brussels-sprouts-apple-and-pomegranate-salad Recipes, Tips

brussels sprouts, apple and pomegranate salad

Things I Learned Hosting My First Friendsgiving

On logistics

• As I realized last week, what makes big meals (we had 16 people) scary isn’t the cooking as much as the sheer volume of it all and the logistics required to manage them. I mean, who here has a kitchen that was built to feed 16? Trust me, it’s not you, it’s your kitchen making things hard.


• Thus the more time you spend plotting things out, the less stressful it will be. Because I’m Team Casserole, i.e. I prefer dishes that are deep and bubbly, can be made well in advance and reheat well, they’re all fairly forgiving of too long or short warming times. Too long, they get a little extra crunchy and toasted on top (yum), too little, they still pack a lot of warmth inside, even if they’re not bubbling hot. I warmed all of the dishes before the turkey went in and then slid in one or two while it roasted. When the turkey came out and we needed 30 minutes to rest and carve it, all the sides went back in to warm.
• Everything that can be done in advance, should be, and as early as possible. You’re doing it for you. When we have a lot of people over, this often leads to me quite over-exhausting myself the night before getting everything prepped that can be, but then I wake up rested and we’re 80% there. It’s not actually a stressful day, which means we’re far more likely to enjoy the party. If I can’t finish prep the night before, I’ll do it in the morning. It’s essential to me that there’s a little window of vegging/non-cooking time between prepping stuff and cooking the stuff that must be done at the last-minute. It’s also a great time to change into something fresh.
• All the pies were made earlier in the week and either went into the fridge (pecan) or freezer (pumpkin) until needed.
• Finally, I think we should all buy each other trivets for Christmukkah. I have… 4? What kind of Thanksgiving has only 4 hot dishes coming out of the kitchen? None we want to be at, thank you very much.

"prep" table because I have 1.25 kitchen counters

About That Turkey
• Turkeys are amusingly hard to find a week before Thanksgiving.
Brining is a delicious nightmare. I know a lot of people don’t do it. I know you don’t need to. I know there are less-insane options, like dry-brining. But I am really not hugely into turkey to begin with because I always find it dry and often flavorless. And I don’t want a little overcooking to ruin it. Thus: brining. Oh, but what a comedy it was and by comedy, I mean cry-laugh emoji. It involved a 19.5-pound bird, 1 of these bags and 2.5 gallons of brine, which turned out to create a forceful enough pressure on the bag to pop it open. Mopping was involved. Then I got it into the fridge (40 pounds, no easy feat and yet somehow still easier than that time I had to carry my 20-pounder out of the grocery store sideways with an arced back… life math be crazy) and discovered that the bottom had a tiny hole in it and I don’t know if normal people whose mothers were not microbiologists list salmonella among their greatest fears, but raw turkey juice everywhere in the fridge dripping into the produce drawers required a hazmat-suit level of cleaning until I could stop worrying.
Where’s the recipe, Deb? We were so happy with the turkey but I cannot in good conscience share with you a recipe for something so epic that I’ve only made once. I mean, what if I missed something major and ruin all of your holidays? So, I promise, it’s coming and it’s going to be worth the wait.

dork
The Menu

Ina Garten’s Baked Fontina (I hope to share a more budgeted version of this soon)
Corn Muffins (brought by a friend)
• A Giant Kale Caesar made with a riff on this dressing. I’d intended to make this salad, however.
• A Roast Turkey Mash-Up That Was About 50% Thomas Keller, 30% Gourmet and 20% Alton Brown
Cathy Barrow’s Challah Stuffing With Mushroom and Celery with homemade challah, because crazy things happen in my freezer
Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions (doubled)
• Roasted Delicata Squash with Brown Butter, Lime and Pepitas, except I ran out of time so they were just roasted
Root Vegetable Gratin
• Baked Beans (brought by a friend)
Ree Drummond’s Twice-Baked Potato Casserole (brought by a friend)
• Cranberry Sauce (brought by a friend, the one who taught me to make my own back in the day)
Cheesecake-Marbled Pumpkin Slab Pie
A Very Large Pecan Pie
• By the way, we made everything above except the gravy and obviously the turkey vegetarian simply by using vegetable stock; it wasn’t a challenge and nobody missed out on a thing. For the twice-baked potatoes, an area was left bacon-free on top.

some of my favorite people

Postscripts

• Do not underestimate the power of one really great, crunchy salad, the perfect contrast to all the butter-drenched and gluten-full wonders across the table. It goes quickly. I’m sharing today the salad I’d intended to make; I think it’s the perfect last-minute addition to any menu and so easy to bring with you from home. I guarantee the host will appreciate it.

what you'll needfor sumac-pickled red onionsshaved brusselspomegranatediced appleready to toss

• Finally, ask me anything! I feel like I know 100x as much about Thanksgiving as I did 72 hours ago and most of what I did is very fresh in my head. I’m happy to answer any questions you have in the comments below. I’ll probably attack them mostly this evening, so don’t fret if you don’t get an immediate response.

Previously

One year ago: Roasted Leek and White Bean Galettes and Date Breakfast Squares
Two years ago: Classic Pecan Pie with Praline Sauce and Crispy Sweet Potato Roast
Three years ago: Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions, Apple-Herb Stuffing for All Seasons, Cauliflower with Brown Butter Crumbs and Parsley Leaf Potatoes
Four years ago: Cauliflower-Feta Fritters with Pomegranate
Five years ago: Gingersnaps and Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Biscuits
Six years ago: Creamed Onions with Bacon and Chives and Sweet Corn Spoonbread
Seven years ago: Sweet Potato and Buttermilk Pie, Creamed Spinach and Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake
Eight years ago: Silky Smooth Pumpkin Pie, Home Fries, Apple Pancakes and Fennel Proscuitto and Pomegranate Salad
Nine years ago: Pumpkin Waffles and Creamy White Polenta with Mushrooms and Nutmeg-Maple Cream Pie
Ten! years ago: Three Cranberry Sauces and No-Knead Bread

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Roasted Carrots with Avocado and Yogurt and Almond Rhubarb Picnic Bars
1.5 Years Ago: Fake Shack Burger and Swirled Berry Yogurt Popsicles
2.5 Years Ago: Soft Pretzel Buns and Knots
3.5 Years Ago: Greek Salad with Lemon and Oregano
4.5 Years Ago: Vidalia Onion Soup with Wild Rice

Brussels Sprouts, Apple and Pomegranate Salad


This is a crunchy, bright abundantly November-ish salad that hails from Michael Solomonov’s Zahav cookbook. In the book, he calls it tabbouleh and explains that while in the U.S., tabbouleh is usually made with bulgur wheat, parsley and chopped tomatoes, in Israel, you’re unlikely to find it made the same way twice, and I’d say the same for Solomonov’s versions too. In the book, he’s swapped kale for parsley but I’ve also seen him do the same with shredded brussels. He says he enjoys swapping quinoa for the bulgur, and adding pomegranate when it is in season. In the fall, he said he enjoys adding apples and walnuts, and will sometimes even replace the grain entirely with walnuts. And it from here that we’ve ended up with a dish I won’t even call tabbouleh, so not to confuse anyone, but a salad, and an excellent one at that. Between his book and the various outlets that have published versions of this salad, I found almost no two recipes alike so I instead set out all the ingredients and added them at the levels I liked most. You, too, can and should adjust the flavors to taste.

  • 1/2 large red onion, diced small
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons ground sumac
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to season salad
  • 2 cups shredded brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds (from about 1/2 a large one)
  • 1/2 a large unpeeled apple, cored and diced (I used Granny Smith, the book recommends Pink Lady or Honeycrisp)
  • Juice of half a lemon, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons honey, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup toasted, cooled walnuts, lightly crushed or coarsely chopped
  • Ground chipotle chile pepper, urfa biber peppers, hot smoked paprika or another chile flake, to taste

Make the sumac-pickled onions: Combine red onion, wine vinegar, sumac and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a small dish and set aside while you prepare the other ingredients, or ideally at least 15 minutes.

Combine all salad ingredients, including red onions and their pickling liquid, in a medium bowl and season to taste with salt and red pepper. Taste and adjust ingredients as desired — I’ve seen versions of the recipe with more honey, olive oil and lemon; I didn’t need them but you might find you do.

This salad can be prepped ahead, but I’d keep the dressing off of it until at most an hour before serving so it doesn’t discolor the sprouts.


