Kosher Thanksgiving Recipe Round-Up

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. To celebrate, here are some delicious dishes to add to your menu. 
November 16, 2023
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Thanksgiving is just around the corner. To celebrate, here are some delicious dishes to add to your menu. 

“I know a whole turkey is traditional for most folks at Thanksgiving, but sometimes it’s just impractical,” Faith Kramer, author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen,” told the Journal.

Kramer’s recipe for Roast Turkey Breast Half with Za’atar Marinade is bursting with Middle Eastern flavors and is perfect for a smaller Thanksgiving celebration. The recipe is adapted from “52 Shabbats.”

“Serve with pan juices or a drizzle of pomegranate molasses,” she said. “Double the recipe for a full turkey breast.”

Roast Turkey Breast Half with Za’atar Marinade

Serves 4-5

1/2 cup olive oil plus extra
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crumbled dried mint leaves
1/4-1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dried ground sumac or additional
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp crumbled za’atar spice mix or
crumbled dried oregano leaves
2-to-3 lb. bone-in, skin-on turkey breast
1/4 tsp paprika

Mix olive oil, garlic, zest, juice, salt, mint, chili, sumac and cumin in a small bowl. Place turkey in a snug-fitting container. Brush with marinade. Separate skin from turkey (do not detach) and brush or rub marinade under skin. Pour remaining marinade over turkey. Marinate for an hour, turning and brushing periodically.
Heat oven to 450°F. Place turkey in a baking pan, bone side down. Brush thoroughly with marinade (discard any leftover marinade). Sprinkle it with paprika. Place in the oven, and immediately lower the heat to 325°F. Baste occasionally with liquid from the baking pan (or use additional olive oil). Roast about 20-25 minutes a pound (timing will vary) until meat at bone is just cooked and very moist. (See notes.) Remove from the oven, cover with foil and let sit for 10 to 20 minutes before slicing.
Notes: A half turkey breast is sometimes called a split breast. Do not overcook. Turkey continues cooking after removal from the oven. If using an instant-read thermometer, remove at 160 degrees. Turkey reaches 165 degrees while resting.

A Thanksgiving dinner would not be complete without stuffing. 

Chef Doug Weinstein’s Savory Mushroom Challah Dressing can be made separately from the turkey, and also works as a standalone for the non-meat eaters at your Thanksgiving table. 

“If you have wild mushrooms available, you can substitute them for part of the total weight of the mushrooms,” Weinstein, the owner/steward of Diamond Bakery at 335 N. Fairfax in Los Angeles, told the Journal.

Chef Doug Weinstein’s Savory Mushroom Challah Dressing

4 servings

3 heaping cups of 1/2-inch challah bread
cubes (about 6 ounces)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp margarine, plus more for the baking
1 cup chopped white or yellow onion
1 medium garlic clove, minced
8 oz mushrooms (Baby Bella or brown
button), cut into pieces about the same
size as the bread cubes
1 splash white vermouth, about 2 Tbsp
2 tsp chopped fresh marjoram, thyme,
oregano or sage leaves; you can
combine them too.
2 large eggs (optional for vegan)
1 cup chicken or turkey stock, preferably
homemade (can use vegetable stock for
vegans and vegetarians)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Place the cubed bread on a sheet pan and toast in a 350°F oven until somewhat dried, but not brown. Alternatively, you can leave the bread out to dry overnight. It will lose some of its volume, but that’s okay. Set aside.
Set a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil and margarine to the pan. When the margarine has melted, add the chopped onion and a good pinch of salt. Cook until the onion begins to soften and brown a little at the edges. Add the minced garlic and stir until it is fragrant, then add the chopped mushrooms. Cook and stir until the mushrooms brown and give off some liquid. Add the vermouth and cook until the liquid reduces to a glaze. Stir in the marjoram (or herb of your choice) and check the mixture for seasoning, adding more salt (if necessary) and some pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Grease a 1 1/2-quart casserole or gratin dish. In a medium bowl with margarine (or brush with olive oil or spray), combine the stock, eggs (optional) and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Fold the dried bread cubes and the mushroom mixture into the broth, cover with plastic wrap, press the bread down into the liquid. Let stand while you preheat the oven.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven. When the oven is heated, transfer the bread and vegetable mixture to the prepared baking dish. Press the bread down into the broth and smooth the top surface a little.
Place in the oven and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the top is handsomely golden brown and the dressing is set. The baking time will depend on the depth of the baking dish. Serve hot and make sure every diner gets a portion of the crusty top. Leftovers can be refrigerated, tightly covered for 2 to 3 days.

