Can you imagine Thanksgiving without butternut squash on the table? Perhaps because it's creamy, and perhaps because it's orange, butternut squash always finds its way onto my holiday menu, whether as a vegetarian main dish, a side dish, in soup or salad, or in pie.
As you put the finishing touches on your own holiday menu, consider some of these favorites from The Perfect Pantry's kitchen.
Start your meal with soup, as we love to do. Curried squash and apple soup (top photo) can be made ahead, which is a plus for the cook, and brings apples to the table right at the start. An alternative, if your family doesn't love curry, could be this squash, sweet potato and carrot soup.
Another great soup option, Three Sisters soup, sets a more traditional tone with a combination of squash, beans and corn. It's a vegan and gluten-free soup that is hardy enough to be a meatless main course, and it's a great make-ahead-and-freeze option.
Grains definitely have a place at the holiday table. I love farro with butternut squash and pears, dried cranberries and a touch of feta cheese (optional). The squash adds a creamy sweetness to this wonderful side dish. If you can't find farro, use barley instead.
Another fun grain option is this polenta, squash and cheese loaf. Make it ahead, and cut it into squares for serving.
One of the prettiest side dishes I've ever served for the holidays, this roasted winter squash with cranberries, pepitas, and honey-lime vinaigrette will add some wow to the table, both for color and flavor. It's easy to make and tastes best at room temperature.
Want to try something completely different? This slow cooker Indian spiced butternut squash won't take any stove or oven space, and it will add a whole lots of interest to the often bland holiday side dish selection. The slow cooker makes it easy, and you can make it a few days ahead and reheat.
Have you ever tried raw butternut squash? This side raw beet, butternut and pecan slaw makes a dramatic presentation, and adds unexpected crunch to a meal that can be overly soft (think of all the mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, and mashed squash).
Finally, there's a reason this butternut squash and chickpea stew has been one of the most popular recipes on The Perfect Pantry, as well as on our Thanksgiving table. On its own, this versatile vegan dish makes a great side, but add some couscous or rice and it morphs into a meatless main dish for those who don't eat turkey.
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