Nov 1, 2022
Food & Drink

Locals share nontraditional Thanksgiving ideas

Roast Beet and Butternut Squash Curry

Provided by Chef Heather Flowers, Vibrant Chefs. Serves 6-8 people



• 1 small yellow, onion

• 4 garlic cloves, minced

• 1 inch of fresh ginger, grated

• 1 small butternut squash

• 3 beets

• 1 -2 tbsp. of red curry paste

• 1 can of lite coconut milk

• 21/4 cups vegetable broth (divided)

• 1 tsp. of Apple Liquid Smoke

Tahini Cream

• 2 tbsp. of tahini

• 3 tbsp. of plain non-dairy yogurt

• 2 tsp. of lemon juice


• Roasted pumpkins seeds

• Daikon radish mcrogreens


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Wash all vegetables.

Cut butternut squash in half and remove seeds. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Place butternut squash cut side down on parchment paper.

Place each beet onto a piece of aluminum foil and individually wrap, creating a pouch. Put all of the beets on a baking sheet.

Cook butternut squash for 30-40 minutes until soft when piercing with a fork. After removing squash, increase oven temperature to 400 degrees and cook the beets for an additional 20-30 minutes until soft when piercing with a fork.

Allow squash and beets to cool. Once cooled, scoop out 2 cups of roasted butternut squash. Remove peels from beets using a paper towel and chop beets into large cubes.

Dice 1 small onion, mince 4 cloves of garlic and grate 1 -inch of fresh ginger.

Place a large pot on the stove, turn on medium heat. Add diced onions and stir frequently to avoid burning. When onions turn translucent, turn down heat to medium/low, add fresh garlic and ginger and stir for just a few seconds until fragrant. Add 1/4 cup of vegetable broth to deglaze the pan.

Add 1 -2 tablespoons of red curry, stir to mix with onions.

Remove the pot from heat. Add squash, beets, coconut milk and 2 cups of vegetable broth. Stir all together.

Pour soup mixture into a blender. Blend on lowest setting and gradually increase until smooth and creamy. TIP: do not fill blender more than 1/2 full.

Pour soup back into the pot and place the pot on the stove.

Add apple flavored liquid smoke, stir and turn heat on medium-high until near boiling.

Turn down heat to low-medium to simmer.

Stir occasionally for 15 minutes until hot.

Add tahini, yogurt and lemon to a small bowl, whisk all together.

To serve, drizzle each bowl of soup with tahini cream and sprinkle with a few roasted pepitas.

Garnish with microgreens. Enjoy!


We asked local women what their favorite nontraditional dish is to shake things up at Thanksgiving. If you want to think outside the mashed potatoes and green bean casserole - even though we all love those favorites - here’s some fun ideas for you!

"Prime rib!"—Deanie Sexton

“Key lime pie." Clancy Bam brick

“Crab fritters with red pepper mayo. Yum!!"—Maria Joy

“I make my grandmother’s fruit salad recipe every year."—Magi Thomley Williams

‘‘Every year we make chicken and dumplings from scratch."—Lisa Sharp

‘‘Crab legs."—Donna Gail Spencer

‘‘Indian food."—Manisha Agrawal

“Jambalaya ."— Christel Wood

‘‘Carrot souffle. Delicious. You’d never know you’re eating carrots...swear. It’s my family’s favorite dish."—Sherry Halford, who provided her family’s recipe - with handwritten notes that include every Thanksgiving and Christmas they have made the recipe. ‘‘It’s a piece of family history" Halford said.

Carrot Souffle

Provided by Sherry Halford

• 1 pound carrots, sliced

• 1/2 cup butter, melted

• 1 cup sugar

• 3 tbsp. flour

• 1 tsp. baking powder

• 1 tsp. vanilla

• 3 eggs

• Salt

Cook the carrots until tender in salted water. Drain. Add the butter and mash the mixture (it is easiest to mash in a blender or processor). Mix together the sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla and eggs. Add to the carrots and blend well. Pour into a greased 1-quart casserole and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Serves 4 to 6.

NOTE: This recipe may be doubled but cooking time must be increased.

Grandma's Homemade Chicken and Dumplings

Provided by Lisa Sharp

Lisa Sharp’s grandmother, Gwen, started the tradition of making chicken and dumplings for Thanksgiving in Bogalusa, Louisiana. They even have a dumpling pot that’s been handed down through the generations. Lisa’s mom made the dumplings and now Lisa has been making them for the last six years.


• 1 whole chicken

• 1 stick of butter

• 1 egg

• 2 cups of plain flour

• 4 cans of chicken broth

• Salt and pepper to taste

• Pinch of baking powder

Most important: take one can of chicken broth and put in the fridge and get it really cold, it helps set the dumplings in the flour.

Put the chicken in a large pot and almost cover the chicken with water. Add salt, pepper and the stick of butter. Boil and cook chicken all the way through. When done, take chicken out to cool.

Once cooled, pull the chicken meat off the bone and place the meat back in the pot.

Low boil.

Put the flour in a bowl, add a pinch of baking powder and pinch of salt and mix together. Then make a hole in the middle for the egg.

Knead flour and egg with hands - adding small amount of chilled chicken broth as you go, you don’t want it to get too runny - until you get a consistent ball of dough (similar to bread dough).

If it’s sticking to your fingers, add a little bit more flour.

Then pour rest of chicken broth in the pot with the chicken.

Lay out a sheet of wax paper. Pinch off 2-inch pieces of dough and roll them out (first put flour on the rolling pin - keep the flour handy!). Keep a little flour on the wax paper and rolling pin so that nothing sticks. Roll dough until it is paper thin. Use a butter knife to cut into strips (about one-inch wide, don’t worry about precision of size). Make sure to wear an apron!

Gently place the individual dumpling strips into the boiling broth with chicken. Let cook until the dumpling strips are fluffy and tender. Do not stir, instead slowly roll.

Pause to sip champagne.

Continue to cut the dough and place all of the strips in the pot. Keep slowly rolling so that the dumplings do not stick to the bottom of the pot. Cook for about 30 minutes. Do a taste test to make sure the dumplings are cooked all the way through.

Spoon into a bowl, top with sprigs of parsley and enjoy!

NOTE: To make it easier you can use flour tortillas instead of making dumplings from scratch.