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229 comments on brussels sprouts, apple and pomegranate salad

  1. As soon as I saw this photo I said, that’s the Zahav recipe, but with Brussels Sprouts! For another take on Brussels sprouts with sumac and and onions, Ottologenghi has a “salsa” that involves maple syrup that I find is just perfect for the fall.

    About the brining: Have you ever tried using a kosher turkey? I swear to you, I never had a dry turkey until my mother-in-law served us her traditional Butterball.

    1. deb

      I should! I hear they’re excellent. I did the brine as much for preference as for “science,” i.e. so I could know how to do it and provide advice (or how-not-to tips) for others.

      1. Ditto on the kosher turkey, although I don’t think you’ll find a 40lb. kosher turkey.

        When I have more than 12-14 I’ve made two (the second one on the grill). I’ve used the rotisserie on the grill which was a bit challenging. The better option was “Beer Butt Turkey” which is amazing. I have a porcelain turkey sitter for stability that’s also great for “Beer Butt Capon”.

        Enjoy! (Love the juice box holiday decoration!)

  2. 1) The trivet thing. You know how there are truths out there that you don’t realize are true until someone says them? That.

    2) I had plotting a broccoli slaw for a quick/easy contribution to extended-family Thanksgiving this weekend, but now I’m both wondering if I should make this instead AND wondering if — since the slaw recipe I have in my head has some grains in it — it might also be a tabbouleh. You know, if I want it to be. Basically this post spun my brain a good quarter-turn, so thanks. Sort of ;)

  3. Jessica Smith

    So I have made your sweet potato biscuits for a few years now and I love them – make the dough ahead, cut out the biscuits, freeze, bake while turkey rests. Last year I had them in the oven at the same time as the stuffing and they didn’t rise very much. This year I cut them thicker, but do you think it’s important they’re alone in the oven? Any other thoughts? Thanks!

    1. deb

      You might find you get a little more height if they’re defrosted just a little bit on the counter before they go in the oven. I do know that I always say they can be baked frozen and they can but for maximum height, it can help if they’re a little less icy going in.

  4. Karen

    To clear up fridge space (and avoid raw turkey juice catastrophes), we always brine our turkey in a cooler outside. We make the brine ahead of time and refridgerate for a couple days so it’s nice and chilled. Put the giant plastic bag in the cooler, add the turkey and chilled brine. Depending on the temperature outside, you can add a bag of ice around the plastic bag to be safe. Obviously this works better for certain parts of the country than others, but it’s been a lifesaver for fridge space leading up to the big meal!

    1. putnamk

      Argh, this was the first year it was just barely too warm to brine outside…and a bag of ice (which I had) would have easily solved that. Duh. Good idea for the future!

    2. sarah

      I was going to say the same thing… I’m a vegetarian but the one time I hosted Thanksgiving I brined a turkey in a cooler using ice water and frozen cans of juice concentrate. I think it was the Alton Brown recipe. The meat eaters said the turkey was excellent.

  5. Annie

    I love Brussel sprouts and have attempted to make a shaved brussel sprout salad before. But I felt they were too “raw”. Do you ever partially cook them to soften them a little? Would you advise this?

    1. Barbara

      I recently made a kale and shaved Brussels sprouts salad with a lemon, olive oil, shallot, and garlic dressing. I found the sprouts tender after sitting in the dressing for a couple of hours. The salad was even delicious the next day! The lemon softens the sprouts.

    2. Ro

      another idea is a little labor intensive but if you really want to love on those brussels you can massage them (once shredded) with a little olive oil as you would with kale. doing so really, really softens it and also, you’re half way to dressing them!

    3. deb

      I don’t but don’t see any reason you cannot. You can also let the dressing sit on them longer, or just a bit of olive oil and salt and they’ll soften more before it’s mixed. I agree that raw sprouts can be a bit grassy — usually when underdressed.

  6. CindyD

    My secret to a moist turkey (and the world’s easiest turkey pan cleanup) is to buy a name brand turkey and use one of those oven bags. I know they’re not “gourmet” but it’s lots easier than brining!

    1. Anon

      I buy the grocery brand frozen turkey (the one that is super cheap with a $25/35 dollar other purchase), thaw it in a sinkful of cold water (changing often) the day before/morning of because my fridge is too cold to thaw anything in less than a week and I’m not that organized, and use the oven bags (and have for several years). Comes out beautiful, delicious and moist every time. Just did Friendsgiving for 20 two weekends ago and everyone raved. Strain the bag drippings and you can make gravy as well.

      1. Emma

        Not cute, but Ikea also has packs of plain cork trivets that I remember being super cheap.

        When push comes to shove we’ve also used the leftover samples from when we were getting cork flooring put in our kitchen!

          1. nbmandel

            Get your older child to weave you some potholders on one of those loop looms, then use those! (Until you get some as house gifts.)

  7. Laura

    I’m a Brit who moved to NYC 4 months ago, so this is my first ever Thanksgiving! I want to make your Pecan pie, and my stress levels went down hugely knowing that you made yours in advance and it kept in the fridge. Did you bake it all the way through and then just let it come to room temp or heat/ finish cooking in the oven before serving? (As you can probably tell, I’m not overly familiar with Pecan pie either. It’ll be a day of firsts!)

    1. Lori

      Save yourself some work on Thanksgiving by baking your pie the day before. You could even make the pie dough two days ahead (that would be Tuesday) and then roll out the crust, fill and fully bake on Wednesday. Cool the pie then refrigerate overnight. Pull the pie out of the fridge about an hour before you serve dessert. If someone wants their slice of pie warmed up, you can microwave individual servings before adding the scoop of ice cream! Good Luck and welcome to the US.

    2. deb

      Baked it fully through, keeps in fridge for days. I brought it to room temperature that afternoon or it’s not quite gooey when cut, which would be sad.

  8. Manasi

    We used to brine a 20+ pound turkey every year and my dad had it down to a science. He ended up buying one of those large drink cooler dispensers–the kind that are on the sidelines of a sports field– because they are insulated and they have wheels. He’d shove the turkey and the brine in it and then literally put it outside on our deck {yay New England!}. It worked beautifully and you just dumped out the brine and washed the thing the next day. No worry about salmonella!

    Anyway, your pumpkin pie and pecan pie are powering our Thanksgiving dessert this year, so thanks! And great job pulling this off in NYC. Not an easy feat for sure!

  9. Erin

    This is great, Deb, thank you! I’m planning my menu for Thursday and intend to make the creamed onions with bacon and chives you have on the site. Now that I’m reading your advice on this post, I’m wondering if I could make them on Wednesday night and just reheat on Thurs? What do you think? Also, I’m making the pumpkin tart from your cookbook — first time not making a traditional pumpkin pie — and I am really excited about it. :-)

    1. deb

      I definitely think so. My advice would be that the creamed onions have a tendency to seem thin especially after the onions have been in the sauce for a while so I’d recommend reducing even further than would seem necessary so as the onions release juices as they rest, it won’t be overly sloshy. And of course, bacon only goes on at the end. And thank you!

  10. That salad sounds fantastic, like a good candidate for a party. I like having a few sides that aren’t drenched in sauce or butter, but they need to be special–not just plain steamed vegetables. This one sounds great!

    1. deb

      I just left them out in a bowl at room temperature all day. I figured they’re cooked and crispy, they’re safe. Haven’t quite mastered making them far ahead yet, may try this week when I’m nominated to make it again. Will report back.

  11. Kris

    Trader Joe’s has bagged chopped Brussels sprouts and cartons of fresh pomegranate seeds–this salad would whip up in a pinch with these items!!!

  12. Lauren

    This looks great. Thank you! Your recipes are the very best. I have a question about the green bean casserole. I’m planning to make it this week and wondering if and how you prepped it ahead of time. I know the recipe give a few options for making it ahead; I’m wondering which one you chose and how it worked out.

    1. Ha I was just about to post this exact question, so glad I scrolled through the comments first! I’m also very curious to know if/how you did the green bean ahead plan out of the many options you provided in your original post! Thanks and glad your Friendsgiving was a success!

      1. deb

        Totally prepped it ahead of time. The only part that’s tricky is the onions. I fried them the morning of, but kind of hated it and think I might have gotten away with it the night before had I left them at room temperature uncovered but even that made me nervous because maybe they’re safer in the fridge, where, of course, they’ll lose some crisp. (Very helpful advice, I know.)

