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Help me try a new Thanksgiving side...

We normally have a big potluck with all our friends, but this year we find ourselves all in our own - which means for the first time in years we get to try something more unusual than green bean casserole as our side. Turkey, stuffing, the ubiquitous sliceable cranberry sauce and desserts are all taken care of - now I'd like a vegetable or two. We'd prefer something more colonial or historic just because we have kids and food lessons are always the most fun, but really I want something so fantastic that I can feel justified in forcing it into the rotation next year when the potluck returns.

DH has suggested Sweet Potato Spoon Bread and English Cheese Pie as options, but I need veggies in my life! A kale gratin of some kind might be nice, but it doesn't feel special or unusual...Ideas?

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  1. Corn on the cob? Succotash? Collard greens?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Crockett67

      I make this butternut squash/veggie lsagna every year for my vegetarian neice but everyone else loved it as side which is how it ended up in the yearly rotation. Might be heavier than what you were thinking....


      1. re: foodieX2

        Winner!!! But more than once a year dish! :)

    2. Well, this isn't historic, but it wouldn't be Thanksgiving in our family without it. We always feel the need for a little something cold/crunchy and kids generally like it (my nephew has loved it since he was old enough to eat it).

      I cut and pasted this from an email I sent to a non-cook friend, hence all the little notes. :-)
      Cauliflower/Broccoli Salad
      1 head cauliflower, broken
      1 head broccoli, broken
      1 cup celery, diagonally sliced
      1 cup frozen peas (I get the little bitty ones)
      ½ lb. bacon cooked and crumbled
      2 tsps chopped green onion (I use a lot more)
      1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained (optional)
      2 cups Duke’s or Helman’s Mayonnaise (reduced fat works, don’t use non-fat)
      ¼ Cup Sugar (or less)
      1 Tsp. finely chopped or grated onion (I use more)
      ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (don’t use the finely grated stuff in the can)
      2 tsp. vinegar
      ¼ tsp. Salt
      I like the cauliflower and broccoli to be slightly blanched. So, I put it in a colander and pour boiling water over from my tea kettle, shaking it around so each piece gets heated a bit. Then, I just leave it in the colander to drain well.
      Mix everything together except the bacon and chill for a couple of hours. Add bacon before serving.

      1. I brought this butternut squash dish to my family's Thanksgiving a couple of years ago, and it was such a big hit that it has officially replaced the candied yams. I think part of the reason we enjoy it so much is that so many of our standards are sweet, it's nice to throw a savory dish into the mix.


        Also, Martha Stewart has a "Colonial American Thanksgiving" menu on her website that supports the sweet potato spoon bread and succotash ideas. I think I might try the red flannel hash if I can get my hands on some fresh beets. http://www.marthastewart.com/270143/c...

        1. I'm Danish, and we always had a boiled red cabbage dish, slightly sweetened. At a minimum, it adds a complementary color to the usual suspects of sides. I happen to like it.

          1. I've made this to raves
            a little different but still normal enough to seem like a stand-by.

            http://markbittman.com/ has a great mashed squash recipe today that I think I am going to make. I think the crostini version would make a super appetizer for the day.

            1. I do a yam and granny smith apple dish baked with a citrus glaze. It is really bright and zesty, and is a good foil to the richness of many Thanksgiving foods. I also do sweet potato cubes sauteed with shallots and finished with balsamic (I cribbed and cobbled the recipe from a chow recipe for spinach salad with sweet potatoes). The caramelization on the sweet potatoes from the sauteeing is heavenly, and the balsamic makes the whole dish sing.

              Sorry, they aren't historic recipes, but you can always do a food lesson on granny smith apple cultivars, or on yam growing taboos in south pacific indigenous cultures.

              1. Shredded brussel sprouts fried with bacon and then lightly deglazed with balsamic. Wonderful topped with toasted nut.

                1. This is just terrific. Savory, butternut squash. I've made it for dinner for the two of us. It is on my Thanksgiving table and it's what I bring if I go to someone else's home.


                  1. I saw a recipe in Better Homes & Gardens yesterday for Broccolini and Peas with Seared Lemons. I've not tried it yet, but its in consideration for Thanksgiving. My only reservation is that it looks like it needs to be prepared at the last minute. If I can figure out how to do most of the work in advance, I'll give it a go.


                    1. If it's just you and your hubby. SALAD LYONNAISE! It has the perfect balance of crispness from the frisee, crunch from the croutons, salty from the bacon, unctiousness from the poached egg and acidity from the vinaigrette. Because of the poached egg, hard to make en mass but for two, pretty doable.

                      1. Personally, I love root veggies. I'll make a mashed rutabaga with lots of butter and some nutmeg. Or, make that with half potatoes and half rutabagas. Another option I love is a puree of potato together with celery root.

                        I'll also make a roasted vegetable medley with chunks of carrot, parsnip, rutabaga, potatoes. Just cut the chunks into equal sizes, toss with some olive oil and some cumin and cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste. Roast in a very hot oven (425 or 450) until the veggies are brown and softened.

                        Oh, and one recipe I found here on Chowhound, in the Winter Salad recipe file. It was an Escarole salad with sauteed mushrooms. It was delicious.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: mwk

                          Also with the root vegetable idea. I roasted carrots, celery, onions, parsnips, and rutabagas together in olive oil, salt, and pepper for something different and everyone raved about it. My dad stole the recipe and makes for most large family gatherings.

