Thanksgiving vegetable side dish
November 18, 2023 10:06 AM   Subscribe

What vegetable side dish should I bring for Thanksgiving?

I've been asked to bring "a vegetable" for Thanksgiving at our friends' house. Last year I just made a basic green salad, and may wind up doing that again, but am looking for other inspiration.

-One attendee is allergic to onions/garlic/all other alliums, though they can have them in powdered form.
-I don't know if I'll have access to the oven, I should probably operate under the assumption that I won't. Might be able to have some time on the stovetop though. They do have a microwave.
-Preferably vegetarian.
-We'll be driving for about an hour to get there, arriving around 2 pm, and eating dinner a few hours after that.
-I despise peppers in all forms, bell or spicy.
-Hosts will be making a dish with green beans and tomatoes.

I enjoy cooking and am reasonably good at it. Friends will be cooking a pretty traditional Thanksgiving - turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, etc. I particularly love squashes, Brussels sprouts, and kale/dark leafy greens but am open to most things. I'll be going to an Asian market on Monday for other shopping as well.
posted by skycrashesdown to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Roasted butternut squash. Use fresh or frozen, lots of olive oil. If you like bacon, make some bacon pieces for people to add as desired. Or make curried butternut squash soup. Pureed squash, miso broth, roux made w/ rice flour, your preferred curry blend, add some ginger. Squash is such a classic fall/ Thanksgiving veg.

NYTimes just did a roasted carrot recipe. I do oven roasted carrots with miso broth, add @ 1/4" of broth, some olive oil, thyme, salt, roast until broth is evaporated and carrots are very done, singe marks are fine. Turn a couple times. They reveal their sweetness, salt and savory are great complements.

I love roasted Brussells sprouts, too.

Roasted veg. travel well, just re-warm before dinner.
posted by theora55 at 10:14 AM on November 18

This balsamic roasted Brussels sprouts with cranberries and pecans recipe from Cookie + Kate is excellent, easy, and can be re-warmed. I'll be making it again myself this year.
posted by tomboko at 10:21 AM on November 18 [2 favorites]

This is maybe simpler than you're looking for, but I tend to bring savory sweet potatoes because I love sweet potatoes/yams but I don't really want them sweetened. They're ridiculously easy to (semi) twice-bake - make mash with good seasonings, spread the mash in a pretty (but microwaveable!) dish making swoops and peaks in the surface for broilability, and then broil or torch the top to get some browning. Put it away covered in a way so the covering doesn't smash the pretty browned top. Make brown butter, using milk powder, so that you end up with a container full of basically brown butter crumbs or powder. At the host's house, microwave the potatoes until they're good and hot, then scatter your brown butter crumbs over it.

You can do this with butternut, acorn, or pie squash as well, or a mix of all of the above. Also, don't mash if you don't want to mash - slice or dice everything, toss in oil and seasonings, roast it until you get your little brown edges everywhere, reaheat and finish with the crumbs onsite. If you do the slice/dice route, you can get extra funky with non-orange roots - radish, parsnip, beets (or maybe stick with golden beets if you don't want to deal with the pink stains), potatoes, variety carrots, fennel root, celeriac, turnips/rutabaga, etc. They all love the brown butter.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:22 AM on November 18 [2 favorites]

I guess my vote would be to do a green salad again - you could also find ways to make it less basic - like mixing in some cold pre-cooked vegetables (like roasted Brussels sprouts). Anyway, given that it's going to be a mostly traditional spread, I find having something that is fresh/not overly cooked/acidic to be a bit of a relief, honestly.
posted by coffeecat at 10:31 AM on November 18 [2 favorites]

Fiery Sweet Potatoes!
posted by toucan at 10:42 AM on November 18

Maybe some kind of vegetable salad that gets better as it sits. Something like this Brussels sprouts slaw.

Or maybe a salad that has a little bit of fruit in it (I do a salad with little gems, suprêmed grapefruit and candied pecans.)
posted by vunder at 10:57 AM on November 18

This is the green salad I would bring. The pomegranate makes it feel festive, you can prep everything ahead of time and just toss it upon arrival, and the sweet/salty/acid punch of flavor plus the crunchiness really stands up to all the meat and carbs better than a more normal salad, IMO.

