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Thanksgiving Favorites

Thanksgiving Feast | Delightful CrumbI wanted to stop by briefly to share a few of my favorite dishes and wines fit for the Thanksgiving table, as well as a couple of helpful recipe roundups from around the web. I’m planning a fairly traditional feast myself, including but not limited to an itty-bitty turkey that my mom will be present to prepare (thank goodness!), the aforementioned delicata squash soup, a big kale salad with plenty of delicious toppings, my mom’s famous soft and squishy dinner rolls, a highly flavorful cranberry chutney and a pumpkin tart à la Amy Chaplin with plenty of softly whipped cream.

Key to the success of our feast is providing enough options to satiate everyone present, which will include folks with aversions and/or allergies to meat, gluten and dairy. I’m actually of the opinion that this isn’t so hard. You just need to have enough food on the table that there are options, which happens rather organically on Thanksgiving, and to go easy on the butter and cream. Additionally, while salad should never be the only thing that someone can eat, making a kick-ass salad is never a bad idea in any situation and will definitely help here.

What are your standby dishes, or your experiments this year? I’d love to hear! These are a few of my favorites…

To start:

Sautéed Dates: My go-to appetizer. I came upon the recipe by way of Molly Wizenberg‘s book Delancey, and it never fails to impress.

Gingered Delicata Squash Soup with Crème Fraîche & Fried Sage

Sparkling Cranberries: Set a dish out for instant cheer!

For the vegetarians:

Stuffed Squash, aka, The Best Vegetarian Centerpiece Ever (pictured above): One of these years, I will get my act together early enough to spell this out in greater detail, but for now, I’m directing you to the original source. David and Luise over at Green Kitchen Stories posted the recipe for this stuffed pumpkin a few years ago, and I’ve made my own rendition every Thanksgiving since. I’m forgoing it this year as there will be a turkey and I’m the only one abstaining, but it’s such a gem and makes for a stunning centerpiece. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it’s even prettier than your average turkey because, let’s face it, it is. I have always used kabocha squash and have had great success with both quinoa and brown rice. The cranberries and cheese really take this one over the top.

Delicata & Ricotta Toasts: Thickly slice good bread. Toast the slices in a 450-degree oven. Rub with garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Top with ricotta, slices of roasted delicata squash, more olive oil, Aleppo pepper, flaky sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Butternut Squash & Caramelized Onion Galette (or try another of Deb’s galette recipes; she links to all of them in this post)

Butternut Squash Tian

Other essentials:

A very big salad: This year, my salad will consist of kale, roasted rings of delicata squash, pickled red onions, chopped Medjool dates and Sara Forte’s brilliant sweet-and-spicy sunflower seeds from her book Bowl & Spoon.

Cranberry-Fig Chutney

Stuffing Inspiration: I like a doctored-up version of my mom’s basic recipe, but since I knocked Bon Appétit in my last post, I will give them credit for their smart little stuffing matrix, which gives you lots of ideas alongside the freedom that is appropriate for such things as stuffing.

Festive breads & cakes (also good candidates for breakfast):

Pumpkin Tea Cake

Honey Cranberry Cornmeal Bread

Apple Sage Walnut Bread

Thoughts on wine:

Start with something sparkling! This is always an excellent idea in my book. Pét-nat (short for pétillant-natural), though actually ancient, is freshly hip—but with good reason, i.e., it is fun and delicious. I love Les Capriades wines if you can get your hands on them. Prosecco is also a great option; Casa Coste Piane makes my current favorite.

Gamay wins the day: The Gamay grape, grown mostly in the Beaujolais region of France, produces a lighter-style red wine that pairs well with basically any food and is also delicious all on its own. It stands up fantastically to the hearty fare of Thanksgiving. Yann Bertrand makes some particularly special Gamay from Fleurie and Morgon.

A classy California Pinot: Popular for a reasonClos Saron is my favorite, and Arnot-Roberts, Knez and Baxter wineries also make very pretty pinots.

Earthy Syrah: A full-bodied, structured Syrah from St. Joseph will carry you into the final stages of the meal, when you’re fuller and sleepier and looking for something to match.

Trousseau, for something different: Try one from the Jura—or elsewhere. Philippe Bornard‘s is the shop favorite over at Ordinaire.

Or, if you’re in the Bay Area, just come by Ordinaire! We will set you up for success. (We also ship! There’s still time!)

A few other lists:

Food52’s Genius Recipes, Thanksgiving edition

This clever meal planner from the New York Times

Tips and recipes from the Gluten-Free Girl

Put an egg on it | Delightful Crumb

P.S. Unless you are inclined toward pie, the above should definitely be your breakfast on Friday.

3 Comments (Add Yours)

  1. Thanks, Stacy! I’m excited to try the stuffed pumpkin! So pretty, so delicious sounding. Any idea for a substitute for mushrooms in that recipe? My husband doesn’t care for mushrooms.

    • Hi Carol! I think you’d have a lot of fun with this recipe. The mushrooms are primarily there to add a nice punch of umami, so just make sure to keep the more flavorful parts of the mix in your version (wine, cheese, etc.). I’d replace them with an extra half onion, or some leek or celery. I’ve always ended up with plenty of filling, so I don’t think you need to worry about replacing the exact volume/weight. Let me know if you give it a try!

  2. Amazing feast on that table! Really great memories.