Since the internet and magazines are already flooded with instructions for the perfect turkey, our tradition each November is to create a vegetarian Thanksgiving main dish. Every gathering of family and friends has a variety of diets, so we know many of you are looking for something meatless, or just something different after countless years of turkey. We also try to focus on healthy ingredients with tons of flavor, to combat the traditional heavy, calorie-laden feast.
This year, we had a heck of a time coming up with the Thanksgiving entree. We’d been resisting stuffed squash, since that’s been our Thanksgiving entree every year (see below). However, stuffed squash is also a perfect Thanksgiving main dish: it’s homey, autumnal, and so, so good for you. So we did it again: we made stuffed squash. Because if the rest of the country eats turkey every year, why not have a tradition of stuffed squash?
A few differences this year: we used delicata squash, our favorite, instead of acorn. It’s a yellow oblong squash that’s become widely available in the past few years, and its sweet taste is delightful. For the stuffing, we combined a modest amount of brown butter with sage and wild rice, along with some vegetables and sharp cheddar cheese. This one was a winner, in our book.
This weekend, we tested out the recipes you’ll see this week on friends Hayley, Lindsey, and their husbands. It was such fun to enjoy them together with friends, and it made us especially thankful: for inspirational friends, good company, laughter, and the joy of sharing a meal together. May your Thanksgiving be full of people who give you joy!
Below are our Thanksgiving menus from this year (spoiler alert!), as well as the past two years. Also, check out our Thanksgiving Pinboard!
And don’t forget our *new gift shop* for Thanksgiving cooking tools and holiday gift ideas!
Pomegranate Cider Spritzer
Stuffed Delicata Squash with Wild Rice, Brown Butter and Sage
Garlic and Chive Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pecorino and Pecans
Massaged Kale Salad with Apple and Pomegranate
Poached Pears with Pecan Granola and Whipped Cream
- 1 ½ cups wild rice
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 6 delicata squash
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon dried ground fennel
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried chili powder
- 1 shallot
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 carrots
- 1 bunch Tuscan kale
- 10 leaves sage
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Fresh ground black pepper
- ¼ cup roasted salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- In a medium pot, combine 1 ½ cups wild rice, 3 ½ cups water, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 to 50 minutes until tender. Let sit for 10 minutes before draining any extra liquid.
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Wash the squash, then cut each in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Rub each squash lightly with olive oil on both sides (about 1/2 tablespoon per squash), then lightly sprinkle with a pinch each of ground fennel, oregano, and chili powder, and kosher salt.
- Place the squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, until tender when poked with a fork.
- Mince the shallot and 3 cloves garlic. Cut 2 carrots into 1/4-inch pieces. Remove the stems from the kale and chop it into thin strips. Thinly slice the sage.
- Melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat and stir constantly until it becomes brown, a few minutes. Once browned, lower the heat to medium and immediately add carrot, shallot and garlic; sauté until the carrot is soft, about 10 minutes. Add the sage and kale and sasautéute 2 more minutes. Add the rice and 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and plenty of fresh ground black pepper. Remove from heat and spoon the rice mixture into the wells in the squash. Top with roasted pepitas.