Tradition is nice, but serving the same old dishes year after year for your family’s Thanksgiving feast can get monotonous. Thankfully (see what we did there?), Atlanta’s talented chefs have generously shared 13 of their favorite recipes to help spice up your holiday. From unusual sides and gluten-free gravy to vegetarian soups and ingenious plans for your leftovers, these dishes are sure to bring some excitement to the table. See the first six recipes today, then come back tomorrow to get the other seven along with convenient printable recipe cards of all 13 recipes from chefs at restaurants such as Southbound, Gunshow, Aria, Bantam + Biddy, Chai Pani, The Farmhouse at Serenbe, Noni’s, and plenty more.
Chef Ryan’s Kale & Grains
(Recipe courtesy Chef Ryan Smith of Southbound)
- 4 cups thinly sliced kale (Lacinato is preferred, as it’s more tender)
- 1 cup cooked farro
- 1 cup cooked bulgur
- 2 avocados, diced
- 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 1 pink grapefruit, peeled and segmented
- 2 ounces fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- ½ ounce garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 cup rice wine vinegar
- ½ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Combine kale, faro, bulgur, avocado, fennel, and grapefruit in a large bowl.
- In a blender, combine all dressing ingredients except the olive oil. Blend until smooth. Add olive oil in a slow gradual stream to the blended ingredients to emulsify.
- Toss dressing with the salad according to taste (there will be extra dressing).
Chai Pani, a yummy Indian street food eatery located in Decatur, offers a Root Veg Chaat recipe to add a little international flavor to your Thanksgiving dinner, explaining: “It’s a healthy street snack that you might find on the streets of India. Meherwan, Daniel Peach (our Chef de cuisine in Atlanta), actually had a yummy version of this on the streets of Mussorie, India last year. This dish just recently became a permanent menu item at our Asheville restaurant, but we do occasionally run it as a special in Atlanta. It’s a great dish for Thanksgiving because it uses those root vegetables you would find at this time of year, and it has a hearty fill-you-up flavor. Indian chaat dishes in general are great things to try for Americans because they have a different flavor profile and texture from what you would usually expect from Indian food. It’s nothing like curry.”
Root Veg Chaat
(Recipe courtesy of Chef Meherwan Irani of Chai Pani)
Ingredients for roasted root vegetables:
- 2 medium sweet potatoes (diced, 1 inch)
- 3 carrots (cut on bias/halfmoon)
- 3 parsnips (cut on bias/halfmoon)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon Chaat Masala
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
Toss all ingredients and bake at 450°F for 40 minutes, or until tender and slightly charred.
Ingredients for Chaat:
- Roasted root vegetables (see above)
- 2 tablespoons red onion, diced
- 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- 2 tablespoons roasted cashews
- 2 tablespoons fried Kala Chana* (Optional, to prepare Kala Chana, first soak for 4 hours, then boil until tender. Drain and pat dry. Fry for 30 seconds or until crunchy.)
- 1 teaspoon Chaat Masala
- 5 fried curry leaves*
- 2 tablespoons tamarind chutney*
- ¼ lime, fresh squeezed
*These ingredients can be found at a local Indian grocery store.
- Toss all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
- Garnish with a handful of fresh pomegranate seeds and sev.*
Bantam + Biddy is not your average chicken joint. The three Atlanta rotisserie locations (with a fourth coming soon) offer only local free-range and pastured poultry. Co-owner/Executive Chef Shaun Doty has been shaping Atlanta’s culinary scene for years, as executive chef at Mumbo Jumbo; owner/chef at the award-winning MidCity Cuisine, executive chef at Table 1280, owner of Shauns, founder of Yeah! Burger, and co-founder of Bantam + Biddy. Here is Chef Doty’s contribution to your holiday meal:
Gluten-Free Brown Gravy
(Recipe courtesy of Chef Shaun Doty of Bantam + Biddy)
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ cup water
- 2 onions, small diced
- 2 tablespoons black pepper, fresh ground
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- Combine water and cornstarch in a small mixing bowl. Stir until cornstarch is no longer lumpy.
- Sauté onions in butter until well browned. Add salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Add stock and bring to a simmer.
- Add cornstarch mixture to stock, and stir rapidly for one minute.
PeachDish collaborates with local chefs to develop recipes then delivers locally sourced ingredients to customers’ doorsteps so that they can create the dishes in their own kitchens. The recipe below was provided for PeachDish by Chef Seth Freedman, who is formerly of NYC’s Oceana, March, and Tabla and Atlanta’s Four Seasons and Bacchanalia at Star Provisions, and creator of Atlanta-based catering company Forage & Flame.
Southern Braised Greens
(Recipe Courtesy of Chef Seth Freedman, Forage & Flame)
- 1.5 pounds greens, thoroughly washed
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, sliced thin
- 1 tablespoon Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids
- 2 ½ cups water for cooking, plus extra
- 1 teaspoon salt (plus extra, to taste)
- 1 tablespoon honey or sorghum syrup
- 2 teaspoons Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
- Remove stems from greens and tear into 2-inch pieces.
