Lorraine Savage describes that turkey isn’t the only star of the Thanksgiving feast. Meatless side dishes can sparkle with variety, nutrition, and exotic ingredients. They’ll dazzle the vegetarians in your family and please the meat eaters, too. Healthy nutrition encompasses the holiday table.
For a holiday meant to give thanks for an abundant harvest, make use of bountiful fall vegetables, grains, beans, and peas. It’s easy to focus on meatless ingredients for each course of the holiday meal For example, begin with a cream of broccoli soup, spiced butternut squash bisque, or garden vegetable and bean soup. Then try the carrot, cranberry, and walnut salad, as well.
If you decide to omit the turkey this year, hearty sides can substitute for main dishes. Serve a mushroom risotto with pine nuts, hearty roasted vegetables, or the American Indian favorite “Three Sisters” stew of corn, squash, and beans. For vegetarian stuffing, start with cornbread, whole wheat, wild rice or quinoa. Add kidney beans, cranberries, or almonds for a change of pace.
Highlighting fall vegetables in several side dishes reaps nutritional benefits as well. Squash, turnips, pumpkin, beets, and sweet potatoes are loaded with beta carotene, vitamins c and A plus other antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and folate. Veggie and bean dishes are low in saturated fat and cholesterol (when not swimming in butter or regular sour cream, or cream sauces,) low in sodium, and high in fiber.
Many meatless recipes satisfy with traditional holiday flavors--and healthy, natural ingredients.
ROASTED VEGETABLES WITH THYME
(from the Taste for Life Kitchen)
- 2 lbs. baking potatoes, scrubbed and cut into medium-sized chunks
- 1/2 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into medium-sized chunks
- 1/2 lb. parsnips, trimmed and cut into medium-sized chunks
- 1/2 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp. dried thyme
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large bowl, toss potatoes, carrots, and parsnips with olive oil and thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer vegetables to a large roasting pan.
- Roast for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, when pierced with a fork.