I don't always make it for Thanksgiving (my menu depends a lot on what the CSA delivers me the week before and it's not always sprouts), but have successfully served this even to sprout haters. You can make your life easier by buying pomegranate seeds already removed from the pomegranate and shredding the sprouts in the food processor.
posted by sparkling at 11:22 AM on November 18 [2 favorites]

I’ve made this carrot salad by Sohla as a Thanksgiving side dish and it was a great light, colorful contrast to the traditionally dishes. You can leave it pickled and then dress it when ready for dinner.
posted by inevitability at 11:35 AM on November 18 [1 favorite]

This easy delicious recipe is vegan, low-acid, FODMAP friendly, and gluten-free, so it is my go-to veg side dish for potlucks.

Simple Zucchini Butter
Grate 2 large zucchinis into a colander (to help them drain and speed up cooking time). Sauté over medium or medium-high heat in olive oil, stirring frequently, until bright green (usually takes me about 15 ish min). Turn down heat if it starts to scorch, but fold in the toasty bits because they’ll be nice and caramelized. Consistency should be soft and jammy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:59 AM on November 18 [1 favorite]

A roasted vegetable salad would travel well since it serves at room temp or slightly warmer. A melange of whatever veg looks good to you - I like at least a green (broccoli, Brussels sprouts), yellow/orange (squashes, carrots) and white (parsnips, cauliflower) but more colors is never a bad thing (beets, turnips, purple carrots or potatoes, etc). A simple balsamic vinaigrette works well as a dressing, or you can easily make something a bit more involved if you like (maple mustard, tahini-based, etc).

Works nicely with nuts/seeds (if you use a squash with lots of seeds, roast the seeds as well) or roasted chickpeas for crunch. Can be served over spinach or kale if you want fresh greens, as well. And these might be overkill at Thanksgiving, but there are a variety of cheeses that go well in it (chevre, feta, blue, halloumi), and a bit of a hearty grain like farro, barley, or quinoa can give a nice earthy chew.
posted by EvaDestruction at 12:39 PM on November 18

This kale salad is really good with gravy and also a great contrast to all the blandness of the traditional spread. Where I live, pecans are impossible to find, so I use lightly roasted walnuts. I also add a good bit of mustard to the vinaigrette, like a tablespoonful.

Is this the vegetarian option for someone who doesn't eat meat? Because then I'd look for something a bit more substantial, like a spanakopita. You can use onion and garlic powder instead of fresh, but you can also just omit both. It is really good at room temperature.

For a vegan option, I'd build a salad on Puy or Beluga lentils, cubes of roasted pumpkin, pumpkin seeds and lots and lots of parsley and a mustardy vinaigrette. With homemade croutons for extra crunch and fill. Actually, I want to make that now, but I have already eaten dinner, so I'll have to wait.
posted by mumimor at 2:47 PM on November 18 [1 favorite]

Roasted Eggplant! Can be made ahead, and reheated, or even served at room temperature.

If your friend with allergies can handle za'ataar, I think that some of that sprinkled on top of these when being served would be delightful.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:17 AM on November 19

Just a thought: for cooking without alliums, you can find ideas on sites with Jain recipes. This one even has an international recipes section.
You might want to buy some hing/asafoetida at the Asian market, for bringing a taste like alliums to your dishes.
posted by mumimor at 2:41 AM on November 19 [1 favorite]

I've made this brussel sprout salad with pomegranate seeds and it's delicious. It's also a nice thing to balance some of the heavier Thanksgiving dishes, plus it doesn't need three oven when you get there.
posted by ceramicblue at 12:15 PM on November 19

Hm, it would require oven time in addition to stovetop time but if that's an option I'd recommend this Martha Stewart cauliflower gratin with endive. I've made it for my vegetarian mom and cauliflower-appreciating Dad for a few Thanksgivings now and it's hearty enough to be an entree for people who avoid meat, but also works as a side. My only edit would be to consider using slightly less cauliflower than the recipe calls for since we've had minor issues with the sauce overflowing the vessel once everything's combined.
posted by Suedeltica at 5:31 PM on November 19

« Older Moving across the country while temporarily taking...   |   U.S. Citizenship Gift Ideas? Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments