Food Coach

Vegetarian, vegan side dishes for Thanksgiving

Monday, November 19, 2012

Many Americans look forward to family favorites like roast turkey and bread stuffing on Thanksgiving, but Chef Anthony Jacquet of The Whisper Restaurant and Lounge at the Grove says there is an increase in those who are going vegetarian or even gluten-free, so the side dishes you choose are important.

"You've got to provide something for everyone. You want to make everyone happy on Thanksgiving," Jacquet says. "The sides are the personality of the meal also and people get just as excited about those as the turkey."

No reason those with special needs can't have something tasty. Jacquet designed three sides that can act as main courses for those restricted, starting with a colorful kale salad. It combines blanched, raw and crispy baked kale with apple, pomegranates and walnuts. It also contains raisins soaked in autumn spices, tossed with sherry vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and pomegranate molasses.

Found at Middle Eastern markets, it imparts a sweet, yet tart taste for a salad with a variety of textures and tastes, which is both gluten-free and vegetarian. Vegans can partake if they omit the blue cheese.

Jacquet's farro salad is a sassy substitute for stuffing. Take cooked farro or spelt and combine it with roasted squash, prunes, roasted pistachios, pomegranates, chopped herbs, fresh sage and a smattering of feta cheese, and toss it with olive oil and Chardonnay vinegar, although red wine or sherry vinegar can substitute.

Jacquet also uses a spice called ras el hanout, a blend of Moroccan spices that resemble curry. It adds personality to the farro salad, which is also gluten-free and vegetarian. Again, vegans can omit the cheese and be pleased.

For the third side, Jacquet suggests a roasted kabocha squash coated in honey butter and mole spices, topped with arugula.

The other nice thing about these sides is that they not only offer good taste, but also provide a blast of antioxidants, fiber healthy fats and protein.

Jacquet says feel free to substitute favorite ingredients.

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Tags:
thanksgiving, food, holiday, health, food coach, lori corbin
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