Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving away from family or planning a special pre-holiday gathering, “Friendsgiving” is one of our favorite things about November. It’s a chance to do things a little differently – there’s no need to stick to the old turkey and stuffing routine. The key to hosting a successful Friendsgiving dinner is choosing recipes that can be prepped in advance, made with little effort, and are a simple twist on a popular recipe. When the menu is easy, that means you get to enjoy your company instead of fussing over the stove. We teamed up with Whole Foods Market to round up our favorite recipes best-suited to Friendsgiving, so you can add a new dish or two to your repertoire.

The Best Deviled Eggs
by Kat Johnson

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These eggs are such a crowd-pleaser and can be made well ahead of time (just garnish at the last minute). Plus, I love any reason to use my deviled egg serving plate, my favorite antique store find!

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 6 tbsp mayonnaise (If you have a food processor, make your own. If not, I recommend Sir Kensingtons Classic.)
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 tsp Sriracha
  • TT salt
  • TT freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • Paprika, for garnish
  1. Hard-boil the eggs; cool, peel, and halve them. (Peel the eggs under cold running water to make easy work of it!)
  2. Carefully scoop out the yolks and put them into a mixing bowl. Reserve the whites.
  3. Combine the egg yolks, mayonnaise, and Sriracha. Season well with salt and pepper, then mix well until the yolks are broken up and the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  4. Evenly pipe or spoon the yolk mixture into the reserved egg white halves. Dust lightly with paprika and top with chopped cilantro leaves.

 

Butternut Squash & Tahini Spread
adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s, Jerusalem: A Cookbook
by Hannah Fordin

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This recipe is a little non-traditional for Thanksgiving, but the butternut squash and tahini combo makes a perfect fall pairing! It serves 6-8 people, but can easily be scaled up for a larger crowd.

  • 1 large butternut squash (about 2.5 lb), peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 5 tbsp Once Again Organic Tahini
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt (I used about 50/50 labneh and conventional yogurt)
  • 2 small crushed cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp mixed black and white sesame seeds (I just used white, but mixed makes a beautiful presentation)
  • 1 1/2 tsp molasses
  • 1 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • salt to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spread the squash out in a medium sized casserole dish with a lid. Pour over the olive oil and sprinkle on the cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Toss together so that the squash gets equally coated in olive oil and seasoning. Cover and roast in the oven for 70 minutes, stirring once during baking to prevent anything from sticking to the baking dish. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  3. Transfer the squash to a food processor, along with the tahini, yogurt, and garlic. Roughly pulse so that everything is combined into a coarse paste, without the spread becoming smooth; you can also do this by hand using a fork or a potato masher.
  4. Spread the butternut in a wavy pattern into a shallow bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds, drizzle the molasses and maple syrup and serve with flatbread, or toast. A perfect Thanksgiving appetizer while the turkey (inevitably) takes some extra time to finish in the oven.

 

Vermonty Cranberry Sauce
by Jordan Werner Barry

Jordan is our resident cider nerd and a wealth of Vermont knowledge. This cranberry sauce recipe gets its edge from pure Vermont maple syrup – one of our favorite fall flavors.

  • 4 cups fresh Vermont cranberries (or Ocean Spray Fresh Cranberries if you can’t get to Vermont)
  • 1 cup red wine (whatever you have open!)
  • 1 cup Vermont maple syrup (Dark Amber)
  • TT Orange zest
  • TT fresh rosemary
  • TT cinnamon
  • TT allspice
  1. Put all ingredients in a sauce pan, bring to boil. Lower to a simmer, cook for 10-15 minutes or until most of the cranberries have burst open.
  2. Chill and serve.

 

Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries
by Micaela Heck

Save a few of those cranberries from Jordan’s recipe to dress up Michaela’s Brussels sprouts recipe for the holidays!

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (Feelin’ fancy? Pick up a can of Frank’s EVOO, which is harvested in Sicily!)
  • 2 lbs of Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  1. Toast walnuts over medium heat in a dry skillet for about 5 minutes (or until they start smelling good), tossing as they toast
  2. Remove walnuts, and add olive oil to the pan (don’t clean it!) and heat until it shimmers. Then add Brussels sprouts, onion, nutmeg, salt, and pepper, cooking until the Brussels are slightly wilted.
  3. Remove from heat, and add to a bowl, adding the cranberries and toasted walnuts. Serve!

 

Buttery Braised Leeks
by Caity Moseman Wadler

This is a super easy and delicious recipe that will be a go-to side dish for years to come. Makes 8 servings.

  • 8-10 leeks
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock (It’s super easy to make and freeze your own stock for instances like this… or you can always grab a carton of 365 organic stock from Whole Foods Market if you’re short on time!)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  1. Trim dark green leaves from leeks and cut off root end. Quarter leeks lengthwise, leaving 1 inch at the base to hold everything together. Pat dry.
  2. Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat, add leeks, and sauté for a few minutes until brightened in color and slightly softened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  
  3. Add wine and stock. Simmer, partially covered, until leeks are soft, 15-20 minutes.
  4. Remove cover and let boil until liquid is almost completely reduced. Stir in half the lemon zest. Check seasoning and adjust if needed.
  5. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and garnish with remaining lemon zest.

Pro-tip: You can use the microwave to quickly warm up plates and serving dishes (check that they are microwave safe first!).  A minute on high for a stack of 3-4 plates works pretty well in my microwave.

 

Delicata Squash Toasts with Goat Cheese
by Sam Lee

One of Sam’s favorite recipes this time of year is her interpretation of Smitten Kitchen’s interpretation of Jean-Georges’ Butternut Squash Toasts from ABC Kitchen. Instead of butternut squash, she uses delicata squash. She also subs goat cheese for ricotta, because she prefers a bolder flavor for fall.

  • 3 lbs delicata squash
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chile flakes, more or less to taste
  • Coarse sea or kosher salt
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup Bragg Organic Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (though I’ll probably use 3 tablespoons next time)
  • 4 slices country bread, 1-inch thick
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) goat cheese
  • 4 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
  1. Heat oven to 450. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Halve, seed and cut your squash into 1/4-inch thick slices. Toss with 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 to 2 teaspoons salt and chile flakes until evenly coated. Transfer mixture to prepared sheet and roast until tender and slightly colored, anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, flipping once about 2/3 of the way through. Once tender, you can cut the flesh from the skin and discard it. Leave roasted squash on the tray.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened and beginning to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add vinegar and syrup and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring, until onions are jammy and broken down, another 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Pile onions on top of roasted squash, still on their baking sheet. Use a fork to gently half-mash the mixture. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil per slice of bread, and cook bread until just golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Spread cheese on toasts, heap with the squash-onion mixture, sprinkle with coarse salt and garnish with mint.