Easy Thanksgiving Recipes

By Chandler Henry

Get ready for the holidays with these easy Thanksgiving recipes! 

Thanksgiving. A time for over indulgence, over drinking, over sharing, and under buttoning – let’s be real, you’ve already got your stretchy pants laid out for this meal. End of year jitters have arrived and you’re more than ready for a break from your 9 to 5, hoping somebody will spoon feed you all the decadent things in life and call it 2020 already. And you’re most likely spending the holiday with family. Family you can’t wait to see, but then an hour in find yourself repeating the same spiel you planned on the drive over about how work is good, friends are good, life is good – the good talk, if you will. Or! You’re headed over to a Friendsgiving to stuff your face alongside the ones who know you best. Either way, bring on the spiked apple cider and bucket of buttermilk biscuits. 

For the burnt out meal attenders who are leaning towards picking up a bottle of wine for the group, which you’ll inevitably drink yourself, this one goes out to you. 

You need something quick and easy that everyone will love and be talking about until next year’s feast; emphasis on the quick and easy. The optimal opportunity to show the moms that you really can cook or upstage the food blogging chef of the friend group. Either way, with these easy Thanksgiving recipes you’ll be the talk of meal. Ready to impress? Hit the store, grab the essentials, and let’s get this not-so-pumpkin-spiced-holiday show on the road. 

Some things to note before getting started. The oven and food processor are your best friends – come to them with all your questions and needs. The key to easy Thanksgiving recipes is to keep it simple. No fuss, no muss. All of these easy Thanksgiving recipes require a constant 350°F oven, some light chopping, a quick blitz in the food processor, and most importantly, minimal attention spent hovering over the stovetop. 

Because these easy Thanksgiving recipes are so easy, it’s imperative that the ingredients used are of quality. For starters, salt. Kosher salt is the only way to go. Always. No exception, don’t wanna hear it. 

The varying degree of granule size allows the salt crystals to adhere to foods better than any alternative. Plus, it’s just not as salty as table salt or sea salt. You may disagree, but this is us talking here so you have no choice but to take our advice *with a grain of salt.* The good kosher stuff will last you forever and your food will just taste better – trust us. 

Next is olive oil. These easy Thanksgiving recipes require a decent amount of extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) and nothing’s worse than a bitter, expired, or poorly flavored olive oil. An everyday oil should taste clean and be enjoyed if you were to sip on it like dessert wine. Have an olive oil tasting to find what does it for you. But if you’re like us and don’t have the funds to invest in a shelf full of delicately-labeled oils, find the specialty stores that let you taste for yourself. Get a feel for whether you like it a little spicy, a little olive-y, or just smooth enough you can barely taste it and know you just need a damn olive oil that you’ll end up frying an egg in anyways. If the latter is the case, we’ll save you some time and suggest California Olive Ranch. And don’t skimp out, buy the chef size and make it last – trust us.

Next is confit garlic. Confit…sounds fancy right? The direct meaning is to cook something in a fat. You may have seen duck confit on a menu? Simply duck cooked in duck fat, low and slow. That’s it! To make garlic confit, throw some garlic cloves in a pot, generously cover in EVOO, bring up to a low simmer, and reduce the heat. That’s it! The confit is complete after about an hour when a clove can be spread like butter. And you will want to spread it just as so. Raw garlic leaves a sharp, unapologetic sting on your tongue. The smoother sister, garlic confit, offers a softer flavor and texture. Plus, you’re left with golden garlic oil to be saved and used in lue of EVOO when you want to jazz up a dish. Keep the garlic cloves in the oil and line it up in your fridge with the other stationary condiments to use over the next few months. To make any of these or your own easy Thanksgiving recipes better, add confit garlic – trust us.

Last in point, shop locally. Farmers markets will always be the move. Support your local farmers and the hard work put into growing food with love in every root. With that, source local products as well. Being in the Bay Area, we are grateful for the many entrepreneurial souls providing hyper-localized products left and right. Read on for a few suggestions for making these easy Thanksgiving recipes unique. 

To be noted, these easy thanksgiving recipes are adapted versions of the classics. A sophisticated twist on the original show stoppers. All of these easy Thanksgiving recipes are meant to feed 4-6 people, but do double the ingredients where you see fit. Especially if you want to stash some at home for yourself –  hello leftovers! We’re not judging. Now let’s get to it, we have people to feed! Easy Thanksgiving recipes, here we come. 

Cranberry Pecan Salad

Cranberries seem to consistently spark debates over most Thanksgiving meals. Fresh? Saucy? Crunchy? From a can? Countless turkey-day meals that we’ve been a part of included a single plopped serving of upside down canned crans. We prefer the fresher alternative, as our mothers and their mothers raised us youngins to eat this easy Thanksgiving recipe by the spoonful. 

Cranberries, pecans, lemon jello, and sugar create the perfect zing for any holiday plate. Now, don’t tell our moms, but we’ve tweaked the recipe to suit our Californian ways with apricots and date molasses. Altogether, you’ll be craving it for Christmas too.

