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Happy Kosher Thanksgiving

Happy Kosher Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and some of the most delicious flavors of fall. Enjoy these sumptuous recipes.


While Thanksgiving is not a traditional Jewish holiday, it certainly reflects many of our Jewish beliefs and traditions. The seasonal flavors conjure up warm memories for many North Americans everywhere. So whether you are a Canadian living in Jerusalem or an Australian married to an American or you just feel like trying a turkey dinner with some healthier trimmings... have a happy, healthy and kosher Thanksgiving!

Main Course: Oven Roasted Turkey with Gravy and Fresh Cranberry Relish
Vegetarian Main Dish Option: BBQ Tofu with Black Beans and Brown Rice
Side 1: Roasted Potatoes, Carrots and Onions
Side 2: Butternut Squash and Apples
Side 3: Green Beans with Portabella Mushrooms
Salad: Lettuce with Beets, Oranges, Yellow Pepper and Pecans
Dessert: Warm Autumn Pears

Oven Roasted Turkey

Baste turkey sparingly with vegetable oil for even browning and moist texture. Roast at 325 degrees according to package directions (20 minutes per pound is a good starting point.) You can use a meat thermometer or check that the juice runs clear to be sure the turkey is fully cooked. Be sure to allow several days to thaw (packaged, in the refrigerator) assuming you have purchased the bird frozen!



  • sliced mushrooms
  • sliced celery
  • sliced onions
  • one can chicken broth
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder and poultry seasoning


I prefer using a whole turkey breast as opposed to an entire turkey so I don't have a lot of "pan drippings" to work with. Instead I saute fresh sliced mushrooms, celery and onions in a little vegetable oil and add this mixture to a can of chicken broth to serve on the side for those who like gravy.

Fresh Cranberry Relish


  • 12 oz. fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • orange juice (optional)
  • honey (optional)


Combine cranberries with sugar and water. Heat to boiling and simmer at least ten minutes. I sometimes add a splash of orange juice and a touch of honey (which works nicely if you wish to cut down on the sugar). Adjust to taste after cooking if desired.

BBQ Tofu with Black Beans and Brown Rice

This is a hearty and unusual side dish which makes a substantial vegetarian main course for vegetarians.


  • 1 box extra firm tofu (drained and sliced or cubed)
  • 1 15-16 oz. can (2 cups) black beans (drained)
  • prepared BBQ sauce to taste (I use about 3/4 of a 28 oz. bottle)
  • cooked brown rice (made from 1 cup of dry rice)


In a baking tin, layer cooked brown rice with the black beans and the tofu. Pour BBQ sauce over all. Bake covered at 400 degrees until heated throughout. Check after 40 minutes or to determine if desired consistency has been reached.

Roasted Potatoes with Carrots and Onions


  • sliced onions
  • carrots
  • sliced potatoes
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder, rosemary and thyme


In a baking tin, toss sliced onions, carrots (I use peeled and sliced baby carrots for convenience) and sliced potatoes (peeled or unpeeled) with a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, rosemary and thyme. Bake at 400 degrees until fork tender (check after 45 minutes). Leave tin uncovered for crispier vegetables or cover with foil during cooking to retain moisture. (I like to start with a cover and uncover during the last 15 minutes or so.)

Butternut Squash with Apples

I am lucky enough to be able to purchase peeled and cubed butternut squash in my local grocery store which makes this dish truly effortless to prepare. It's still really simple even if you have to peel and cube your own squash! Allow one apple and half a squash or so per guest to determine quantities.


  • red apples sliced and unpeeled; any type is fine
  • butternut squash (peeled and cubed)
  • apple juice
  • cloves


Toss apples with butternut squash in a baking tin. Pour apple juice over all just enough to moisten adequately. Add a generous pinch of cloves (not too much, though, as the taste can be overpowering). Bake covered until just fork tender, checking first after 30 minutes to ensure desired consistency.

