OK, so truly we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Europe.
But I’ve always sort of envied this wonderful holiday, with the family dinners and amazing food and dietary regrets the day after. I actually wrote about Thanksgiving way back when I was new to blogging and made Sam Sifton‘s Classic Apple Pie recipe.
Brani and I talk about doing a small celebration every year, but so far we never followed through with it. First of all, it’s really hard to get our families together on a random Thursday when everyone has school or work the next day.
And also, it’s kind of hard to get people excited about turkey and pumpkin pie around here. I seriously wish I was kidding, but it is what it is.
The only time we had some sort of Thanksgiving-ish dinner was actually the year we first met. Thanksgiving was on my mom’s birthday and I made my poor new boyfriend cook an entire dinner for her with me. Because you know, needed to show off his chef skills!
I even made a pumpkin pie and we had goose legs. Which is almost turkey, right?
But this year we promised each other to have a teeny-tiny Thanksgiving celebration with just our small family. Of course, the day will start with simple pumpkin waffles, there’s no way around it. And for dinner there will probably be turkey legs and a small apple pie, alongside some roasted vegetables and the salad of all salads.
I strongly suggest you add this harvest wild rice salad to your Thanksgiving side dish rotation as well, because:
You can prep ahead!
And what’s more valuable than prep work on a big holiday?!
Roast the pumpkin the day before and store it in an airtight container in the fridge once it has cooled. Make the dressing in a small lidded jar and keep that in the fridge as well for up to two days. And while you’re at it, get the pomegranate seeds ready and into the fridge as well.
Then the day of, all you have to do is cook the rice (I don’t like to keep cooked rice because it’s easily contaminated), chop some arugula and assemble your salad.
You can customize it!
When I make grain salads, I basically always follow the same principle. So you can totally make this your own!
Use butternut squash or sweet potato instead of the pumpkin. Kale instead of arugula. Blue cheese in place of the feta. Dried cranberries vs pomegranate.
Absolutely up to you.
You can scale up or down!
This is a recipe that works just as well for a large group as it does for a tiny celebration.
You can easily halve the recipe to serve one or two people. Or double, triple, quadruple… To serve a crowd.
And if I haven’t convinced you enough by now, let me just tell you this: This recipe is as easy as they come. And yet, arranged on a platter, it looks so pretty and impressive. Almost like a centerpiece!
Just what your Thanksgiving needs!
For the Roasted Pumpkin:
- 1 pound pumpkin flesh, cubed
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground sage, optional
- black pepper
For the Dressing:
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon mustard, heaping
- salt and pepper, to taste
For the Salad:
- 1 cup wild rice mix
- 3 cups chopped arugula
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- 5 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- Preheat the oven to 430°F. Toss the pumpkin in a large metal roasting pan with the oil, salt, sage powder and black pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until soft and starting to brown.
- To make the dressing, whisk or shake all ingredients together. Store in the fridge, covered, until ready to use or for up to two days.
- To assemble the salad, cook the wild rice mix according to package directions. Allow to cool before adding the remaining ingredients.
- Once the rice has cooled down, toss it with the arugula, pomegranate seeds, feta crumbles, roasted pumpkin and the dressing. Serve immediately (if you need to assemble ahead of time, do so without the arugula and add that right before serving).
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