        But the base is definitely easy to get a lead on. You can make the sauce and cook the greens and keep them separately or you can mix them together in the final baking dish. Let them get warm first before you bake them with the onions for a little bit, or the onions will get too brown. (When you make it straight through, the beans and sauce are already hot so you don’t need this extra oven time.)

        1. deb

          Oh and one of my friends hates Recognizable Mushrooms so I used a little less and pulsed them in the food processor until rubbly and then the base was more of a smooth sauce, mushrooms not obvious.

          1. JC

            “Recognizable Mushrooms” slayed me. We all have this friend (cough-husband-cough) and they are a force to be reckoned with, for sure. Evil grin emoji at under cover pulsing in the ol’ Cuisinart because I do the same.

            1. deb

              My husband: It’s not nice to hide the mushrooms.
              Me: I’m not hiding them! We were at this holiday party in 2000 and eating passed potstickers and when I told her there were mushrooms in them she said they were fine because she couldn’t tell.
              My husband: … … [leaves room]

          2. Emma

            Oh, that’s genius! I usually just eat around the recognizable mushrooms, but my real problem is the slimy texture, so if they were pureed I could probably handle it…hm…next year…

        2. Francoise

          I made the whole thing the day before; leaving the crispy fried onions on the counter on a paper towel lined tray and covered with more paper towels. They did sog up a tiny bit but when I put them on the casserole, they crisped back up again in the oven. It was delicious!

  13. Amanda

    Great article and it sounds like the dinner was a huge success!

    I have the hardest time finding ground sumac. Any suggestions on a substitution?

  14. Deanna

    Now that you’ve mastered Thanksgiving in its classic season, what would you make if you were say living in New Zealand and we’re hosting a Thanksgiving this weekend when it happens to be the season of asparagus and strawberries?

    Also, and not related to the previous question, as a card carrying member of the “artichokes for dinner, no that’s it just artichokes” club, a club which I believe you’re a member of, artichoke and Brie stuffing is definitely something you should make if you like artichoke dip by way of savory bread pudding. Emeril has a recipe I use as a guideline, but modify because I only need so much cream (um… none)when Brie is a starring ingredient.

    1. Hi — I took Thanksgiving home to Australia and it was …. interesting. First my mum insisted on no turkey leftovers so the bird was smaller than a chicken, I swear, and certainly smaller than anything the turkey website was willing to let us know about cooking time. But there were no really big ones in the store.

      Maybe it is time to start a Thankspringing movement for those south of the equator? You could have a Thankzucchining in summer and a thankstewing in winter ….

      My family’s new traditional Christmas meal is grilled salmon, potato salad, and green salad… if that (finally) helps.

  15. Hi Deb! You’ve been my Thanksgiving guiding star for years now, so big thanks and warm holiday wishes to you! This question is appetizery, re: your tarte soleil: what do you think about a doubled-or-so version of your sour cream galette (butternut squash etc.) dough as a homemade replacement for the puff pastry? With love from Pittsburgh.

  16. Katharine

    Advice on shredding brussels–your photo shows a chef’s knife peeking out, not a mandoline? Is that what you used? Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. deb

      I meant to do so in fridge but forgot so did so at room temperature for a bunch of hours. Pie texture was perfect; felt the crust underneath the center was a bit more soft, maybe because it defrosted faster and thus had more condensation rolling around. Nobody cared.

  17. Sarah

    Did you use a knife to shred the Brussels sprouts? Could I use a food processor? Would I be sacrificing anything by doing that? It sounds much easier…also, I can’t wait to hear your turkey recipe! Sounds (and looks) like it was a success!

  18. Charlotte in Toronto

    It sounds and looks like you had a fantastic time. I’m glad you were well organized and had the energy and mood to enjoy your own feast…very important not to be tired and cranky when the guests arrive…not that that’s ever happened to me…😇😈😨

  19. Jeannine DiBart

    For the pecan pie, you linked to your recipe that makes one 9 inch pie. How did you increase the recipe to make it in the jelly roll pan? Did you just double everything? I’m doing all slab pies this Thanksgiving as we have a huge crowd (22!!) and I like the crust to filling ratio better than in a pie plate:) Thanks!

    1. deb

      So sorry to be a tease about this because I’ve been tweaking it for my next cookbook and am still working out kinks. It’s like 1.66x and it’s the equivalent of three single doughs.

  20. Karen

    I highly recommend using a cooler for brining. Put the turkey in its bag, fill part-way with the brining solution, pack ice around it and then top off with the brining solution. It works especially well if you have some outdoor (or garage space) to leave the cooler overnight but in a pinch the cooler could go anywhere (bathtub?). Any leaks will stay in the cooler to be dealt with after the main event.

    1. deb

      So mad I forgot to weigh it — I’m obviously off my game :) I cannot imagine it was over a pound. It actually required much fewer than I’d expected.

      1. Jes

        Thanks Deb! We had some giant 3 ft stalks of brussels sprouts at our market, so I made this last night using about 1/3 of my stalk. Huge hit in my house! Already getting requests to make more.

  21. Nicole

    For the brining, we buy a new, cheap bucket from Home Depot to prevent spills. It’s usually cold enough the night before Thanksgiving to keep it in the garage, but if not, we’ll add ice packs.

    To cook, we use a rotisserie which makes the best turkey ever. Ours is part of an outside grill set-up, which I realize is not an option for many in NYC!

  22. Leah

    Hosting our first family Thankgiving on Thursday, and my stressors are, in this order: the fever/runny nose/cough I’m battling (yes, I am actually doing prep in hospital gloves and a mask); how to entertain my two kids on Thursday morning while anything last-minute gets done (hello, iPad games!); and the expense. We realized that we had plenty of nice things to host a group of five or six, but it was something of an investment to round out our china, table linens, stemware, etc., for the 16 we’re expecting. No matter – between you, Ina, and Serious Eats, I feel like I’m ready to be a Thankgiving boss…assuming there’s enough DayQuil at my local pharmacy ;)

    1. deb

      I hope you feel better! I agree about those surprise investments, however, the cool thing is that then you’re set for almost-ever, not just this party. When we bought new silverware last year, it was such a good clearance price I went ahead and bought 24 sets — wasn’t sad about that this weekend at all. But most importantly: feel better. And kids love a good iPad day once in a while. :)

  23. Jenn

    Just wondering if you have advice on dinner rolls I could make tonight and then bake/serve Thursday. I’ve seen different types of advice for Parker House rolls, since you’re the make-ahead queen I’m wondering if you’ve ever tried it. Or any type of dinner roll. Thanks!

    1. deb

      I would make them (these are my go-to, with or without the pretzel wash), do the first rise, form the rolls and keep them in the fridge until you’re going to bake them. I haven’t stretched these that long, but I suspect they’ll be forgiving because things move very slowly in the fridge.

  24. TJ Rogers

    Many years as a Boy Scout means I own one of those 5 gallon drink dispensing jugs which now is my turkey brining vessel. Ice on bottom. Turkey brine bag in middle and ice on top.

  25. RT Boyce

    “shredded brussels sprouts”
    Please say more! Probably there is a niftier way to do this, because it took me over 45 minutes the last time I tried to accomplish this with a pile of brussels sprouts. Is there a technique for swiftly taking a hard little cruciferous ball and delivering a pile of teeny leaves?

    1. deb

      Thinly sliced are just fine, or, if you have a food processor, you can use the slicing blade. Or! As someone else mentioned, TJs often sells bags of shredded brussels.

  26. putnamk

    I also did Friendsgiving for a 16-top. WHEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

    Did your root vegetable casserole (awesome, I’d just reduced the stock a hair), pumpkin cheesecake tart from the book (OMGOMGOMG – we all ignored that one due to a chocolate cream pie, but when I took it by my stable yesterday, it disappeared in a flash), and the butternut squash galette (always a hit). Thank you for the great recipes!

    The one thing I keep learning as my friends group solidly hit the mid-30s-50s is that I just don’t have to have everything as bread-centric. I made two nice pans of stuffing that were ignored for a fantastic southwest corn pudding and the root vegetable gratin and mashed potatoes. I’m going to keep cutting back the bread and upping the variety of vegetables. I worry about them not being a hit so I do this bread-backup thing that ends up being totally unnecessary. Less bread, more veggies! Less bread, more veggies!

