Are you hosting Friendsgiving, in charge of the Friendsgiving Menu or simply contributing to the potluck this year? Friends can share the load but we all have that friend who can burn anything! Therefore, I have designed a healthy, whole foods menu which includes main dishes, sides, drinks, and desserts each with three different levels of cooking abilities to help easily divide the cooking load.
Read “What Level Cook are you?” (and send it to your friends) to determine your cooking level. Then select your recipes below based on your level.
Dietary restrictions are so common these days so I have designed the menu to accommodate your gluten free and/or dairy free friends. I know what you’re thinking – gluten free and dairy free, sounds great – dry, crumbly coconut flavored food-like items. But I promise you, your guests (even the guests with no food sensitivities) will never be able to tell the difference with these recipes.
MAIN DISH (HOST)
Your Friendsgiving menu would not be complete without the turkey; but it doesn’t have to be complicated! If you provide two smallish meat options you probably won’t have to try to tackle a 14 lb bird. Roasting pans can range from $20 to $100. I personally only use mine (passed down from my grandma) a few times a year so you may not want to spend a ton of money on it. If you are on a tight budget you can use a casserole dish that you already own. The best source I have found for turkey preparation is on Kitchn.com.
Many people don’t like turkey so if you have a large group coming you can buy a small spiral ham to serve alongside the turkey. It is super straightforward so you won’t have to much spend time preparing it. All you have to do is heat it in the oven and pour the sugar coating on top. Or, you can buy a Honey Baked Ham. They offer a boneless ham that is mostly pre-sliced and it is gluten free and dairy free. You can also find less expensive, whole spiral hams at your local grocery store or Costco – just be sure to check the label for allergens, if needed.
1. KITCHEN PORTER: Candied Walnut, Apple and Goat Cheese Arugula Salad
Some of the tastiest salads are not strictly vegetable based. For a little sweet touch, the arugula apple pecan salad has apples and candied walnuts chopped and added into the leafy greens. All you have to do is chop the ingredients, buy or make the candied nuts, add dressing and serve! I recommend serving the salad with all ingredients on the side so guests can choose what they prefer.
2. LINE COOK: Kale Salad with Cranberries, Almonds and Goat Cheese
[Alterations to note: leave the goat cheese on the side] Kale is healthy and filling and it can be dressed ahead of time without getting soggy! It’s one of the healthiest greens out there and adding it to a salad will give it that boost you’re looking for.
3. CHEF: Autumn Kale Salad with Warm Butternut Squash Puree
[Alterations to note: leave the burrata on the side] This salad is a brilliant thing to try. Its elements create a great tasting salad with the butternut squash adding the “fall” feel to your mouth. It is best to serve fresh and will need to be plated on the same day as the party.
When planning my Friendsgiving menu, I love to accommodate my vegetarian friends by providing a heavier grain dish such as a quinoa or risotto.
1. KITCHEN PORTER: Cornbread
Cornbread is an easy side that everyone loves and baking is straightfoward as either bread or muffins. Make a few batches because they always go fast!
2. LINE COOK: Vegeterian Quinoa Stuffing:
[Alterations to note: leave out the seitan and replace the bread with gluten free bread] This unique dish tastes great and is a perfect option for your vegetarian friends! The ingredients are first put together in a pan, and then baked. Some people with Celiac are not able to eat quinoa but many people who simply have a gluten sensitivity can.
3. CHEF: Butternut Squash Risotto:
One of the great things about Thanksgiving is that you can share many great dishes with friends and family. Giada’s butternut squash risotto takes skill but the pay off is worth it.
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GREEN VEGETABLE SIDE
1. KITCHEN PORTER: Sauteed Squash and Zucchini
It doesn’t get any simpler than this recipe! You just may want to spend $20 on a mandolin for all of the slicing you will doing! Try to prepare it the morning of and transport it in a casserole dish that can keep warm or be reheated.
2. LINE COOK: Honey Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Make the day of the event and transport these in a reheatable serving dish or tray so they can be warmed just before eating.
3. CHEF: Roasted Green Beans with Pine Nuts
There are so many ways to prepare green beans, especially around Thanksgiving. This green bean dish is a delicious savory blend. To make them dairy-free, simply leave the parmesan to the side so people can add it if they choose.
1. KITCHEN PORTER: Roasted Sweet potatoes
Simple, delicious and delightful, these potatoes are a fabulous side dish for a Friendsgiving potluck.
2. LINE COOK: Mashed potatoes
A classic dish for Thanksgiving, this recipe will add a flavorful boost to your mashed potatoes to ensure they taste great even without the cream and butter! My favorite butter replacement is Melt Organic.
3. CHEF: Sweet Potato Casserole
This tasty recipe is sure to be a hit with your friends. The recipe calls for coconut milk but you may also use almond milk or cashew milk to lessen the coconut flavor. You can also add a layer of miniature marshmallows if you want to sweeten it up even more. The baking directions would still be the same.
1. KITCHEN PORTER: Apple Crisp
During Thanksgiving, there is always dessert. Apple crisp is a warm, light treat which is what many guests might be looking for after a heavy meal. You can serve it warm, with vanilla ice cream (regular and dairy-free)
2. LINE COOK: Pumpkin Pie
Another holiday classic that many people look forward to, it wouldn’t be the Thanksgiving season without a pumpkin pie!!
3. CHEF: Pecan Bourbon Pie
[Alterations to note: replace butter with butter substitute such as Melt Organic and make or use a gluten free crust] You can’t go wrong with a pie that has bourbon in it. This will be a party favorite!
The host can provide a fun signature drink. Caramel Apple Sangria is a favorite of my sweet wine loving friends and my dry wine loving friends.
Wine, beer and soda – everyone can bring some to share, or assign it to one person who doesn’t have to cook.
Listed are some of my favorite $10ish wines but you may want to splurge on something more expensive for the special occasion!
- Rodney Strong Chardonnay
- Sea Glass Cabernet
- Noble Vines 152 Pinot Grigio
- Bliss Merlot
- Columbia Crest Syrah
- Bogle Essential Red
- Apothic Merlot
Not sure how to decorate? This post will help with some simple decor ideas!
Tell me how your celebration goes and please share pictures!