Root Vegetable

A Thanksgiving Trick for the Most Flavorful Roasted Vegetables

Plus, a seasonal sparkling cocktail to serve with dinner.

November 16, 2020

We teamed up with The Spice Hunter to share a very-clever trick for taking your roast vegetables up a few notches this Thanksgiving: Season them with The Spice Hunter's Original Turkey Brine, plus the turkey's pan drippings.

In my experience, people tend to fall into one of two camps when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner: the traditionalists and the non-traditionalists. The former prefer to stick with the exact same versions of classic dishes, year after year, even if no one eats the creamed onions or only one person likes cranberry sauce. The latter are always looking for new twists on the basic menu—whether that means deep-frying a turkey or mixing goat cheese and caramelized onions into mashed potatoes.

Though I consider myself a traditionalist, I think there’s always room for change and improvement. What if we could stick to the classics without totally reworking them, but still find a way to amplify the flavors and turn up the volume on all the things that make them wonderful to begin with?

Take roasted vegetables, for instance. They’re a staple of so many fall and winter dinners, and an essential element of most Thanksgiving menus in some form or another. My go-to version is about as straightforward of a method as you’ll find: toss the vegetables (carrots, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, and so on) in oil, scatter on a few herbs, season with salt and pepper, and roast until soft and golden on the edges.

They’re delicious, and excellent alongside turkey at Thanksgiving. But this year, I've been considering how I could elevate basic roasted vegetables without introducing some complicated technique or completely making over the dish.

That’s when it dawned on me: Use the turkey brine seasoning and pan drippings to give 'em a boost.

You’ll be mixing everything together on your plate anyway, so it makes sense to mingle the two earlier on in the cooking process. Instead of mixing and matching herbs, spice the vegetables with the same blend intended for brining the turkey—The Spice Hunter’s Original Turkey Brine includes brown sugar, cranberries, apples, garlic, orange peel, juniper berries, thyme, rosemary, and sage. It already has sea salt and black peppercorn, so you can skip that extra seasoning step, too.

Those flavors—sweet and salty, fruity and herbaceous, tart and umami-forward—all complement the vegetables, but none are so robust as to overpower the dish. The schmaltzy goodness of the turkey's pan drippings rounds out everything perfectly.

Since it wouldn’t really be Thanksgiving without something to sip on, you’ll need a cocktail to go with, of course. Take the same approach, and find a way to channel the flavors of a drink you already love. For me, that’s mulled wine. Instead of simply infusing wine with mulling spices, I make a thick cocktail syrup using The Spice Hunter’s Mulling Spices, sugar, and red wine. Simply mix that syrup with sparkling wine, add a twist of lemon, and you’re on to a new—but familiar—holiday tradition.

Have you ever tried this veggie-roasting trick? Tell us in the comments!

With help from our partner, The Spice Hunter, you can take any meal from dull to delicious with just a sprinkle or pinch. This Thanksgiving, give your roast vegetables an extra boost of flavor with a smart (but simple!) trick: Season them with The Spice Hunter Original Turkey Brine—a savory blend of fruit and rosemary—plus the turkey's pan drippings. Of course, dinner wouldn't be complete without a cocktail. Our go-to sip for Turkey Day? A bright, bubbly cocktail starring a rich, aromatic syrup made from The Spice Hunter Mulling Spices.

The All for Farmers Market

We’ve joined forces with Tillamook to support All For Farmers—a coalition benefiting farmers across the nation—with a special market that gives back. Featuring Shop all-stars and a limited-edition Five Two apron, a portion of proceeds from every purchase supports American Farmland Trust’s Brighter Future Fund.

The All for Farmers Market

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

I like warm homemade bread slathered with fresh raw milk butter, ice cream in all seasons, the smell of garlic in olive oil, and sugar snap peas fresh off the vine.