  27. Wendy

    For your pecan pie recipe – I attempted to make golden syrup as I was unable to find any at the grocery store, and ended up making something more akin to treacle/molasses. It is pretty dark and smoky, and thicker than corn syrup. I’m trying to figure out if I can still use it for pecan pie…not sure how 3/4 cup of it would taste…or should I combine it with some traditional corn syrup (half treacle, half corn syrup)? Thanks for your input!

    1. deb

      You can also use honey or maple syrup if you have either and can then not use as much of the dark stuff if it makes you nervous. Or just use corn syrup — I mean, it’s the standard and certainly works here too, just adds less flavor. Hope that helps.

  28. For the brining, we use a not-so-large turkey (our Thanksgiving involves 6 people, one of whom is vegan), put the turkey and brine in one of those giant bags, and then put the whole thing in a giant plastic bowl. The whole contraption goes into the refrigerator and we don’t have to worry about salmonella.

    Love your website and thanks for all the great recipes!

  29. Alyssa

    Oh! You freeze your pumpkin pie – that’s genius. GENIUS! My question is – how long do you have to let them thaw? Is there anything else you need to do other than take them out of the freezer? How do you prevent freezer burn – just plastic wrap?
    Thanks so much!
    A

    1. deb

      I didn’t have it in long enough to worry about freezer burn but I think what I’d do if longer is let it freeze solid, oil or spray a piece of plastic wrap, use that to cover it followed by foil to keep it tight at the edges. To defrost, I’d remove both so it doesn’t get messed up if you pull the wraps off when it is soft. I’d defrost it for a day in the fridge, however, I forgot to so I just had it out half the day, did the same job.

  30. TanjaK

    Well done! This must have been a lot of work, but it also seems a lot of fun. We have no -giving in our country, but just looking at these dishes and the people and that smile that came with the turkey wants me to invite all my friends over for a potluck and give thanks to anything and anybody that deserve them.

  31. The rule I learned from my mom for party- (also, life-) planning is always leave yourself enough time to get dressed and have a glass of wine before guests arrive. Whatever doesn’t get made, doesn’t get made, and as long as you don’t mention it, no one else will ever know.

    1. deb

      Love the last part and wholly agree. I actually put the turkey in late because I got the delicata squash in late and it was just silly, it’s great to have an orange vegetable and all but nobody knows if it’s missing from the table.

  32. Brittany W.

    Hi, I am planning on making your endives with oranges and almonds as a Thanksgiving appetizer, so I sent my husband to the grocery to pick up the endive for me. He came back with two heads of large, green, leafy things. He said one was what he thought endive is, and the other was what the produce guy thought endive is. Neither are what I thought it is (what you picture on that post). So is what you have pictured just likely the heart of one of those heads of large lettuce-like things, ie I should just start peeling outer layers off, or do I need to go to a different store to find what you have pictured?

    1. deb

      Not sure what kind of lettuce he picked up but absolutely, I think the tender inner leaves are the way to go or you might have some luck trimming the leafiest parts of large leaves down too.

    2. Laura

      So I’m not sure what your husband picked up at the store, but I have been in your shoes before when I had my mother in law do the holiday shopping and learned that there are two types of endive. She brought home curly endive instead of the Belgian endive Deb uses in he recipe you referenced.

      Curly endive is leafy but the leaves are formed with thin curls. Belgian endive has the boat shaped leaves you see in Deb’s pictures. And there is also escarole, which often gets confused with the leafy endive because they’re both leafy, green chicory. Escarole and curly endive aren’t usually sturdy enough to make those little boats.

      1. Brittany W.

        I think you are right. I must have had curly endive and escarole. I removed the outer leaves and never found those tightly packed boat-shaped leaves in the middle, so I made the whole thing into a chopped salad. It was still very good! He went to a store that is similar to Whole Foods and who normally has a very good selection, so I’m surprised that they did not have the Belgium endive. I will try it again if I can find the right stuff!

  33. Emma

    Not a question, but I want to make sure you see this tip before you attempt further turkeys! I brined a 26 pound turkey for the last 4 years. My trick for getting it into the fridge safely is admittedly a bit unorthodox. I took a waste paper bin that was large enough for the turkey, washed it thoroughly with soapy hot water inside and out, and just brined my bird in there. A home depot bucket might also work, or a massively huge stockpot of course – although most people probably don’t have a stockpot sized for a turkey. The plus of the waste paper bin was it was the taller rectangular shape that allowed it to easily fit in my side-by-side fridge.

    1. Deanna

      My method is to empty the vegetable drawer, wash it, then brine the turkey in there. It’s also where I defrost turkey to contain any leaks

  34. I completely agree– the logistics is the challenging part. I’ve got a game plan mapped out starting Wednesday morning including which dishes each item will be cooked or served in. I love casseroles too, this is the only time of year I eat like 5 kinds at one meal, and I love that you can make them completely in advance and just bake it the day of (it also works for Ina’s sausage stuffed mushrooms, which are my favorite Thanksgiving dish of all time).
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  35. JA

    I would just like to say, as someone who’s been vegetarian for close to 20 years now, that a bunch of sides we can eat is awesome and very, very much appreciated at holiday time! As an extra special tip, though, if you have vegetarians coming and you have a few extra minutes (and a free burner), I would really, really recommend making a quick vegetarian gravy for them. Afterall, all those sides are meant to be eaten with gravy! I’ve been doing this for the past 8 years, and it’s honestly been life-changing … or at least holiday-meal-changing.
    NB: Veg gravy can be made waaaay in advance and kept in the fridge or freezer; you can reheat it on the stove or in the microwave.
    Just make a butter/flour roux with a couple of big chunks of onion and a couple of bay leaves in the pot. When you’re ready for some liquid, add a splash or two of wine, then hot water (or veg stock if you have some you want to use up), a lot of poultry seasoning, a squidge of tomato paste or ketchup – whatever you’ve got, and whisk. When everything’s smooth, add some salt and pepper. And then, here’s the key, because it’s going to be tasting quite acidic from the wine, tomato paste, and onion: add a tiny pinch of baking soda. It will cut the acid just enough and mellow the whole thing out to taste and look just like gravy. To get a sense of how much baking soda you need, put a spoonful of the hot gravy into a little bowl, flick a few specks of baking soda into it, stir, and taste. It will probably be enough, and that will give you a sense of how to scale up the whole pot.
    As I said, as a vegetarian, anything is appreciated, but for me, gravy truly makes a traditional holiday meal come together!

    1. brenda

      I totally agree! Vegetarian gravy is so awesome. While making it does make sense if you are not vegetarian and don’t want to go that route many stores carry the vegetarian gravy packets. I bought 2!

  36. Sarah

    Hi Deb! I will be traveling out of town for Thanksgiving and have been asked to bring a side dish. Any suggestions on a side that can withstand a 5 hour car ride in an ice packed cooler?

    1. deb

      Is salad not an option? I feel like it’s best to have you do something that can be served at room temperature — a galette, maybe, or mini-galettes — because anything but a salad chilled would just have to be warmed up which might be a pain if it’s already overloaded where you’re going.

  37. So happy to see a recipe that doesn’t have to do with Thanksgiving! Being a vegetarian, I struggle to find good things to make around this time of year, so thank you very much for this in-depth recipe. The pomegranate sounds like a good addition – just hope I can find it around this time of year (a fresh one, atleast!).

    Regarding the dressing, isn’t it also true that adding the dressing too early will make the salad soggy? Or is the discoloration a bigger problem? I’ve tried mine before with Italian or even Balsamic, but the sogginess is an issue when I prep the salad before guests arrive.

    Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

  38. Kelly

    Yes! The turkey we bought for Christmas two years ago managed to leak on me leaving the grocery store. We wrapped it in a trash bag before putting in it the fridge in the garage. A day or so later went out to get something and the darn thing had managed to leak through that bag as well and drip all over! Spent lots of time having to disinfect the fridge and worrying about everything in it. Didn’t name a specific microbe, but the fear was there. :)

  39. Lauren

    Kid 1 and Kid 2 both “look” sweet and are even dressed to coordinate with their surroundings! A perfect holiday card, of a perfect little family. That salad might be my favorite thing about Thanksgiving this year…that and the ever- favorite mashed rutabagas. Add some cranberry and I could forget the turkey altogether.

  40. Abesha1

    No, you’re not crazy on the scrubbing…. I once had a raw chicken leak, and I cleaned up well. Or so I thought, until several weeks later I was searching for the cause of an awful smell in my kitchen. I had apparently not cleaned *unde*r the drawers. And somehow it also leaked out of the refrigerator, too, and underneath…. it was pretty awful.

