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Need a tgiving "greens" dish that isn't the traditional creamed whatever...

I've been assigned a cooked greens dish to bring to thanksgiving and am struggling to find anything exciting that isn't creamed AND doesn't use meat (the hostess is vegetarian, and although she cooks a turkey and some meat dishes I prefer to bring something meatless that she can enjoy!) I am open to collards, kale, escarole, whatever. Something that can be prepared ahead and cooked/reheated is best (a casserole or something is ideal.) I've been looking at this:
but I just feel kind of meh about it for some reason. Any ideas?

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  1. i'm sure there will be other creamy cheesy dishes, so bring something light and flavorful.

    last year i made a brussels sprouts salad that got devoured. slivered the raw sprouts on a mandoline, tossed with slivered almonds and pomegranate seeds. made a vinaigrette that was zippy with orange zest and orange blossom water. the crunch was refreshing and it was super delicious. my b/f HATES brussels and had several helpings. just bring the dressing in a separate container and dress last minute. it also won't require oven space.

    this year i'm doing a riff on a waldorf salad.

    4 Replies
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      I bookmarked this, I think we'd love it. Have to wait till next Thanksgiving but will try soon.

      1. re: hotoynoodle

        Wow, this sounds so good.

        And I riff on Waldorf from time to time. Please share what you end up doing.

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          that brussels sprouts salad sounds terrific!

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            brussel sprouts salad sounds excellent but it's a salad, not a cooked greens side dish........

          2. At my house, we eat spanakopita at Thanksgiving.

            I've also been making various recipes involving collards or kale with peanut butter quite often. Not sure if that would clash with whatever the vegetarian hostess is making, but it's pretty tasty. Sometimes I add ginger or coconut milk.


            1. Roasted Brussels sprouts? You can use garlic, olive oil, butter, etc. without needing to baconize the dish, and it will reheat well.

              Ratatouille? Any version of this can have zucchini, tomatoes, yellow squash, even eggplant if you want to try the Italian version, giamborta. This definitely reheats well because it is a vegetable stew. Vary the veggies so that you are not repeating your hostess's other dishes. A little overlap, like thinly sliced potatoes or mushrooms, is okay. Not exactly "greens", but it can have green veggies. If they are not making that dreaded green bean casserole, you can also try green beans with tomatoes.

              1 Reply
              1. re: RGC1982

                1+ on both. Or, for the bold, stir-fried ong choi.

              2. I'm thinking about a (non-vegetarian) kale and butternut squash thing, in a bacony vinaigrette - it could easily be vegetarian. One year a veg guest brought sauteed kale with sesame oil and a little bit of crushed red pepper flakes - it was a very nice, light and refreshing addition to the table. He cooked it at home and I just put it in a serving dish and put it in a warm oven briefly to get it warm.

                1. im doin a roasted brussel sprout and sweet potato hash with a whole grain mustard and balsamic glaze. you're welcome to join me in this!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: mattstolz

                    I would LOVE this recipe if you have it!! sounds amazing!!

                    1. re: CarmenR

                      if i had a recipe, i would gladly give it to you! but im just gonna play it by eye/taste/smell and see how it goes haha.

                      i know it will be somewhere along the lines of:
                      roast brussels (halved or quartered) and sweets @425 till tender and browned
                      render bacon/pancetta in a large skillet with minced garlic and onions and remove, save the rendered fat
                      mix a few tablespoons of above fat, whole grain mustard, balsamic, and chili flakes, then combine in a large bowl with sprouts, sweets, and crispy bacon. top with shaved parm and serve!

                  2. Spanish sauteed spinach with pine nuts, raisins, and garlic. So good! REcipe in the New Spanish Table.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: barbara k

                      can make the same dish w/swiss chard. i usually sprinkle on balsamic at the end.

                      1. re: viperlush

                        great dish - i've made the spinach with pine nuts, raisins, and garlic very often - it's wicked easy and always gets raves. you can also try throwing a little sugar into the oil while it's heating before throwing in the garlic and spinach - not too much, but it adds a little sweetness that's nice.

                        1. re: viperlush

                          Same here, I switch out the raisins for dried cranberries and balsamic for sherry vinegar.

                        2. re: barbara k

                          How long do you cook the spinach for? Is it just wilted or more cooked?

                          1. re: barbara k

                            My version: sauteed Swiss chard with toasted pistachios and dried cranberries, and a squeeze of lemon. Lots of black pepper.

                          2. I like sautéed baby collards. You cut in strips and boil for about 5 minutes, then sautée in olive oil with a little garlic and top with a squeeze of lemon juice. I think I saw a collards recipe on Epicurious a while back, but it called for boiling the collards past the point of all return before sautéing. Other than that it was fine. Good luck!

