re: lhb78

      Or braise the brussel sprouts in cream-insanely rich but good, and very, very easy to do. Reheat well, too. (Simmer them in heavy cream until really tender, then add a bit of nutmeg).

      1. re: girlwonder88

        Or if your inlaws appreciate the classic green bean casserole, use that concept with brussels sprouts. It's actually very good.

    2. A dish I like to make is roasted and pureed carrots. It takes people by surprise. They look at it and think sweet potatoes and are always amazed by the flavor.

      Peel and coarsely chop chop your carrots, do the same with an onion. Place both in a heavy casserole with butter, some chicken stock and a sprig of thyme. Cover and roast until the carrots are tender and 99% of the stock has evaporated. Remove thyme sprig. Pour into food processor and puree. Season to taste with S&P

      The roasting brings out the sugars in the carrots and makes them very rich.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Candy

        Even easier: toss baby or sliced carrots in olive oil, season to taste with salt and pepper. Add chopped parsley, and roast at 350 F in a shallow pan for about 20 minutes or so til crisp-tender.

        I'm also bringing a side dish, and the hostess is "partial" to asparagus, so that's what I'm making, even tho it's out of season. Same basic prep, olive oil, S&P and thyme. I'll have some lemon-dill sauce on the side. I might do another sauce, like honey-mustard or tangerine, if my mood changes.

        1. re: rednails

          That may work but I really love my pureed carrots. A surprise and fab flavor.

          1. re: Candy

            I'll bet it's very good. Funny thing is, my hostess, a very dear friend. doesn't like anythig "mushy." So--no mashed potatoes, ever, and the pureed carrots wouldn't pass either. Last year I made roasted butternut squash, very simple (definitely not mushy) and she didn't like it either. I always make whole veggies when she comes, or I go to her house.

      2. Broccoli and/or cauliflower in a cream sauce. Big white mushrooms stuffed with a spinach and Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing and crumbled bacon filling, and maybe a sprinkle of cheese on top. Petit pois frozen peas with mushrooms (quarter the mushroom and sautee in butter until just cooked, yet plump and juicy).

        1. Buttered parsnips and carrots: Take equal quantities, peel and cut into 1/2 inch dice. (Since you're making a large quantity, larger would be ok, just cook longer). Simmer them together in plenty of water, drain and toss with a generous amount of butter, salt and pepper. The combination of parsnips and carrots is great, and a good choice for not-adventurous eaters, while still being a bit different.

          1. I am always a huge fan of any roasted vegetable - brussel sprouts are great, as is roasted chunks of buttercup squash. Also, Martha Stewart Living (Nov. 2008) has a recipe for Braised Red Cabbage that looks beautiful and the recipe seems both simple and flavorful.

            1 Reply
            1. re: hollywoodkitchen

              I plan to make a creamed spinach parsnip dish - pan braise then brown parsnips. make a cream sauce with roux and cream, add spinach to parsnips, barely wilt, add sauce and keep warm. hit the dish with some nutmeg in the sauce- sounds yummy in my head. I think this will keep if barely cooked and warmed in oven.

              roasted veggies are always a hit. splash with some herbs and balsamic vinegar in the roasting pan, scoop out and eat!

              we hardly do casserole veggies (cause i cannot add to the heaviness of the meal) and limited oven space. we always end up browning/sautee veggies with garlic. simple things like lemon oil/juice will dress up the beans or brownbutter for brussel sprouts nicely.

            2. I love wild rice. I don't see it too often outside of Minnesota so it would be a unique dish. It's fairly mild-tasting, I don't think it would be too exotic.

              1. One of those traditional "thingys" at our table is caramelized onions. For 40 people, you're going to need 3-4 electric fry pans set at 325. In each goes 2 jars of Hanover whole white onions, 3 TBS of brown sugar, 3TBS of butter and a 1/2 tsp each of Lawry's season salt and if you can get it, Paul Prudhomme's Vegetable Magic. They take 20-30 mins with some stirring. If you feel really brave, splash a 1/4 cup of Marsala on for the last 5 minutes

                1. I roast carrots and parsnips together with some garlic and fresh thyme, olive oil and kosher salt and pepper. I'm always amazed at how many people have not had parsnips! This is delicious hot or at room temperature, since your food will probably be sitting out for a while.

                  1. Also, in a crockpot or two, you can do green beans in Chicken broth with sliced onion (scallions even better) red pepper(both sauteed), and slivered almonds. Add 3 pieces of previously cooked bacon, chopped for each 5 servings) A little Thyme, and Vegetable Magic adds to it.

                    1. In my family, we always had stuffed mushrooms. Yum!

                      1. This Brussell Sprout Hash recipe from epicurious surely has my attention from another thread...would it work for you? Sounds SO good...reviews are yo! 'off the hook' as they say:


                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Val

                          Just came across your thread and thought this story on CHOW could be helpful here, it's a list of 10 vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes.


                        2. creamed onions is a standard on our Thanksgiving table. Pearl onions (do either fresh, peel and cook OR just buy a bag of frozen pearl onions), medium white sauce, add shredded cheese to the white sauce and heat up with the onions, top with chopped peanuts.

                          1. You all have some amazing ideas! Thanks so much. Since I'm working with my cholesterol and high blood pressure-ridden in-laws, I'm going to refrain from the cream-based dishes...however, I will be trying them at home for my dinners. Sad to say, but I think brussel sprouts might be to exotic for them...I know...I'm dealing with some finicky simple people. I love the roasting veggies ideas...never thought of cooking parsnips with carrots before...and the crock pot idea is intriguing. I love spinach salad with warm bacon dressing, too! I knew the CHers would be able to come to my rescue...Thanks so much, again!

                            1. Cauliflower cheese with a touch of chipotle and garlic in the cheese sauce
                              Asparagus flan with fontina cheese sauce
                              Pan roasted brussel sprouts with thyme and bacon
                              Cider-braised sweet potatoes