  41. Definitely going with Team Casserole for my friendsgiving this weekend! But was just wondering if it is best to pre-bake them and then reheat, or assemble, store unbaked in the fridge overnight, and then bake while everyone is eating appetizers and drinking?

  42. Elizabeth

    I need some other way to incorporate pomegranate seeds into a vegetable dish. Not this one.Brussel Sprouts will be too radical with this group, unfamiliar with American foods. But I need some healthy green vegetable, and I have green beans. I have time to pick up another vegetable, if you have a good suggestion. THANKS a BUNCH!

  43. Garlic + Zest

    I give you a lot of credit — I’ve never been to or hosted a Friendsgiving and frankly, I can’t imagine doing one the weekend before Thanksgiving — I’ve spent the whole weekend cooking and will be every day up to and including the big day. I hope someone else will be cooking for you on Thanksgiving! LOL! Looks like you put on a great spread — and Wow! that turkey!

    1. My friends and I do a sidesgiving where everyone just brings a side! No one misses the turkey and its always so much fun! Sooooo much less stressful than when we used to do a proper friendsgiving. At work we do soupsgiving which is also great lol.

  44. Carla

    Sous vide that bird! Cut him up like a chicken…legs take almost 24 hours..breast about 12-ish….it will be the absolute best turkey you have ever had. The nice folks over at ChefSteps has details. The bonus is….the oven is free for everything else and you have the spine and spare parts for stock to put in your dressing/stuffing! Definitely that sprout salad…yum, yum!!

  45. Aunt, when I was discussing what I might bring for Thanksgiving: We don’t need salad you and I are the only ones who eat it anyway!

    Idk I might have to blatantly ignore that directive because this sounds amazing! Maybe I’ll do it in addition to whatever other side I bring lol! All I really need is a pomegranate anyway since I just bought a bag of shaved brussels sprouts (gosh I’m so lazy but they’re so convenient) and am never without apples!

  46. Gwen Weisgarber

    I raise turkeys, some of which reach baby pterodactyl size – my suggestion is to use a cooler filled with ice and your brining liquid to store your bird; you may need to add more brine and ice as the ice melts, but you can keep everything super cold (colder than your fridge= super safe), you free up fridge space and since you have a little terrace, it isn’t underfoot.

  47. Libby

    Kenji Lopez-Alt had an interesting article about wet vs. dry brine. He settled on dry brine based on the affect on proteins. Try the Judy Bird on Food52 or Ina Garten’s turkey and gravy from Make it ahead. The gravy is a game changer.

    1. deb

      This was my second choice. I was torn between the two, decided to go the most hassle-d route first, assuming I’d try the other next year. But now I’m torn as friends liked the wet brine so much!

  48. Rachel

    I’m celebrating Thanksgiving in France this year so in lieu of cooking a full-sized bird (a bit hard to find), I’m planning on cooking just the breast. I’m also making your Kale and Caramelized Onion Stuffing and I was wondering if you had advice on cooking it underneath a turkey breast. I love the flavor the turkey drippings give to stuffing cooked inside the bird, so I thought cooking the stuffing underneath the meat might be similar, but I’m also afraid of overcooking the stuffing. Do you think this will work or should I just cook the stuffing separately?

      1. Rachel

        Thanks! I’ll try it with an oven rack positioned above another rack holding the stuffing dish. My kitchen here doesn’t have much equipment so this Thanksgiving is an adventure in making do!

        1. Anne

          Serious Eats did a post on *exactly* this a couple years ago (cooking just a breast, with stuffing); I haven’t done it but they figured out the timing/method so everything would be cooked properly/not burn.

  49. I once brinded a turkey, it seemed so salty to me, maybe it was the recipe or whatever, never again. I am a “bag lady” now, and it turns out great.

    This year, we decided to move Thanksgiving to Saturday, which gives me Thursday to cook, prep, clean. Thanks for moving your Thanksgiving up, to show all the yummy dishes! I am moving to less carbs, more fresh vegetables, as so many people are diabetic now.

    1. deb

      I am surprised saltiness doesn’t come up more often. I used 1 cup Diamond brand kosher salt which clocks in at 135 grams a cup. Morton brand = 230 grams per cup and David’s = 288 grams, which is just bonkers. I mean, to use a different brand would mean that your turkey is twice as salty as it should be. I’m always surprised more recipes don’t call types of salt out more. (I think I’m the only one insane about this.)

  50. Congratulations on what looks like an absolute dinner triumph, and thank you for this recipe! I share your craving for crunchy salad and I always like to bring something green to my family’s Thanksgiving… I bought two bags of my favorite salad mix from Trader Joe’s (“Cruciferous Crunch” – kale, brussels, sprouts, cabbage, all the hard work already done) with no definite plan… and now I have it! (and now lazy readers like me have an alternative to shredding Brussels sprouts, ha ha)

    1. deb

      No. Do keep in mind when they’re pickled they get a little sweet, if that helps. You can soak them longer and add a little honey from the dressing to the pickling liquid. Or skip them. :)

    2. Antje

      I found the raw onion very strong. The second time I made this salad I followed the recipe for quick pickled onions on thekitchn.com and liked it a lot better.

  51. larrabeehealth

    This looks fantastic! And I love that you had so many great options for the vegetarians. Oh my gosh I’m getting excited for Thanksgiving. Thank you: )

  52. This salad sounds amazing and I would love to make it for my own Derby-giving (my roller derby team thanksgiving) What would you suggest as a substitute for Sumac? I am ALMOST positive I won’t be able to find it in my small college town. Also, do you think that the nuts need to be mixed in from the start or could I put them on the side for an optional topping to the salad? I have some friends with nut allergies :( Thanks!

  53. sparkgrrl658

    omg yes, the trivets! i have one trivet. one!

    granted it’s just the two of us and we don’t usually entertain, but still. i made a mini thanksgiving for us last night and ran into the same problem. i ended up using a dish towel, the oven mitts, a cutting board…haha. total first world problem but yeah, we should all get on the more-trivets train :)

  54. Patty

    I have successfully brined a turkey in a cooler outside; however, keep in mind the critters that might be in the vicinity! In the past, I have put a big cinderblock on top of the cooler to discourage raccoons, etc. etc.

    1. Stephanie

      Sumac is amazing and in the future, look for/find it! :) It imparts a lemony sourness without the acid. I think Deb recommended paprika to someone else, and I’d add that I’d increase the lemon juice a little, too.

  55. Jennifer

    Of all the posts I could have made an appearance in….I finally arrive on brussels sprouts. Did my parents put you up to this? LOL

  56. Can I mix all of the ingredients for the dressing a few days early? Should I just pickle the onion, then add honey, olive oil and lemon after that? Or does it hurt to leave the lemon in the liquid that long at all?

  57. Helen

    This looks good! One thing you might want to try is a goose or duck instead of a turkey, especially if you’re not feeding 20. It’s easy to buy extra duck legs/breasts as well. If nobody in your house really cares about bird presentation, spatchcocking the bird (whatever variety) will cut the cooking time to about 1/3. I once got so tired of the turkey, after cooking it 2 hours longer than the recommended time after thawing for a week in the fridge, with the inside meat still red, that I stuck it in my dutch oven with the gravy and cranberries and cooked it stove top for another 30 minutes. Remove the carcass, fish out the meat and present! At my house, some of the food will be cooked well, and the rest will be just cooked.

  58. This isn’t Thanksgiving-related (!) but since you mentioned Ina Garten’s fontina I had a question – I don’t own any of her books and I’m toying with buying her latest one. But are there any of her earlier ones that you’d say are indispensable, that I should rather start with? There are so many!

  59. Kristine

    On brining your turkey: I love a brined bird & it makes cooking such a snap. I don’t think I could dry out a brined turkey if I tried… I have used the simple brine of 1/2 c. table salt per gallon of water for ~12 hrs/overnight, followed by air drying the turkey for 4-8 hrs in the fridge (if possible). Same instructions published by Cooks Illustrated in their Nov/Dec 2004 edition.

    I’m so sorry to hear your brining bag broke – I’ve never used one. Instead, I use the metal stock pot that comes with a deep-fat fryer for turkeys. It doesn’t leak and fits every 20-24 lbs bird I’ve purchased. Since it’s winter and the temps stay below 40 degrees F, it allows me to put the bird in our unheated garage with a brick on the stock pot lid to make sure the bird remains undisturbed while soaking. Perhaps you could do something similar if you have a little balcony?