- Gently wash greens in a deep vessel of water. Greens should float on top of the water, so that by swirling the greens through the water, dirt is released and will sink to the bottom.
- Place a deep pan over low-medium heat, and add butter.
- Once butter has melted, add garlic and onions. Cook slightly, but do not brown.
- Add greens, liquid amino acids, and about 2 ½ cups of water. Bring the water to a boil, then turn down to a LOW simmer, and cover.
- Season with salt, honey or sorghum, and vinegar once greens have wilted.
- Cook until tender (30 to 45 minutes). Taste, and adjust seasoning if desired.
- Serve and enjoy!
Yield: 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 to 45 minutes
The Farmhouse at Serenbe takes farm-to-table to a whole new level, using organic ingredients from the restaurant’s own garden as well as nearby Serenbe Farms, and other local producers. Chef Thaddeus Barton changes the menu monthly to highlight the best available seasonal ingredients. For your Thanksgiving feast, he recommends this tasty sweet potato side.
Sweet Potatoes With Fresh Ginger and Chestnuts
(Recipe courtesy of Chef Thaddeus Barton of The Farmhouse at Serenbe)
- 2 pounds chestnuts
- 1 pound unsalted butter
- 10 small to medium sized sweet potatoes
- Fresh ginger root, about the size of your thumb
- 1 fresh cayenne pepper
- 3 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- Salt, to taste
- Slice a ½ inch cross on the flat side of each nut, making sure to pierce through the shell.
- Roast in a 375°F oven for half an hour; allow to cool before removing the shell.
- Rough chop the chestnuts, slice the cayenne into thin rings, slice the lime leaves into thin strips, and grate the ginger root on a micro plane.
- Melt ¼ pound of the butter in a small saucepot and add all the ingredients to the pot. You want the heat to be low enough that all the flavors meld together without caramelizing. Let mixture steep together for about 10 minutes.
- After you turn the heat off, add two teaspoons of fresh lime juice and stir together.
- Place sweet potatoes on a baking tray in a 350°F oven until fork tender (about 40 minutes).
- After potatoes are done and while they are still hot, peel the jackets off and transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Melt the remaining butter and pour into the bowl with the potatoes. Mash the potato with hand-held masher or large fork. Just mash until all the butter is incorporated and there are no large pieces, I like to leave a little texture. Season the potatoes with salt to your liking.
Transfer the potatoes to a serving bowl and spoon the chestnut mixture over top.
Serves about 10.
For nearly a decade, Ocean Catering Company has been serving dishes made from fresh, seasonal ingredients at social gatherings and events around Atlanta. Founder Chef Shane McIntosh took over ownership of the Babylon Café by age 20 then went on to study a variety of flavors and techniques in some of the country’s most renowned kitchens. From the Caribbean cuisine of Automatic Slims Tonga Club, to The Main Dining Room of the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco, to the prestigious James Beard House in New York City, to private dining in Paris, McIntosh pulls these influences together, creating his own style. He also prides himself on being able to work with a wide range of palates and dietary restrictions. Here, he offers a tasty option for your vegetarian guests.
Vegetarian Pumpkin & Coconut Soup
(Recipe courtesy of Chef Shane McIntosh of Ocean Catering Company)
- Small pumpkin
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 3 carrots, peeled
- 1 cup roasted red peppers
- 4 cups vegetable stock (or water)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 star anise
- 1 tablespoon powdered ginger
- 1 tablespoon triple sec
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 quart heavy crème
- 8 ounces crème de coconut milk
- Sour cream to garnish
- Cut the top off the pumpkin, clean the guts and seeds from the inside using a large spoon or dough scraper (separate the seeds, rinse well under water, and set them aside for later). Cut pumpkin into 4 wedges and lay out on sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil, cover with foil, and roast for approximately 1 hour at 400°F.
- While roasting pumpkin, prepare the other ingredients. Large chop the onion and carrots then rough chop the roasted red peppers. In a thick-bottomed stockpot, sauté onions, carrots, and roasted red peppers until the onions are translucent and lightly caramelized. Add star anise and ginger.
- Remove pumpkin from the oven and allow to cool.
- With a sharp knife, remove pulp from pumpkin rind with a long, slow cut from the front to the back of each pumpkin piece. Rough chop the pumpkin pulp.
- Add veggie stock to stockpot and bring to boil. Add pumpkin pulp, brown sugar, triple sec, and cinnamon sticks. Let simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove star anise and cinnamon sticks from pot.
- In small batches, purée the mix in a blender until smooth. Pour into a pot through a strainer (use heavy crème if needed to loosen puree in blender).
- Add any remaining crème and the crème de coconut milk.
- Simmer for 15 minutes and serve with a dollop of sour cream and toasted pumpkin seeds (To toast, place seeds in a single layer and bake at 350°F for approximately 20 minutes. Remove when golden and sprinkle with kosher salt.)
Serves 8 to 10.