I can’t think of another holiday where vegetables are more important than Thanksgiving. I’ve dug deep into the VegetableGardener archives to find my favorite – and easy – recipes for making the most of the bounty this time of the year.
Roasting whole garlic is one of the easiest appetizers you can make. Roasting transforms the sharp taste into something sweet. It’s also fun to squeeze the roasted cloves from their papery package right onto a cracker.
Butternut squash makes a beautifully delicious soup course. I’ve found a simple way to cut butternut squash to make it easier to chop, cook and whirl into a smooth soup.
Stuffing and baking a whole pumpkin is a way to impress everyone at the Thanksgiving table. Just about any stuffing can work inside the cleaned out pumpkin, although I go for wild rice mixed with other vegetables. The baked pumpkin looks great on the table and eliminates the need for many other side dishes. It can be served piping hot or at room temperature, too.
Homemade Cranberry-Orange Relish
Homemade cranberry relish beats the canned stuff on every level. This relish can be made a few days before Thanksgiving because it keeps well in the fridge. I always double the ingredients to make a bigger batch because it goes fast.
Wrap 4 allspice berries and 2 whole star anise in a square of cheesecloth tied with a string. Then combine ¾ cup white sugar, ¼ cup orange juice, ¼ cup water in a small saucepan. Add the bundle of spice and cook over medium heat to melt the sugar and get the liquid bubbling. Remove from the stove and let cool for about 15 minutes. Return to the pan to the stove and add cranberries. Zest one orange over the mixture and cook over medium-high until the berries begin to pop (about 8 minutes). Remove from heat, remove spice bundle, let cool, place in a serving dish and refrigerate.
Keep all your clean vegetable peels, herb stems and other typical throw-away parts of the vegetables. Instead of wasting these valuable leftovers, use them for a homemade vegetable stock to use for other recipes.
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