Turkey is often considered the central dish come Thanksgiving, but there’s plenty opportunity to feature some vegetarian dishes, too, thanks to an abundance of fall produce—and we’re not just talking about pumpkins. These three chefs share some delicious vegetarian dishes that can work as appetizers, entrees or as a salad side.
Born in Scotland, Chef Cameron Grant developed a love of good food from his mom, and over the past 15 years, he’s worked in a variety of Italian restaurants, including staging at La Ciau de Tornavento and running his own restaurant, Osteria Langhe, in the heart of Piedmont. In his Logan Square restaurant today, he brings modern Italian cuisine to Chicago, including dishes such as this vegetarian crepe, which serves six.
- 2 eggs
- 6 ounces flour
- 1 pinched salt
- 1 T melted butter
- 1 large butternut squash- cut in half lengthwise
- ½ handful arugula
- 1 whole leek, cleaned and diced small
- 2 pinches red pepper flakes
- 1 pint cream
- 1 cup grana padano parmesan
- 1 pinch parsley, minced
- ½ cup homemade granola
- 1 pinch curry powder
- Start by creating the butternut puree. Cut one large butternut squash in half lengthwise, and then scoop out all the seeds. Season the squash with salt, pepper, and finish by drizzling with olive oil.
- Bake the squash in a 350-degree oven until it softens. This will take about an hour.
- After it’s done cooking, scrape out the flesh, blend in the blender, and add a pinch of the curry powder. Also add some hot water or cream into the blender, to taste and as needed.
- Fill the crepes each with three tablespoons of butternut puree.
- To each crepe, add 1/2 a handful of arugula, and fold over.
- Next, saute 1 tablespoon of butter as well as 1 whole leek and 2 pinches red pepper flake. After adding a pint of cream, reduce the heat by a third.
- To this mixture, add a cup of grated parmesan cheese, and allow it to reduce a little.
- Garnish with a pinch of minced parsley and 1/2 cup of homemade granola. Enjoy!
Delicata Rye Berry Salad
Following experience in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as well as the Michelin-rated restaurant Aqua in California, Chef Greg Bastien moved to Chicago where he took a number of stage positions including two years at Avec. In the kitchen at the Winchester, he uses the highest-quality local ingredients, including in this dish that’s a veritable cornucopia of autumnal vegetarian ingredients.
Of the dish, Chef Bastien says, “The squash is first portioned and cleaned, then essentially steamed in a potent broth of cider vinegar, honey, fresh ginger, fall spices, and vanilla beans. The flavor of the broth cooks into the squash as liquid from the delicata seeps into the broth. (The broth becomes the base for the vinaigrette that dresses the grain salad. Steaming it in this way softens the exterior to the point that it is fully edible while contributing a fair amount of texture to the dish). The creamy delicate flesh, the firmer skin, delightfully chewy rye berries, buttery radish and mushroom, crispy pumpkin seeds, fresh arugula all dressed in the cider honey broth and topped with a perfectly slow cooked egg make for a perfect fall dish.”
Ingredients for the Delicata
- 8 cloves
- 8 cardamom
- 6 allspice
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 bay leaf
- 1 Tbsp juniper
- 1 Tbsp pink peppercorn
- 1.5 cups honey
- 3 cups cider vin
- 1 cup water
- 3 oz fresh ginger
- 4 vanilla bean, cut and scraped
Ingredients for the salad
- 1/2 cup cooked baker miller rye berries
- 1/4 cup mushrooms, cooked in brown butter, garlic, fresh thyme, lemon juice.
- 1/4 cup radish poached in whole butter
- 2 Tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup fresh arugula
- 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan
- 2 Tbsp squash liquid
- 2 Tbsp grape seed oil
- Start by making the delicata. Bring all the delicata ingredients to a boil.
- Pour over 3 delicata squash, which have already been halved and cleaned.
- Cover the delicata tightly with plastic wrap and then tin foil.
- Cook at 350F for one hour.
- After you’ve removed the squash from the oven, strain the liquid and reserve one cup for the vinaigrette. The remaining liquid can be used to reheat the squash later.
- Next, assemble the salad ingredients.
- Top with slow cooked (or poached) egg.
Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Croquettes
The Michelin-rated restaurant Sepia has been helmed by Chef Andrew Zimmerman since 2009; Chef Zimmerman has also received numerous James Beard award nominations. These recognitions are due to his delicious and modern combinations of food. These dishes – while award-winning — are also accessible, and can be made in a home kitchen, such as this croquette dish. The chef recommends serving these rather than rolls or bread this Thanksgiving. The recipe will yield about 5 dozen.
- 6 Tbsp. butter
- 1 ¾ cups a.p. flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- ¼ lb. Fresh goat cheese
- ¾ cup diced pumpkin or butternut squash
- Pinch grated nutmeg
- 3eggs, beaten
- 2 cups dry breadcrumbs
- Start by lining a pan with plastic wrap.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan. To the pan add ¾ cup of flour and stir to make a blond roux.
- Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil while whisking constantly to avoid any lumps. Continue to cook until it thickens.
- Reduce the heat and whisk in the goat cheese, stirring until the cheese is completely melted.
- Sauté the squash pieces in a touch of olive oil until just beginning to get tender. (Be careful not to over cook).
- Fold the squash into the goat cheese mixture.
- Taste and add the nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
- Pour the mixture into the plastic wrap lined pan and smooth it to level.
- Chill the mixture in the freezer until firm but still soft enough to cut (which will be about three hours).
- Set up a standard breading mis-en-place with the remaining flour, eggs, and the breadcrumbs.
- Invert the croquette mixture onto a cutting board and cut into 1 ½” cubes.
- Working in small batches and keeping the rest cold, bread the croquettes.
- Keep refrigerated until ready to fry.
- Bread the croquettas by first tossing them in the remaining flour, then the beaten eggs and then finally the bread crumbs. Fry in a large pot of oil heated to 350 degrees on a fry thermometer. Cook for about 3 minutes and drain on paper toweling.
Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not blogging about food, she’s working part-time at a culinary vacation company, The International Kitchen, based in the Windy City, as well as repping Younique cosmetics and skincare products. Some of her writing can be found at Examiner.com.