Light-ish, Hippie-ish, Side Dish Ish/Help

From the inbox:

Dear The Hairpin,

I know it’s early to plan (is it? isn’t it?) but I think it’s good to remember the pains of Thanksgiving dinner in order to slightly avoid that for Christmas. My husband and I are hosting my parents, my grandmother, and his mother. A lovely sit-down, candle-lit pretty thing of an event is what I have in store. Every year my father makes his amazing prime rib, and this year will be no exception. My question is: What should I make with it that isn’t solely made up of starch starch bread butter cream cream? I want to make some sides that are delicious and a little luxurious, but I don’t want everyone to feel SO loaded down with food that we can’t enjoy desserts and coffee (or, more drinks).

My husband and I tend to cook a little hippie-ish in that we love kale, whole grains, lentils, tahini, etc. I’d like to make some healthy sides that are also delicious and won’t make our older (but awesome) guests question their ingredients. Help??

Well, I don’t really cook anything, although I do have one signature “recipe,” which is that I open Trader Joe’s Roasted Seaweed Snacks a day before eating so the sheets are tougher and don’t crumble as much, and that’s it. Cookbook pending.

But I figured we’d open this up to readers, in case anyone/everyone had recipes or links they’d like to share. And it might not be particularly luxurious, but the Times has some good lentil coverage this week, including a recipe for Mediterranean Lentil Purée. And this Saag Paneer recipe on Food52* also looks great. Ditto their homemade hot sauce.

*Speaking of Food52, the reliably lovely site about eating and cooking is offering Hairpin readers 10% off almost everything in their online Holiday Shop (mushroom-growing kitsillustrated recipes, a board for the ages, etc.), until the end of the year, with the code hairpin10, if you’re looking for kitchen or food-related items. (There’s also a little fine-print about that, which is that it doesn’t apply to past purchases, discounts are limited to 10 per person, the minimum purchase is $20, the travel and copper offers are excluded, and it’s redeemable only if you mail in a pint of your own blood, powdered. Just kidding, but the first stuff is true. Look at this ham!)

But — luxurious, delicious, vaguely hippie-ish, essentially healthy side dishes. Thoughts?

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