Canadian Thanksgiving is in just a couple of days. But if you’re anything like me, you’re still in last minute prep mode. We have planned a beautiful Fall harvest themed tablescape for our Thanksgiving décor, as I shared here. Our main protein has also been purchased and is thawing in the fridge. Check, check. However, the side dishes are still a bit up in the air.
Each year, I have a general idea of what ingredients I’d like to use (cranberries and pumpkins go hand in hand with Thanksgiving, in my opinion). But I like to try to incorporate traditional ingredients into our Thanksgiving meal with a modern twist. It’s nice to switch it up, as it keeps things fun and interesting!
So, if you’re still looking for some Thanksgiving meal inspo, then look no further! Here are 3 easy side dishes you can make this Thanksgiving.
Peach & Burrata Salad
‘Eat your greens’, they say! When it comes to salads, the possibilities are literally endless. They’re like blank canvasses and an excellent medium to showcase what’s in-season and yummy. So, for Thanksgiving, it should be no different.
The inspiration for this peach & burrata salad came from a couple places. On a recent trip to Prince Edward County, we had an arugula & peach salad at the Lakeside Motel, which was absolutely amazing. I would have never thought I’d like peaches in my salad, but this one definitely proved me wrong! The second source of inspiration was Half Baked Harvest’s cranberry, persimmon and burrata salad. It’s such a show-stopping salad with bright, beautiful colours, and I couldn’t resist doing my own spin on it.
When I prepared this, peaches were just at the tail end of their season here in Ontario. If you can’t find fresh peaches, you could use nectarines, clementines, or persimmons, as Half Baked Harvest did in her version. While the exact fruit you use may be open to discussion, the Burrata is non-negotiable. Burrata makes everything better. Topping this salad with dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds makes it totally Thanksgiving meal-worthy, and I hope you try it out.
1 standard size pack of baby arugula (about 140-147g), washed
200g fresh burrata
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. maple syrup or honey
salt & pepper to taste
- To make the dressing: pour balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and maple syrup into a mason jar. Add a pinch of sea salt and a bit of fresh cracked black pepper. Cover with lid and shake to combine.
- To make the salad: cut peaches, leaving some in halves and some quartered. In a salad bowl or on a serving platter, add baby arugula. Tear burrata, place on top of arugula, and drizzle a bit of EVOO on top of burrata. Sprinkle dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds over top of salad. Drizzle dressing over top just before serving, or toss with dressing to combine. Enjoy!
White Bean and Sage Soup
I absolutely looooove a bowl of soup before the main course for Thanksgiving. But at this point, I’m over the typical butternut squash and pumpkin soups. Lately, I’ve really been enjoying white beans (I shared these Peruvian Barranco Beans on my Instagram account a few weeks ago) and thought they’d be perfect for a Thanksgiving soup. White beans are super nutritious, are a great source of protein, and have a velvety texture when puréed. If you’re not a fan of white beans, you could try this red lentil and root vegetable soup, or this zucchini, leek and basil soup.
As I’ve been reducing my meat consumption for the past few months, I wanted to make this soup without meat. So, instead of using pancetta for this recipe, I used Beyond Meat’s Beyond Beef (a plant-based ground). It’s a seamless swap for meat in many recipes and can be crumbled in a food processor to put on top of soups, like I did here. If you want to make this soup fully plant-based, you’d also replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock and the half and half with coconut cream.
While this white bean soup will be a great addition to your Thanksgiving table, it is also hearty enough to eat on its own. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the leftovers (or you could also freeze some for later).
4 oz. Beyond Beef (about ¼ of a 16 oz. pack)
2- 14-oz. cans white/cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 bay leaves
5-6 sage leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
½ cup half and half (use coconut cream for plant-based version)
salt & cracked black pepper, to taste
- Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add Beyond Beef to brown, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or potato masher. When nicely browned and cooked all the way through, remove Beyond Beef and set aside. Make a crumble by adding to a food processor and pulsing.
- Add 3 tbsp. olive oil to the same pot. Add onion and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add garlic and continue to sauté until onions are translucent. Add white beans, stock, bay leaves, ½ of sage, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper to taste, and stir. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Once simmered, the soup should have reduced but the beans should still be covered by about 1 cm of liquid. If too dry, add a bit of water to adjust. Adjust for salt & pepper as well.
- Remove bay leaves and discard. Turn heat off. Add soup to a blender, purée and return to pot; or purée soup in the same pot using a hand blender.
- When ready to serve, first stir in the half and half and combine well. Ladle soup into bowls, drizzle a bit of EVOO on top, add crumbled Beyond Beef and sage. Serve either hot or room temperature. Enjoy!
What’s Thanksgiving without stuffing? Incomplete, in my opinion! This stuffing recipe has been with me for a few years and is adapted from Bon Appétit’s cheesy sausage and sage stuffing. I usually use sausage, as in the original recipe. But this year, I modified it to remove the meat.
Did you know that when it comes to stuffing, there are a couple schools of thought? Some contend that you must bake the stuffing inside the turkey, while others bake it separately. Which school of thought do you fall into? Although I grew up with my mother choosing the former, in recent years, I’ve switched over to the latter. I think baking the stuffing outside the bird gives you much more flexibility to add ingredients, especially cheese. When baked separately, you can also broil the top to get a nice crisp on it.
Last key point when it comes to stuffing: use bread that’s a day old or even a couple days old! It makes all the difference and will be harder than fresh bread, which is what’s needed for it to maintain its shape and texture.
1 medium sourdough loaf, cut into 1” pieces (about 9 cups), dried overnight or use a day-old sourdough loaf that you cut same day
1-16 oz. pack of Beyond Beef
1 large onion, finely chopped
2-3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
2-3 carrots, finely chopped
¼ cup finely chopped sage
4 cups grated aged cheddar
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup half and half
2 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
salt & freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Add bread cubes to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Add Beyond Beef to brown, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or potato masher. When nicely browned and cooked all the way through, transfer Beyond Beef to mixing bowl with bread.
- In the same skillet, add 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add onions, celery, and carrots, and cook for a couple minutes. Add butter, sage, salt & pepper to taste, and stir to combine. Continue to cook until onions are translucent.
- Add wine and deglaze the bottom of the skillet. Continue to cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the wine is almost completely evaporated. Transfer everything to the same mixing bowl with the bread and Beyond Beef.
- In a separate bowl, beat eggs with chicken stock and half and half. Pour mixture in main mixing bowl. Add 2 cups of cheese and toss everything to combine well.
- Butter a shallow baking dish and a piece of foil big enough to cover baking dish. Transfer bread mixture to baking dish. Cover with foil (buttered side down) and bake in oven for 45 minutes or until a paring knife inserted into the centre comes out hot.
- When done, remove foil and add remaining cheese. Broil in oven for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown on top.
- Remove from oven and let cool before serving.
So, there you have it – 3 easy Thanksgiving side dishes that are a bit out of the ordinary! What are some of your favourite Thanksgiving side dishes?
Wishing you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving, friends!