    1. deb

      I wouldn’t. Za’atar has herbs and more in it and wouldn’t do much for pickling liquid. I would, however, maybe sprinkle it on top. I like it best for finishing.

  60. Hi Deb
    I saw this post as I was looking for that grapefruit yogurt cake to lighten up the dessert table (HA). I just wantedto say that one of my few truly smart housewifey tips (I am 65) is to have kept the old burners from my previous stove. They nmake great trivets. These were 4 separate square ones but the double burner kind would work do, although heavy.
    I can give you no other advice, I love your recipes and the personality that shines through. Happy Thanksgiving or whatever to you and your family

  61. Meg D

    It’s not a question for you but rather a comment: I am thankful for you! Even though we have never met, I feel like you are my cooking buddy. I know many of us feel the same way. Wishing you and the lucky folks gathered around your table a very happy holiday!

  62. Abby

    Deb, thank you for being such a trusted cooking resource. I’m making my first Thanksgiving dinner for my husband and his parents (my in laws of a little over a year) and I’m doing the entire thing from Smitten Kitchen. I’m adding this salad last minute, because I spent the past few days worrying about things being too heavy and then you read my mind and delivered the solution!

    Now if only you could quell my fears that a pumpkin pie baked the day before and kept in the fridge will turn mushy. I’m making the classic pumpkin pie with praline sauce, but will make the sauce shortly before serving.

    1. deb

      It will absolutely not turn mushy in a day. Nobody should ever feel obligated to make pumpkin pie the day of — I make it at least two days early, usually. It keeps great. If you’re super-worried, just par-bake the crust.

  63. More fashion advice please! I wear way too much black, too. But it seriously goes with everything and always looks great on. Where is your cute black top from? It looks almost like a tunic? Also, your Anthro earrings are great! Thanks, Deb!

    1. deb

      Thanks. I have a black clothes problem too, even worse in the winter because I just want to wear JCrew pixie pants all the time. The only other colors I really like are dark gray and off/winter white, which are not, in fact, colors and sometimes olive green. This is the blouse; I’m getting a lot of use out of it but it’s definitely not long or tunic-y.

  64. This salad is really tasty! I didn’t do the pickled onion method, because I already had pickled onions, so I threw the sumac in the dressing instead (which I really just eyeballed because I made way more than two cups of sprouts. I added pomegranates, oranges segments and apple. Left out the nuts because at that point I was too lazy! I love this salad!

  65. Shannon

    As a trial run before Thanksgiving, I made this last night with dinner! IT IS SO GOOD! It will be a seasonally appropriate FRESH component to our Thanksgiving dinner. Cannot wait to share it with my family!

    I made two little tweaks (due to personal preference), though I don’t think it needed (them. I added a little dijon mustard to add a bit of spicy tang and also added some chopped parsley (mainly for color).

    Thank you Deb for this recipe…I had been on the hunt all week for a shaved brussels sprout salad with pomegranate, apples and nuts. (This is not a joke!)

  66. medaisies

    It seems that my mom must have stumbled upon the trivet conundrum at some point in her life as well, because I have at least 8 trivets, all from her. Although we technically stopped exchanging gifts years ago, I will inevitably find one tucked away into a small Christmas care package…and always accompanied by a package of cocktail napkins. Mother truly knows best :)

  67. Rachel

    This may sounds crazy but, my husband is phobic of onions. Any ideas on a pickled something else in place of onions? I try my best to either dial down the onion when it’s a cooked dish, or skip it when it’s a raw dish, sometimes upping garlic instead. I’ve tried to convince him for 13 years, to no avail!

  68. Mary

    Just made it. So fresh & bright tasting. Perfect use of these ingredients for a fresh, healthy alternative to heavier Thanksgiving dishes.

  69. Just made it for our light lunch, pre-Thanksgiving dinner. Didn’t use pomegranate since we’ll have that in our T-giving salad; added 1/2 avocado. Adults all enjoyed this. Fresh flavors, light and crunchy.

  70. Susan

    Deb…I have been following you for a few years and have made some of your recipes periodically (we LOVE Pasta for a Crowd…family favorite!). This year, with things feeling so completely out of control over the last few weeks, the one thing I knew I could control was the food I fed my family for Thanksgiving.

    I cannot thank you enough for sharing recipes…we used the salad you posted here (though we used the cruciferous (?) blend rather than just brussel sprouts from TJs) and my sister and I thought it was delicious. Your pecan pie was a hit with my hubby who has always…well,…put up with pecan pie because it’s my family’s thing, but this year thought it lived up to the hype. But the star, for me, was the green bean casserole, which has been woefully absent from my table since I had children. I just could not bring myself to use all the canned soups and feel OK feeding my family…but I took a deep breath and pulled yours together this morning, and O…M…G!!

    So, in short…Deb, thanks for sharing some of your Thanksgiving good will. It certainly put a sparkle on what had the potential to be a tense day around here. Good food conquers all!

  71. Kristin

    In the chaos of getting all the food on the table I forgot BOTH the nuts and onions that I had prepared earlier. But it was still delicious and people liked it. Next year I’ll have all the parts in there and people will be wowed!

  72. Callie

    I made this for an extended family Thanksgiving and received rave reviews. I didn’t have walnuts, so I used freshly roasted almonds. I also didn’t use any sumac. Still delicious! It’s so nice to have something fresh on the plate next to all the heavy Thanksgiving favorites.

  73. Ceri

    Made a double batch of this yesterday. Got thumbs up all around and will def make again. A little time intensive due to shredding the Brussels sprouts (used a mandolin) and the pomegranate (first time doing that) but well worth it! Thanks!

    1. Stephanie

      Use the google! You’ll find videos on how to quickly seed a pomegranate and save yourself time on that (nothing to do about the brussels sprouts time….)!

      The method I found:
      1-Score the peel around the hemisphere of the pomegranate (instead of slicing through) and pry it apart.
      2-Take one half, and sort of stretch it out–pulling all around to loosen things up.
      3-Hold it cut-side down over a bowl, and hit it (hard) with the back of a wooden spoon or other utensil. Keep your hand loose–they start flowing out.
      4-Do the same with the other half.
      5-Pick out any bits of white that fell in the bowl.
      The guy on the video did this in less than 5 minutes. It took me 10, but was my first time.

  74. Madeleine Cotts

    Dear Deb, I have to tell you that your butternut squash with caramelized onion galette was the first special-occasion main I made for my dear vegetarian daughter-in-law three years ago and I have yet to make anything else for her for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or her birthday – she wants only that! Everyone else loves it as well.

    Regarding turkey – my staple has become the dry-brined then spatchcocked turkey. Not only is it a miracle of speed, (this years 17-1/2 lb bird – 30 minutes at 450 (convection) then another 30 minutes at 325 brought the thighs to 165 degrees) the thighs and the breast finish at the same time and the whole bird stays moister, I’m guessing because of less overall time in the oven. There’s no need to turn a hot-grease-and semi-raw juices-dripping bird part way through roasting either. Getting the messy part of cutting out the backbone and flattening the bird done the day before leaves very little to be done on the day. Carving becomes a lot easier, too. I can’t say I will never go back, because I’m always ready to try an interesting new method, but at the moment I can’t imagine a reason to do so.

  75. Kasumi

    This salad was incredible; light, bright, full of flavors and textures. Was the perfect foil to the traditional Thanksgiving fare. Thank you!!

  76. Robert

    I prepared this salad and served it at my sister’s thanksgiving party. She had spent hundreds of dollars and countless hours on traditional dishes that did not live up to expectations. She took one spoonful of the salad and ignored all of the other food. She was at once obsessed with and deeply annoyed by how spectacularly this salad upstaged the meal. I was hated and appreciated for my efforts. Strange feeling.

    Note: Forgot the sumac so I mixed the onions with lemon zest, salt, and red white vinegar.

  77. Leonardine

    Deb, this salad was the perfect crunchy, bright counterpoint to all the gravy-laden, buttery excess of Thanksgiving dinner. There were, to my great disappointment, no pomegranates to be found in our rural supermarket. I tried to replicate some of the tart sweetness and color with raisins plumped in tart cranberry juice, which was not bad – but not pomegranate. Can’t wait to try it as written. Thanks!

