Although turkey is usually the undisputed star of the Thanksgiving table I believe vegetables deserve a moment in the spotlight too. As a vegetarian, this Thanksgiving I aspired to find ways to let vegetables—especially the rich colored ones that flourish late in the season and carry us through the cold winter months—take center stage. And, besides the beauty of those purple, red, orange, and green veggies, they’re filled with vitamins and antioxidants and are quite good for you too!
In follow up to my previous post, Celebrating Simple Gifts, below are a few recipes of the vegetable dishes from my Thanksgiving table this year. My main dish, the roasted tofu, was an impromptu dish that can be tweaked to your own preference of seasonings.
Roasted Tofu with Vegetables and Herbs
2 14-ounce packages of firm tofu, cut in slices
¼ – ½ cup olive oil
Coarse sea salt and kosher salt, to taste
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1-2 teaspoon basil, fresh
1-2 teaspoon rosemary, fresh
Black pepper, to taste
A dash of nutmeg
1 onion, quartered
Season Vegetables (potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc.)
1-2 pears or apples
Extra sprigs of herbs (rosemary and thyme)
Fresh sage leaves
Combine olive oil, salt, garlic, salt, basil, rosemary, black pepper and nutmeg in a deep dish. Place tofu in marinade and allow tofu to marinate for an hour or longer. Remember to flip tofu so both sides can soak up the seasonings.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place tofu pieces in one layer in a baking dish. Add seasonal vegetables, fruit, and onion and arrange around tofu, in a single layer. Add extra sprigs of herbs. Place tray in the middle rack of the oven and roast for about 30 minutes or until the tofu has browned beautifully. Carefully flip tofu to the other side. Be careful as large and thin tofu pieces can break apart. Continue roasting until the flipped tofu has browned beautifully, an additional 10-15 minutes. Be careful not to roast too long as the tofu can become tough.
Carefully transfer tofu to a platter; arrange vegetables and fruit around tofu. Garnish with fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage).
Carrots Glazed with Mustard and Brown Sugar
Brown sugar caramelized with butter and Dijon mustard creates a sweet-hot glaze for carrots. A sprinkling of fresh chives adds a colorful finish.
8 large carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon firmly packed light brown sugar
Freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup (½ oz/15 g) coarsely chopped fresh chives or flat-leaf Italian parsley
Fresh Cranberry Relish
This Tangy-sweet condiment is quick to assemble in a food processor or high-speed blender. Both the orange and apple are left unpeeled for extra texture and flavor.
1 large orange
1 large tart apple such as Granny Smith
3 cups (12 oz/375 g) fresh cranberries
½ cup (4 oz/125g) sugar
2 thin slices peeled fresh ginger
Quarter the unpeeled orange and remove any seeds. Cut the orange into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces. Quarter and core the unpeeled apple and cut into 1-in (2.5-cm) chunks. In a food processor, combine the orange, apple, cranberries, sugar, and ginger. Process until finely minced. Transfer to an airtight container, cover and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Green Beans with Garlic
Trim the stem ends in advance and have the beans ready for quick cooking. You may also blanch the beans ahead of time and sauté them with the garlic just before serving. Parmesan curls add a nutty flavor.
2 lb (1kg) small, slender green beans, stem ends trimmed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon, or ½ teaspoon dried tarragon
Freshly ground pepper
3-oz (90-g) piece Parmesan or grana padano cheese, cut into shavings with a vegetable peeler (about ¾ cup)
Have ready a large bowl of ice water. Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil. Salt the water, add the green beans, and cook them until tender-crisp, 4-5 minutes. Drain the beans, transfer immediately to the ice water, and let cool for 1 minute. Drain again and pat dry.
In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, just until pale gold, 2-3 minutes. Add the beans and the tarragon and toss to coat with the garlic butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover partially and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are heated through, 3-4 minutes. Top with Parmesan shavings just before serving. Serve hot.
I have one more recipe for a vegetable dish, Vanilla Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Autumn Spice Oil. This one deserves its own post. It’s that good.
Since this post features vegetables, I want to mention that I updated my post What’s a Kohlrabi? to include a few of the kohlrabi’s health benefits, and a couple of recipes and photos.
Also still to come: grains and desserts from my Thanksgiving holiday weekend table. Until then,