Meat has a very high carbon footprint, so an easy way to make your Thanksgiving meal more sustainable is to go lighter on the meat, heavier on the veggies! Luckily this time of year the farmers markets are bursting with yummy seasonal produce that lend themselves well to delicious dishes. Here are 2 of our favorites that Farmer (and Chef!) John Matthesen shared at our recent "Party for the Planet" workshop:

Better Roasted Sweet Potatoes
No more mushy sweet potatoes languishing under marshmallow toppings! This dish features potatoes with a nicely caramelized exterior, smooth creamy interior, and an earthy sweetness that needs little enhancement. Serves 4 - 6. 

3 lbs sweet potatoes (about 6 medium), ends trimmed, peeled, rinsed and cut into 3/4 inch thick rounds

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon table salt

Ground black pepper

  1. Toss potatoes in large bowl with oil, salt, pepper to taste until evenly coated. Line 18x13" heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange potatoes in single layer on sheet and cover tighlty with foil. Adjust oven rack to middle position and place potatoes in cold oven. Turn oven to 425 degrees and cook for 30 mins.
  2. Remove sheet from oven and carefully remove top layer of foil (if clean, recycle or reuse!). Return potatoes to oven and cook until bottom edges of potatoes are golden brown, 15 - 25 mins.
  3. Remove sheet from oven and, using thin metal spatula, flip slices over. Continue to roast until bottom edges are golden brown, 18 - 22 mins longer. Remove from oven, and let cool 5 - 10 mins before serving. 
*Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Braised Zucchini with Tomatoes & Fenugreek


Olive oil

2 large Zucchini, cut in half lengthwise

2 Garlic cloves, crushed

5 sprigs of Thyme

3 Bay leaves

1 tsp. Fenugreek seeds, soaked for 20 minutes in cold water, then drained

1 small Onion, finely chopped

1 lb. ripe Tomatoes, quartered

2 tsp. Tomato Puree

1 tsp. very fine, or “caster” sugar

1 slice day-old bread, torn into small pieces (for “Migas”)

4 oz. soft Goat Cheese

  1. Warm several teaspoons of olive oil in a saute pan and add the zucchini, cut side down.

  2. Turn the heat to low and cook for 4 minutes.

  3. Add the garlic, thyme, bay and soaked fenugreek and continue cooking for three more minutes.

  4. Turn the zucchini over and cook until just tender.

  5. Remove everything from the pan onto a plate, and reserve.

  6. Add the onion to the remaining oil in the pan and cook over medium heat until soft.

  7. Add the fresh tomatoes, tomato puree, sugar, and salt & pepper to taste.

  8. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes, or until the tomatoes have broken down into a chunky sauce. Check for seasoning and remove from heat.

  9. While the tomato sauce is cooking, make the Migas (croutons): Fry the bread pieces in more olive oil, until crisp and golden brown. Season with salt and set aside.

  10. Place the zucchini back in the tomato sauce and re-heat.

  11. Sprinkle the Migas over the top, and serve with a bowl of goat cheese on the side.

Adapted from "Moorish" by Ben Tish.

For more meat-less inspiration, check out our other Thanksgiving ideas here:

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