  78. Jamie

    Hi Deb,
    I can’t imagine putting a brining turkey in the fridge, especially one so large! Instead, I brine mine in a five gallon beverage cooler. It takes up less floor space than a regular cooler and is easier to lift. You just have to account for ice in your brine. I have also put it out on the porch (still with the ice). This year, I made the brine more concentrated (accounting for some melting of the ice) and it was better than ever!

  79. cR

    I was fascinated by the recipe, but unhappy with the results.

    Shaving the Brussels sprouts took time but was fun – I like that kind of fiddly knife work and ended up with a nice lacy pile of light/dark greenery.

    Despite the super slivery shaven perfection of my pile, the sprouts tasted raw & rough, even after their thorough dousing in dressing

    The salad was too tangy for me – 1/2 a large red onion yields a LOT, all that pickled sumac diced onion plus all the lemon in the dressing was overwhelming.

    At the same time, the dressing was too sweet – 1 1/2- 2 T is a LOT of honey.

    Too sweet/sour.

    My beautifully toasted walnuts got lost in the mix.

    The gorgeous fall colours of the ingredients very quickly became faded and sad looking once I dressed the salad – and I did so immediately before serving.

    The salad bowl was barely touched at meal’s end – nobody was digging it.

    Sorry for negative review – I just want to give a heads up to other readers/cooks. I was disappointed to waste such lovely parts, ingredients, on a whole recipe that missed the mark at our Thanksgiving Day spread.

    1. CR

      A thought – after reading about all the SM cooks happy with this salad, I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out WHY the recipe wasn’t a hit with my family. I came up with this: I transported all my Thxgiving food to my mom’s house. A bit chaotic. So, while I did add the 1/4t kosher salt to the pickled onions, I forgot to add the “plus more to season the salad”. Maybe salting the salad to taste after dressing it would have brought the sour/sweet dressing into the correct taste balance for me. Again, just a thought.

    1. deb

      We ate the leftovers for 2 days and then realized that my previous theory — that leftovers are always healthier than, say, takeout, even unheavy takeout — doesn’t apply to Thanksgiving leftovers, where everything is drenched in butter or gravy or cream or often all of the above. Then we said “no more Thanksgiving food ever” and then we ate it again on Thursday (actual Thanksgiving) and leftovers (the day after) and now I only want soup and salad forever and am currently making chicken broth and beef broth. Not that you asked all that. :)

  80. Kate

    Doubled the recipe and used half Brussels/half kale. Loved the crunch, though agree with previous reviewer that walnuts were somewhat lost other than as texture. Even using the low end of the honey range, the dressing was too sweet (and a touch oily) but would definitely make again using less honey and oil. Used smoked paprika and appreciated the smokiness. (Side note: Shredded sprouts in a food processor, which made it easy.)

  81. Katie

    Deb, you were spot on about why people would love this.

    I made it for our Friendsgiving potluck, and got so many compliments – everyone said it was so nice for something fresh-flavoured to contrast all the savoury salty, creamy dishes on the table.

    Slicing the sprouts by hand was labour intensive but didn’t take as long as I thought. Made it almost exactly as above, substituting toasted sunflower seeds for walnuts.

    Thanks for another good one.

  82. BC

    This salad was the hit of our Thanksgiving – it was so delicious, I’m making it again to have with leftovers. Thank you for posting this just in time to make Thanksgiving even more wonderful.

  83. So a tip I saw that may or may not work for a 19-lb turkey and/or your fridge setup was just to use the bottom produce drawer to hold the in-the-bag, brining turkey. We kept ours in a separate cooler on the porch, in the shade, iced down, and checked the temp constantly.

  84. Paula J.

    I made this wonderful salad for Shabbat dinner Fri., to serve with a roasted turkey breast. In spite of using 3 cups of Brussels, my husband and I ate about 3/4 of it – absolutely addictive. I just finished up the leftovers (not as good) with some cottage cheese for lunch. This is definitely one of your best, Deb. My only changes were using pecans (oops! no walnuts!) and adding Aleppo pepper at the end. I was also happy to use up the sad leftover Sukkot pomegranate. I’ll be making this salad as our fresh green veggie for the rest of the winter. Thanks.

  85. C.S. Baskin

    This salad was a hit with my extended family for our pre-Tday dinner and our Tday dinner. It’s the right balance of savory, sweet, tart, crunchy. On the 2nd attempt, I dressed the salad earlier to give the brussel sprouts time to wilt. A new FAVE.

  86. Marcia

    This salad looked like a perfect antidote to all the Thanksgiving carbs, but because I take blood thinners , I have to watch out for too many dark green leafy things. I had a Sang Lee red cabbage, and used that. There was not as much color contrast, but it tasted great ! Family says it’s a keeper. Red cabbage and apples have always been natural pals anyway! Thanks for giving me something
    completely different !

  87. Julia

    This was delicious! The adjustments I made were to use the whole pomegranate, the whole apple, shallots instead of red onions and Russian kale cut into ribbons instead of Brussels sprouts. We loved it!

  88. Leah

    This was the surprise star of our Thanksgiving table! I love that salads like this are infinitely adaptable: I swapped toasted sunflower seeds for the walnuts, added feta (sort of de rigeur in a Greek family), and omitted the apples (allergy). I’m not sure if others have found a good way to shred Brussels sprouts, but I had sizable ones, so I ran them over my mandoline; I admit this was perilous, and I definitely wouldn’t try it with the smaller sprouts I’ve seen. It held up quite well with the other leftovers, even after several days. I’m sure it will make an encore appearance at Christmas.

  89. I had high hopes from this salad but didnt love it. And I’m saying this as a loyal SK fan who has cooked and baked most recipes on the site, and for the most part loved them.

    A few problems:
    – shredded brussel sprouts? I actually followed this instruction and shredded them in a cheese grater and the consistency was bad. I think that chopping the brussel sprouts would be better
    – the dressing is really acidic, plus the green apple in it made it even more so.
    – The size – it was really small, I would prefer proportions to serve a crowd.
    – wondering how some kale or another green could help cut the acid and bulk up the salad. A kale and brussel sprout slaw is always delish.

    Thoughts from others?

    1. Stephanie

      Cut them like the next comment in the thread says–cut in half, then slice fine from top to bottom, either discarding or further slicing the bottom/core bits.

      As for the acidity, I actually added more lemon and vinegar and loved it! This might be a taste thing? I did have sweeter apples–a honey crisp and something else (can’t remember)–so maybe that was it. I would guess I made about 3 cups of brussels sprouts, so I used two medium apples, a whole pomegranate, and the half of a red onion, really finely diced, worked well. I don’t like raw onion, but found it worked. It made a large mixing bowl and 15 of us ate about 4/5 of it!
      I happen to think it’s worth another try, maybe absorbing the ideas in the header to the recipe and trusting your tastes above all!

  90. Made it!

    Overall quite good and held up to day-after leftovers. Not as pretty, but not soggy.

    To those struggling with the brussel sprouts “shredding,” I cut the sprouts in the same way that I cut red cabbage — Halved and then very small slices starting from the tip, working my way back to the core, discarding the very bottom.

    Couple of suggestions…
    – Next time I will sub half the olive oil for a more neutral oil. The fruitiness of the EVOO was just a little overpowering.
    – I think removing the walnuts and subbing back in a grain would be nice.
    – I did have to drain the salad over a colander after it sat because of the water released. That probably helped the leftover situation.

  91. Bonnie

    I was all set to bring roasted Brussels and toasted walnuts drizzled with pomegranate molasses (which was very welcome when I brought it to other friends on Rosh Hashanah) but then I saw this post just days before Thanksgiving and knew I would need to make this instead.

    I used a slicing disc on the food processor to shred a stalk of fresh Brussels from Trader Joe’s; perfect for a raw salad. I followed the recipe as written, though the rest of the ingredients were scaled up about 50% as the stalk yielded a bit more that 2C and I was worried about rawness and gassiness.

    Huge hit at the Thanksgiving meal. Everyone asked for the recipe. Thanks Deb!

  92. Mittnay

    I know this is DAYS after T-giving – but just wanted to share two tips I have when cooking for a large group (20-40 ppl).

    We cook our turkey early in the AM (start at 500 for 30 mins – then down to 350 until we get to 165). It ALWAYS is cooked before we think it should be (2 1/2 hours – and for some reason we think this should be a 4+ hour process) … so when the insta-read says 165 @ 2 1/2 – we always poke 100 places until we find something slightly less – and then cook for another 30 minutes. Then we take it out of the oven – make sure it’s closely covered in foil on top – and then wrap the whole thing in heavy bath towels around the pan (roasting pan) & turkey and bundle it up well. It stays this way for about 2 hours – before we unwrap to carve. When we unwrap it’s still at 125-135 degrees (steamy) … and it is the most moist/tender turkey ever! So if you are pressed for space – and heating up last minute casseroles – this might help.

