If you've got both vegetarians and meat lovers joining you for Thanksgiving, consider serving an almost meatless meal. The only meat dish on the menu is the turkey, but the appetizers and supporting dishes are all veg-friendly. Start with baked brie and toasted walnuts. It's a luxurious way to begin any party and the salty cheese-nut combo will whet guests' palettes.
When you move to the table, serve a sherried kabocha soup with spiced pepitas as the first course. A bay and lemon brined turkey is the main event, while scalloped yukon gold and sweet potato gratin, Brussels sprouts with vinegar-glazed red onions, shiitake mushroom and herb stuffing, and roasted cranberry sauce are the scrumptious sides. To get a look at these savory and seasonal recipes, please keep reading
1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed
2/3 cup walnuts, toasted
4 crisp apples, such as gala, 1 finely chopped and 3 sliced
Two 5-ounce brie or Camembert cheese wheels
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Lay the puff pastry sheets on a work surface.
- Place half of the walnuts and chopped apple in the center of each. Place a cheese wheel on top, then trim the corners of each pastry sheet to make a disk.
- Brush the edges lightly with water and fold up and over to cover the cheese; pinch lightly to seal. Place seam side down on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and bake until golden-brown, 30 to 35 minutes.
- Transfer each cheese pastry to a platter and let cool for 10 minutes; serve with the sliced apples.
½ cup pepitas or shelled pumpkin seeds
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 tsp. agave nectar
½ tsp. smoked paprika
½ tsp. salt
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
2 Tbs. dry sherry
1½ lb. kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- To make spiced pepitas: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Toss together pepitas, olive oil, agave nectar, paprika, and salt in small bowl. Spread on prepared baking sheet, and bake 10 to 12 minutes, turning occasionally.
- Cool. Break pepitas apart, and toss with cilantro.
- To make soup: Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, sauté 5 to 7 minutes, then stir in garlic, smoked paprika, and bay leaf. Cook 1 minute more.
- Add sherry, and cook 2 minutes. Add squash, vegetable broth, and 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 25 minutes, or until squash is tender.
- Remove bay leaf, and purée soup in food processor or blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve sprinkled with spiced pepitas.
1 (12 to 15-pound) turkey
For the brine:
2 gallons water
1 cup sugar
1 cup kosher salt
2 lemons, sliced in 1/2
4 bay leaves
3 cinnamon sticks
Small handful cloves
- Combine all brine ingredients in a container or pot large enough to hold the turkey. Make sure all the sugar and salt have been fully dissolved. Add the turkey and refrigerate about 6 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Remove turkey from brine and transfer to a roasting pan with a rack. Stuff turkey with the lemon halves, bay leaves, and cinnamon sticks used in the brine.
- Cook turkey for about 3 1/2 hours, basting every 40 minutes or so. If any part of the turkey gets too brown towards the end of cooking, shield with pieces of tin foil. When the turkey is done, juices should run clear from the breast and the legs should pull away from the bird easily. Remove from the heat and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving.
1 1/2 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes
1 1/2 pounds medium red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups (packed) coarsely grated Gruyére cheese (about 5 ounces)
- Fill large bowl with cold water. Working with 1 Yukon Gold potato at a time, peel, then cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds and place in bowl with water. Repeat with sweet potatoes.
- Combine cream, butter, and garlic in medium saucepan; bring to simmer. Remove from heat. Mix all herbs in small bowl. Mix sea salt and black pepper in another small bowl.
- Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Drain potatoes, then pat dry with kitchen towels. Transfer half of potatoes to prepared baking dish. Use hands to distribute and spread evenly.
- Sprinkle with half of salt-pepper mixture, then half of herb mixture. Sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat with remaining potatoes, salt-pepper mixture, herb mixture, and cheese.
- Pour cream mixture over gratin, pressing lightly to submerge potato mixture as much as possible. This can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and chill. Remove plastic wrap before baking.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Cover gratin tightly with foil. Bake 30 minutes.
- Uncover; bake until top of gratin is golden and most of liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes; serve.
1 (about 10-ounce) basket brussels sprouts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Trim outer leaves and stems from brussels sprouts, and discard.
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, and add salt. Meanwhile, prepare an ice-water bath.
- Add brussels sprouts to boiling water, and cook until tender but still bright green, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and plunge into ice-water bath to cool. Drain well, and cut in half.
- Heat 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add brussels sprouts, and cook, tossing occasionally, until they are brown and crisp on the edges, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and transfer to a large bowl. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
- Add remaining 1/2 tablespoon each butter and oil to the same pan over medium-low heat. Add onions, and cook, tossing occasionally, until wilted and transparent, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add vinegar (stand back to avoid the fumes), and stir to loosen any brown bits on bottom of pan. Cook until vinegar is reduced and the onions are glazed, about 30 seconds.
- Add onions to brussels sprouts, and toss well. Serve immediately.
One 21-inch baguette, cut into 1-inch cubes (10 cups)
1 stick unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 celery rib, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 teaspoon chopped sage leaves
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 large egg
- Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
- On a large rimmed baking sheet, toast the baguette cubes for about 15 minutes, tossing once halfway through, until lightly golden and dry. Transfer the bread to a large bowl.
- In a very large skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onion and celery and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 8 minutes.
- Add the sage and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Scrape into the bowl with the bread and wipe out the skillet.
- Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in the skillet. Add the mushrooms and cook over moderately high heat until tender and browned, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Scrape the mushrooms into the bowl with the bread.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the vegetable broth with the egg. Pour over the bread mixture and add 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Toss until the bread soaks up the liquid. Scrape into the prepared baking dish and cover with foil. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 375°. Bake the stuffing for about 30 minutes, until it is hot throughout. Remove the foil and bake for about 30 minutes longer, until the top is lightly golden. Serve hot or warm.
1 lb. fresh or thawed cranberries
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
4 green cardamom pods, smashed
4 whole cloves
2 sticks cinnamon
1 small jalapeño, stemmed and thinly sliced
1 1⁄2 tbsp. port
- Heat oven to 450°.
- Using a peeler, remove peel from the orange, taking off as little of the white pith as possible. Cut peel into very thin strips about 1 1⁄2" long. Squeeze juice from the orange; strain and reserve 1 tbsp. juice.
- In a bowl, combine peel, cranberries, sugar, olive oil, salt, cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon, and jalapeños. Toss and transfer to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet.
- Roast until cranberries begin to burst and release their juices, about 15 minutes.
- Transfer cranberry mixture to a bowl; stir in reserved orange juice and port. Let sit for at least 1 hour so that the flavors meld. Remove and discard cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon before serving.
Makes 2 cups.