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Heading into crisp weather, I crave the holiday classics that beg to be made this time of year. One of my favorites is stuffing. 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 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 ½ cups cubed butternut squash
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 cups small cauliflower florets
2 cups small broccoli florets
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
1 tbsp minced fresh sage
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
Heat the oven to 400 F. Line two baking sheets with kitchen parchment or foil.
Mound the squash on one of the baking sheets then drizzle with about 1 teaspoon of oil. Toss to coat, then season with salt and pepper. Arrange evenly, 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 sauté 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 sauté 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.