Veggie-centric meals highlight the best of the season's flavors. This vegetarian menu is no exception, with everything from sweet potato casserole to stuffed butternut squashes. Even the most dedicated of meat eaters will enjoy these plant-based dishes.
These Spinach-Artichoke Bites save 167 calories, 3.6g sat fat, and 393mg sodium per serving over traditional spinach-artichoke dip. Frozen artichoke hearts contain no added salt, unlike the canned variety, which may contain more than 300mg per half cup.
Crisp Autumn Serenade
This cocktail brings together the seasonal flavors of apples, pears, ginger, and maple. Bourbon gives it a bit of bite and backbone. (For a sweeter, richer version, you could use a dark rum, like Plantation Grande Reserve or El Dorado 5-year.) You'll make more of the tangy ginger-maple syrup than you need for the recipe; save the remaining syrup for other cocktails or to sweeten and spice up tea or mulled wine.
Sweet and Spicy Pumpkinseeds
Hulled pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas) are packed with protein, iron, heart healthy fats, and fiber. This spiced up version makes a delicious snack that delivers a slight sweetness with a subtle kick thanks to the chipotle chili powder and red pepper. For even more kick, add an extra 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper. Not just for snacks, these toasty seeds are delicious over yogurt, tossed into salads, sprinkled over whole grains (bonus crunch!), or stirred into your favorite homemade granola mix. Make a double batch and store in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days; these seeds are so good you'll never want to run out!
Honey Whole-Wheat Pull-Apart Rolls
These light and tender whole-grain rolls are everything we love about holiday breads: warm, nutty, and just barely sweetened with honey. Bake these light and tender whole-grain rolls ahead and freeze up to 1 month, or make the dough ahead and bake on the day: Punch down the risen dough to form a ball, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill 8 hours or overnight. Return to a bowl and let rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours before shaping.
Sweet Potato Casserole with Crunchy Oat Topping
This classic casserole often straddles the line between side and dessert (indeed, we've enjoyed the leftovers both ways). We dial down the sugar to steer the dish back to savory territory, and add a crunchy oat and nut topper for texture. A final drizzle of maple syrup just before serving gives the casserole a lovely sheen. While we call for a ricer in our master mashed potatoes, a potato masher is perfectly acceptable here since the spuds will be bound with an egg, topped, and baked. Chopped almonds or walnuts would be a delicious sub for the pecans.
Skillet Green Bean Casserole
We've shortened (and lightened) this holiday classic by bringing everything together in one pan and using the stovetop and broiler rather than baking.
Spiced Apple-Cranberry Sauce
A trio of warm spices takes this holiday staple out of candy-sweet territory and into the world of robust holiday condiments. The sauce is delicious to top off your holiday protein for the rest of the season. Apples counter the tartness of the cranberries and help the sauce thicken. No fine dice on the apples here; the rustic chunky look of the two fruits is what makes the sauce beautiful and enticing. If you’re feeling extra generous, double the batch and spoon into small jars for guests to take home.
Black Pepper and Herb Mashed Potatoes
Buttermilk adds an extra layer of creaminess to these herb-infused potatoes flecked with parsley, tarragon, and chives.
Acorn Squash with Pomegranate and Kale Tabbouleh
This is a fun dish to "carve" at the table, as each person gets one wedge to enjoy as a side dish. For an entrée take, give each person half a squash.
Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Pomegranate and Pine Nuts
For a bit of showmanship, bring the whole cauliflower to the table, and then "carve" and dress with the vinaigrette, pomegranate arils, pine nuts, and parsley.
Double-Crust Apple Pie
A double crust seals in the apples' natural juices as the pie bakes for full-on apple flavor. Tossing the apples with apple juice keeps them from browning as you peel and slice them, and it adds a boost of apple flavor.
Chocolate-Swirled Pumpkin Bundt
The earliest ways of preparing pumpkin were savory, but sweetened recipes, like the first pumpkin pies—baked in the pumpkin shell rather than in a pie crust. We've come a long way since then. In this recipe, we mix pumpkin with bittersweet chocolate for a flavor that is decidedly fall and perfect for seasonal entertaining. (We think it's great for breakfast too!)
Chai Carrot Pie
Staple spice-rack spices create all the depth of classic chai tea in this luscious, carrot-packed, whole-grain dessert. It's a cross between a play on pumpkin pie and carrot cake: The texture and flavor are reminiscent of the former, and the layers--cream cheese mixture on the bottom, spiced carrot filling on top--are inspired by the latter. To get a big head start, you can make and freeze the crust up to a week ahead. A combination of butter and shortening in the crust is ideal--butter for its rich flavor, and shortening to create a flaky texture. We recommend Earth Balance shortening (found with the other shortenings in large supermarkets or health-focused stores) because, unlike most other shortenings, it contains no trans fats.