Thanksgiving is two days away! And I bet most of you already have a full day’s worth of food planned with lists and schedules for how the holiday meal (and pre-meal and post-meal) should go.
Normally I would be right along with you. I’ve always had a classic Thanksgiving Day filled with piles of food and copious glasses of wine. The shopping would have been followed exactly and packages already piling up on the kitchen counter by now.
This year, however, my family is visiting NY, and we’re having more of a play-it-by-ear holiday. On Thursday we’ll venture to the city followed by a lot of unplanned snacking and bar hopping on Friday and Saturday with an eventual feast of sorts at my apartment when we feel like it. We might even set up my Christmas tree!
Three years ago, if I would have had this “plan,” I would have thrown a fit. The tradition and schedule of the holidays used to be all-encompassing and extremely important for my celebratory season. But I’ve come to appreciate loose plans like this where conversation and impulse dictate what happens next. I like to believe that this is a sign of growing up just slightly. I’m approaching special moments like this weekend with thoughtfulness and a sense of presence. Enjoying the company.
And like the meditative act of making homemade hummus I featured recently, I’m entering my kitchen with the same approach. This recipe is a great example of that. Roasting. My absolute favorite thing to do during the chilly fall and winter months. Specifically, roasting vegetables which slowly brings out the sweetness and nuttiness not present in the veggies before. Deliberately and thoughtfully.
Forget about the lovely science behind magical roasting? Catch up here! Plus find another veggie recipe worthy of the Thanksgiving table.
So what perfect side dish to add to your Thanksgiving meal than my preferred roasted vegetable recipe? A bonus? This recipe incorporates roasted pecans which bump up the savory and nutty flavors. And fall classics like maple have a starring role. I know that oven space is at a premium this week, but this dish is worth it. Every ingredient plays a role and each bite is full of flavor. It will hold its own against the bird. Plus, it’s alternative-diet friendly which is becoming more important for us all to consider.
However, I totally understand if your Thanksgiving Day planning was finished weeks ago. In that case, this needs to be on your next dinner priority! Happy turkey (and general food) day!
Roasted Root Vegetables with Pecans and Maple Dressing
Serves 6-8 as a generous side
Adapted from Dinner with Jackson Pollock
1 pound small beets
1 pound carrots
1 pound parsnips
3 garlic cloves, smashed
¼ cup + ½ cup olive oil, separated
½ cup raw pecans, roughly chopped
½ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 small shallots, minced
A large pinch cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- Arrange the oven racks in the top and bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400⁰F.
- Wash and peel the veggies. Cut the parsnips and carrots into 1-1 ½ inch pieces. If the beets are larger, cut them into quarters or sixths depending on how large they are.
- Put the veggies and smashed garlic cloves into a large bowl. Pour the ¼ cup olive oil over the top with a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Spread the veggies on a parchment-covered sheet pan evenly. Put in the preheated oven on the top rack. Roast for 20 minutes. Turn the tray and roast another 15 minutes, but keep the veggies in the oven.
- Put the chopped pecans on a separate sheet pan and put the pan on the bottom rack in the oven. Roast everything (the pecans and veggies) for another 5 minutes. Remove promptly from the oven to prevent the pecans from burning.
- When you remove the veggies, be sure to check a few of the pieces with a fork. Everything should be easy to pierce and a light golden brown.
- Prepare the dressing. Whisk together the remaining ½ cup olive oil, red wine vinegar, maple syrup, cayenne, and salt. Taste and add a pinch more of salt or another tablespoon of vinegar depending on your tastes. Stir in the shallots.
- Arrange the veggies on a serving dish when cooled slightly. Pour half of the dressing over the top. Sprinkle with the toasted pecans and chopped parsley leaves.
- Eat immediately. Serve with the remaining dressing. And enjoy!