Families and friends gather and turkeys are prepared and cooked. But what is served with the turkey is important – side dishes that will impress and taste delicious!
SPICY KALE SALAD
Prep time: 10 minutes. Serves: 4
20 large leaves Tuscan kale (the flat-leafed kind), ribs removed and leaves sliced or torn
1/4 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
1 slice sourdough bread, toasted and broken into bread crumbs, optional
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
Pinch red chile flakes or to taste
Salt to taste
Place kale in a medium-size bowl. In another small bowl, combine garlic and olive oil. Add lemon juice, cheese, and chile flakes; season to taste with salt. Pour dressing over kale and toss to fully coat leaves. Top each serving of salad with breadcrumbs and more cheese.
Hint: Serve within an hour after dressing the salad to avoid wilting leaves.
Note: The acid in the lemon juice ‘cooks’ the kale, leaving it tender
QUINOA AND MUSHROOM STUFFED PEPPERS
Prep time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 30 minutes. Serves: 4
4 red bell peppers
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb shitake or cremini mushrooms, chopped
2/3 cup uncooked quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
1-1/3 cups water
2 tsp salt
½ lemon, juice and zest
¼ cup parsley
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Cut peppers in half and remove stalk and seeds. Bake peppers for 15 minutes. In a saucepan, put quinoa, water, salt, lemon zest and lemon juice; bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until quinoa is tender about 15 minutes. While quinoa is cooking, heat olive oil in a frying pan and sauté onions, garlic, and mushrooms until tender. Mix in the cooked quinoa and parsley. Remove peppers from oven and spoon mixture into peppers. Return to oven and bake another 15 minutes. Serve on a bed of mixed lettuce leaves.
Note: You can also use this filling to stuff twice-baked squash. The squash takes some time to prepare, but the sweet savory taste makes it worth it.
WILD AND BROWN RICE WITH PECANS AND APPLES
Prep time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 45 minutes. Serves: 6
2-1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup brown rice
1/8 cup wild rice
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
½ cup roughly chopped pecans
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped apple
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a large pot, bring broth to a boil. Add rice and salt and simmer for 40-45 minutes, or until cooked. In a skillet, melt the butter, then sauté the pecans in the butter until the pecans are golden brown. Remove pecans from the pan and set aside. In the same pan, add the olive oil, and sauté the chopped onion and apple until the onions are translucent. Sprinkle with nutmeg, salt and pepper. When the rice is cooked, stir in the apple/onion mixture as well as the pecans and serve.
Hint: Serve hot or at room temperature.
SPIRALIZED ZUCCHINI PASTA WITH CREAMY AVOCADO SAUCE
Prep time: 15 minutes.Cooking time: 10 minutes. Serves: 6
1 zucchini, spiralized
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
½ lemon, juiced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Garnish: Freshly grated Parmesan, optional
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add zucchini and stir frequently until cooked as you like.
In a large bowl, add avocado, lemon juice, garlic, remaining olive oil and salt and pepper. Mash with a fork until a creamy yet chunky consistency is reached. Serve the avocado sauce over the cooked zucchini, topped with Parmesan.