Gallery: The Best In-Season Veggies to Buy for Thanksgiving Dinner at Y...

photo © Jessica Dailey for Inhabitat

Sweet Potatoes

A classic on every Thanksgiving table, sweet potatoes usually get sweetened beyond edibility into some type of gooey marshmallow blob. This year, keep the sweet potatoes' integrity by preparing the spuds in a more refined way. After all, the bright orange roots are packed with beta-carotene and can be a very healthy side if you go light on the butter and sugar. Nearly every Greenmarket vendor was stocked to the max with sweet potatoes, so pick up a couple pounds and whip them into this creamy, vegan-friendly twist on mashed potatoes or chop them up and roasted them with a drizzling of maple syrup.


Beets are one of the healthiest vegetables out there, but they can inspire a different breed of vegetable-hatred. With a few simple tips, you can transform these earthy bulbs into a delectable dish that even the surest beet-hater will love (we’re speaking from experience, here!). While beets are available year-round, they reach their peak freshness during the fall. Roast the beets whole to bring out their unique sweetness, then chop them up and enjoy them in a fresh spinach salad. Or highlight the whole beet by sautéing the greens with garlic and tossing with the chopped roasted bulbs and crumbled goat cheese.


Given the dozens of different types of squash available at most city markets, it may a little silly to lump them all together. But for the sake of simplicity, we only picked up our favorites: butternut and acorn, both of which are sweeter winter squashes that are rich in vitamins. Our favorite way to cook butternut squash is in pastas, as it adds a nutty, creamy flavor – this butternut squash mac and cheese recipe is amazing and makes an awesome main course for vegetarians. For acorn squash, we love to preserve their beautiful shape by simply slicing off the top, seasoning the inside with butter and spices, and baking until the squash can be easily mashed. Use cinnamon and brown sugar for a sweeter side, and swap the butter for faux-butter or olive oil to make it vegan.


While Tropical Storm Irene completely ruined crops for many farmers (and gave us a pumpkin shortage!), the heavy rains were a godsend for mushroom growers. Normally exotic mushrooms can be a bit pricey, but the bounty has helped level the cost, making it the perfect time to showcase one of our region’s most underrated delights. Add roasted oyster or crimini mushrooms to your standard roasted potatoes for a dressed-up side, or let the mushrooms take center stage with a quick saute.


Kale is in-season through mid-winter, and our favorite farm stand literally had a mound of beautiful, leafy kale for sale at this week’s market. The dark hearty greens are possibly one of the best vegetables you could eat since it’s full of vitamins K, A, and C, plus magnesium, fiber and much more. Our go-to way for preparing kale is to simply sauté it with some garlic and olive oil, and for a fancier, deeper flavor, we like to add a bit of smoked paprika. If you’ve already got too many pots on the stove, toss the leaves with oil and garlic and roast it in the oven.


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  1. jameswilson November 26, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Eat you vegetables children..Brussels sprouts are “brain-food,” which I need a few tons of…daily. Today, when I think of Brussels sprouts, I think of the movie with Elaine May and Walter Matthau; “A New Leaf”.
    I also think, nay.. “feel” of the way my wife prepared them. She did some kind of a sauce and a glaze. Our Thanksgiving table, back in the very old days, had at least a dozen vegetables on the table and side-board.

  2. JennaK November 19, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Support your local farmers by purchasing locally resourced foods. Farmers markets and community supported agriculture groups are a great place to find fresh and wonderful foods.