                            1. Love brussels sprouts. But some other options:
                              * Raw kale salad or slaw. This won't take any oven space; massaging the kale leaves with some salt will help soften them a bit. I really like a little bit of middle eastern style preserved lemon with it. In a slaw, some currants are really nice. This can be prepped in advance, with the dressing added an hour or two before serving.
                              * Blanched or microwaved kale or chard until still a bit al dente, then sautéed in a pan with some olive oil, salt, lemon, and breadcrumbs. This is hard to do in advance, but doesn't take much time, especially if you cheat and use the microwave method (if you go this route, put the cleaned greens, with the biggest parts of the spine removed, if you like, in a big, microwave safe bowl with a tiny bit of water, and cover with microwave-safe plastic wrap).

                              1. Along the lines of your initial suggestion, I've made a winter greens gratin from Alton Brown a couple of times and liked it. This is basically it (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...). You can sub turnip or mustard greens and I think kale. As for making it ahead, I don't know: maybe you could cook the greens and mushrooms and prep the cheese and yolk mixture in advance, then just assemble once time to cook?

                                1. Here's a recipe for an artichoke casserole - sort of like Italian stuffed artichokes, but in casserole form. Read the reviews following the recipe, since they give some alternate suggestions regarding ingredients and prepping the dish.

                                  1. I do asparagus with hollandaise sauce which I don't recommend because the sauce must be made last minute. My other choice is a plain saute of swiss chard, garlic and olive oil. It's light and leafy, will probably get eaten right away especially when served with heavier dishes and can easily be reheated.

                                    I tend to discard the stems, not because I hate them but I don't enjoy them even when cooked separately from the leaves. I usually have to plunge these greens at least 3 times in clean water to get all the sand off. Posting this link in case you need tips on making it:

                                    Just in case it's not obvious in the link I posted I find it necessary to remove the leaves from the ribbing that goes down the leaf as well. Not sure if everyone does this but he doesn't specify; could be a matter of preference but I find the cooking time for the the ribbing interferes with the leaves, just like the thick stems.

                                    1. The other day I made some collards that were really good. I removed the stems and boiled them for a little while (10 minutes maybe?), and in the meantime, heated up a wok on high, added a couple of tablespoons of canola oil, a tablespoon of chopped garlic and a couple of canned chipotle peppers cut up. After a minute or two, just take the collards, drain 'em and toss them in the wok with a little salt. Toss them around until they are tender. You won't miss the side meat at all!

                                      1. carmen, you said greens but can it be green beans? i have an excellent recipe for green beans w/ a thick cider vinegar bacon vinaigrette, that could be made vegetarian. if you want it, i'll post it.

                                        i also have a great recipe for Crunchy indian green beans with cumin, lemon, and garlic.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                                          would love the vinegar bacon recipe--can you please post it?

                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                            Both of these green bean recipes sound great. Please post both of them. Thx!

                                            1. re: santacruzfoodie

                                              Plse let me know if you try these. Hope they work well for you.

                                              INDIAN SPICED BEANS adapted from a 1978 Gourmet magazine

                                              need one well seasoned wok and top

                                              3 lbs Fresh Green Beans(Trader Joe’s frozen Haricots Verts work great for this

                                              2/3 C Water

                                              1T & 2 tsp Minced Garlic

                                              ½ C Lemon Juice

                                              1 tsp Kosher Salt

                                              1/3 tsp Cayenne Pepper

                                              2 T Whole Cumin Seeds

                                              1/3 C. Vegetable oil for Wok

                                              Pick off stem end only of green beans. Combine water, garlic, lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper; set aside.

                                              Over highest heat, heat wok til it gets really really REALLY hot. Quickly add oil , heat a minute til starting to smoke. While standing at the ready, add cumin seeds until they pop, 3-4 seconds, and IMMEDIATELY add beans and stir up.* Stir fry 3-4 minutes,to get beans in contact w/ the hot oil, stirring so not to burn. With wok top in one hand, quickly pour in Garlic mixture, add top, and reduce to low heat. Cook covered for 15-20 minutes or until tender, stirring briefly after 10 min. Beans will be khaki green (because of the lemon/acid) and crunchy and be VERY lemony and garlicy.

                                              Serve room temp or cold.

                                              * the key to proper cooking this recipe is HOT HOT wok and oil. If beans don't make a violent noise when you add them, the oil wasn't hot enough. Same w/ adding the liquid.


                                              GREEN BEANS WITH BACON VINAIGRETTE c.1964

                                              I learned to make these when I was 13, from neighbor Mrs. Apple, who got me hooked on Gourmet magazine!- and they are still a favorite. They are the only richly sauced green vegetable that I make, so I don’t feel so guilty about their decadence. I serve them w/ other sauceless dishes- grilled or roasted protein, unsauced starch. As Julia Child echoed so wisely, “Everything in moderation.” For a vegetarian version, sub unsalted butter for bacon fat and omit bacon.
                                              This sauce can also be used for a warm spinach salad.

