Sunday, August 9, 2020 -
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Colorful and seasonal Thanksgiving sides

Last year, in our annual Thanksgiving blog post, we told you of our plans to try some new Thanksgiving recipes. We promised we would report back on their success in time for Thanksgiving, 2017 — so here’s that promise kept.

One of the issues we raised was the conundrum of an appetizer. Many choose to do away with this course altogether. Others opt for finger foods while the host is still busy in the kitchen putting the final touches on the meal. We suggested a salad, and it turned out to be the perfect appetizer. It’s light, refreshing and gets your digestive system going. Inspired by a New York Times recipe, we created:

Spinach with Fennel, Beets & Orange


  • ½ bunch of baby spinach, larger leaves roughly chopped
  • 1-2 fennel, very thinly sliced (about 1½ will be enough; reserve fronds)
  • 2 small beets, roasted, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • ¼ red onion, sliced into thin half moons
  • 1 orange, segmented (reserve juice)
  • fresh dill, mint and reserved fennel fronds, chopped


  • 3-4 TB olive oil
  • Reserved juice of orange
  • 1 TB lime juice, more to taste
  • ½-1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground pepper


  1. Lay the spinach on a platter. Mix the rest of the ingredients with the dressing. Season to taste. Lay over spinach and lightly toss.

Recipe Notes

Serve with Thomas Jefferson’s biscuits.

Another recipe we tested was for Harissa and Roasted Maple Carrots, which came to us via Bon Appetit. It was another absolute winner. We didn’t make any adjustments to this one. It is a perfect blend of sweet, spicy caramelization. Just make sure to use a dish that’s made for roasting, as the sauce does burn a bit, making this a washing-up project.

Another tested recipe that will be part of our table this year came to us, surprisingly, from the IJN’s Passover Foods section. It was for Balsamic Glazed Roasted Butternut Squash and it just screamed Thanksgiving. Adding chestnuts to anything will do that. It also pairs amazingly well with cranberry sauce.

The brilliant color these dishes will bring to your table is just an added bonus.

Happy cooking — and let us know how the recipes turn out!

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