If there’s one thing we know for sure about the original Thanksgiving, it’s that they didn’t serve canned cranberry sauce. In fact, the original Thanksgiving was a celebration of the local, seasonal harvest. Of course, Thanksgiving has changed since 1621. With the addition of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, American football, and a complete transformation of the American food system, Thanksgiving looks a lot different than it did 400 years ago. This Thanksgiving, we encourage you to go back in time and use this annual food-centric holiday as a way to celebrate southern Arizona’s local produce and the farmers that grew it. With these seasonally inspired recipes on the table, you won’t miss the marshmallow fluff one bit.
Why wait until Thanksgiving dinner to indulge in delicious food? Eating breakfast on Thanksgiving morning will fuel you for the long, family filled day ahead. Here are some breakfast recipes to whet your appetite.
Chai Mesquite Pancakes: This fluffy stack of pancakes is made local with the addition of mesquite flour. Top your stack with some local pecans and honey for an extra-special treat!
Apple Zucchini Muffins: Tender, moist, and naturally sweetened, these muffins highlight two of Arizona’s best fall crops: apples and zucchini.
Orange Cranberry Scones: Who doesn’t love a good scone? Particularly a scone that isn’t dry, tastes perfectly sweet, and has a dreamy glaze on top. These baked treats will disappear before your eyes.
Stave off your guests’ impending Thanksgiving dinner hunger (unlike you, they didn’t think to have a delicious breakfast) with a spread of seasonal starters. Savory dips, crunchy crackers, and creamy cheese will keep everyone’s hanger from making an appearance.
Orange-Rosemary Spiced Cashews: Have you ever noticed that rosemary bushes and orange trees are everywhere in Tucson? Take an early morning Thanksgiving walk to work up your appetite and clip a few rosemary sprigs and oranges on the way (just be sure to ask before you pick). Then, come home and make a bowl of these warm orange-rosemary spiced cashews.
Tepary Bean Hummus with Sonoran White Pomegranate Seeds: This might be the most local hummus that’s ever been made in Baja Arizona, and trust me when I say that’s a good thing. It’s creamy, beautiful, and a little bit sweet.
White Sonora Wheat and Olive Oil Crackers: You know what goes perfectly with a big bowl of tepary bean hummus? These crackers. (You’re welcome.)
Smoky Paprika Eggplant Dip: Pretty much everything you could ever want in a dip. It’s smoky, creamy, garlicky, and goes well with everything from baguette to cucumbers.
Pickled Veggie Salsa: No Baja Arizona spread is complete without a bowl of salsa, so it might as well be a great bowl of salsa. This pickled veggie salsa packs a punch and some tang, and is perfect for serving with a big bowl of local tortilla chips.
Chiltepin Yogurt Cheese: Yes, you can make your own cheese, and no, it isn’t too much work. A little bit of planning will result in a creamy log of spicy cheese that’s perfect for pairing with crackers and fruit.
In order to avoid chaos on Thanksgiving, you should probably serve a turkey. Use our recipe for Roasted Chicken with Herb Butter, but don’t stop there! Enmoladas and tamales make for wonderful main courses as well.
Roasted Chicken with Herb Butter: No, this isn’t a recipe for turkey, but it works well with a larger bird such as a turkey. Be sure to increase the quantities of butter, herbs, and lemons, as well as the cooking time, accordingly.
Mole Negro Tamales: I honestly don’t think anyone would miss the roasted turkey if you served a big platter of these tamales on Thanksgiving. Fill them with turkey, or use winter squash for a vegetarian version.
Enmoladas filled with Quelites: Now that qualities are no longer in season, stuff these enmoladas with spinach and go on your merry way covering them with mole sauce and cheese. You won’t be disappointed.
What is Thanksgiving dinner without the sides? Sure, you have your friends, family, and that meaty turkey leg, but is it really Thanksgiving without a big bowl of creamy mashed potatoes? Mom’s famous stuffing? The rolls? Add these seasonal favorites to your usual rotation–they’re sure to become an annual tradition.
Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad: A lot of people add a few leaves of the Thanksgiving salad to their plates just to be nice, or to try and offset the copious amounts of unhealthy stuff they’re about to eat. Yeah, not with this star of a salad. Peppery arugula and caramelized squash are tossed in a cider vinaigrette and sprinkled with more than enough goat cheese, cranberries, and walnuts. Salad has never sounded so appealing.
Perfect Wheat Berry Pilaf with Heirloom White Sonora Wheat: The name says it all: this pilaf is perfect, and it’s sure to make a wonderful local addition to your Thanksgiving dinner.
Thai Curry Roasted Sweet Potatoes: It’s good to switch things up every once in a while. Add some extra flavor to your guests’ plates with these ultra-flavorful sweet potatoes.
Ha:l Squash and Apple Soup: When else are you going to use those cute soup bowls in your china collection? Give them a go with this sweet and smooth winter squash soup.
Cholla Bud Fennel Asian Pear Salad: This salad is the perfect way to introduce your midwestern relatives to the almighty cholla bud. With sweet, tangy, and salty flavors, it’s a great alternative to Aunt Marge’s jello salad.
Sweet Chili BBQ Roasted Vegetables: I make some version of roasted root vegetables every single Thanksgiving, and I truly think that it’s one of my favorite dishes. These particular roasted veggies are coated in honey and smokey spices, which give them an incredible flavor that intensifies as they roast in the oven.
Late Fall Ratatouille: Yup, like the kind from the adorable Pixar movie with the rat! This beautiful dish tastes just as good as it looks.
Everyone saves room for dessert on Thanksgiving. And even if they don’t save room for dessert, they still eat it. Here are a few incredible dessert recipes that your guests will remember for the next 12 months!
Apple and Pumpkin Pies: A Thanksgiving recipe roundup would be nothing without a recipe (or two) for pie. This local-ingredient apple pie has the flakiest, most buttery crust you’ll ever eat. As far as the vegan pumpkin pie? Don’t knock it ’till you try it!
Best Mesquite Brownies: Are these the best mesquite brownies? You’ll have to try them to find out!
Tortoise Bites: Perfect for the healthy eater at your table. These date-pecan truffles are drizzled in dark chocolate and are a perfectly sweet ending to a delicious meal.
Whether or not
any all of these recipes make an appearance on your table this Thanksgiving, I hope that you and your family have a wonderful and safe holiday. Cheers!
Header image by Steven Meckler.