Ideas for dishes that will hold up for several hours for a buffet-style Thxgiving? Sliced turkey will go in a buffet warmer, mashed taters in crockpot

Dishes don't have to be "traditional" in fact we'd like to mix it up a bit!

  • Posted by: Woody
  • November 22, 2016


MMH November 22, 2016
I roast a variety of veggies in the oven - whatever looks good - cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, multicolored carrots, fennel, parsnips etc and serve them at room temperature.
PetetheBaker November 22, 2016
I love a raw brusell sprout salad. Pull the leaves off of small brussel sprouts and dress with a simple vinaigrette. This is a nice fall dish but is good cold. another thing I love (but haven't served for Thanksgiving) is a big plate of roasted vegetables at room temperature with some nice red wine vinegar on top.
Woody November 22, 2016
Great ideas - thank you! I'm already making a kale salad so may not do the brussel sprouts salad this year (but will def try later); I didn't think roasted vegetables would be good at room temp, so very glad to hear that would be doable.
PHIL November 22, 2016
You need some pasta: Also a nice cold antipasti.
Nancy November 22, 2016
For a combination of reasons (both food safety and aesthetics) you may want to prepare all your food but only put half out at the beginning, then replenish or replace with the second half at the 2 hour mark. That would also allow you to heat the foods that need to be warm for shorter periods of time and not dry them out.
Diane L. November 22, 2016
Hi-buy as many roma tomatoes as fit a flat baking sheet (not seasonal but this once...) halve them, sit face up, salt lightly, drizzle w/olive oil, roast: temp depends on how much you need oven. If you have time, 250 F for 3-4 hours, if not, 350F. You want tomatoes softened, but not total leather. Serve on a white platter alone, w/goat cheese, and/or roasted garlic. Always a huge hit, I can never make enough.

Doctored Canned Black Beans (Food purists, please look away): as many cans of unsalted organic black beans as you need. Drain the gloop off. Pour beans into a pot that will hold in an even layer if possible. Add to taste some of all of the following: lots of fresh lime juice (lemon is fine, too), salt, pepper, ground cumin, red pepper flakes, husked, washed, and quatered tomatillos, minced garlic, finely sliced scallion, and maybe a hit of tequila, depending on who you're feeding. Lots of olive oil. Delicious warm or at room temp.

The ubiquitous Middle Eastern Carrot Salad. Mine is adapted from an Ana Sortun recipe, and improves with sitting around: 6-8 large carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces, 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (Champagne or distilled will work, too, but no red vinegars), 4 teaspoons harissa, or to taste, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon ground ginger. Boil carrots until very tender. Drain them, and return to pan to dry. Mash coarsely. Add remaining ingredients and more olive oil, if desired. Salad is best if allowed to mellow for about 30 minutes, but it just gets better and better, provided it lasts that long. I add a clove of garlic to the boiling carrots, and mash it in, but this is totally optional. Boiling mellows the bite.

Image below is doctored beans.

Hope these are helpful! Happy Thanksgiving!
Woody November 22, 2016
Yum! I said non-traditional was ok and you definitely delivered on that front. Great ideas - thanks so much for your input. Your roasted Roma tomatoes with goat cheese and roasted garlic sound fabulous and would probably be lovely with all that "beige" Thanksgiving food. And i'll most definitely try your other ideas - if not on Thanksgiving, then certainly in the near future. Thanks again.
figgypudding November 22, 2016
Hi Woody,

Great question. I would suggest things that don't need to be steaming hot to be delicious, such as biscuits (, salad (, cranberry chutney (, stuffing (, sweet potato casserole (, and maybe these shallots (
Woody November 22, 2016
Thank you, Kate! I thought room temp stuffing and sweet potato casserole wouldn't be very good, but maybe I'll reconsider that idea if you think they'd be ok. I am planning to do a kale salad and Deborah's wilted cabbage salad, so I think I have those bases covered...
Deborah M. November 22, 2016
That's a tough one but fortunately people aren't too picky at the Thanksgiving feast. I'd have a wilted red cabbage salad, braised fennel over a bed of finely diced vegetables, some sort of candied sweet potato (if you like them!) made deep so that they'll hold their heat, cranberries or poached quince can be at room temperature or even chilled, maybe roasted onions on a bed of herbs that you can reheat at the last minute with some good vinegar so that they'll work at room temp. too. A savory tart or galette can be good at room temperature as well as hot. I guess that's what you have to look for. Nix the souffle!
Woody November 22, 2016
I hadn't thought about a savory tart - I actually have your cookbook and have made the Leek and Goat Cheese Galette and it's wonderful (can't believe that I'm actually chatting with Deborah Madison, btw! :-) Think I'll definitely do that galette as well as the wilted red cabbage salad. Thank you so very much, and happy Thanksgiving from Monterey!
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