For me, the best thing about Thanksgiving is usually the side dishes. Ever since I was a little girl I have loved mashed potatoes—making a mountain of them on my plate and creating a little lake for the butter. So yummy.
But did you know that potatoes are on the dirty dozen list of produce that is heavily treated with pesticides. Who knew? It seems that they have such a nice thick skin this wouldn’t be a problem. According to the Environmental Working Group, the potato is a vegetable most likely to retain its pesticide residue. So, buy organic potatoes for your Thanksgiving meal, and always, to reduce your family’s pesticide exposure!
Next up, local breads. Find and test out several local loafs before the big day. You’ll be supporting local businesses, and lessening your carbon footprint by buying locally made food. Use Local Harvest to track down your nearest bakery or farm. My favorite is a seeded baguette from Red Hen Bakery in Middlesex. You can simply dip this bread into a dip made from high quality olive oil and diced garlic, or local whipped ricotta with a touch of olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette.
Greens, squash, and beans, oh my! For your vegetables, think simple, organic, local and fresh. Everyone loves fresh green beans cooked in a little bit of water and lightly browned, finished with healthy dash of lemon and sea salt. Delicata squash also makes a visually beautiful and healthy addition to a salad, or on its own. Slice the squash into C shapes, and roast with a little olive oil and salt at 350 until soft and slightly brown. For a regular salad of greens, use local spinach and add toasted walnuts and a local, specialty cheese to make it unique.
Don’t forget to serve locally made beverages such as cider, wine, or fair trade organic coffees and teas with your meal.
Now you can love those tasty, local, and healthy side dishes, which in my view, are the best part of any Thanksgiving dinner.