To be noted, this dish can be made days ahead of time and gives you the chance to whip out that fancy bowl in the back that’s always “too nice” for weeknight dinners. And for the sake of the friend who always brings a can of cranberries, it’s time to hide the can opener.

Easy Thanksgiving Recipes

Cranberry Pecan Salad

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 8-10 dried apricots, small diced 
  • 3 oz package of Lemon Jello
  • ¾  cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp Date Molasses (Just Date Syrup)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup cold water
  • Parsley garnish 
  1. In a food processor, blitz the pecans a few times to a rough chop. Put aside. Do the same with the cranberries. Mix the pecans, cranberries, and apricots in the bowl you wish the dish to set in.
  2. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add gelatin, sugar, and molasses until all dissolves. Add 1 cup of cold water. Gently pour over the cranberry mixture.
  3. Set it in the fridge to leave over night. Though for the first hour or so, give it a stir every 15 minutes to make sure the jello doesn’t set on the bottom. Set an alarm on your phone to get up for a quick stir, and get a wine refill while you’re at it – you deserve it.

Glistening Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Gremolata

Something about roasting carrots accentuates the sweetness rooted inside, reminiscent of caramel candy. Now we sound like our mothers trying to get our 9 year old selves to eat cantaloupe, but we digress. Vegetables reserve the right to taste like candy, and here you will achieve just that with this extra easy Thanksgiving recipe. Maple syrup coats the carrots without creating the sticky mess that honey would and the red pepper flakes balance all the sweetness a’brewing. 

On a sustainable note, many people feel the need to peel carrots. When working with baby carrots that have minimal flesh to start, don’t go shedding rich, nutrient dense layers. Instead, grab a bowl of water and a scrubber and gently wash away the outer dirt layer. With that, buying carrots with the tops still attached can indeed be for the faint of heart. Think of the tops as an extra free ingredient – almost like the farmer/grocer doesn’t realize what they’re giving away. Roll with it. Sauces of all kinds await the base of the carrot top. And today, that sauce is gremolata. This universal sauce should be saved and drizzled over any other roasted veg for a vibrant earthy touch. 

Glistening Roasted Carrots

  • 3 bunches baby carrots, tops attached 
  • 2 shallots, cut in half
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 thin slices blood orange 
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  2. Cut off the tops, leaving about an inch attached the root. Scrub the carrots. Rinse the tops, reserving for the gremolata yet to come. Cut the baby spears in half long ways. Let dry.
  3. Toss all ingredients in a bowl and lay on a foil lined baking sheet. When you’re doing dishes later, you’ll thank me. Drizzle what’s left in the bowl over top.
  4. Roast for 20-25 minutes until the carrots are easily pierced with a fork and the ends are charred.
  5. Platter up and drizzle with the gremolata, instructions as follows:

Carrot Top Gremolata 

  • 3 bunches carrot tops
  • ½ c EVOO
  • ⅓ cup Obour Toasted Tahini
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • 3 confit garlic cloves
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 crank of the pepper mill
    1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor. Looking for a loose consistency, but not exactly runny. Add more OJ or EVOO to thin out if needed, and salt or tahini is up to you. Your tastebuds are the boss, take orders promptly. 
Easy Thanksgiving Recipes

Crisped Brussels Sprouts with Roasted Figs

Every Thanksgiving table needs greens to make people feel a little better about loading up in Carb City. While we agree, you can guarantee somebody else will bring a light salad or the infamous green bean casserole. Don’t be that person. Instead, we insist on roasting the one necessary green that demands attention on every Thanksgiving table – brussels sprouts. 

These baby cabbages encompass everything that is right in an easy Thanksgiving recipe. Easy to season, easy to cook, and just as easy to devour before they hit the table. The brussels ‘chips’ left behind on the sheet tray remain to be seen as the best part, saved just for you to snack on when cleaning up. We’ve added some seasonal figs, roasting them alongside the brussels for a deep jammy pocket to compliment the welcomed savory char on the sprouts. A pop of pomegranate seeds and a swipe of crème fraîche underneath, and you’ve got yourself a balanced dish of savory, sweet, acidic, salty, umami – the ultimate pile of fall goodness. 

Easy Thanksgiving Recipes

Crisped Brussels Sprouts with Roasted Figs

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cut brussels in half long ways. Do the same for the figs.
  3. Toss the brussels and lemon wedges in EVOO, salt, and pepper and place on a foil lined baking sheet. With what oil remains in the bowl, lightly coat the figs and place on a foil lined sheet as well.
  4. Roast for 20 minutes until the brussels sprouts are nice and charred and the figs are jammy and dark. 

Plate with crème fraîche on the bottom, then brussels and figs, topped with pomegranate seeds and perhaps a touch of salt.