                        2. Here's one that I make as an "extra" green veggie for holiday meals. It may look quick & non-special, but ends up looking & tasting a lot richer than what you might initially think.

                          Bacardi1 Broccoli Blue Cheese Casserole

                          1 can of Campbell’s regular condensed “Cream of (fill in blank)” soup
                          (Cream of Asparagus, Chicken, Celery, Mushroom – whichever you prefer)
                          ½ a soup can of half & half
                          Approx. 4 oz., or ½ of an 8 oz. block of cream cheese, roughly cut into cubes
                          Approx. ¾ lb. of your favorite blue cheese – any type
                          2-3 heads worth of broccoli florets (save stalks for another use, or discard)
                          1 sleeve crushed Ritz crackers (just gently roll them right in the sleeve before opening it)

                          Preheat oven to 350. Bring a large enough pot of water for the broccoli to a boil, add broccoli, bring back to a boil for just 2 minutes & drain.

                          Combine soup, half & half, cream cheese, & blue cheese in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until cheeses are melted. In a casserole dish large enough to hold all ingredients (a 10” x 10” x 2” worked with 2 heads of broccoli florets for me), gently fold together blanched broccoli florets & sauce. Top with crushed Ritz crackers, and bake uncovered at 350 for approx. 30 minutes, or until casserole is heated through & cracker topping is lightly toasted.

                          1. Oh - & don't automatically pooh-pooh good old "Green Bean Casserole" - just upgrade/jazz it up!

                            BACARDI1 GREEN BEAN MUSHROOM CASSEROLE

                            1 pound package frozen whole green beans, thawed (or you can cook up 1 pound of trimmed fresh if you like)
                            6-8 fresh Shitake mushrooms
                            1-2 clusters Oyster mushrooms (or 1 cluster oyster mushrooms & 1 cluster Maitake mushrooms)
                            6-8 Cremini mushrooms
                            2-3 tablespoons butter
                            1 can regular condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (NOT low or no fat!)
                            ¾ cup of half-and-half or heavy cream
                            1/3 cup dry sherry
                            Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
                            1 can French’s Original French Fried Onions

                            Preheat oven to 350.
                            Rinse & trim mushrooms (discard shitake stems or save for stock); slice. In a skillet large enough to hold all ingredients, melt butter & sauté mushrooms until they release their liquid & are “just” starting to brown a little. Stir in soup, half-&-half or cream, & sherry. Stir & simmer gently until mixture thickens a little, season to taste with salt & pepper, & gently fold in thawed green beans & approximately 1/3 can of fried onions. Transfer mixture to a baking dish (around 2-3 quart size) & bake for 20 minutes or until heated through, then top with remaining fried onions & continue baking for another 10 minutes or until onion topping is toasted a bit.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Bacardi1

                              Butternut Squash Kugel. Think sweet not savory. I have passed this recipe around and posted it here for Jewish and non Jewish holidays. Everyone loves this recipe. Note-Ralphs/Kroger has been the only place I have never seen boxed frozen squash.

                              2 12-oz. boxes frozen squash
                              1 stick margarine, melted
                              1/2 cup sugar
                              1/2 cup flour (for Passover 1/2 cup matzah meal)
                              Pinch of cinnamon
                              3 eggs
                              1/2 cup non dairy liquid coffee creamer
                              Pinch of salt

                              Defrost squash, and drain off as much liquid as possible. Mix with melted margarine. Add sugar, flour and cinnamon.

                              In a small bowl, beat eggs with coffee creamer. Combine egg and squash mixtures. Add a pinch of salt and put it in a greased 8"x8" pan.

                              Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake uncovered for 1 hour at 350°F (until it stops jiggling when you shake it slightly)

                              1. re: SIMIHOUND

                                Sorry. I mistyped. Ralphs/Kroger is the only place I have EVER seen boxed frozen squash.

                            2. I make this Brussels sprout hash every year: http://m.epicurious.com/recipes/food/...

                              However, I replace the cider vinegar with sherry vinegar. It always gets eaten up.

                              1. Roasted vegetables using parsnips as part of the mix.

                                1. The Sporkful recently made a "Veggieducken" - which I'm not sure how it'd taste - but it was a lot of fun to hear about. (http://www.tubefilter.com/2012/11/12/...


                                  The idea was to make a vegetarian dish that would be visually impressive.

                                  1. Such great ideas, everyone! Thanks!

                                    1. Looks like you already have lots of great suggestions here, but one that we love is this <a href="http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2007/0... zucchini saute</a> from SmittenKitchen. It's sadly not great as a make ahead and doesn't scale up well but it's delicious and simple if you have a mandoline. We have successfully made it for groups of up to 7. It's definitely a vegetable!

                                      If you're up for soup, we also really like this <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... Soup with Thyme and Fennel</a>. The fresh thyme really makes it and you can make it ahead, it scales well, etc.

                                      Now that I'm thinking about it since you mentioned a kale gratin, how about a roulade format to make it special? Spinach or kale with mushrooms and bacon.

                                      1. One year the horrid mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows (which no one likes but are, God help us, traditional) were replaced at my request with chunks of sweet potato with butter and brown sugar and pecans. Simple and heavenly.

                                        I also like cranberries baked with sugar (2 to 1 I believe) under foil instead of the stuff from the can. So simple, beautiful (jewel colored) and delicious.

                                        Roasted Brussels sprouts are also a favorite of mine.