Green Beans with Portabella Mushrooms


  • 2 pounds fresh green beans
  • 2 large portabella mushrooms
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar (If you can't find a kosher brand such as Bartenura, red wine vinegar works just fine.)
  • jarred whole or chopped garlic cloves (Fresh is even better if you have the time.)
  • salt and pepper


Cut tails off of green beans (I leave the natural tip as it holds a nice shape and cuts down on preparation time!) Boil water in saucepan and cook green beans uncovered until al dente. (Start tasting after about 4 minutes and check every minute or so afterward to make sure they don‘t get overdone.) Drain when finished and rinse with cold water to preserve color and stop the cooking process. Coat saute pan with olive oil and add sliced mushrooms and garlic when hot. Drizzle with vinegar while cooking, stirring occasionally. Cook until fork tender and add to green beans. Season with salt and pepper and toss gently.

Lettuce with Beets, Oranges, Yellow Pepper and Pecans


  • romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1 can sliced beets
  • 1 peeled and sliced naval orange
  • 1 chopped or thinly sliced yellow bell pepper


Add all ingredients together. Toss with good quality bottled French dressing and a generous handful of pecans. If available, candied pecans are a nice treat but plain raw nuts taste great as well.

Warm Autumn Pears


  • Fresh pears (Allow one pear per guest. Bosc preferred but any kind will do.)
  • maple syrup
  • chopped walnuts or slivered almonds


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut each pear into quarters and remove core and stems. Arrange in a baking tin and drizzle with pure maple syrup and chopped walnuts OR slivered almonds. Bake lightly covered until fork tender (check after 25 minutes and stir once to baste the fruit). Serve in individual dishes or family style from a platter and offer pareve vanilla soy or rice "ice cream" on the side, if desired.

Variations: Try adding dried cranberries before baking or omitting the nuts and sprinkling with pareve chocolate chips right after removing pears from the oven!

Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy!

November 17, 2007

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Visitor Comments: 11

(11) jim, November 23, 2016 12:59 AM

not a foodee but how great this smells

cooking, always cooking, how about those long green beans, shouldn't they be tender to eat, not crunchy and hard and brittle, tough to chew??

(10) Lucy, November 19, 2008 5:26 PM


Thank you so much for this article! I stumbled upon it by accident...and its going to help me out this thanksgiving :)

(9) Andrea, November 25, 2007 5:39 PM

Overcooked Turkey

I beg to differ with the author with regard to Turkey cooking times.

We cook Turkeys up to 14 pounds for 11 minutes a pound and they come out PERFECTLY every time. For larger Birds (I have never seen one larger than 16 pounds) we cook for 10 minutes per pound. Believe it or not, our Turkey does not NEED gravy to be moist, although we LOVE cranberries and have them anyways, but not because we have to to choke down the Turkey.

My father (who I consider the Turkey King) worked this all out years ago, and no one has ever gotten sick from our 'Just done' Turkey, and in addition, the words succulent, juicy and unbelieveable are used frequently with regard to Turkey when we serve it.

It may sound radical, but I promise you that as long as your turkey is thawed all the way through, this timing will work for it.

We are Canadian, and almost never celebrate Thanksgiving (half the time Canadian Thanksgiving is on Sukkot or even Yom Kippur, not to mention after the high hols who can eat another big meal...when we lived in Boston, though, we had tonnes of fun with Thanksgiving and sort of miss it now that we are home again!

(8) penina jacobs (author), November 21, 2007 8:10 PM

Using balsamic vinegar and garlic for the green beans

Dear Deborah,

I admit that I do not use recipes when cooking except as a guideline. Therefore, I rarely measure anything and use my tastebuds to help me out along the way when I cook. As for the balsamic and garlic, just drizzle the vinegar quickly over the beans and taste one after cooking for a minute. If you think it needs more, add more according what tastes good to you. Same with the garlic. If you use fresh, try two chopped cloves. If you use preserved chopped garlic in a jar, start with a half teaspoon or so and taste. I like a lot of garlic but some people prefer a milder flavor. It's up to you. Don't be afraid to experiment. If you start with a little at a time and add as you go, you'll know when you have seasoned your dish well. Bon Appetit!

(7) Tammy, November 21, 2007 2:56 PM

Thanks, looks yum!

Thanks Penina for these recipes. I look forward to trying some out!

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