                                              (Pardon the caps)

                                              1/2 LB. BACON

                                              2 LARGE EGGS

                                              1/3 C. CIDER VINEGAR

                                              1/3 C. WATER

                                              3 T. SUGAR

                                              ½ TSP KOSHER SALT

                                              2 LB GREEN BEANS (Trader Joe’s frozen Haricots Verts are great. )

                                              COARSELY GROUND PEPPER




                                              THE SAUCE LASTS A LONG TIME IN THE FRIG.


                                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                Thanks very much for the recipes. Eager to try the vinaigrette, haven't made one like this before. It sounds great.

                                                1. re: cjcksn

                                                  my pleasure, c. Let me know how it turns out if you make it.

                                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                    Seasonings sound great, but 20+ minutes total cooking time for the beans in the first one seems like way too much?

                                          2. Try escarole, cut in large pieces off the stalk, blanched then cooked in EVOO, with tons of sliced garlic, put in casserole and topped with grated Pecorino Romano and baked till hot, yum

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                              Check the Whole Food's website, they have lots of recipes using different types of greens.

                                            2. I was going to suggest kale and shitake mushrooms with soy sauce but I like the kale recipe you linked even better.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: dfrostnh

                                                Dear dfrostnh, THANK YOU SO MUCH for posting this Kale and Shitake recipe link at Food and Wine. I made this yesterday and all 22 people raved about it! After I steamed all 4 lbs. of kale it just seemed like too much kale, so I set some aside. Glad I did because I can do a smaller version of this recipe for us today since there was nothing left of yesterday's!
                                                I also did a quick sautee of snow peas in peanut oil with some garlic slivers and served them at room temperature. Another nice addition to all the other rich side dishes.
                                                Thank you again for posting this delicious recipe. It is now in my favorite vegetable dish folder!

                                              2. I love the wild mushroom bundles on epicurious. They are sauteed in butter and wrapped into elegant little collard packages. They look festive, are unusual, and taste great.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: magiesmom

                                                  Those look fabulous and might be just what was previously lacking for my T-day dinner!

                                                  1. re: magiesmom

                                                    Thank you for pointing us to those. Must try 'em!

                                                    1. re: magiesmom

                                                      Wow, these look so beautiful and I'll bet they taste beautiful, too! If I don't make these for my 'bring some greens' addition to my friends' t-giving menu then I will surely make them this weekend when I bbq a turkey. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

                                                    2. You've got some great suggestions here. I'll add to the list a Sicilian chard tart, with currants, feta and pine nuts. I've made the version linked below, which is good. I've also seen versions that use goat cheese instead of feta. This dish is festive, delicious, and can be eaten warm or at room temperature.


                                                      1. How about a marinated kale salad? This one is really good and no cream in sight.


                                                        I use sesame seeds rather than hemp.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: tcamp

                                                          And here is another kale salad recipe, with ricotta salata (but I think feta would work well) that is delicious and is good even the next day. http://www.kimseverson.com/index.php/...

                                                        2. I will have 16 at the table and my two ovens in use, so the greens have to be done on the range top. I have blanched a package of Costco spinach, chopped it coarsely and froze it. On Tday, or the day before, I will coarsely grate about 8 zucchini, salt them, let them drain for about 30 min. , and squeeze them dry. Then it is just a matter of sauteeing the two vegetables with whatever additions I want, such as shallots or green onions, and/or garlic. When all is hot and combined, toss in a goodly amount of previously roasted pine nuts. All can be done the day before and reheated. Delicious!

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: jmnewel

                                                            Try that dish someday with the zucchini sliced and browned. The combination of the two vegetables (I also use arugula) is greater than the whole.

                                                            1. Well this does have cream in it, but it is great!
                                                              (it has kale and acorn squash and can be pre-made


                                                              I think Brussels sprouts would be great.

                                                              Also, I was always skeptical of raw kale, but I had a raw kale salad last weekend that changed my thinking. This one had mango (yes, mango!), but I imagine there are numerous seasonal substitutions.

                                                              1. We make string beans (either roasted or steamed) served room temperature, tossed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil , with sliced pears, dried cranberries, toasted pecans (or walnuts) and a sprinkle of blue cheese.

                                                                1. Deborah Madison's vegetarian collard green recipes (brown butter based) is my go-to.

                                                                  For kale, I like Madhur Jaffrey's way of cooking in mustard oil. It goes with everything, not just Indian food.

