Thanksgiving is a time for sharing. It’s in that spirit that we present some favorite recipes from staffers. Is it a coincidence that all of them star the season’s best fruits and vegetables? We think not...
Super Simple Squash Soup
After you’ve chopped the squash in half with a large knife, this is a good recipe for kids to help with—they can hide the garlic in the squash.
Recipe by Heidi Lewis
1 whole winter squash
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 cup onion, celery, and carrot (mirepoix), finely diced
32 ounces stock (chicken or vegetable)
Grated Parmesan cheese, to taste
Fresh parsley and oregano, chopped
- Heat oven to 400°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
- Trim off the top stem of the squash, then cut in half. Scoop out the seeds and pierce outer skin with a fork.
- Pour ½ tablespoon olive oil into each cavity and spread over cut side of squash.
- Place squash cut-side down on the parchment-covered baking sheet, and tuck garlic cloves (unpeeled!) into the cavity.
- Bake 45–60 minutes, until squash is fork tender. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
- In the meantime, heat remaining tablespoon of oil in soup pot and sauté mirepoix until just tender. Do not brown.
- Scoop cooked squash out of the skin and add to the pot with peeled garlic. Cover with stock, and heat to a low simmer.
- Blend soup with a hand or immersion blender, or transfer to a countertop blender and puree. Serve with a sprinkle of cheese and herbs.
Serves 6. Prep time, 20 minutes; cook time, 1 hour.
Pumpkin Pie Brûlée
Pumpkin pie holds a hallowed place in the spread of Thanksgiving desserts. But sometimes it needs a bit of a boost to hold its own against showier competitors. Adding a sweet, crackly top of caramelized sugar can move this old favorite back to the head of the table.
Recipe by Miriam Wolf, editor of The FruitGuys Magazine
1 crust for a 9-inch pie
1 3-pound pie pumpkin (or 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree)
3 large eggs
1½ cups half-and-half
½ cup sugar
⅓ cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
Pinch of ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup granulated sugar or raw turbinado sugar
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Slice pumpkin into chunks and scrape out seeds.
- Roast on a baking sheet in oven until flesh is very soft.
- When cool, scoop flesh out of rind and puree until smooth. Measure out 2 cups of puree.
- Roll out dough for crust and place in a 9-inch pie pan.
- Whisk eggs. Whisk in pumpkin puree, half-and-half, sugars, spices, and salt.
- Place pie crust in the 375°F oven and warm until hot to the touch. Pour pumpkin filling into crust and reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
- Bake 40 minutes, or until the filling is mostly set (the center should still be a bit wobbly). Do not overcook or the top will crack.
- Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Just before serving, sprinkle ¼ cup sugar over the top of the pie as evenly as possible. If using a kitchen torch, light torch and sweep back and forth across the top of the pie until sugar is melted and caramel-colored. If you don’t have a torch, place rack at top of oven and preheat broiler. Sprinkle sugar on pie and place under broiler. Watch very closely and remove as soon as sugar is melted and lightly browned (1–2 minutes).
Serves 6. Prep time, 20–40 minutes; cook time, 40 minutes.
Sweet and Spicy Fall Sweet Potato Salad
I adapted this recipe from Ox restaurant in Jersey City, NJ. It was one of the most popular dishes on the menu. Feel free to substitute butternut squash for the sweet potato, spinach for the arugula, or almonds for the walnuts. It’s a salad; mix it up!
Recipe by Sondra Weimar, FruitGuys alumna
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 bunches of arugula (one large box is fine)
½ cup dried cranberries
1 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
1–2 chipotle peppers, more if desired (canned is fine)
1 shallot, diced
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1 navel orange
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon oregano
½ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
- Heat oven to 400°F.
- In a large bowl, mix 3 tablespoons olive oil, mustard, salt, and oregano, then add sweet potatoes and coat lightly.
- Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes. Shake the pan to brown potatoes on all sides. Let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, put chipotle peppers, shallot, honey, vinegar, and orange juice in a blender. Add a dash of salt and pepper, then turn on, slowly adding about ½ cup olive oil until emulsified. Set aside.
- Combine sweet potatoes, arugula, nuts, and cranberries in a large bowl. Add dressing to taste and toss gently. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Serves 6 as a side dish. Prep time, 20 minutes; cook time, 25 minutes.
I’ve always hated canned cranberry sauce, but at a friend’s potluck one year, I encountered this sweet-tart relish: fresh cranberries chopped together with the juice and zest of an orange, freshly grated ginger, and minced shallot. It was divine!
Recipe by Gretchen Bay, creative services manager
1 (12-oz) bag fresh cranberries
1 navel orange
½ cup sugar
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
1 small shallot, chopped
½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- Finely grate 2 teaspoons orange zest.
- Cut away and discard peel and pith from orange; cut sections free from membranes.
- Pulse cranberries with zest, orange sections, sugar, cinnamon, shallot, and ginger in a food processor until coarsely chopped.
- Chill, covered, at least 2 hours to let flavors develop.
Serves 3–4 as a side dish. Prep time, 10–15 minutes; chill time, 2 hours.
When I left my family and moved from Chicago to Los Angeles, friends immediately became family, especially for Thanksgiving. This simple recipe from my friend Jocelyn requires just a few ingredients, with sweet carrots taking center stage.
Recipe by Debbie Gown, enterprise account executive
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1¼ cup of cream or half-and-half
Pinch of sugar
4 cups carrots, sliced and cooked soft
¼ cup honey
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
- Heat oven to 400°F.
- Mix the cornstarch with the cream.
- Butter a 9x9-inch baking dish and sprinkle with sugar.
- In a blender, combine carrots, salt, honey, cream, eggs, and melted butter until smooth. Pour into the baking dish.
- Bake for 45 minutes, careful to be very quiet while baking so that the soufflé may rise!
Serves 8. Prep time, 20 minutes; cook time, 45 minutes.
This recipe was initially an unwelcome addition to our Thanksgiving table. The large tray of orange mush was outside of our normal turkey, stuffing, and gravy routine, and everyone was skeptical—but it’s since become a family staple. Even the kids who won’t eat their vegetables will ask for second helpings of this sweet-and-savory squash pudding.
Recipe by Amanda Pineault, FruitGuys alumna
5 medium butternut squash
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes or fresh minced onion
4 tablespoons powdered milk
4 tablespoons Wondra flour
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 ounces diced bacon or vegetarian bacon bits (optional)
- Heat oven to 375°F.
- Remove stems before cutting each squash in half and scraping out the seeds.
- Place squash cut-side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, then turn cut-side up and continue roasting until fork tender, another 20–30 minutes or so, depending on the thickness of the squash.
- When cool enough to handle, peel the squash or scrape out the cooked flesh and mash it. Drain off any liquid that pools. You should have 8 cups of mashed squash (this can be done in advance).
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until smooth.
- Spread in a 9x13-inch (or similarly sized) baking dish and sprinkle with bacon bits, if using. Bake at 300°F for 1½ hours.
Serves 8. Prep time, 20 minutes; cook time, 2 hours.