Thanksgiving Sides - Start with the Salads

How many of you would be perfectly happy just enjoying all the side dishes of the Thanksgiving Day feast? I am one of those who makes more room on my plate for sides hoping to discover something new and delicious. During the month of November I am going to focus on sides. I hope one or two of these dishes will inspire you to try it and maybe make it to your holiday table this year.

This is going to look great on your Thanksgiving table.

This is going to look great on your Thanksgiving table.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Arugula, Goat Cheese and Pepitas

Prep: 30 minutes

Cook: 1 hour

Total: 1 hour, 30 minutes


1 small acorn squash (about 1 pound)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

A dash of smoked paprika

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1 teaspoon whole-grain Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon sugar

8 cups arugula

2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

2 tablespoons Sweet and Salty Pepitas, recipe follows

Sweet and Salty Pepitas

Vegetable oil, for the baking sheet

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup pepitas

1 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. For the acorn squash. Slice it crosswise into 1/2-inch rings. Remove and discard the pulp and seeds. Line a baking sheet and lay the squash rings on it. Drizzle with 1/4 cup of the oil; rubbing the oil over the surface of the rings on both sides. Combine the paprika salt and pepper in a small dish. Sprinkle over the squash rings and rub with your fingers to evening distribute. Roast for 20-40 minutes. Set aside.

  3. For the vinaigrette, whisk together the vinegar, shallot, mustard and sugar in a small bowl. Add the remaining 1/4 cup oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Toss the arugula with half of the dressing in a large salad bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss again. Arrange the greens on a serving platter, crumble the goat cheese on top, place the squash rings over the top and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Scatter the Sweet and Salty Pepitas over the squash and serve.

Recipe adapted from Valerie Bertinelli.

mary van hielFood