Revisit American roots and try out the recipes of colonial times this holiday season. Use tried-and-true healthy Thanksgiving recipes to start a new tradition of holiday feasting. You can introduce your family to classic tastes or create your own variations on historical recipes.
Corn, Beans, and Squash
Native Americans made the “three sisters” — corn, beans, and squash — staples of their diets, mixing them together in a dish we know as succotash. The early colonists adopted the dish and added regional flair to the basic combination.
Succotash makes an excellent healthy side dish for your Thanksgiving feast. The combination of protein-rich beans and vitamin-packed vegetables provides color, flavor, and nutrition. Use your favorite spices to create a family favorite. You can serve succotash as a stir-fry or baked in a casserole. In some parts of the country, chefs serve it with a crust. In others, they add a greater variety of vegetables. The basic ingredients are always the same, though. I prefer to treat my family to a simple yet colorful succotash stir-fry.
First, I microwave a butternut squash until it is tender enough to peel easily and dice, but not mushy. Then I add a few tablespoons of olive oil to the bottom of my favorite stovetop wok. I sauté a clove or two of minced garlic and one diced onion until the onion is clear.
Next I toss in the diced squash and 2 cups of frozen corn. I cook until the corn is warm. I add fresh green beans cut into 1-inch segments and one diced red bell pepper. (Succotash traditionally uses lima beans, but my kids hate lima beans, so I substitute another bean type.)
Then I cook over medium heat until the beans and pepper are hot but still firm. Once it’s finished, I serve the succotash as a side dish. This particular combination is too delicious to be limited to our list of healthy Thanksgiving recipes, so we eat it all autumn long, with pork, chicken, and salmon.
Try George Washington’s Favorite Dessert
Most modern pumpkin pie recipes are heavy on the sugar and light on the pumpkin and eggs. For a delicious, protein-rich dessert, try George Washington’s pumpkin “pie.” This treat is actually the meat of the pumpkin baked to a hearty custard inside the pumpkin itself. Serve the custard hot, and scoop out some baked pumpkin with every serving. This historical take on Thanksgiving dessert has become a favorite at my house and makes a gorgeous centerpiece for the dessert table.
Thanksgiving traditions are part of what makes the feasting fun. By adding a few historical and healthful recipes to your menu, you can put your family in touch with our country’s roots and introduce a selection of new – and unprocessed – flavors to your table.
What are your family’s favorite Thanksgiving recipes? What new traditions have you begun? Let me know in the comments below.
Image source: Flickr