Blog Menu

Taste the Local Difference this Thanksgiving

My favorite holiday is, easily, Thanksgiving. I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and farmer and food has always been an expression of love in my world. A holiday centered on seasonally inspired meals shared with loved ones gives me all the feels. To help you savor the full flavor of the season, without sacrificing health, I wanted to share some of my favorite locally inspired recipes. I hope you create many special memories while eating these dishes! 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts


Think you don’t like Brussels sprouts? Think again! Roasting this cruciferous vegetable caramelizes its natural sugars making it a crunchy and somewhat sweet treat.


• 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
• 3 tablespoons grapeseed or avocado oil
• sea salt
• freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the oil, salt and pepper.

Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more salt and serve immediately.

Rutabaga and Potato Mash

mashed ruta

Rutabagas are great roasted, mashed, whipped or in soup. Click here to learn more about rutabagas and how to use them!

Parsnip and Apple Puree

Serves 8


• 2 pounds parsnips, peeled and
• 2 pounds apple, peeled and chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, peeled
• 2 Tb grapeseed or avocado oil
• 2 Tb olive oil
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• Optional: nutmeg, cinnamon, clove


Pre-heat oven to 375F. Toss chopped parsnips and cloves of garlic in grapeseed or avocado oil. Roast parsnips and garlic until tender. About 30 minutes.

While parsnips cook, place apples and ½ c water in a sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring to prevent sticking and adding water as needed, until apples have the consistency of chunky applesauce.

Combine parsnips, garlic, apples, and olive oil in in a food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and other spices per your taste.

Serve with pork or roast turkey.

Tip: Horseradish is a fun addition to spice this dish up.

Wilted Winter Spinach

Have you had spinach in late fall or winter from a Michigan hoophouse? No? Find a farmer and get yourself some! Its sweetness has been known to tempt even the more ardent of vegetable avoiders.


• Grapeseed or avocado oil (2 Tb)
• 1 pound washed spinach
• 4 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Lemon juice


Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add oil and garlic. Saute garlic for 2 or 3 minutes. Add spinach to the pan in stages and warm until they begin to wilt. Add more spinach to the skillet and repeat until all of the spinach is incorporated. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Michigan Chestnut Stuffing


Recipe from NYTimes

Yield 2 cups


• 2 pounds chestnuts ***
• 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
• 2 tablespoons butter or ghee
• 3 shallots, minced
• 2 stalks celery, minced
• 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
• 1 egg, beaten
• Salt and pepper to taste


Make an incision in each chestnut with a knife. Drop the chestnuts into boiling water and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and peel the chestnuts, using rubber gloves to protect your fingers.

Coarsely chop the chestnuts and simmer in the chicken stock until tender. Set aside.

Melt the butter in the frying pan and saute the shallots with the celery until soft. Mix with the chestnuts, parsley and egg. Season and stuff into the bird cavity.

***Unsweetened canned chestnuts or those in jars can be used instead of fresh ones. They do not have to be cooked, so omit Steps 1 and 2. Add a cup of chicken stock to the stuffing mixture or it will be dry.

Head to to find these fresh ingredients near you!

Kelly Wilson, RDN is the SE MI Local Food Coordinator for Taste the Local Difference and Owner of Simple Gifts Farm. After a busy farm season, she is dusting off her running shoes again. If you have favorite trails or routes to share, send your suggestions to [email protected].

Print Friendly, PDF & Email