Loaded with bread, butter, and meat, Thanksgiving dinner can be tough for anyone who follows a strict vegan or gluten-free diet. While diet substitutions can often seem less satisfying than the traditional, hearty side dishes — this is no longer the case. Loaded with seasonal ingredients like sweet potatoes, cranberries, and butternut squash, there isn't much that you'll be giving up this holiday season besides the calories. Cook up one of these easy recipes this Thanksgiving for a side dish that will leave even meat lovers satisfied.
People have strong opinions when it comes to dressing, starting with whether it should be called "dressing" or "stuffing." In the South, my family always called it "dressing" and baked it in a casserole dish, not a turkey, and we always had two options: sausage or oyster. What we did not have was cornbread.
As a lover of all things cornmeal — corn dogs, grits, tamales, you name it — I figured it was high time I made a cornbread dressing. To my palate, white bread stuffings are often bland, but this New Orleans-inspired dressing packs a punch with spicy andouille sausage, chopped celery and red peppers, and a dash of hot sauce. I didn't change a thing in this recipe, and it was luxuriously moist, spicy but not too spicy, and full of flavor. Get the recipe for your Thanksgiving.
Normally when I plan Thanksgiving dinner, I'm inspired by faraway places and exciting cooking methods. However this year, I'm embracing local ingredients and tried-and-true techniques. It's a meal that highlights my love for San Francisco and the surrounding areas. We'll begin with a messy but decadent appetizer: cracked Dungeness crab with horseradish mayonnaise.
Since the weather is still gorgeous, the turkey will be grilled to a succulent and smoky perfection. As for the sides? Raw kale and avocado salad is unexpected; sourdough bread stuffing with celery and mushrooms and make-ahead baked mashed potatoes (made with butter and milk from my hometown creamery, Clover) round out the menu. Interested in these recipes? Read more to check them out.
When planning a festive holiday meal like Thanksgiving, it's fun to think about the colors that will grace the table. The deep greens of vegetables, the vibrant red of cranberry sauce, the rich orange of sweet potatoes. And thanks to a side dish like this wild rice with mushrooms, earthy browns and buttery creams will also be a part of the food rainbow.
Wild rice takes time to prepare, so consider making this dressing in advance. It's a delicious and easily adaptable recipe, stir in whatever vegetables you have on hand. Cubes of butternut squash or wilted spinach would be welcome additions. Another great thing about this recipe is it's pretty healthful: it's both high in fiber and low in fat. Get the technique here.
After the turkey, nothing says Thanksgiving quite like stuffing. The delicious combination of moist bread and seasoned vegetables is unlike any other dish around. The fact that most people only enjoy it once a year makes it even more addictive.
Although some hate on Rachael Ray for giving her dishes wacky names, I've always been a fan of her "stuffing muffins." The individual sized portions of stuffing have a crispy exterior and succulent inside. Unlike some stuffings, this one doesn't include any meat; instead it pairs apples with onions to create a flavorful base.
Cook them in the muffin tins, or for a fun alternative, do what I did and bake them in mini muffin tins. The resulting stuffing bite pops in your mouth and is great served as an appetizer. Learn Ray's method after the break.
Recently I had a fun idea: I would make roast chicken, come up with two different ways of using the leftover meat, and share the whole thing with you! Since stuffing is an Autumnal favorite, I selected this recipe for roasted chicken halves with sage stuffing. It's seasoned with fresh sage and paprika and cooked on a bed of homemade croutons, celery, onion, and garlic. The finished dish is insanely scrumptious! The chicken meat was moist and flavorful, and the skin was crispy and addictive. The rich and caramelized stuffing sucks up all the chicken's juices while cooking. If you like roast chicken, you must make this dish. Check back tomorrow and Friday to find out what I do with the leftovers, and to see this recipe, read more.
Regardless of whether or not you stuff your turkey, it simply wouldn't be Thanksgiving without stuffing — er, I mean, dressing. Change things up and take a tip from denizens of the Deep South and Carolina low country: make rice the star of the dish. Not only is whole-grain rice healthier and gluten-free, but cooking up a pot of rice is less work than cubing pieces of day-old bread.
If you're on a tight timeline, keep things simple by using brown rice mix. Fluff in sweetness and crunch by adding dried fruit, almonds, and orange zest. Alternatively, build layers of complexity by browning aromatic vegetables, slow-boiling the rice separately, and then baking the components together to fuse all of the dish's earthy flavors. See both options when you read more.
Surrounded by vegetarians and vegans, the arrival of the holidays always leaves me a little perplexed as to what's best to serve them during a festive meal. I don't want to slight them by giving them a bunch of side dishes, but I am not a fan of Tofurky and Now and Zen's Unturkey. My vegetarian and vegan guests will have the pleasure of eating a Celebration Roast this Thanksgiving. It's a meatless alternative to turkey that omnivores have been known to gobble up.
To hear how it tasted, read more
- Find out the fate of Obama's pardoned turkeys.
- Find out the fate of Obama's pardoned turkeys. — The Atlantic
- Salon has finally launched its new food channel. — Salon
- What exactly is dry-brining? — The Epi-Log
- Need a good laugh? Watch Paula Deen get hit in the face with a ham. — Eater
- Chefs fail at Thanksgiving, too. — Grub Street NY
- Martha Stewart has formally apologized to Rachael Ray. — Eat Me Daily
- Ten tasty mail-order gift ideas. — Chow
- Sausage, apple, and cranberry stuffing is delicious and healthy! — Serious Eats