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When Thanksgiving time nears, all good cooks begin to search through those recipe books to find something special for this year’s big dinner. What will make a splash alongside that beautifully browned turkey and the traditional potatoes, dressing and cranberry sauce? 

This year it can be something really special in the vegetable category. Take a look at four yummy vegetable side dishes that will score points with all those around your Thanksgiving table.

Rustic Squash Tarts

Preparation Time: 30 minutes, Bake time: 35 minutes

Makes two tarts and serves 8


1 medium butternut squash peeled, seeded and cut into 1/8” strips

1 medium acorn squash peeled, seeded and cut into 1/8” strips

2 T. water

¼ cup olive oil

1 T minced fresh thyme

1 T. minced fresh parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup flour 

½ cup ground pecans

6 T. sugar

½ t. nutmeg

½ t. cinnamon

1 package frozen puff pastry dough, thawed

1 egg

2 T. butter


Combine squash slices with water and microwave on high for five minutes. Drain.

Combine oil, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper and drizzle over the squash. Toss to cover evenly.

In a different bowl combine flour, pecans, sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. 

Unfold pastry sheets on lightly-floured surface and roll to 1/8” thickness. Transfer to ungreased baking sheet.

Sprinkle pecan mixture on pastry dough and arrange slices of squash to 1 ½“ within the edges, alternating the butternut and acorn slices.

Fold the edges of the pastry up over the filling, leaving the center uncovered.

Brush pastry with beaten egg and dot squash with butter. 

Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.


Maple and Bacon Glazed Brussel Sprouts

Preparation time: 15 minutes  Cook time: 20 minutes                            

 Makes 4 servings


5 strips bacon

1 pound brussel sprouts

3 T. butter

½ cup chicken broth

¼ cup chopped pecans

¼ cup maple syrup

¼ t. salt

¼ t. pepper


Cook bacon crisp and drain.

Make an X cut at the core of each brussel sprout

Saute sprouts in butter for 4-5 minutes

Stir in the broth, pecans, maple syrup, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Uncover and cook until tender (8-10 minutes.)

Sprinkle with crumbled bacon.


Green Beans with Apricots

Preparation time: 15 minutes  Cook time: 20 minutes                                                                   Makes 8 servings


2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed

1 can chicken broth

½ pound bacon, chopped

1 cup dried apricots chopped

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

¾ t. salt

¾ t. garlic powder

¾ t. pepper


Place beans and broth in saucepan and bring to boil. Cook covered until crisp-tender, about 4-7 minutes.

Cook bacon in skillet until crisp. Drain, saving 1 T. drippings in pan.

Add Apricots to the drippings and cook over medium heat until softened. Add vinegar, salt, garlic powder, pepper and beans.

Cook 2-3 minutes to coat the beans well.

Sprinkle with bacon.


Roasted Squash, Carrots and Walnuts

Preparation time: 15 minutes  Bake time: 35 minutes

Makes 8 servings


2 pounds carrots, peeled

1 medium butternut squash peeled and cubed

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup olive oil

2 t. salt

½ t. cinnamon

¼ t. nutmeg

 1 cup chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 400. Cut carrots in half lengthwise and then halve them crosswise.

Toss squash and carrots with brown sugar, oil, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Transfer to two greased foil-lined 15” X 10” pans and roast for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Sprinkle walnuts over and roast for 5-10 minutes longer or until all vegetable pieces are tender.

( Measurements: Teaspoon = t. or tsp. Tablespoon = T. or tbsp.)