Sarah Krause
Sarah Krause

It’s that time of year again, when select fruits and vegetables rule the Thanksgiving table. Sure, the turkey takes center stage and of course everyone loves the stuffing, and don’t even get me started on the long-awaited yummy pies, but at this time of year, those other guys find their time to shine as well.

Step right up potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans and cranberries. Bring along your friends, Brussels sprouts, squash and anyone else to color the party delicious.

Not only is it tradition in most families to fix favorite fruit and veggie recipes at this time of year, but it’s also healthier, adds essential nutrients and may even off-set some of those higher calorie items that tend to weigh down the table….and our bodies. I mentioned pie already, yes?

Each fall, I continually pull recipes out of magazines or off the web of delicious-sounding dishes I’d like to make. This year, I plan to make my traditional stand bys, corn pudding and garlic-roasted whole carrots, but also decided to make a tasty-looking Harvest Salad that is full of romaine, baby arugula, Bosc pears, Granny Smith apples and dried cranberries.

I wondered if anyone would miss my pan-fried Brussels sprouts with crumbled bacon, sliced almonds, dried cranberries and a drizzle of pomegranate syrup. I know my middle son will. He often asks for this and cheers when he sees I’ve brought Brussels sprouts home from the market.

“Brussels Sprouts seem to be having a comeback,” mused my friend Mindy W. “People aren’t as grossed out by them!”

My 9-year-old would certainly agree. Hope he doesn’t miss them at our feast this year. Perhaps he’ll be satisfied with a bite of Harvest Salad instead?

I was curious as to what my friends were planning to bring to their Thanksgiving tables this holiday? I wondered if they stuck to their tried and true produce recipes or if they planned to branch out? I took an informal survey of some of the girls I work out with, figuring it an appropriate time to talk healthy choices before a hard workout.

Tracy F. said she planned both sweet potato and Brussels sprouts dishes but also wanted to try the Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond’s green bean and tomato dish “because it sounded so incredible.”

Ann H. also plans to make sweet potatoes but doesn’t like them too sweet, plus her family always serves a green veggie, which will probably be green beans.

What about that infamous green bean and crispy fried onion casserole I used to beg my foodie family – to no avail – to make each year? Fellow workout buddy Summer E. said she definitely planned to have that on her Thanksgiving table.

Healthy eater, Chris W., said she grew up eating butternut squash for Thanksgiving as long as she could remember. Her dad had a huge garden that provided most of their veggies, including squash that the family ate mixed with butter, brown sugar or other spices he added. She recalled the one year he experimented by adding peanut butter – yes, peanut butter! – to the squash.

“It was not good,” Chris said, smiling. “So it became a family joke. (Now) I make it every Thanksgiving and Christmas (plain, sans peanut butter!) to keep my memories of my dad fresh and feel a little of his touch in the holiday.”

Karen P. had a similar memory with the Thanksgiving cranberry recipe that’s been in her family since the 1940s.

“(We always have) my mom’s cranberry fluff that no one likes but we don’t have the heart to tell her!” she laughed.

Perhaps if she added some peanut butter.