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2020 sure has been a wild ride. I don’t know about you, but I’m planning to really lean into the holidays this year as a form of distraction, comfort, and celebration amidst a less-than-celebratory year.  My holiday festivities will be much smaller than usual, so I’m taking the opportunity to test some new recipes and flavors, outside of the traditional fare. While roasted meats usually take center stage, it’s fruit and veg sides that I get most excited about!

When planning holiday meals, there are a few things I like to consider:

Bright and Bracing

While gravy, mashed potatoes, and mac n’ cheese are delicious, I like to include something bright and bracing to add variety to the table.

  • Radicchio is one of my favorite chicories, it adds a unique and delicious bitter note to recipes. This Tangy Cherry Brussels Sprouts Slaw would be a great way to add radicchio to the table, and save some oven real estate!
  • Everyone loves Butter Lettuce. This simple Pear and Celery Salad would be a refreshing welcome addition to my holiday table.
  • This seasonal Holiday Pomegranate Salsa fruit salad is a hit with kids and adults alike.

Fresh Flavors

I love traditional holiday flavors of thyme, sage, and rosemary, but this year I’m mixing things up!

  • Sticky, sweet, and vinegary agrodolce sauce would be delicious on any roasted vegetable, like butternut squash or Brussels sprouts.
  • Spice things up by adding thinly sliced red chili peppers to roasted veggies.
  • Or take a totally different approach by adding a bright and herby chimichurri sauce to your turkey this year!

Convenience

There are a few convenience products that I always use, especially during the holidays:

  • Canned pumpkin – One, and only one, time I made my own roasted and pureed pumpkin. It was fine, but didn’t feel worth the effort when canned pumpkin is so consistently delicious!
  • Delicata Squash – My absolute favorite squash is delicata, because it doesn’t require peeling! I love to roast it in slices, and I always leave the seeds for extra crunch, flavor, and texture.
  • Frozen pearl onions – Skip blanching and peeling all those tiny onions and buy frozen! They add so much great flavor to pot pies and absorb delicious flavor when cooked under roasted meat.

For many of us, holiday traditions involve food.  I hope that during this challenging year, you’re able to share a meal with the ones you love. And I hope it includes lots of delicious fruits and veggies!

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