This post was originally published here on November 17, 2014. I’ve given the photos and text a bit of a refresh. Enjoy!
Are you guys all familiar with that traditional green bean casserole that’s usually served at Thanksgiving? Yes? Well, I’m not. Because I’ve never eaten it in my life.
I’ll pause for reaction.
Yes, it’s true. Most people are shocked to find out that I’ve never had it. I think it makes me un-American or something. I don’t know. I guess when your family is made up of a bunch of farmers, dumping an entire can of condensed soup onto crisp, fresh vegetables is kind of a sin.
But I’d be down to try it. So maybe someone wants to invite me over for a Friends-giving someday. Hint, hint.
Casserole or no casserole, I still think Thanksgiving should have green beans. I usually do a simple side dish of sautéed green beans with slivered almonds. But this year, I’m changing things up and going spicy with these Harissa Green Beans with Spiced Chickpeas and Feta Cheese. I hope my family doesn’t revolt against me.
I used harissa paste, which you can buy in the grocery store or make at home (I’ve got a recipe here), to flavor the green beans. And a short list of spices to season the chickpeas. I roast the green beans and chickpeas separately to ensure they both end up perfectly cooked (just say “NO” to soggy green beans!). And only once they’re done do I combine them with a few crumbles of creamy feta cheese before serving. The end results is a healthy, well balanced dish that’s definitely worthy of your Holiday table. And a bit of an upgrade from the traditional casserole, if I do say so myself (not that I have any actual proof of that because I’ve never eaten it before).
Oh hey, want to know another weird Thanksgiving-related secret about me? My family doesn’t serve mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving.
I think that statement requires a second pause.
And now since many of your have probably fainted from the trauma of reading that, I propose that this is a good place to end this post.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Stonewall Kitchen. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting brands and companies that help to keep my little kitchen afloat!
It’s no secret that I love appetizers. Just sit me down in front of a spread of bite-sized foods and I’ll be pretty happy. I can easily skip the main event all together. Cocktails, finger foods and desserts are where it’s at, in my humble opinion. No need to go to all the trouble of roasting up a whole turkey just for me!
And you know what? I kind of have an inkling that you all might be feeling exactly the same way. So today, I’m bringing you these adorable Polenta Bites with Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, Ricotta and Chutney for all your snacking pleasures. You’re welcome.
My go-to appetizer is usually some kind of toasty bread piled high with cheese and ALL THE toppings. But this year, I really wanted to create something gluten-free. And while I certainly could have just used gluten-free bread, that seemed like a bit of a cop-out. Then I remembered my friend Sarah’s polenta bites from the Summer, and I decided to try my hand at creating a festive Fall/Winter version that would be appropriate for Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday entertaining. My rendition has whipped ricotta cheese with fresh herbs, a flavorful chutney, a few crumbles of bacon and everyone’s favorite seasonal vegetable – brussels sprouts.
There are a few separate steps required to make these polenta bites. But none of them are particularly taxing or time consuming. The polenta gets baked in the oven (no stirring required!), and can be prepared up to a day or two in advance, which is a huge time saver. And you can even separate out the brussels sprout leaves ahead of time as well, storing them in your refrigerator until you’re ready to crisp them up.
I should warn you that these crispy brussels sprout leaves are highly addicting. Once you start munching on them, it’s hard to stop. You’ll be amazed at how quickly an entire pan can disappear!
But the real star of the show is the Holiday Chutney from Stonewall Kitchen. With it’s blend of fruits (including pears, cranberries and rhubarb) and warming spices, it provides the perfect tart-sweet balance to offset the other savory-salty ingredients in this recipe. Which ultimately makes these polenta bites one heck of a well rounded appetizer.
Both literally and figuratively. You know, because they are round.
Ugh. I’m the worst. Sorry.
Stonewall Kitchen’s Holiday Chutney is also a great addition to any charcuterie or cheese plate (these Simple White Crackers are my favorite!). And it’s a wonderful topping for baked ham, pork or chicken. I like to keep a jar on hand at all times, because it totally helps me bring my A-game to the table around the Holidays!
Recipe inspired by The Kitchn