Roasted Parsnip Mash

Now don’t get us wrong. The classic, creamy mashed potatoes stand tall against everything else on the table. Reliably delicious, goes with anything, won’t disappoint – we know how important it is to the Thanksgiving repertoire that the bowl of mash be front and center. But think of roasted parsnips as a mix between the potential of a creamy potato matched with crispy caramelized bits of any veg that comes out of the oven. Roasting the ‘snips and shallots brings out just the right amount of sweetness and char for an easy Thanksgiving recipe, giving the classic mash a run for its money. The texture won’t be the same as what the good ‘ole potato will provide, but stay with us here. We’ve added 1 single potato to solve this problem. 

As for the pomegranate molasses finisher, this may seem a bit far fetched for those expecting gravy and nothing else. But again, twist on the classics, yes? A twist noticeable enough to make your grandmother scrunch her face as she eats what she thinks is mashed potatoes, but to her demise, the gravy-river-look-a-like on top is actually this tangy, slightly sour accoutrement. The unexpected oomph from this easy Thanksgiving recipe will sprout a lovely back and forth as it awakens the table’s taste buds. Segway into the next topic of conversation, pucker up – you’ve got some explaining to do to Nana and recipe cards to shuffle out to those going in for seconds.

Roasted Parsnip Mash

  • 7-8 medium parsnips
  • 2 medium shallots, each quartered
  • ½ a lemon, quartered
  • ¾ tbsp EVOO 
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 red potato, boiled 
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 4-5 confit garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses 

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. To save you some water- grab a bowl, add parsnips, cover with water, and scrub the thin dirt layer away. Let dry. 
  2. Give the parsnips a good stab with a fork, allowing steam to escape when roasting away. Toss whole parsnips, shallots, and lemon with EVOO, salt, and pepper in a bowl and place onto a baking sheet. 
  3. Roast for 25 minutes or until cooked. Almost over cooked. Looking for charred ends, slightly browned on the outside and a creamy, mash like interior.
  4. Using the magical food processor, blend all of the ingredients. Though only squeeze the roasted lemon juice and compost the rinds. Season to your tastebud’s desire. 
  5. To finish, hit it with some salt and drizzle pomegranate molasses over top.
Easy Thanksgiving Recipes

Glazed Golden Beets and Persimmons

Beets can be hit or miss at any holiday gathering. You’ll hear ‘they taste like dirt’ or ‘they make my bathroom trips look like a crime scene’ or the retort of ‘lettuce turnip the beet guys.’ Every holiday’s got a jokester.. Time to turn the tables on the beet haters, fore this easy Thanksgiving recipe will even get the kids diving into the golden bowl.

In avoidance of staining clothes or bowel movements, we’ve opted for the golden beet, the blonde sister of the red beet. We cut the beets and persimmons to be the same shape and size, making each bite a relative surprise. If you prefer otherwise that’s fine too, dealer’s choice. You’ll also notice we used lemon thyme, offering the herbaceous notes of thyme and the subtle tinge of lemon. We find ourselves using this instead of straight thyme for more delicate recipes where thyme would overpower the dish. A pinch of cinnamon to highlight the persimmons, and you’ve got yourself an easy Thanksgiving recipe that will pair warmly with everything on the table.

 

Easy Thanksgiving Recipes

Glazed Golden Beets and Persimmons

  • 6 small golden beets
  • 2 Fuyu persimmons 
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 ½ tbsp sugar 
  • 3 tbsp orange juice 
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 7-8 sprigs lemon thyme
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon
  • ½ tsp white and black sesame seeds
  • Salt

 

  1. In a medium-large pot, add whole beets, cover with water and hefty pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until easily pierced with a fork, around 30 minutes. Drain. They will be piping hot, so slip on a pair of gloves or load up on towels as we will NOT be burning ourselves making this easy Thanksgiving recipe. Gently peel the skin away from the beets. Note if they are undercooked, the skin will be a pain to remove. Set aside to cool.
  2. Cut the persimmons into small wedges. Once the beets have cooled, do the same. (ie cut in half from the root, then eighth each half)
  3. In a small saucepan, combine rice vinegar, sugar, OJ, butter, chicken stock, lemon thyme, and bring to a light simmer. Gently cook until until the consistency of a light syrup is achieved, AKA nappe. May need to crank the heat towards the end to cook off any remaining moisture. Note, that it will thicken as it cools too.
  4. When ready to serve, toss in the beets and persimmons over medium heat. Season with a pinch of cinnamon and salt and garnish with a touch of lemon thyme. Wha lah!

 

Thanksgiving can be intimidating to those who don’t spend much time in the kitchen and need a quick and dirty dish on the fly. Don’t worry about the turkey, the detailed casseroles, or the all consuming pies – another loved one will take care of the necessities. You worry about making the best damn sides your crowd has ever graced upon their tongues and hope there will be leftovers. 

Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, so give it. Don’t forget to hug every person sitting around the table and let them know how happy you are to be spending a meal with them. Too much wine or not enough wine, everyone will appreciate how grateful you are for them. A little really does go a long way with loved ones. Plus this gives everyone the opportunity to tell you how great your Thanksgiving sides were – trust me 😉

Put on those stretchy pants and enjoy yourself – Happy Holidays folks!

~Created and written by Chandler Henry

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