Soul Food Fab Four Thanksgiving
It seems Thanksgiving has become less about being thankful and more about the food. Okay, that is fine with me. As long as the food is made with love and compassion, we can be thankful every other day. So, this year, when putting together my Thanksgiving menu, I wanted it to be filled with the flavors and colors of the season: a big salad with bright orange butternut squash and those ubiquitous cranberries, Brussels sprouts cooked to perfection, a fabulous, you-can’t-go-wrong main dish of portobellos with rosemary and thyme, and an easy apple galette.
Sounds fancy, but it is so easy!
Read the recipes carefully so you can plan your cooking. Make what you can
ahead of time so you can sit down to a feast with your friends and family without
stressing out. These recipes are really, truly simple. Just take your time so you can
wow your company and give them something to truly be thankful for. Note: two
recipes call for nuts, but if you have anyone with allergies coming over, serve
them on the side!
This menu serves five to six people.
Arugula Salad With Cranberries, Nuts, And Butternut Squash, With Maple
1 box of baby arugula, or two bunches, cleaned
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup chopped and toasted walnuts or pecans
½ cup roasted butternut squash
2 teaspoons avocado oil (or other high heat oil)
Salt, a pinch
For the dressing:
3 tablespoons white or regular balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons stoneground mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Note: Use a small butternut squash. If you have too much, serve it on the side or toss it in with the Brussels sprouts. The nuts and butternut squash can be prepped ahead of time. If making right before serving, the squash can be tossed in right out of the oven for a wilted salad!
Preheat the oven to 350. Gently chop the nuts and then spread out on a baking sheet. Toast until fragrant, about 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Raise the oven temperature 400. Peel, de-seed, and cut the butternut squash into bite-sized cubes. Toss with oil and a pinch of salt. Turn out onto a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until crispy and browning on the edges.
Whisk together the dressing ingredients.
Place the arugula in a bowl. Add the cranberries, nuts, and squash. Toss gently with dressing.
Shredded Brussels Sprouts With Shallots, Hazelnuts, And Green Apples
1 lb. Brussels sprouts
1 Granny Smith apple
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
2 teaspoons avocado oil (or other high-heat oil)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more, to taste
Shred the Brussels sprouts. Cut off the nubby end and then cut in half. Thinly slice each half so they are shredded. Peel and thinly slice the shallots. Dice the apple into small pieces and coarsely chop the hazelnuts.
Heat two teaspoons of oil in a skillet and add the shallots. Cook on medium heat until the shallots have started to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the apple and hazelnuts and mix well. Mix everything together and sprinkle with fresh lemon juice right before serving.
Portobello Pot Roast
This recipe calls for a Dutch oven. But if you don’t have one, don’t worry. Prep in
a pan on the stovetop and then transfer to a baking dish.
4 to 6 portobello mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic
1 Russet potato
1.1/2 cups good red wine, divided
1 cup water
2 tablespoons chickpea flour
2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 sprig savory
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig thyme
Salt, a few pinches
Preheat the oven to 350.
Gently wipe the portobellos clean with a paper towel. Remove the stems and turn them on the their backs so the gills are facing up. Slice them into thick pieces—each should yield 4 to 5 pieces.
Add the portobellos to the pot—dry. Over medium heat, cook them until they start to brown and soften, about 3 minutes. Stir them around gently, with a wooden spoon, to make sure they all get cooked a bit. Note: If the portobellos are really big and it seems like they won’t all cook down in one shot, cook half of the them, take them out, then cook the other half. Put the first half back in and proceed to the next step.
Add 1/2 cup of wine into the pot and cook for about 2 minutes until the mushrooms have absorbed some of the wine. Use a spider strainer to remove them from the pot and set aside.
Slice the onions into bite-sized chunks. Press the garlic. Add the onions and garlic to the pot, with the leftover wine, and stir around. Cook for a few minutes. Season with a pinch of salt.
Peel and cut the carrots and potatoes into bite size chunks, roughly the same size. Add the carrots and potatoes. Stir around to coat with the wine. Season with a pinch of salt.
Pull the herbs off the stems and give them a rough chop. Drop about half of the herbs into the mix and toss around. Let the vegetables cook on a medium heat while you proceed to the next step.
In a small pot, add 1 cup of wine and 1 cup of water. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of chickpea flour and 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce. Add the herbs and bring to a quick boil. Continue to whisk for another minute to be sure the flour has dissolved and there are no lumps.
Layer the mushrooms on top of the vegetables. Pour the sauce over everything. Cover the pot and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the potatoes and carrots are easily pierced with a fork.
Serve right out of the oven or make ahead and reheat covered until warmed through.