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Your VRDNT Holiday Menu

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

Thanksgiving is next week, and if you’re reading this chances are you and yours will be lucky enough to enjoy some fresh (and therefore, DELICIOUS!) VRDNT vegetables at the table.

Incorporating seasonal produce into a menu that, for some, has been cemented in the familial catechism for decades isn’t always straightforward. For some, sweet potatoes must be in marshmallowy-casserole form, and green beans adorned with Frenche’s fried onions. In our family, a table is naked without our (long deceased) Mimi’s cornbread dressing. I’m 99% sure my mom nor aunt will ever see this, and it’s only with this veil of protection that I’ll go ahead and say it - this cornbread dressing isn’t good. It’s bland, sometimes dry (depending on the chef), and ruthlessly textureless. If I’m around when it’s being prepared, I’ll pick fresh steaming crumbles of buttery cornbread from the mixing bowl before it all gets pulverized into a mistake. Why not just serve the cornbread? For the matriarchs in my family, it’s not a holiday meal without this dish. Will I still put a jiggly cube of this on my plate come Thanksgiving? But of course.

Sweet Potato Pie and Sister Amelia Broussard
My sister, Amelia, picking a VRDNT potato for Sweet Potato Pie. Pie pic by the talented Taco Pic.jpg Maite Aizpurua.

Maybe your family is more lax, enthusiastically trying new recipes every year untethered by the fear of Nana’s side-eye. (This mac and cheese parody my mother-in-law sent me on Instagram made me laugh. Here is some Thanksgiving potato salad drama, too. ) One of my chef-friends said that each Thanksgiving her family chooses a different country and cooks an entire feast based on that cuisine; this year they’re headed to Greece eating platters of keftedes and trays of homemade spanakopita. If your family is like this, this is cool for you.

The elders in my family say they don’t care. They put on a lassie-faire attitude reminding us that the most important thing is just that we’re together. But on a phone call last night my mom, who is traveling from Louisiana to Texas where I’ll be hosting, she asked if there will be cornbread dressing. There were no cornbread dressing plans, of course. My husband's family is team stuffing - something that we never once had growing up. Not shockingly, my mom said that, in addition to the other treats she’s schlepping from LA, “well maybe she’ll bring some cornbread dressing”. When family members text to ask what they can bring, I tell them what’s already coming and say “Feel free to bring anything that is missing that feels like Thanksgiving to you. Or I can assign something if that’s easier!” Ball is in your court.

I’m taking on the sweet potatoes and green beans this year, as well as a big salad and maybe a sweet potato pie. Our plates won’t be a complete rebellion against the stalwarts everyone is expecting, but my sweet potatoes won’t have marshmallows, and my green beans might even have some chili flakes on them. I’m also making this Leek and Greens Gratin recipe which was recommended to me by friend Haley as something easy and crowd-pleasing. A little VRDNT birdie told me exactly what will be in next week’s Thanksgiving shares, and the recipe suggestions below are based on the VRDNT veggies lovingly picked and headed your way next week, as well as items from this week’s CSA that will hold until next. Until next time, Ada


The rub with “traditional” Thanksgiving menus is that the plate is wildly lacking of 1)texture and 2)acidity. A big bowl of beautiful VRDNT greens dressed with a light vinaigrette is the perfect foil to all that richness. And is there anything better than locally-grown lettuce? It truly tastes like something, something very delicious and nearly addictive. A salad comprised of VRDNT greens really won’t compare to any box or bag or head of lettuce you’ll buy in the grocery store which has traveled thousands of miles to get to you. Arugula, spicy and grassy, is a welcome addition to any other salad mix.

KEEP IT SIMPLE: Green Salad Vinaigrette

Texas Grown Lettuce
With greens this beautiful and fresh, and simple vinaigrette is all you need!

Sweet Potatoes:

Sweet potatoes are so good, without much fuss. Last year I picked the smallest sweet potatoes I could find at the grocery store, and served them baked, split open, brushed with butter with a dollop of creme freshe, a couple pecans, and green onions… as well as salad and a bit of pepper. They were delicious. If you’re working with larger potatoes, you can cut them into quarters after they’re roasted.

SWEET Potatoes Desserts: Sweet potato pie (my favorite!)

Sometimes it's best to keep it simple.

Butternut Squash:

Butternut Squash Dessert: Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Pudding


Potatoes are a spring crop. Why not substitute with creamy turnips?


Incorporating fresh herbs, everywhere, on your Thanksgiving table, is one easy and effective way to bring in some freshness. I’m a parsley gal, and nearly any casserole I make gets mixed, and then topped, with finely chopped fresh parsley. A handful of loosely chopped parsley, scallions, dill, or cilantro is a great addition to literally any type of salad. As an companion to sugary cranberry sauce, why not make a lemony herb sauce for the turkey, too. A Rustic Scallion & Chive Panade


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