3. Cook covered in foil in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes, or until soft.
4. Place into a bowl and add the cream, butter and a generous pinch of salt and mash with a potato masher or mixer until it's as smooth as you like. Add salt to taste.
Courtesy JW Mariott Orlando Bonnett Creek Resort & Spa
Fancy, festive vegetarian beets
Alex Pyser, the chef de cuisine at Sear + Sea restaurant at the JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa, calls this recipe for roasted beets a “vibrant dish that allows quality produce to be showcased without masking them with tons of other ingredients.” This recipe adds a pop of color to your table, and provides a good option for guests with food allergies (allergy to beets is very rare, he says).
Roasted Beets (serves 4)
- 4 baby red beets
- 4 baby golden beets
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed or sunflower oil
- 2 teaspoons fresh horseradish, microplaned
- 1 tablespoon sourdough (or any available) croutons
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon verjus or white balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. Wash and peel beets, removing tops of each, then cut into roughly 1-inch pieces.
3. Keeping the two colors separate, toss beets with oil and season with salt and pepper.
4. Roast beets in oven about 8 to 10 minutes, until edges turn golden brown and they are tender.
5. Allow beets to cool slightly before tossing together in a mixing bowl with olive oil, verjus, microplaned horseradish and lemon juice.
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
7. Garnish with sourdough croutons and microgreens or edible flowers (optional).
Stuffing for vegetarian, gluten-free guests and everyone else, too
It's not Thanksgiving without stuffing on the table — whether your guests are eating turkey or not. And this plant-based recipe by Fran Costigan, the director of Vegan Baking and Pastry and chef instructor at Rouxbe Culinary School, is sure to have everyone spooning out seconds. If you're hosting gluten-free guests, make a second serving but swap out the French bread for a gluten-free variety from your favorite bakery or supermarket. They'll be delighted.
Plant-Based Holiday Stuffing (serves 5-6)
- 1 loaf French bread (6 to 8 cups diced)
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 10 to 15 fresh sage leaves, chopped fine
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped fine
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 to 4 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons nondairy butter
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Prepare the bread by cutting it into 1/2-inch cubes. Allow it to dry out for up to 24 hours, then add to a large bowl and set aside.
3. Prepare the diced vegetables and fresh herbs.
4. Melt nondairy butter in a large fry pan over medium-low heat, add onions, celery, carrots and fresh herbs and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables become translucent.
5. Add cooked vegetables to the bread and toss to combine.
6. Pour the stock over the bread mixture, a bit at a time, tossing and continuing to add liquid until it's a bit wet.
7. Place stuffing in a greased casserole dish and cover and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.
Nutty green beans for keto and gluten-free eaters
Green beans are an essential at the holiday table, but you hardly need to defer to the usual green bean casserole. “Having a recipe that can be cooked on the stovetop really helps Thanksgiving preparations move more smoothly as the oven is always in heavy use,” says Cynthia Graubart, a James Beard Award-winning cookbook author and cooking teacher who recently published Thanksgiving for Two (or Four): Downsized Recipes for Today's Smaller Thanksgiving Dinner.
Courtesy CYNTHIA GRAUBART
Skillet Green Beans with Pecan Browned Butter (serves 4)
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound green beans, tipped, tailed and stringed (if necessary)
- 4 tablespoons chopped pecans
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1. Melt butter and olive oil in a medium skillet. Once very hot, add the beans and cook until dappled with dark brown spots. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking and stirring for a few more minutes, until beans are soft. Then remove to a platter.
2. Melt remaining butter in skillet. When foamy, add pecans, stirring frequently until fragrant and starting to brown (1 or 2 minutes), being careful not to burn them.
3. Return beans to skillet, toast and season to taste with salt and pepper. Season with fresh thyme.
Keto guests get decadent bacon skewers
Equally apt as a side dish or a showstopping hors d'oeuvre, candied bacon skewers (with keto-friendly sweeteners) are “really fun and delicious” and can be made ahead of time and reheated in a toaster oven just before serving, says Marcey Brownstein, owner of Marcey Brownstein Catering & Events in New York City. Bundle them inside a mason jar tied with a festive ribbon for a pretty presentation.
Istock / Getty Image Plus
Candied Bacon Skewers (serves 6)
- 12 pieces thick-sliced bacon, cut in half to make 24 shorter pieces
- 1/4 cup sugar-free maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons Swerve brand brown sugar
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Pinch of ground cayenne pepper
1. Combine syrup, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper in a bowl with 2 tablespoons water. Stir until combined.
2. Dip the bacon slices into the mixture and lay flat on a plate.
3. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium. Add the bacon slices and cook until crispy. If the bacon curls up, put a weight on top (a foil-covered brick does the trick).
4. Allow to cool before threading bacon slices onto 8-inch bamboo skewers.