On Thanksgiving, the bird takes center stage; it's the focus of culinary
compliments when it's brought out of the oven or taken off the barbecue.
But don't let the turkey take all the glory. Put some pizzazz in your
holiday meal with these tasty and healthy plant-based sides. You may like
them so much that you might make them year-round.
POMEGRANATE, ARUGULA SALAD
¼ cup of pomegranate molasses
6 cups lightly packed arugula
1 pomegranate, seeds only
¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings
¼ cup toasted walnuts
1 shallot, sliced
½ lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
¾ cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- To make the vinaigrette, combine molasses, lemon juice, honey and vinegar
in a mixing bowl and whisk. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while you whisk
to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper.
- Toss salad ingredients together and drizzle with vinaigrette.
ROASTED POTATOES, CARROTS, PARSNIPS AND BRUSSELS SPROUTS
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 medium carrots (about ¾ pound), cut into 1 ½-inch thick circles
1 ½ cups Brussels sprouts (about ½ pound), halved
4 cups red bliss potatoes (about 1 pound), cut into 1 ½-inch thick slices
3 medium parsnips (about 1 pound), cut into 1 ½-inch thick slices
1 cup sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), cut into 1 ½-inch thick slices
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Grease an 11 by 17-inch baking sheet pan with extra-virgin olive oil. Place
vegetables in the baking sheet and add the dried herbs, salt and pepper.
Toss well, evenly coating all the vegetables with the seasonings and oil.
Add more oil if the vegetables seem dry.
- Spread the vegetables evenly on a large baking sheet. Place on middle rack
in oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
ORGANIC GREEN BEAN, MUSHROOM AND FIRE ROASTED GARLIC SAUTE
4 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds organic green beans washed and trimmed
2 pounds button mushrooms washed and quartered
2 tablespoons organic garlic roasted and minced
Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and the olive oil in a pan. Sauté the
mushrooms for 5 minutes.
- Add the rest of the butter, the green beans and the garlic. Season and
heat until beans are tender.
SWEET POTATO BISQUE
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon thyme
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
6 cups vegetable stock or low-sodium vegetable broth
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1½ cups unsweetened plain almond milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Place the onion in a large saucepan and sauté over medium heat for
10 minutes. Add water 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time to keep the onion from
sticking to the pan.
- Add the garlic, ginger, thyme, nutmeg and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the sweet potatoes, vegetable stock and orange zest and juice and bring
the pot to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce the heat to medium and cook, covered, for 25 minutes, or until the
sweet potatoes are tender.
- Puree the soup using an immersion blender or in batches in a blender with
a tight fitting lid, covered with a towel. Return the soup to the pot
and add the almond milk. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until heated
through, and season with salt and pepper.
RICE CASSEROLE WITH LENTILS
For the cashew crumble cheese:
½ cup cashews
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon low-sodium tamari or soy sauce, Bragg's liquid aminos,
or fresh lime juice
1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and soaked
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1½ cups brown rice or 3 cups penne pasta
For the sautéed vegetables:
2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into ½-inch dice
¼ medium cabbage, chopped into ½-inch pieces
½ medium red onion, cut into ½-inch dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 medium zucchini, cut into ½-inch dice
1 bell pepper, any color, seeded and cut into ½-inch dice
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
For the tomato sauce:
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes with their juice
1 teaspoon dried basil
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground white or black pepper
1 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
- To make the cashew crumble cheese, in a food processor, grind the cashews
into a meal (do not over process into cashew butter). Transfer them to
a small bowl, and mix in the nutritional yeast. Little by little, add
the liquid of your choice, stirring with a fork so that the mixture does
not form clumps. The mixture should be crumbly. Set aside to dry until
ready to use.
- Place the soaked lentils in a medium saucepan with the Italian seasoning,
salt, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the
heat to medium, and cook, covered, until the lentils are cooked but still
firm, about 15 minutes. Be careful not to overcook them. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, if using rice, place it in a medium saucepan with 2½
cups water. Bring to a boil and stir once. Cover the pan, reduce the heat
to low, and simmer, covered, until the rice is cooked, about 25 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the
cover and fluff the rice. Set aside.
- If using pasta, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the pasta
and cook according to the package instructions until the pasta is al dente.
Drain thoroughly and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- To prepare the sautéed vegetables, in a skillet with a lid, combine the
sweet potatoes, cabbage, onion, garlic, dried basil, and 1½ cups
of the vegetable broth. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally,
until the sweet potatoes are almost tender but still resist a bit when
pierced with a knife, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add the zucchini and bell pepper and cook, uncovered, until the vegetables
are completely softened, about 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine the remaining ½ cup vegetable broth and
the arrowroot powder. Whisk until blended. Pour the mixture over the vegetables
and stir gently to coat them. Cook over medium-low heat, uncovered, for
5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, prepare the tomato sauce. In a saucepan, combine the onion and
½ cup water. Cover and cook over high heat until the onions are
very soft, about 10 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, dried basil, pepper, and salt, and cook over medium heat
until the sauce thickens a bit and the flavors merge, about 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the fresh basil. Taste and adjust
the seasoning. Set aside.
- Spread the rice or pasta in a 9 x 13-inch baking pan that is 2 inches deep.
Layer the lentils over the rice to cover completely. Spread the sautéed
vegetables over the lentils. Spoon the tomato sauce over the vegetables.
Spread the cashew crumble cheese all over the top.
MASHED POTATOES AND GRAVY
¼ cup cashews
2 pounds russet potatoes (about 4 medium-large), scrubbed and chopped
2 cups cooked brown rice
8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced (about 4 cups)
4 cups low-sodium
½ teaspoon dried sage
½ teaspoon dried marjoram
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 to 2 limes)
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground white or black pepper, plus ¼ teaspoon
freshly ground black pepper
- Place the cashews in a small bowl and cover with 1 cup water. Set aside
to soak for 30 minutes.
- Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and add cold water to cover. Bring
to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and cook until
the potatoes are very tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife,
about 20 minutes. Drain thoroughly and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine the rice, mushrooms, and vegetable broth.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium
and simmer until the mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from
the heat and let cool slightly. Carefully transfer the mixture to a blender
or food processor and blend until smooth. (Alternatively, leave the mixture
in the pan and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth.)
- If necessary, return the mixture to the pan. Add the sage, marjoram, thyme,
garlic, lime juice, ⅛ teaspoon of the pepper, and salt to taste. Cook
over medium heat for 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Cover to keep the
gravy warm and set aside.
- Transfer the cashews and their soaking water to a clean blender. Add a
pinch of salt and the remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper and blend until
smooth. Pour the cashew cream over the potatoes and use a potato masher
or handheld electric mixer to mash well. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve the mashed potatoes topped with the gravy.
Read more about ways to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet
and how that can help your health:
Where's the Beef: Meatless Fridays During Lent,
Juicing: Squeezing In Your Fruits And Veggies, and
Go Greek: The Health Benefits and Ease of a Mediterranean Diet.