Caramelized Leek and Spinach Dip
Beautifully caramelized leeks and onions cannot be rushed; resist the urge to crank up the heat. Leeks become especially silky and sweet when left to cook awhile. If they start to stick to the bottom of the pan, add a tablespoon or two of water, and stir (the liquid will evaporate during cooking). Instead of bread or crackers, serve the dip with an array of vegetables, such as baby carrots, endive leaves, radishes, diagonally sliced cucumber, and mini sweet bell peppers for a bit of freshness, color, and crunch. You'll also save calories and room for the rest of the meal.
Millet Cream Tarator Dip
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Veg cookbook introduced me to Turkish tarator dip. I was smitten with the creamy combo of walnuts, breadcrumbs, garlic, and olive oil. In place of bread, I use Millet Cream, which works fantastically. Be sure to show this dip some respect by serving it with interesting crudités (I have a thing about boring crudités). Try any combo of multicolored radishes and baby carrots, baby cucumbers, blanched sugar snap peas, golden beet slices, and fennel strips.
Broiled Shrimp with Buttermilk Rémoulade
If preboiled shrimp and cocktail sauce is a standard starter at your holiday gathering, try these quick broiled shrimp with a spicy rémoulade dipping sauce—a homemade alternative that takes minutes, tastes much better, and is much lower in sodium. Like cocktail sauce, the rémoulade gets a pungent kick from prepared horseradish, though you could also try Creole mustard. We leave the tails on the shrimp for easy handling. Keep a small bowl next to the serving plate for discarded shrimp tails.
Sherry-Cava Citrus Fizz
Simplify the liquor shopping list: Skip setting up a full bar and instead offer a signature cocktail featuring just one or two types of spirits or wine. Make this punch up to 4 hours ahead, but wait to add the cava until just before serving.
Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
Chef Jonathan Waxman taught Cooking Light Editor Hunter Lewis how to make this fall salad many years ago. Riff with the ingredients to find the flavor balance you prefer. With a zing of fresh citrus to cut through the acidity, this crunchy winter salad is the perfect light addition to your holiday spread.
For a vegan version, omit the parmesan.
Sheet Pan Roasted Vegetables
Opt for simply roasted veggies in place of rich and creamy casseroles and loaded potato dishes brimming with fat and calories. This mix of colorful root vegetables may be your star side. Peeled, prechopped butternut squash saves time, but pieces tend to be irregular and small—we prefer peeling and cubing it yourself. A simple mixture of olive oil, whole-grain mustard, apple cider vinegar, thyme, salt, and pepper dresses these vegetables up for the occasion.
Smoky Spatchcocked Turkey
Grill a spatchcocked turkey for a smoky, robust bird that's ready in half the time. We remove the backbone and roast the turkey flat so that every part has access to the heat at the same time. The turkey won't have grill marks (it cooks flesh side up over indirect heat) but will absorb that chargrilled flavor. A smoky spice rub of paprika and ancho chile powder seems fitting for the grill, but you could use any spice combo or minced fresh herbs combined with a couple of tablespoons oil.
Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Maple Gastrique
The gastrique, a tangy-sweet glaze, is Thanksgiving worthy but also simple enough to pull off on a weekday.
Asparagus with Crispy Pancetta
Dress up plain asparagus by sprinkling with pancetta, often referred to as Canadian bacon, and seasoning with pepper and lemon juice for a fresh taste.
Roasted Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
Cheesy Sorghum and Shaved Squash Pilaf
Long, slender ribbons of butternut squash make for a beautiful and unusual presentation; just be gentle when stirring so you don't break all those gorgeous pieces. Try to grab a squash with a long neck—that straight surface works best for ribboning. If you can't find sorghum, you can use farro.
Mushroom and Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto
While old-school stovetop-stirred risotto is undeniably delicious, the pressure cooker also delivers astonishingly good results: perfectly creamy, al dente risotto without constant stirring.
Roasted Cranberries and Grapes with Rosemary
Grapes, rosemary, and cinnamon elevate traditional cranberry sauce in an unexpectedly delicious way. Simply combine all ingredients on a jelly-roll pan and let the broiler do its magic. We recommend black grapes for their sturdier skins, but you can substitute red grapes if necessary.
The texture of this cake is ethereal—it’s moist and airy, yet filled with rich flavor from the macadamia nuts and almond flour. Keep in mind, if you use our formula for homemade almond flour, you won’t have a gluten-free product. If you want a gluten-free option you can purchase store-bought almond flour—just check the label to make sure the only ingredient listed is almonds. Cool this cake thoroughly before slicing for the best results. This cake will keep for 2 to 3 days, but the sugary crust won’t last more than a day. If you want to substitute hazelnut flour, you can, with similarly spectacular results.
Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt
Greek yogurt and cream cheese come together to create that same, luscious texture of your favorite store-bought frozen yogurt. With a seasonal pumpkin flare, this low calorie dessert is just the treat that you'll want to cozy up to on a crisp fall night. Top with nuts, cinnamon, and dark chocolate for an extra kick that blends beautifully with the flavors of pumpkin spice. If you are not planning on serving immediately, keep it in the fridge and then throw it in the freezer 1 to 2 hours before you are ready to serve it.