                                                                  1. Broiled asparagus is great and simple -- toss with fat, S&P, lemon (balsamic if you're feeling it), and broil until slightly browned and tender -- and while I've never done it ahead of time, it can be done up on a parchment-lined sheet while the gravy is thickening and the turkey is resting.

                                                                    1. Roasted Fennel and Green Bean relish became a holiday staple for our family. We got it from Emiril's Holiday cookbook, (no snickering out there)!

                                                                      Here is a link: http://www.emerils.com/recipe/name/ro...

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: KatoK

                                                                        i never snicker at emeril. he has good cooking chops! the essence of emeril was a superb cooking show.

                                                                        this relish idea is intriguing, but i don't know why it is called a "relish."

                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                          I am not keen on that description either. Excellent compliment to a holiday spread though.

                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                            ((((Essence of Emeril)))))...I think that *WAS* one of the first Food Network shows waaaay back in the 90's...I loved coming home for lunch from work and watching that 30 mins with him...it totally made my day, mostly because he made me laugh and those shows were instructional vs. sensational that they later became. Plus I know him to be a very good person, just a personal note when he came to Naples to participate in a WineFest a few years ago.

                                                                            1. re: Val

                                                                              he really brought his deep knowledge of southern cooking and appreciation for good ingredients to that show. he also was generous to invite on people he had worked with at commander's palace, etc.

                                                                              he showed a gentle spirit and a sense of humor. it is indeed instructive to see how FN later molded the "BAM" character. i have to say, however, that the BAM character is probably responsible for a LOT more people taking an interest in cooking.

                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                and for keeping a lot of people in New Orl. employed after Katrina! even bourdain came to respect him, on film no less!

                                                                          2. re: KatoK

                                                                            I make this all the time; never realized he called it a relish until now, though. Note that although the recipe calls for a 350 degree oven, you can make it in a hotter oven (375 or even 400); just need to toss the fennel and onion a bit more frequently. That flexibility can come in handy when ovens are pressed into T-day duty!

                                                                          3. oh, and i love doing roasted asparagus and baby tomatoes - the colors are beautiful and vibrant, it takes about three minutes to throw together, and it's a crowd pleaser

                                                                            1. My dad makes this great dish with sautéed escarole, black olives, garlic, a little chili flakes and crispy panfried breadcrumbs.

                                                                              1. I made brussel sprouts and chestnuts last year and all the bs haters loved them.

                                                                                1. We make collards every T-Day. Usually with fatback but sometimes just with sauteed onions.

                                                                                  1. Michael Symon does a deep fried Brussels sprout dish that is TO DIE FOR. He deep fries the sprouts, then deep fries caper, walnuts and parsley, and then tosses it all in a sharp vinaigrette. it's awesome. There are anchovies in the vinaigrette, but you can leave them out.

                                                                                    Here's the link. Be not alarmed that it's posted on food network. It's awesome. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/fr...

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: luciaannek

                                                                                      that makes me wonder how it would be to make a brussels sprouts tempura, where each sprout is split in half, then battered, then deep fried to be served with a spicy-savory dipping sauce.

                                                                                    2. As others have said, quickly sauteed kale with garlic, slivered almonds and a splash of red wine vinegar. Dried cranberries lightly soaked in hot water-optional.

                                                                                      1. +1 on collards or Swiss chard- simple in the kitchen, and a nice contrast to the rich feast foods. In a vegetarian version, a few drops of Liquid Smoke (I use an eyedropper) can work well in the absence of bacon. Rainbow chard has the advantage of looking a bit festive, too.

                                                                                        Baby artichokes sliced on a mandolin are very pretty; you can sauté them in advance, maybe with some lemon & a splash of dry sherry, and serve them hot with browned butter or cold with a nice aioli.

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                          mmm, those artichokes sound delicious!

                                                                                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                              Yah, a leetle bit is goink a long vays. :>

                                                                                          1. I don't know if this is "greens" enough for you because it is a fennel dish, but I wanted to put it out there anyway as it is a GREAT vegetarian option. I pretty much swear by it.

                                                                                            <a href= "http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Fennel-i..."> Fennel in Honey and Wine </a>. Enjoy!

                                                                                            1. I was watching tv last week a show featured asparagus wrapped in serrano ham and then rolled in phillo dough. over the top yes, and not stricktly green stuff I realize but it looked wonderful. They toasted pine nuts, then crushed & sprinkled them on the buttered phillo dough placed the asp in serrano on top rolled up pinched edges and baked.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: iL Divo


                                                                                                this could be used with the green cauliflower, for the green color if that's what you're after.
                                                                                                sounds good to me

                                                                                              2. The sauteed, shredded brussels sprouts with candied pecans we made was a smash hit. I have to make more for leftovers, but will omit the nuts for rerun.
                                                                                                Confirmed brussies haters ate seconds!