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Winning First Course Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas

Thanksgiving dinner sides are popular for menu items like stuffing, sweet potatoes, and green bean casserole.  But have you ever thought about serving a first course at your Thanksgiving dinner?  In my family we always did by adding some Italian tradition to the holiday with serving a bowl of homemade wedding soup.  My mom still does it to this day and I can honestly say it’s one of the things I look forward to enjoying the most!  Obviously, unless you’re of Italian heritage, wedding soup won’t make much sense at your holiday table, but I’ve got some first course ideas that would be equally delicious and perfect to serve to your guests.


Fall Feast Roasted Pumpkin Soup presents beautifully and is ideal for your Thanksgiving first course.  You’ll begin by seasoning cut pumpkin with some olive oil, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, then roasting them in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes until soft.  Remove the skin, place in a pan and mash the pumpkin.  Add maple syrup and chicken stock, then cook on medium heat until the mixture begins to simmer.  Turn down the heat and use a hand held blender to puree the mixture until smooth.  Add heavy cream and a little more spices if needed. Top with pumpkin seeds when serving.


pumpkin soup
Courtesy of Grits and Pine Cones


First course salads can be boring, but that’s definitely not the case with this Roasted Butternut Squash Salad.  This recipe blends all the flavors of the season perfectly.  You’ll combine roasted butternut squash, mixed greens, pecans, dried cranberries, green onions, and crumbled goat cheese for your salad.  A dressing made from olive oil, whole grain mustard, maple syrup, lemon juice, salt, and pepper tops this salad.


Courtesy of Lemon Tree Dwelling


Ginger Squash Soup with Parmesan Croutons is another lovely fall first course.  Start by cooking sliced leeks and chopped garlic in olive oil.  Add in chopped winter squash (acorn or butternut would work), fresh grated ginger, and parsnips and cook for 3-5 minutes.  Add chicken stock, salt, and pepper, then bring to a boil.  Let simmer until the squash and parsnips are tender.  Transfer half to a food processor and puree.  Return to your stockpot and keep warm.  Cut whole wheat bread into 1/2 inch cubes and toast under broiler.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and return to the broiler until the cheese begins to melt.  Serve the soup with croutons on top.


Courtesy of Martha Stewart


I hope everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving and I’m back next week with some ways to prepare acorn squash.


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