How to Bring Beans and Greens to the Table This Thanksgiving
Starch is king on Thanksgiving, a great reason to include welcome relief with crisp-tender green beans, vibrant salads, and bumpy, leafy greens like lacinato kale. Quickly make the charred green beans and the citrus and fennel salad at the last minute; the casserole and the braised greens can be made ahead and reheated just before serving.
This salad is a feast for the eyes, and a welcome relief from the brown and gold tones on the Thanksgiving table. Sweet-tart blood oranges and a honey vinaigrette offset the bitter edge of the endive and radicchio (you can also use milder romaine lettuce hearts). If you can’t find blood oranges, try ruby red grapefruit or pretty pink Cara Cara oranges.
This dish takes its cues from classic creamed spinach and raises the bar with braised mixed greens, whole-grain farro, and a crisp panko crust. Hearty yet not heavy, and gorgeous straight out of the oven, this is the kind of side that looks and feels holiday special. Swiss chard and dark, bumpy lacinato kale both wilt down fairly quickly; their texture and vibrancy will stand out once combined with the creamy three-cheese sauce. The farro can be cooked, drained, and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week before Thanksgiving.
Once simmered in milk and pureed, cauliflower transforms into a silky, luscious cream sauce—a dead ringer for the classic yet with a much better profile, saving nearly 500mg sodium and 4g fat per serving. We intensify the mushroom presence by using meaty cremini and shiitake mushrooms and roasting them first to cook out the excess liquid. If you can’t find shiitakes, use 2 (8-oz.) packages of cremini mushrooms. Skip the fried onions and use torn whole-wheat bread for a rustic, crunchy topper.
Let the broiler do all the work, and enjoy the reward: crisp-tender green beans with a kiss of smoky char, juicy tomatoes, and a mellow roasted garlic sauce. Look for slender haricots verts (French green beans) in the prepared produce section of the supermarket. You can also use regular green beans, broiling a minute or two longer as needed. Follow the advice of our Test Kitchen experts and pile the leftovers onto a sandwich, or create a turkey Niçoise platter with the green beans, sliced roasted turkey, roasted potatoes, sliced olives, and a quick vinaigrette.