It’s the time of year to celebrate the most joyful holiday there is: Friendsgiving. If Thanksgiving is the holiday of forced conversation, Friendsgiving is the holiday of laughing so hard that a tiny bit of Brunello squirts out of your nose. Friends are the family you get to choose, so Friendsgiving is therefore, of course, the best celebration of togetherness. No awful uncles, no awkward silences. Just you and your closest friends, and a vat of decadent mashed potatoes.
Below, five seasonal (and portable) recipes from four women who are making their mark in the food industry and beyond. If Twitter has you feeling a bit helpless, know that you can proudly bust out your best tupperware and bring comfort to your friends in the form of bread pudding from Julia Turshen, gorgeous vegetable sides from Alison Roman, paleo pumpkin custard from Shira Lenchewski, and a bright, zingy salad from Thea Baumann. Food is, after all, one of the best ways to the heart; a small act of thanks, but one not easily forgotten.
Greek Chickpea Salad
Julia Turshen is a lauded chef and author of the recently released Feed the Resistance: Recipes + Ideas for Getting Involved, a practical and inspiring handbook for political activism with delicious recipes. Focusing on food’s ability to foster community and provide sustenance for the mind and soul, the book includes a dozen of the healthy, affordable recipes Turshen is known for, plus over 15 more recipes from a diverse range of celebrated chefs, and resources and essays from activists in the worlds of food, politics, and social justice.
Turshen is also the author of New York Times Bestseller Small Victories, a guide for seasoned and aspiring home cooks that’s quickly become an instant classic. Needless to say, she knows a thing or two about how to cook for a group. “This recipe is perfect for a gathering of friends since it’s affordable, can be made ahead, and is easy to make for a large crowd,” Turshen says. “It’s also nice for a gathering since it’s fresh and crunchy and so much potluck-y food tends to be the opposite.”
SERVES 2 AS A MAIN DISH, 4 AS A SIDE DISH
A cross between a Greek salad and a bean salad, this dish requires no actual cooking, just a bit of chopping and assembling. It’s the perfect meal to make when you want something healthy but don’t want to turn on the stove or spend more than 10 minutes at the counter (like, for example, when you’re spending your lunch hour getting in touch with your representatives). It’s also a testament to a can of chickpea’s convenience, versatility, affordability, and healthiness. If you’re vegan, simply omit the feta cheese. This salad is best enjoyed right after you make it when everything is crunchy and fresh, but it can absolutely hang out in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days without any worries. Serve over chopped arugula or romaine if you want a bit more heft. Toasted pita bread would be welcome, too.
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup [60 ml] olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 tsp dried oregano, rubbed between your fingertips
One 15-oz [425-g] can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 medium English cucumber, ends trimmed, coarsely chopped
1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, cored and cut into bite-size wedges (or 2 large handfuls cherry tomatoes, halved)
1/2 cup [60 g] crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup [100 g] green or black olives
Place the vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt, and oregano in a large bowl and whisk well to combine. Add the chickpeas, cucumber, bell pepper, onion, and tomatoes and mix gently to combine. Season the salad to taste with salt. Transfer it to a serving bowl or to individual bowls and top with the feta and olives.
Raw and Roasted Carrots and Fennel with Feta and Pistachios
“This carrot and fennel salad is something I bring to dinner parties/potlucks/etc. all the time,“ says Alison Roman, former Senior Food Editor at Bon Appetit and author of the visually stunning new release, Dining In: Highly Cookable Recipes.
As a former cook and pastry chef (not to mention current recipe developer for outlets like The New York Times), Roman compiled years of experience working in the food industry and distilled it all into her easy to follow debut, featuring 125 recipes for simple, of-the-moment dishes that are full of ingenious techniques. (Think: slathering roast chicken in anchovy butter and and keeping boiled potatoes in your fridge for instant crispy smashed potatoes.) Most of all, her wry commentary on each page will leave you laughing, and feeling like you learned along the way.
For this easy-to-bring Friendsgiving dish, “The vegetables can be roasted ahead of time and packed in ziplock bags,” Roman says. “Ditto with the thinly sliced raw ones. Keep ‘em separate and when you get to your destination, dress, plate and finish with feta and pistachio. And don’t worry about anything being hot—it’s actually best served room temperature.”
1 large fennel bulb, halved lengthwise
1 bunch smallish carrots (preferably with their tops)
1 bunch scallions, halved crosswise
5 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
1 cup cilantro, tender stems and leaves
3 ounces feta cheese, sliced into ⅛-inch-thick slabs (if it crumbles a bit, that’s fine)
¼ cup pistachios, toasted and chopped (see page 50 for more on toasting nuts)
NOTE: If you’re not familiar with carrot tops, they taste like a more assertive parsley. Next time you see carrot tops, save them and use like you would in pesto, salsa verde, or just general herbage—like in this salad.
DO AHEAD: This dish, sans feta and pistachios, can be made 5 hours ahead, no need to reheat. Add the feta and pistachios when ready to serve.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Slice half the fennel into ½-inch-thick wedges and place them on a rimmed baking sheet.
If your carrots have tops, remove and set them aside. Scrub the carrots (no need to peel) and place half of them on the baking sheet with the fennel. Add half the scallions and toss with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and roast, tossing occasionally, until the carrots and fennel are browned and the scallions begin to char, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, thinly slice the remaining carrots and fennel lengthwise and place them in a large bowl. Thinly slice the remaining scallions on a strong bias and add to the bowl with the vegetables.
Once the roasted vegetables have cooled, add them to the bowl of raw vegetables. Toss with the lemon juice, cilantro, and some chopped carrot tops, if you’ve got ’em (if not, use more cilantro, parsley, dill, or mint—whatever you have). Season with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if you like.
Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and top with the feta and pistachios.
Caramelized Winter Squash with Toasted Coconut Gremolata
Another portable yet hearty side from Roman, “This squash is kind of like the modern version of your sweet potato casserole,” she says. “The squash get roasted with coconut oil (how 2017!) and honey for just a bit of sweetness and a welcomed crispness (not found in your traditional casserole). The toasty, crunchy, herby coconut gremolata that gets sprinkled over top can be made ahead and brought separate from the squash—make extra, you’ll want it.”
2 medium winter squash, such as delicata or acorn (1½ to 2 pounds)
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted, or olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
TOASTED COCONUT GREMOLATA
¾ cup unsweetened coconut chips
¼ cup finely chopped fresh chives
½ cup fresh cilantro, tender leaves and stems, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper or 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
DO AHEAD: Everything but the coconut can be made 1 day ahead; when ready to serve, toast the coconut and add it to the chive mixture (toasted coconut will start to soften once mixed with the herbs and refrigerated).
ROAST THE SQUASH: Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Leaving the skin on, slice the squash into ½-inch-thick rings. (I roast my squash with the seeds still inside, because they get all crispy and I love the texture they bring to the table, but you can remove them if you like. Best way to do that is cut the squash in half crosswise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon, then slice into rings.)
Toss the squash with the coconut oil and honey on a rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Roast, flipping the squash once, until it is completely tender, browned, and caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes.
MAKE THE GREMOLATA: While the squash is roasting, heat a small skillet over medium heat and add the coconut. Shake the skillet occasionally until the coconut is starting to brown at the edges and smells all toasty and amazing, 3 to 4 minutes. Place it in a medium bowl to cool completely.
Once the coconut has cooled, add the chives, cilantro, lemon zest, and Aleppo pepper, and season with salt. Using your fingers, mix this together until the oils in the lemon zest have released and everything is evenly distributed (especially the lemon zest, which can stubbornly clump up).
Sprinkle the coconut gremolata over the roasted squash and serve.
Paleo Pumpkin Custard
Shira Lenchewski is a registered dietitian who often shares her unfiltered and honest advice about food in places like Man Repeller, Lenny and goop. She also offers easy-to-follow, tasty recipes aimed at re-balancing hormones and conquering cravings without deprivation. Lenchewski says, “I love this recipe for Friendsgiving because it’s completely paleo (although you’d never know), and it’s an easy, playful and unfussy nod to pumpkin pie.”
In her upcoming book, The Food Therapist, Lenchewski offers readers an ongoing one-on-one food therapy session, revealing the root causes of our emotional hang-ups around food, and providing the necessary tools to overcome them. Her practical and judgement-free advice feels like an honest conversation that aims to un-complicate our relationship with food and our bodies, allowing readers to focus their efforts on making thoughtful, healthy choices, day in and day out, that serve their ultimate goals – whatever they may be.
1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract
⅛ tsp nutmeg
⅛ tsp ground allspice
⅛ tsp ground cloves
⅛ tsp ginger
½ cup full-fat coconut milk
1 tbsp grass-fed gelatin
optional for the top
1. In a bowl, combine the pumpkin, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and ginger and mix until well combined.
2. In a saucepan, heat the coconut milk on medium heat until it’s warm (but not boiling.) Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the gelatin, making sure to whisk continuously until it’s fully dissolved.
3. Add the coconut milk and gelatin mixture into the pumpkin mixture and mix until well combined.
4. Transfer the mixture into jars or ramekins (or your small container of choice), and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until firm. Optional: top with coconut whipped cream.
Adapted from Stupid Easy Paleo
Chicory and Persimmon Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette
The slightly bitter greens and sweet persimmon balance each other perfectly in this colorful Thanksgiving salad from Thea Baumann, goop’s Food Editor. “With all the heavy food on a typical Thanksgiving table, I always crave something crunchy and fresh, like this chicory and persimmon salad. Prep out all the elements in advance and toss together just before serving,” Baumann says.
For the salad:
1 small head radicchio
2 heads endive
2 large or 3 small persimmons
2-ounces drunken goat, rind removed and shaved with a vegetable peeler
¼ cup toasted walnuts
for the dressing:
1 tablespoon shallot, minced
1 teaspoon thick balsamic vinegar
leaves from 1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced
juice of ½ lemon
½ teaspoon agave
1 tablespoon walnut oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
Peel outer leaves from the radicchio and cut into quarters. Remove the core and cut each quarter in half again. Cut endive into 1-inch rings, discarding the tough core.
Peel and thinly slice persimmons using a mandolin. Cut slices in half to make half-moon shapes.
To make the dressing, whisk together shallot, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, lemon juice, and agave. Slowly pour in the oils, whisking constantly to emulsify. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To assemble the salad, toss radicchio and endive with half the dressing. Arrange half on a platter and top with half the persimmon slices, shaved cheese, and toasted walnuts. Do a second layer with remaining greens, persimmon, shaved cheese, and toasted walnuts. Pour over remaining dressing (or serve on the side) and finish with a little sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
And if the kitchen isn’t your thing, a fast, easy and warming recipe for Citrus Mulled Wine is never a wrong choice.
Citrus Mulled Wine
Time: 1 hr. 10 min.
· 1 lemon
· 1 orange
· 1 bottle (750 ml.) Cabernet Sauvignon, such as Maddalena
· 1 pint water
· 8 whole cloves
· 1 star anise
· 1 cinnamon stick
· ½ cup sugar
1. Peel and zest the orange and lemon into a large pot. Squeeze the juice into the pot.
2. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot. Bring to a simmer, cover and keep at simmering for one hour.
3. Strain and serve hot.