Ah yes, the traditional Thanksgiving menu; let’s assemble the parade of protein and starch shall we? Turkey (of course!) with some kind of stuffing usually involving bread; mashed potatoes, or a creamy, cheesy, potato gratin; sweet potatoes, (no, they are not yams!) with or without marshmallows, as you like; maybe some preparation of turnips or squash; cranberry sauce, wobbly or not; and some luscious pumpkin pie. See what I mean? Not too much in the way of green vegetables.
To prevent holiday scurvy in our house we try to provide at least one green vegetable every year. One big hit from the past, which I may make again this year, is a Warm Salad of Autumn Greens with Plum Vinaigrette from Fine Cooking Issue Number 29, November 1998 (yes, I am a long time subscriber). It combines slightly wilted spinach, swiss chard (or kale) and frisée (or escarole) with toasted hazelnuts and a dressing made from plum preserves and Champagne vinegar. Besides being good for you (your digestion will thank you in the morning), the greens and the fruity, sharp vinaigrette make a nice palate cleanser between helpings of those heavier dishes. Hey look, here’s the recipe on the Fine Cooking website.
Another wonderful green option is brussels sprouts. I know some people claim not to like them, but try out the recipe below and see if they still protest. I was recently shopping at my local farmers’ market with a friend and saw sprouts still on the stalk, looking like some kind of weird modern art. In the finest market tradition, my friend rattled off this ridiculously simple recipe which I tried that very night. My husband, who is agnostic, but wary, when it comes to brussels sprouts, loved them; I swear we ate a pound between us.
Their little tiny leaves get a bit charred and crunchy, giving them some sweetness which balances perfectly with the balsamic vinegar. Trust me, those sprout haters will be asking for this recipe as you send them out into the night full of protein, starch, and a few green veggies.
Brussels Sprouts for People Who Think They Don’t Like Them
If you can’t find brussels sprouts still on the stalk, look for firm, dark green ones with no yellow leaves.
1 pound brussels sprouts
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven 350 F.
Pour a liberal amount of olive oil into a large sheet pan or baking dish. Slice your sprouts in half and put them cut face down in one layer in the pan. Moisten the tops of the sprouts with a little more oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for about 45 minutes or until they’re starting to turn a little black (really!). Put them in a serving dish and toss with some good balsamic vinegar.