This grain salad hits my favorite sweet, salty and spicy buttons. It would be right at home on a Thanksgiving table as a side dish that can also work as a vegetarian or vegan main dish. I could imagine a gluten free version of this with a wild rice blend in place of the farro. I love this with delicata squash and lacinato kale, but you could use any varieties of winter squash or kale you like. If you have trouble finding marcona almonds try substituting toasted pine nuts. I like roasting the squash and kale together on opposite ends of a half sheet pan and the leeks in a separate quarter sheet pan, which allows everything the space to roast without steaming and makes it easy to pull them out if one of the vegetables is done before the others. The pans also manage to fit side-by-side on the same rack in a standard oven, which is especially nice if you’re making this for Thanksgiving when oven space tends to be scarce. This is lovely warm or at room temperature. It can also be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated overnight, but it should be removed from the refrigerator and brought to room temperature before serving.
This is one of my favorite ways to eat quinoa and this is the kind of meal I like to eat all the time. The ginger scallion dressing really makes this dish come alive. I could imagine doing this with peas and asparagus and mushrooms and radishes when spring vegetables are in season. This is great either warm or at room temperature, and while I’d argue it loses a little something, it’s not bad cold either. If you use tamari, this dish is gluten free.
This simple side dish highlights the natural sweetness in carrots and fennel, which play particularly well together. They get cooked in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot in a few minutes (if you don't have one you could cook them in a covered pot over low heat for about 45 minutes). For the best results go with the best, freshest ricotta you can get your hands on or try making your own (it's easy). I like this alongside just about any protein, it also makes a lovely light vegetarian meal tossed with cooked farro.
This recipe comes together in about a half hour. The hardest part is chopping the squash. Use a sturdy, sharp chef's knife and thoroughly dry your hands to avoid slippage. I like to use squash like kabocha and red kuri, which have a slightly richer and nuttier flavor than more widely available winter squash—if you see some at the market snatch them up—but acorn or butternut squash works as well. I like to grate the garlic for this with a microplane , which turns it into a nearly smooth pulp, but you can also use a garlic press or mash it with salt and a knife. I get better yield when I juice limes with a squeezer like this. This is good warm or at room temperature. It holds up well as leftovers for a day or two, but should be gently reheated or brought to room temperature before serving.
This fennel and kale stuffing is crisp around the edges and soft in the middle.
It doesn't require any fancy bread—anything vaguely country-style or Italian bread will work. It gets flavor from olive oil, leeks, shallots, garlic and a generous amount of fennel seed.
I like to use Tuscan kale (also called lacinato or dinosaur kale) here because I love its tender texture, but curly kale works beautifully as well. The fennel gets soft and brings a welcome gentle note to the dish.