Nontraditional (Turkey-Free) Thanksgiving Recipes

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Nontraditional (Turkey-Free) Thanksgiving Recipes

Looking something to inspire your palate this holiday? Tired of the same-old Thanksgiving dishes? It’s not too late to include some, or all, of these recipes and add a little excitement to this week’s feast. Be bold. Prepare a new dish outside of the box that your guests will crave for years to come.

Roasted beets with sesame and marjoram

Nontraditional (Turkey-Free) Thanksgiving Recipes: Roasted beets with sesame and Marjoram
Photo by Ranelle Kirchner

Serves 6

Ingredients

4 bunches of beets with tops or 2 lb. medium beets plus beet greens (ribs and stems removed, leaves torn into large pieces)

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ bunch marjoram or oregano, plus 2 Tbsp. leaves
½ cup crème fraîche
½ cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon plus 1 Tbsp. Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Recipe Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°. Trim tops from beets; set aside half of tops (reserve remainder for another use). Scrub beets, pat dry, and slice ¼” thick. Toss in a large bowl with 4 Tbsp. oil; season with salt and pepper.

Scatter marjoram sprigs across a rimmed baking sheet and arrange beets on top in as even a layer as possible (some overlap is okay). Roast, tossing occasionally, until beets are tender, 15–20 minutes. Remove from oven and toss in reserved beet greens; roast just until slightly wilted, about 2 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, whisk crème fraîche, yogurt, and 1 tsp. vinegar in a small bowl; season with salt; set aside.

Smash sesame seeds, 2 Tbsp. marjoram leaves, and a generous pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle to combine. (Alternatively, chop with a knife.) Transfer to a small bowl and mix in remaining 1 Tbsp. oil; set sesame salt aside.

Drizzle roasted beets and greens with remaining 1 Tbsp. vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Spoon reserved crème fraîche mixture between 2 platters and arrange beets and greens on top; sprinkle with sesame salt.

 

Apple cider farro

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 bay leaf
2 cups apple cider
Kosher salt
1 cup semi-pearled farro
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
½ small celery root (celeriac), peeled, cut into matchsticks
½ medium sweet-tart apple, cored, cut into matchsticks
¼ small red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup fresh parsley leaves with tender stems
½ cup coarsely chopped black olives
1 ounce Pecorino, shaved

Recipe Preparation

Combine bay leaf, apple cider, and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan; season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-high, and add farro. Simmer until al dente, 25–30 minutes; drain. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet; let cool.

Toss farro, vinegar, and oil in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Add celery root, apple, onion, parsley, olives, and Pecorino and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper.

 

Kale dressing

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

2 pounds country-style white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 sprigs rosemary
1 dried chile de árbol, broken in half
1 1/2 cups minced fennel
1 1/2 cups minced onions
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Slow-cooked lacinato Kale (x1 recipe) -or- 1 bunch sauteéd kale
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken or turkey broth
2 large eggs, beaten to blend

Recipe preparation

Preheat oven to 400°. Using your hands, toss bread in a large bowl while drizzling with 1/2 cup oil, squeezing bread to help it absorb oil. Spread out on 2 rimmed baking sheets, dividing equally; set aside.

Toast bread, stirring often and rotating baking sheets halfway through, until croutons are golden brown and crisp on the outside but still a little soft inside, about 20 minutes. Let cool; return to large bowl.

Meanwhile, toast fennel seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, shaking pan often, until seeds are fragrant and light gold, 2-3 minutes. Let cool. Using a spice mill or a mortar and pestle, coarsely grind fennel seeds; set aside. Alternatively, crush seeds in a resealable freezer bag with bottom of a heavy skillet.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add remaining 1/4 cup oil and butter. When butter is melted, add rosemary sprigs and chile; let sizzle in pan for 1 minute, then add crushed fennel seeds, fennel, onions, thyme, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until vegetables are tender and lightly caramelized, 6-8 minutes. Discard rosemary sprigs and chile. Add vegetable mixture and Slow-Cooked Tuscan Kale to croutons.

Boil wine in same skillet over medium-high heat until reduced by 3/4, 1-2 minutes. Add broth; bring to a boil. Add to crouton mixture; toss well. Season with salt and pepper. Add eggs; stir to distribute. Transfer to a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Cover with foil.

Bake dressing until heated through, about 30 minutes (a knife inserted into the center should be hot to the touch). Remove foil and bake until bread is golden and crisped on top, 25-30 minutes longer.

 

Slow-cooked lacinato kale

Makes 1 ½ cups

Ingredients

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more
1 pound lacinato kale (about 2 bunches), center ribs and stems removed
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 sprig rosemary
1 dried chile de árbol, broken into 4 pieces
1 cup sliced yellow onion
Freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Recipe preparation

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a rapid boil over high heat. Working in 2 batches, blanch kale for 2 minutes. Drain, let cool, and squeeze out excess water with your hands. Coarsely chop; set aside.

Heat a large pot over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup oil, rosemary sprig, and chile. Let sizzle, shaking pan often, for about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low; add onion. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring often; stir in garlic. Cook, stirring often, until onion is soft and starting to brown, 5-7 minutes.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and kale; stir to coat. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring often, until kale turns almost black and is slightly crisp at edges, about 30 minutes. Let cool. Discard rosemary and chile.

 

Skillet Phyllo Pie

Photo by Ranelle Kirchner

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 medium red onions, finely chopped
½ small butternut squash (about 1 pound), peeled, cut into ¾-inch pieces
1½ teaspoons chopped thyme
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 bunch Tuscan kale, ribs and stems removed, thinly sliced crosswise
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
3 ounces Parmesan, grated
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
8 ounces frozen phyllo pastry, thawed (half a 1-pound package)
4 ounces fresh goat cheese or feta, crumbled

Recipe preparation

Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 400°.

Heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, 6–8 minutes. Add squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, 8–10 minutes. Mix in thyme and red pepper flakes and transfer to a medium bowl; let cool. Wipe out and reserve skillet.

Add kale, eggs, Parmesan, and lemon zest to squash mixture and gently mix to combine; season with salt and pepper.

Layer phyllo sheets inside reserved skillet. Spoon kale-and-squash mixture into phyllo and dot top with goat cheese. Brush edges of phyllo lightly with oil and fold over filling, overlapping slightly, leaving center exposed.

Cook pie over medium heat until bottom of pastry is just golden (carefully lift up on one side with a heatproof rubber spatula so that you can take a peek), about 3 minutes.

Transfer skillet to oven and bake pie until kale is wilted and tender and phyllo is golden brown and crisp, 20–25 minutes. Let pie cool in skillet at least 15 minutes before slicing into wedges.

*Pie can be baked 6 hours ahead. Let cool; store uncovered at room temperature.

 

Winter Squash Agrodolce

Serves 8

Ingredients

2-pounds kabocha squash, peeled, seeds removed, cut into 1-inch wedges
2 delicata or dumpling squashes, seeds removed, cut into 1-inch wedges
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 Fresno chiles, thinly sliced
¾ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons golden raisins, chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Recipe preparation

Preheat oven to 400°. Place kabocha and delicata squash on separate large rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle with oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until squashes are golden brown and tender, 30–35 minutes for kabocha and 20–25 minutes for delicata.

Meanwhile, bring chiles, vinegar, honey, raisins, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer until syrupy, 8–10 minutes.

Brush half of warm agrodolce over warm squash. Transfer to a platter.

Just before serving, reheat remaining agrodolce, adding a splash of water if needed to loosen. Spoon over squash.

 

For more on Thanksgiving, check these out next: Quick and easy recipes for Thanksgiving dinner