Looking for a special side dish for your Thanksgiving menu? 

You will love Judy Elbaum’s Hasselback Baby Sweet Potatoes

“These tasty, nutritious, quick and easy Hasselback baby sweet potatoes make an impressive presentation,” Elbaum, founder of Leave it to Bubbe, told the Journal. 

Hasselback Baby Sweet Potatoes

6 baby sweet potatoes, or the smallest you
can find
Canola oil
Salt and pepper
Melted honey

Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick vegetable spray.
Slice each potato into 1/8 inch slices — making sure not to slice all the way through—about ¾ of the way down. Place each potato on the prepared baking sheet and brush with canola oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper and cinnamon. Make sure to brush the oil between the slices.
Roast for about 40 to 50 minutes until the insides of potatoes are tender and the top is crispy. Remove from the oven and, if desired, brush on some melted honey before serving.

Nutritionist Dawn Lerman loves taking decadent holiday treats and turning them into healthy nutritional powerhouses, which allow you to enjoy your dessert without any guilt.

“I love experimenting with different sweeteners and superfoods to create treats that are delicious and good for you.“ – Dawn Lerman

“I love experimenting with different sweeteners and superfoods to create treats that are delicious and good for you,” Lerman, author of “My Fat Dad: A Memoir of Food, Love and Family, with Recipes,” told the Journal. “This banana-infused pumpkin pie is one of my favorites: It takes minutes to assemble and is always a crowd-pleaser.” 

Banana-Infused Pumpkin Pie

Photo by Dawn Lerman

8-10 servings

Crust (If you are in a hurry, you can
always use store-bought crust)
1 cup (90 grams) honey graham cracker
crumbs, finely processed to a powder
(from approximately 7 or 8, 2 1/2-x-4
7/8-inch crackers)
1/4 cup (15 grams) unsweetened coconut
3 Tbsp (38 grams) granulated sugar (can
also use date, brown, coconut sugars)
1/4 tsp fine sea salt, divided
5 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp of your milk of choice
(almond, soy, rice or coconut milk),
3/4 cup (about 213 grams) pumpkin purée
1 large ripe banana
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp flax seeds, optional

Lightly grease a (9-inch) pie dish and set aside. Position the baking rack in the middle and preheat the oven to 350°F. 

In a small mixing bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, coconut flakes, sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt until combined. Add the coconut oil and mix together until the crust begins to clump together and resembles wet sand. 

Spread the mixture out evenly in the pie dish; press it into the bottom and the sides. Bake the crust for 4 minutes or until slightly toasted. Transfer to a wire cooling rack while preparing the pumpkin filling.

Note: The graham cracker crust should be the perfect consistency, but if it seems a little dry, add a touch more coconut oil. If it feels a little wet, add a touch more graham cracker crumbs. Since there are no eggs in this crust, feel free to lick the fork.

In a blender, combine the “milk,” pumpkin purée, bananas, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla extract, cinnamon, flax seeds (if using) and the remaining salt. Mix on high speed until smooth.

Pour the pie filling into the crust.  

Bake the pie for about 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until the pie looks soft but set, with a mostly firm center. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and let cool for 2 hours. refrigerate until needed. The pie filling will firm up as it cools.

For a thicker pie double the recipe. For a gluten-free version, substitute almond flour for graham crackers. And for a super-light version, bake the filling without a crust in a Pyrex.

Enjoy! And Happy Thanksgiving!  

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