Yes, You Can Throw a Thanksgiving Feast With *Only* Sides

(Turkey optional.) Cannelle et Vanille shows us how.

November 14, 2018
Photo by James Ransom

Aran Goyoaga—the writer, stylist, and photographer behind dearly adored blog Cannelle et Vanille, and author of Small Plates and Sweet Treats—is always coming up with new ways to surprise us. (Ahem, gluten-free clafoutis that's better than the original.)

Her latest rabbit-out-of-the-hat? According to our Automagic Menu Maker, Goyoaga plans to put sides front and center at Thanksgiving this year.

"I grew up in the Basque Country in northern Spain, so Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving food are relatively new to me. However, I have loved to embrace the holiday for its meaning of appreciation and time spent with friends and family," says Goyoaga. "I have to admit turkey doesn’t excite me much. I have cooked it in various ways, roasted with different brines, smoked, and even fried, which yielded the tastiest and juiciest turkey of them all. But I love sides. Roasted vegetables, gratins, salads, breads, tarts... I love having a table full of smaller sides that we can all taste, plus it is the perfect excuse to get everyone to contribute a little bit in the kitchen. I have been gluten-free for almost 10 years and find that it is very easy to create a gluten-free menu these days."

We've included some highlights from Goyoaga's menu below—or, you can check out her full, detailed picks here. And if you're feeling inspired, you can design your own!

"For the table," says Goyoaga, "I gather branches, pine cones, apples, and any remaining dried wildflowers from our neighborhood. I always use a white linen tablecloth and simple white plates no matter what holiday we are celebrating. And plenty of tealights and candles on the table and around to create the perfect mood. I always gravitate towards simple, elegant and understated settings where people feel relaxed and welcome."

What does the Menu Maker think you should whip up for Thanksgiving this year? Get your own results, right this way.

52 Days of Thanksgiving
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52 Days of Thanksgiving

Top-notch recipes, expert tips, and all the tools to pull off the year’s most memorable feast.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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Ella Quittner

Written by: Ella Quittner

Ella Quittner is a contributing writer and the Absolute Best Tests columnist at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner. She also develops recipes for Food52, and has a soft spot for all pasta, anything spicy, and salty chocolate things.


vevericka November 14, 2018
All respect to Food52 and Ms. Goyoaga, but vegetarians and vegans figured out this trick quite some time ago. Confused why this is being presented as radical.
Jessica T. November 16, 2018
Life changing response, and with respect. Thanks.