These side dishes for Thanksgiving are a bit of a departure for me but they are so good and easy, I thought you might enjoy them. When I had the take out shop, both of these were on the "Everything but the Turkey Menu". We supplied all the side dishes and they roasted the turkey.
The side dish pictured is the Honey Roasted Vegetables. It features a variety of vegetables that can all be prepared ahead of time. The entire dish can be roasted the day or two before and reheated.
We roasted both fruits and vegetables at the take out shop and they were always a favorite with my clientele and one of the reasons was we didn't char our vegetables. I can't think of anything I want to eat less than carrots or asparagus, peppers or fennel that are black, wrinkled and diminished. I am not a fan of charring for a couple of reasons.
Charring is nothing more than burning the outside until it is black. I can't figure out in this health-driven era why anyone would eat something that is potentially carcinogenic. But most of all it takes a lot of the taste, looks, and texture away as well. We lightly roasted our vegetables to bring out the flavor and soften them a bit which allows for reheating them.
I understanding searing meat to retain the juices. Searing isn't charring.
The honey sauce is reduced after roasting to enhance the vegetables. I reheat it separately and pour it over the reheated veggies.
The second one of my favorites is the Cranberry Fresh Pineapple Relish. This can be made a week ahead and stored in the refrigerator. These two y favorite side dishes are easy, make-ahead and perfect for Thanksgiving feast.
Cranberry Fresh Pineapple Relish
I posted this Cranberry Fresh Pineapple Relish earlier. It is my favorite cranberry side dish and it can be made a week ahead where it will be waiting in the refrigerator. A combination of fresh cranberries, fresh pineapple, and orange come together quickly and easily. See if this doesn't become a staple on your Thanksgiving table.
Honey Roasted Vegetables
⅓ cup olive oil
⅓ cup honey
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon dried thyme
1 small acorn squash, cleaned, pared and cut into small squares*
1 red bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 green pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 yellow pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 small red onion, sliced about ⅓" thick
1 small fennel bulb, sliced about ⅓" thick
*To be very honest, cleaning squash is times consuming. They are hard to cut through and the acorn squash is difficult to peel as well as cut. During this time of year, I often see squash already cleaned and cut in the prepared vegetable section. I would encourage you to purchase the squash. If acorn squash isn't available, use butternut squash and follow the same directions. Cut it into smaller pieces if they are large.
Directions for Cutting the Acorn Squash for Side Dishes
A reader, Klaus Muller just posted in comments: "A tip, before peeling hard-skinned Vegetables, pop them into Microwave for a minute or so, let them cool (very hot skin) & they are easy peelers / use Hand Potato peeler". I haven't tried it but this sounds great. Worth a try especially for squash. Thank you Klaus.
Here are cutting instructions for the acorn squash without the microwave.
in half. Remove the seeds and fiber. This is easily done with a serrated spoon.
Turn the squash over and slice along the ribs.
Laying one piece flat, cut away the skin.
Cut the larger pieces of squash in pieces by turning it over so the cut side is up. Slice into several pieces and clean as above.
(I told you this was a pain in the neck!)
Cut the squash into pieces no larger and 1" x 1". Set aside.
Preheat the oven to350°F. Line a half sheet pan with foil. Spray well.
Place the onions and fennel on the tray and roast for 15 to 20 minutes until somewhat browned.
Combine the olive oil, honey, red wine vinegar, salt and dried thyme in a large bowl. Add the cut-up acorn squash. Remove the squash with a slotted spoon and place it in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet along with the onions and fennel. Roast the acorn squash for about 15 to 20 minutes until it softens but is not mushy.
Add the rest of the vegetables to the sauce and stir to coat well. Place the vegetables with the sauce on the tray and roast for about 15 to 20 minutes more. The squash should be soft and the peppers should be softened but retain some crispness.
Remove from the oven and cool.
Drain the sauce, place it in a small saucepan, bring it to a boil and reduce by about ⅓ it over. Store the veggies and sauce separately.
To reheat: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the veggies and the sauce. Place on a lined, sprayed pan and heat for about 20 minutes.
With these side dishes and the Updated Pumpkin Mousse Torte in the refrigerator, roasting the turkey and baking the dressing allows you to enjoy the day as much as family and guests.
And to start the morning without a hassle put one of these in the freezer. Add a bowl of fruit, coffee or tea and breakfast is done!