Holiday cooking doesn’t have to focus on decadent casseroles, pounds of meat, and indulgent desserts. You can boost the delicious, health potential of holiday meals with more plant foods, such as whole grains, beans, and seasonal vegetables. After all, some of the most delicious items on the holiday table—green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, and stuffing—are all about plants.
If you’re trying to shine the light on plant foods this holiday, try making a plant-based entrée alternative. One of my favorite options is veggie “meatballs”—savory little balls filled with the goodness of beans, grains, vegetables, and herbs.
A couple of years ago I wrote about making a AICR’s Thanksgiving porchetta-style turkey breast, as an alternative to cooking a full turkey. I loved the flavorful spices in this dish and the ease of making a turkey breast instead of an entire turkey; it saved time and it works well for a smaller crowd.
This year I wanted to make a more simplified twist on that same recipe and make a one-pot Thanksgiving turkey that also included vegetables. This roasted vegetable and herbed turkey dish is packed full of flavor, easy to make, and is a healthier version of your traditional Thanksgiving meal.
The classic 1947 French tale “Stone Soup” by Marcia Brown, tells the story of three hungry soldiers visiting a village in search of food. When the soldiers were denied food by the villagers, they set about making a large pot of soup with three stones and water. The soldiers wondered if the soup might not be better with a few carrots. Hence, the villagers returned with an apron full of carrots. And what about, say, some cabbage… potatoes… barley?
The villagers contributed step by step, eventually turning that pot of stones into a wonderful meal, along with bread and cider, for the whole village.
I love that story, as it highlights how a few rustic ingredients from the garden can nourish the mind, body and soul. After all, is there anything quite as good as a hearty, vegetable-based soup? The story also shares the message of how you can make magic with ingredients that you have on hand.