  93. Lexy

    I made this twice last week (once for thanksgiving, and then later because i fell in love), and the second time I swapped walnuts for pepitas, which I loved even more. A new fall staple salad! Thank you!

  94. Laura

    SMOKED TURKEY!!! Sorry to get shouty but the smoked bird incites this level of raucous excitement. About 3 years ago, I sprung for a smoked, locally-raised turkey. (Gotta love that he’s the brother of the dude that does the locally-raised chickens we eat.) Deb, we will never go back. Ever. In the History of Ever. And, never again will our Thanksgiving bird be dry or necessitate the painful yoga-back-flip-twister-trickery that comes with a big bird brine. (No, children, not Big Bird brine.) The smoked bird is always juicy, always balls-out flavorful, and requires a simple heat up in the oven which still yields the drippings necessary to eek out a gravy. Friendsgiving 2017: find one, heat one, eat one. I implore you, Deb…and I rarely implore. Don’t even get me started on the smoked turkey stock that comes from these glorious carcasses.

  95. Juliane

    This was excellent! EXCELLENT! And we ate the leftovers out of the Tupperware the next, as we hungrily prepped dinner. Technically my sister made it, but she said her only (minor) issue was the brussels sprouts shaving fiesta, because it’s good to avoid shaving off fingertips on the mandoline. We added a lot of honey and lemon to the final salad…it was fresh and zingy and a great contrast to the other heavy sides.

  96. Made this for my girlfriend’s family’s Thanksgiving, having heard there were no bright green crunchy things on the menu (but a lot of other delicious food, no detracting from that!) Subbed almonds for walnuts, and forgot to get sumac so we subbed (kind of old) paprika. I think it would have been even better with proper spices, so I guess I’ll just have to make it again! But everyone really liked it!

  97. sarah

    I made this for a post-Thanksgiving birthday celebration (Thanksgiving was the other side of the family and this salad would have been too adventurous) and it was a complete hit. I used the food processor for the brussels sprouts and it was a cinch. I omitted the nuts (mainly out of laziness) and used aleppo pepper, but otherwise made it as is. While I’m generally all for subbing ingredients to fit what is on hand/avoid specialty ingredients–I thought the sumac really made this dish and am not sure the flavor combination would have been nearly as good without it.

    For those wondering about quantities, I doubled the recipe for 6 adults because it was the only vegetable side I was serving–probably could have done 1.5x.

  98. Emily

    Major life hack! BRINE YOUR BIRDS DIRECTLY IN YOUR MEAT DRAWER! Just take the drawer out, clean it well, test that it holds water, and dump away. Huge space saver.

  99. Meg

    I made this for our Thanksgiving Day feast and it. was. incredible. Everyone agreed that it was likely the hit of the day, with some comparing it to veggie crack. My husband has asked me twice already to make it again (tonight, my dear!) Even though the apples discolored a little after a night in the fridge, everything remained crunchy and delicious for a snack the next day. And who knew sumac pickled onions could be a thing? Not I……until now! :)

  100. Stephanie

    This was AMAZING!!!!!! Truly wonderful!

    I had been told not to bring anything to Thanksgiving. That felt wrong, somehow, but I hadn’t had any particular inspiration, so I let it go. Then I saw your recipe, and knew what I’d bring!

    I used a knife for the cutting, as it seemed like more trouble to deal with a mandolin as I got to nubs of sprouts than to cut in half and slice thinly. I used white wine vinegar instead of red because it was what I had, and I skipped the walnuts due to time and concern re allergies. I’d add the walnuts next time for protein, but this wasn’t missing anything!

  101. Maggie

    Just made this today, and will definitely make it for future holiday spreads. So delicious with great textures. I think subbing dried cranberries for the pomegranates would work really well for those who don’t feel like dealing with prepping the pomegranate. I served it with your buttermilk roasted chicken and sweet potato wedges. With Wegmans selling pre-shredded sprouts, this is easy to add to our repertoire, and I will!

    1. Stephanie

      I googled seeding a pomegranate. The score/pull in half and hit the back with a spoon method I watched on a video took me 10 minutes instead of the promised 5, but it was my first try. Super-simple!

  102. Maris

    I brine my turkey every year, and have managed to perfect the process after a few complete disasters. One year, we had 14 people over in our 1 bedroom apartment, and… I just about threw a pie at someone.

    If you have an outdoor space, it makes it 1000 times easier. I make my brine first thing Weds morning, stick it in the fridge to cool, and then go pick up the turkey. I have a big plastic tub (think rubbermaid), and stick that sucker inside of a soft-sided cooler, which then goes on the balcony. The turkey and brine and ice water go inside of the tub, and then I zip the cooler shut – with the huge amount of ice + cooler + cold temps outside, the turkey stays a safe temperature, the brine is mess-free, AND it is out of my hair. Voila!

    Now if we can just talk about the utter lack of counterspace, plus a three year old hanging on my leg all day asking “Is it pie time yet? Can i have pie now? CAN I SEE THE PIE?”, that’d be great.

  103. This salad is AMAZEBALLS! My husband and I were craving something fresh after a week of eating Thanksgiving leftovers, so we had this salad for dinner. He topped his with grilled chicken, but I had it just the way it is. I could also see adding some firm cubes of tofu for a healthy, filling meal. It’s a bit of work, but SO worth it!

  104. Melissa

    Well done, Deb! We hosted a 15-person Friendsgiving this year in Ireland, and like, you, did most of it in advance. We did a lot in the few days before (pumpkin pies, cranberry sauce, gravy, cornbread muffins, sourdough bread, half of the mashed potatoes to fold in, a brussels sprout & broccoli salad). I’m also a bit ashamed to admit that we opted for Stove Top stuffing as an homage to our American roots, so that didn’t take much effort. We also freed up some oven space by deep-frying the turkey outside in the backyard, which provided ample entertainment and also amazing turkey! Deep-fried turkey really is the way to go. Appetizers were shrimp & cocktail sauce (they don’t sell that here – I had to scramble at the last second and make my own from horseradish, lemon juice and ketchup, which ended up being pretty darn good), crostini & dip from a friend, and a cheese/meat/olives plate. I also did a huge batch of mulled wine in the morning, which left the stove free for the rest of the mashed potatoes and the stuffing, which took no time at all (5 minutes according to the box…). The only thing we really needed the oven for was a corn casserole. Dessert was pumpkin pie and friends brought other treats to share. Maybe one of the best Thanksgivings to date.

  105. Edie

    Sumac + vinegar + red onion is one of my favorite flavor combos, it reminds me of my grandma in the best possible way. Makes this one a must-try recipe in my book. Thank you Deb!

  106. Grace Metcalf

    Thanks for this! It was a huge hit at my holiday cocktail party! I’d love more tips for cooking with sumac. This is a new spice for me but the pickled sumac onions were delicious!

  107. JLB

    I made this tonight as a trial run for my family Channukah party. I definitely liked it but have some questions….the brussel sprouts still taste a bit raw and I’m wondering if it’s because of how I cut them. I started shredding on the mandolin but it was too scary so I switched to the shredding blade in the cuisinart. I thought that was okay but wonder why nobody else used that? Does super shredding bring out more of the raw taste or is it just presentation? Also, although I LOVE the pickled onions, we have a few people who will be coming who can’t eat onions (such a horror for them)! Do you have a suggestion for what else I can pickle so we don’t miss out on that delicious taste? And of course some nut allergies so I’ll switch to pepitas as another commenter suggested. But all good. Seems easy and a nice green addition to a heavy carb meal! Thanks!!!!

    1. Rob

      I used a cusinart food processor with my brussel sprouts and did not experience any raw taste because the pickled onions and apple and lemon and dressing almost drowned out that aspect. But I know some people can taste a slight bitterness in raw brussel sprouts. My guests could not stop eating this salad. Maybe pickled cucumber bits? Just an idea …

  108. janeannechovy

    I used the Roast Turkey in Parts recipe from Serious Eats (which includes dry brining) and loved it. Even better–my wonderful supermarket cut up the turkey and carcass to my specifications, so it was so easy.