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Non-heavy vegetable dishes for Thanksgiving?

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I realize this post might have some overlap with the salad-on-Thanksgiving post, but anyway...

For years our two veggie dishes have been green beans with toasted almonds and (frozen) peas with pearl onions. I want to change things up a bit this year. There is some serious nostalgia-driven resistance to eliminating the pea dish, so it looks like I'll be finding something to replace the green beans.

My mother pointed out that she wants to make sure that there is at least one fresher, lighter vegetable dish, and it's true that most of the dishes I've come across (roasted or braised root vegetables, brussel sprouts, mushrooms, etc) are on the heavier side. Any ideas for something on the fresher, lighter side? Maybe a salad that feels sufficiently Thanksgiving-y?

To give you an idea, the rest of our meal will be a simple roast turkey with potatoes, onions, and garlic, stuffing with chestnuts and dried currants, sweet potato casserole (complete with pineapple and marshmallow, ugh, another nostalgic holdover), peas and pearl onions, corn bread, cranberry orange bread, and garlic mashed potatoes.

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  1. There are definitely tons of great salad recipes in the other post, but I think you are definitely on to something. My favorite that I came up with last year is a simple toss of arugula, snow peas, pomegranate seeds, toasted almonds, ricotta salata and a gremolata as a dressing.

    But thinking this trough I think that you could do a really nice fruit salad. Not sure where you are located-but I picked up some really nice, and cheap, blackberries and raspberries last week at Stew Leonards-mixed with apple and nuts I think you could have a really interesting salad on your hands :-)

    Happy holidays!

    2 Replies
    1. re: fmcoxe6188

      Hmm-still thinking about this- maybe a shredded carrot shredded zucchini "salad" with a dijon vinaigrette....

      1. re: fmcoxe6188

        I love pomegranate seeds in a salad, very colorful and add a sweet crunch. I also saw a salad recipe with roasted cubes of butternut squash, on a spinach salad with feta and pecans, dressed with a mustard balsamic vinaigrette. Sounds fresh and tasty to me.

        Alas, there probably won't be a salad at our table either, there just seems to be so much other food, and nostalgic expectations that it almost seems a waste of fresh greens!

        Have you tried a broccoli salad? Some versions use grapes and others use mandarin oranges. Crunchy and filling. And when I was growing up, my mom would make the cranberry gelatin mold salad thing. You can always forgo the cranberry bread since you already have corn bread and stuffing, and make a refreshing cranberry orange relish - I have a great recipe that is from my husband's family.

        And since we're not hosting my MIL this year, I will not be making the sweet potato casserole (ours had no pineapple!) and may just roast or bake them instead. But I do have to agree with your Mom, your menu is particularly starch laden - two potatoes, sweet ones, two breads, stuffing & peas! Maybe you shouldn't ditch the green beans! You can just roast them with some olive oil & dress with lemon zest, the juice will turn them brownish. It works well on roast asparagus as well. Good luck!!

      2. I'm thinking something green with lemon which makes everything bright and fresh...perhaps broccoli with lemon....green beans with lemon are really great, too, and epicurious has a nice lemon green bean recipe but you apparently want NO green beans at all, right?

        1. I love to make ribbons of yellow & zucchini squashes, carrots, parsnips and thin slices of red Anjou pears; quick saute in a bit of canola oil with s & p. I make a quick sauce with just pear nectar whisked with a teaspoon (or two) of cornstarch, drizzled into the pan until thickened. Stir in a handful of dried cranberries.

          1. I intend to make the carrot pudding that was raved about at the 2009 Chowhound picnic (in SF?) not so long ago. It is light and delish.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Joebob

              i bought cabbiage and lemon for my thanks giving
              turkey is main dish.

              1. re: kiiess

                I make a Chinese cabbage recipe with vinegar that I like a lot. Your cabbage and lemon dish sounds interesting. May I have the recipe please?

            2. I solved the overly heavy sweet potato problem years back with this simple clean dish.

              I slice 1/4" thick rounds of sweet potatoes and apples and layer them 1n a 2 qt.glass casserole. I sprinkle the top with cinnamon and cut up one stick of butter. I cover the casserole and put in at 325 F for 1 hour. This gives a light refreshing dish. I also have made this without the butter, just spraying each l;ayer with olivio.

              For a light green veg dish, I lightly steam haricot vert and garnish with some sauteed mushrooms and toasted sliced nuts. I add no fats to the beans, the mushrooms that have been sauteed give enough fat contract to the clean green beans.