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Food The Bite:

Favorite Thanksgiving Sides

Photography by Johnny Miller

Thanksgiving is a beloved holiday for more than one reason. On this day, we set aside time to gather with loved ones and share a moment of gratitude for all we have. We also get to indulge in arguably the most delicious and decadent meal of the year! Ahead of the holiday, I wanted to share with you a few recipes from Cook Beautiful that are perfect additions to your Thanksgiving festivities, including a hearty farro salad, winter vegetables roasted to perfection, tangy brussel sprouts, and creamy cauliflower soup — YUM! Happy cooking!

Roasted beets live in my fridge all winter long.

I cook up a big bunch and then use them for salads, sides, and grain bowls over the course of a week or so. This dish is a particular favorite. The blood orange not only mirrors the red and golden hues of the beets, it offsets their earthiness with a bright acidity. Here, I serve the combo on a bed of Greek yogurt, but fresh ricotta is equally delicious. If you have time, it’s nice to drizzle the toasted hazelnuts with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Nuts often get shortchanged in the seasoning department!

Peek inside my oven

around six p.m. on any winter evening and you’ll likely find a big tray of vegetables roasting away. This particular combination is a favorite in my family, bringing together savory caramelized root vegetables with the swoony sweetness of apples and shallots. There’s no tricky technique involved here; just make sure to use enough oil and give the ingredients a little room to breathe in the pan. Overcrowded veg will never brown properly.

I am obsessed with delicata squash, plain and simple—and I do mean simple.

Thanks to their tender, edible skin, prepping them is beyond easy: Just slice, scoop the seeds, and the squash rings are ready for the oven. The flesh of the delicata— which is harvested for just a few weeks in early September—is creamy and sweet, making it ideal for roasting. Once golden and caramelized, the rounds are delicious straight up, but doused with this agrodolce reduction, they’re downright addictive. The syrupy sauce melds chile, honey, lime, and vinegar for a sweet, spicy, tangy flavor profile that both adults and children go crazy for.

When I was a kid,

my mom’s pureed broccoli soup was my number one cool-weather craving. My son has clearly inherited some of my taste buds—he’s obsessed with this similarly creamy cauliflower version. This soup combines sweet roasted florets with buttery Yukon Gold potatoes and an aromatic trifecta of leeks, garlic, and thyme. The key, when pureeing, is to add liquid just a little at a time. If the soup becomes too watery, there’s no turning back. And to avoid a cauliflower volcano, remember to remove the center insert of your blender and cover the hole with a kitchen towel so steam can escape.When it comes to toppings, you’ve got some options. The nut, seed, and spice mixture known as dukkah adds wonderful crunch, but I also love the brightness of lemony watercress-pistachio pesto, which cuts through the heavier flavors. Use both, as I have done here, or choose just one.

A limp sprout is a big bummer, as far as I’m concerned.

But it’s easy to avoid that sorry fate if you know this secret: It’s all about dry, room-temperature sprouts and a big, hot pan. If the temperature of the pan is too low, the sprouts too cold or damp, or the skillet too crowded, the little suckers will never get really crispy. This recipe lays it all out for you. Follow it precisely, and you’ll end up with a stellar winter side dish—crunchy, smoky, sweet, tangy, and delicious.

I love me a farro salad!

The hearty grain is an amazing base for all sorts of veggie combinations and it’s super convenient to work with since you can cook it several days ahead. I tend to follow a loose formula: farro plus roasted veggies, a bright herb, a crunchy nut or seed, some creamy cheese, and a zingy dressing. Here, sweet potatoes and red onions caramelize gor-geously in the oven, while the earthy goat cheese and zippy vinaigrette balance out the sweetness. Feel free to play—roasted beets or winter squash would be lovely, as would hazelnuts, almonds, or feta.

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