As Thanksgiving approaches I’m having tons of ideas about what to post about gratitude, my family, holiday foods, harvest bounty etc. I have decided to focus on the food!
Thanksgiving is such an amazing foodie holiday. For me the harvest bounty of seasonal produce provides the tangible representation of all the aspects of our lives that deserve thanks and gratitude. By sharing this meal with family and friends we celebrate the season, celebrate our loved ones, and celebrate deliciousness.
I get freakishly exicted about many seasonal fruits and vegetables, but some of my favorites appear in the fall. The arrival of delicata squash is always cause for celebration and gratitude in my opinion. Enjoying my first delecatas this fall got me thinking about my overall favorite vegetables, which then got me thinking about my gratitude for these amazing foods during the Thanksgiving season. In the spirit of giving thanks, I have created a list of my top five vegetables – complete with some honorable mentions at the end!
In my opinion delicatas are the sweetest of all squashes. They have beautiful yellow and green edible skin and delicious yellow/orange flesh inside. They can be enjoyed in many ways, but I prefer to simply roast them with olive oil and maple syrup so their flavor really shines through. Plus they are loaded with beta-carotene!
#2 – Tomatoes
It’s hard to go wrong with tomatoes. I love them sliced with olive oil and salt, roasted with balsamic vinegar, sauteed into a savory sauce, or nearly any other way you can think to prepare them. Eating tomatoes at the peak of their ripeness tastes like summer for me in a way no other food can quite replicate. Tomatoes are also one of the best natural food sources of lycopene.
#3 – Arugula
There is something about the mustardy spice combined with the fresh green taste of arugula that is nearly irresistible to me. I enjoy it in salads, sauteed with garlic and olive oil, made into pesto, and added to sandwiches. I find it adds a truly unique flavor to dishes. Similar to other leafy greens, arugula is packed with vitamins and minerals (including C, A, K, P, iron, and potassium).
#4 – Beets
Big surprise here give the name of my blog! Beets are a vegetable that I enjoy nearly as much in flavor as in appearance. Nothing beats the taste of slow roasted beets (or fresh steamed beets with garlic, olive oil, and goat cheese), but it’s also hard to beat their vivid deep red color. They are truly stunning! Beets are packed with antioxidants (thank you bright color!) and lots of minerals (iron, calcium, and magnesium to name a few).
#5 – Brussel Sprouts
This was a hard one because I really love all cruciferous vegetables (kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower etc.) but I had to choose one. I have a special place in my heart for brussel sprouts. I’m not totally sure why, but I have always loved them. My dad marinates cooked brussels in olive oil and vinegar to create ‘artichokes of Vermont’ and I usually roast them with garlic and lemon — either way they are delicious! Brussels also boast all the anti-cancer phytochemicals of the famed curciferous vegetables.
Garlic — It’s one of my favorite flavors and a staple in nearly everything I make, but it does feel more like a seasoning than the main attraction (except in roast garlic spread on crusty bread!).
Avocados – Almost anything tastes better with a slice of avocado! I also enjoy them plain with balsamic vinegar filling the pit hole.
Obviously there are tons of other vegetables that I love and enjoy eating at their peak, but if I was stranded on a desert island these would be my staples. So this Thanksgiving I’m grateful for all the amazing food I get to eat, but especially for these vegetables.
I’m so curious to hear what others would choose — please share your top 5!