Tips for a Green Holiday Dinner
November is for cozy family gatherings and the delicious fall harvest. There’s nothing more relaxing than sitting around the dinner table and enjoying each other’s company and a good meal. We’re here to help you celebrate sustainably and effortlessly with some green Thanksgiving dinner tips.
Let us address the turkey in the room, if your family hasn’t jumped on the tofurkey wagon, step one is look for a more sustainable option than the factory-farmed birds at the grocery store. Search Love Local for small farmers and butchers near you that offer organic, humanely raised turkeys that are fed an all-natural diet. Shopping this way reduces food miles, supports local businesses, enriches the land and in turn, you get to enjoy higher quality, healthier meat. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Take a trip to your local farmers markets for seasonal vegetables as they will be abundant and the most flavorful. Squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, and kale are all thriving in November’s crisp weather. Celebrate the season by trying one of these delicious side dishes:
The Minimalist Baker, Dana Shultz has never let us down. Her delicata squash bake is incredibly simple, yet boasts complex textures and flavors. It only takes thirty minutes to prepare, is super healthy and the in-season pomegranates provide a refreshing citrusy burst.
Satisfy your cranberry craving by making your own cranberry sauce or buying organic. This way you can control the amount of sugar that goes into the recipe and only make exactly how much you need. We love this cranberry, quince and pear chutney from Food and Wine. And if you haven’t tried quince—fall’s secret and delicious fruit—this is the time.
Consider a full on switch to sweet potatoes this year. They have more nutrients than their white counterparts, this is their season to shine, and they require fewer resources to grow. This non-traditional ‘loaded potato’ recipe with black lentils, grapefruit and feta is completely unique and more flavorful than plain mashed potatoes.
Paper or China? Using biodegradable paper plates and cutlery is still unnecessary waste. Breaking out the nice holiday dishes is the way to go, especially because modern dishwashers are actually more efficient than hand-washing and a labor-free cleanup is the best way to end the night.
Organic cloth napkins and tablecloths are an obvious and beautiful sustainable addition to the table. They can be reused year after year and add a pop of color or elegance to the décor. Jenny Pennywood makes beautiful, hand-dyed textiles that can be used year-round and only look better with use.
Flowers immediately elevate any tabletop. Find out what your local florists are preparing for autumn and put in an order early to secure your spot! Our go-to Nashville florist is the FLWR Shop. Their seasonal arrangements are stunning.
Another option is creating a simple centerpiece yourself with elements from nature. It’s as easy as gathering sprays of pine, spruce, or fir and placing them down the center of the table. Picking a few white pumpkins with the kids is a fun family event and creates the perfect fall accent.
The Hostess Gift
Whether you’re hosting or not, a bottle of wine is always a good idea. Bring one of these sustainable options as a hostess gift or crack open the bottle when you start cooking to ease pre-company jitters. Love Local has a ton of wines to choose from and pairing wine with turkey is not as difficult as you think. The complex and juicy texture works well with whites and reds. Try something crisp acidic like an old world mineral-driven French Chardonnay or a fruit-forward Pinot Noir to balance the meal beautifully.
If you’re bringing food consider a glass container or a platter that can be gifted to the hostess. The gesture is thoughtful, waste-free and can be reused for years to come!
Happy Thanksgiving! Hopefully we’ve inspired you to seek out an organic turkey, shop your local farmers market or try a new side dish. We’d love to hear how you’re making your Thanksgiving sustainable. Share your tips with us in the comment section below for a chance to have your tip shared on Instagram!
“Even if you did just one extra sustainable thing this year that you didn’t do last year, it’s making the whole thing better across the country” – Jeremy Kranowitz Sustainable America