Heading into crisper weather, I start to crave the holiday classics that beg to be made this time of year. One of my favorites is stuffing (technically "dressing" since I haven't stuffed it in the turkey ever since Alton Brown talked me out of it over a decade ago when I read his recipe for roasted turkey). Seasoned cubes of dried bread sautéed with celery, onion, herbs and butter, then baked up to crispy-outside-soft-inside perfection?
Except ... My extended family has three vegetarians and my daughter is gluten-free. So my challenge was how to make a dish that scratches the stuffing itch for them without making it seem like the ugly duckling of the Thanksgiving table. The solution ended up being a roasted vegetable medley that I promise will be the most-requested recipe of your holiday. It is that good, and full of nutrients, too.
To make that happen, I rely on a mix of roasted vegetables for a caramelized sweetness that feels roasty and homey. And I add meaty mushrooms sautéed in garlic and the trifecta of holiday cooking herbs: rosemary, sage and thyme. A Granny Smith apple cut into tiny cubes brings just enough acid for depth, while a surprise little hero tucked into the recipe — toasted walnuts — adds texture, along with some nice healthy fats to fill up vegetarians who will be skipping the turkey.
Easy, healthy and satisfying. Your healthy or vegan or gluten-free guests will feel satisfied, not sidelined.
VEGGIE OVEN HASH
Start to finish: 40 minutes
2 1/2 cups (3/4 pound) cubed butternut squash (1-inch cubes)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 cups (1/3 pound) small cauliflower florets
2 cups (1/3 pound) small broccoli florets
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced (cut in half if slices are larger than bite-sized)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
Heat the oven to 400 F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with kitchen parchment or foil.
Mound the squash on one of the prepared baking sheets then drizzle with about 1 teaspoon of oil. Toss to coat, then season with salt and pepper. Arrange in an even layer, then roast until tender, 30 to 35 minutes, turning once or twice.
While the squash is roasting, mound the cauliflower and broccoli on the second sheet. Drizzle them with 2 teaspoons of oil, season with salt and pepper, then arrange in an even layer and roast for 25 minutes, turning halfway through, or until the cauliflower is golden. All of the vegetables should finish roasting around the same time. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, in a large saute pan over medium, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and celery and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms, then saute until the mushrooms are starting to get tender, about 7 minutes. Add the apple, thyme, rosemary and sage, then cook another 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender (but not floppy). Stir in the lemon juice, remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl.
Add the slightly cooled roasted vegetables and the toasted walnuts. Stir and adjust seasoning if needed.
Nutrition information per serving: 140 calories; 80 calories from fat (57 percent of total calories); 8 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 150 mg sodium; 16 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 6 g sugar; 4 g protein.
Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook, "Supermarket Healthy." http://www.melissadarabian.net