Thanksgiving side dishes to outshine that turkey
Turkey may be the star of the show, but the accompanying side dishes on the table complete the annual Thanksgiving dinner production.
Quick and easy-to-make sides prepared in advance can save some of the drama of last-minute food prep when guests begin to arrive. Here are some ideas that are worthy of applause from the holiday crowd.
Fresh Thyme Farmers Market — which opened two stores this summer in Pleasant Hills and Bridgeville — offers two recipes that work nicely for Thanksgiving. The first is a different take on a traditional autumn veggie.
Caprese Zucchini Boats
Total time 45 minutes
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons Fresh Thyme extra virgin olive oil, plus more for topping
1 ⁄ 4 teaspoon Fresh Thyme fine sea salt
1 ⁄ 4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 ⁄ 2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons Fresh Thyme Bakery bread crumbs
1 ⁄ 4 cup Fresh Thyme shredded mozzarella
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
1. Position oven shelf 8 to 10 inches from the broiler element and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Scoop out seeds from zucchini with a spoon. In a small bowl, combine garlic, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, salt and pepper; brush oil mixture onto zucchini. Arrange halved cherry tomatoes into zucchini and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Place zucchini halves on prepared baking sheet and bake 30 minutes.
3. Remove zucchini from oven and sprinkle tops with mozzarella. Turn oven to broil and broil zucchini 5 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbling. To serve, top zucchini with olive oil and Parmesan.
Fresh Thyme’s Chocolate Swirl Bread can be served with the meal — or saved for a pumpkin dessert that’s not the traditional pie.
Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Bread
Total time 1 hour 30 minutes
Non-stick cooking spray
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon Fresh Thyme baking powder
½ teaspoon Fresh Thyme baking soda
½ teaspoon Fresh Thyme fine sea salt
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1¼ cups sugar
2 Fresh Thyme large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup Fresh Thyme solid-pack pumpkin
1 ⁄ 3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, melted
2 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
1 recipe cream cheese glaze
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9×5×3-inch loaf pan with spray and line with parchment paper; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, soda and salt; set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla, beating well.
4. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to egg mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and beating on low until just combined. Fold in pumpkin.
5. Divide batter in half; add chocolate and cocoa to one portion. Spoon half of pumpkin batter into prepared loaf pan. Top with half of chocolate-pumpkin batter. Repeat layers. Using a knife, swirl batters from one end of pan to the other.
6. Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.
7. Prepare Cream Cheese Glaze. Drizzle on top of bread. If desired, sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice.
Cream Cheese Glaze: In a medium bowl, beat 2 tablespoons softened cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium until smooth. Beat in ½ cup powdered sugar until smooth. Add 1 teaspoon milk and ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract; beat until smooth. Gradually add more milk, if needed, to make drizzling consistency.
Chef Greg Andrews of The Pickled Chef Kitchen and Farmers Market in Latrobe taught a cooking class on “Cooking with Maple” last week at Crate in Green Tree. His recipe for Creamy Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Farro and Bacon is one of the dinner side dishes on The Pickled Chef’s seasonal restaurant menu.
Creamy Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Farro and Bacon
¾ cup uncooked farro
1 pound Brussels sprouts, sliced in half
1 small red onion, sliced into wedges
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, more to taste
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 ⁄ 3 cup toasted pecans
1 ⁄ 3 cup dried cranberries
1 cup cooked bacon, rendered fat reserved
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Rinse the farro and add it to the boiling water. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tender but still chewy. Drain and spread on a plate to cool and dry.
Spread the Brussels sprouts and red onion wedges onto the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and bacon fat, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and generous pinches of salt and pepper. Toss to coat and roast until tender and browned around the edges, 30 to 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 2 teaspoons of olive oil, the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and pinches of salt and pepper. Add the farro and toss. Add the Brussels sprouts, along with the pecans, cranberries and bacon. Toss and season to taste with more salt, pepper and lemon juice.
Here’s a green vegetable side dish from Thanksgiving.com that just might replace the popular green bean casserole.
Creamy Collard Green Gratin
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 cups chopped collard greens, ribs removed
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
2 (8-ounce) bricks cream cheese
1 ⁄ 3 cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large oven-safe skillet, add olive oil and set over medium high heat. Add in collard greens, cover the pan and let the collard greens start to wilt. Uncover and stir until the greens start to soften. This will take longer than spinach since collard greens are much tougher.
Once the greens are soft add in cream cheese. Stir and break up the cream cheese until it’s melted and super creamy. Stir in Parmesan cheese and remove from the heat.
In a small bowl mix together panko crumbs and olive oil. Sprinkle topping over collard green mixture.
Bake for about 10 minutes until the bread crumbs are golden brown.
Add some apples to a traditional favorite dish in this recipe from a website devoted to the holiday, Thanksgiving.com.
Roasted Apple Cranberry Relish
Yield 2 cups
1 (12-ounce) bag fresh or frozen cranberries
3 medium Gala apples (about 1 1 ⁄ 2 pounds), peeled, cored, cubed (same size as the cranberries)
1 ⁄ 2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ⁄ 4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 ⁄ 8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Place the cranberries in a large bowl.
Add the cubed apples and stir together.
Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and lemon juice. Toss the ingredients together until well-combined.
Pour the apple mixture into a 2- to 3-quart casserole dish.
Roast in the oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until the mixture turns thick and jammy.
Stir the mixture once at 30 minutes and then again at 45 minutes to check doneness.
Taste the apple cranberry relish and adjust the sugar or lemon juice, if needed.
Serve warm or refrigerate.
This cool and colorful salad from Carlsbad Cravings only takes 15 minutes to make.
Pomegranate, Pear and Pistachio Salad
Prep time 15 minutes
Makes 8 servings
1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 pear, chopped
1 sweet apple, like Fuji, chopped
1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
¼ red onion, chopped
1 ⁄ 3 cup roasted and salted pepitas (may substitute sunflower seeds)
1/3 cup roasted and salted pistachios
1/3 cup pomegranate arils
½ cup feta cheese
Creamy Pomegranate Dressing
1 (5.3-ounce) container Fage Greek Yogurt with Cherry Pomegranate (or substitute 1 ⁄ 3 cup strawberry yogurt)
3 tablespoons Sweet Asian Chili Sauce (found in Asian section)
2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Whisk together all of the Creamy Pomegranate Dressing ingredients in a medium bowl and chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the salad.
2. Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. If serving entire salad immediately, drizzle with desired amount of dressing and toss to coat. If there might be leftovers, drizzle dressing on individual salad servings. Top with freshly ground salt and pepper.
Sweet potatoes are a mainstay at the holiday dinner. Here’s a recipe from Thanksgiving.com that sweetens up the side dish with honey.
Honey Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Yield 4 servings
3 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons honey
3 to 4 heavy dashes ground cinnamon
20 ounces sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into bite-sized pieces
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, honey and ground cinnamon. Add the sweet potatoes and stir until they are coated with the butter mixture.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the sweet potatoes evenly on the baking tray in a single layer. Roast for 30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are fork tender.
Transfer the sweet potatoes to a serving platter. Drizzle with extra honey, if desired.
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.