Enjoy turkey guilt-free with these parve dishes

Although Thanksgiving isn’t a Jewish holiday, most American Jews celebrate Thanksgiving. The traditional feast calls for turkey, of course, as well as plenty of side dishes. Many Jewish cooks find it challenging to provide accompaniments that are compatible with the turkey, namely parve dishes.

What follows are several delicious additions to any Thanksgiving table, kosher or not, that don’t contain dairy products. The stuffing recipe is a real treat, combining fresh and dried fruit. It can be stuffed inside the turkey or baked separately. The watercress and endive salad provides a crisp and slightly bitter contrast to the richness of the meal.

I like to use nuts in the autumn, and hazelnut and walnut oils make dishes more interesting, especially with wild rice pilaf. The cranberry relish provides lovely color and is a little more flavorful than a traditional cooked cranberry sauce.

Watercress and Endive Salad

Serves 8

3 bunches watercress, stems removed

2 heads Belgian endive, trimmed, sliced thinly and crisped

6 oz. walnut oil

4 Tbs. raspberry vinegar

1 Tbs. sweet mustard

1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. sugar

Combine the watercress and endive in a serving bowl. Combine the walnut oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and sugar in a small mixing bowl. Just before serving, toss the greens with the dressing and serve immediately.

Fresh Cranberry Relish

Serves 8-12

12 oz. fresh cranberries

1 small orange, peel left on, cut into eighths, and seeded

3/4 cup superfine sugar

1/2 tsp. orange flower water

Chop the cranberries and the orange in a food processor. Stir in the sugar and orange flower water. Let stand 30 minutes before serving.

Fruit and Nut Stuffing

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 apples cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 Tbs. sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 small onions, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

1 1/2 cup sweet wine

1 1/2 cup chopped prunes

1 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

1 cup yellow raisins

5 sage leaves

2 Tbs. chopped flat leaf parsley

1 1/2 lbs. 1/2-inch bread cubes

1 cup toasted chopped walnuts

2 tsp. fine sea salt

1 tsp. black pepper

Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a large sauté pan. Add the apples and sugar. Sauté until the apples are golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to very large bowl, and stir in the cinnamon. Heat the remaining oil in the same sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté the onions and celery until golden, about 15 minutes. Add the wine, prunes, apricots, raisins and sage leaves. Simmer until the liquid is thickened and the mixture is soft and moist, stirring occasionally about 15 minutes. Add this mixture to the apples, then stir in the parsley, bread cubes, walnuts, salt and pepper.

Place the stuffing in an oven-safe dish and bake uncovered until heated through, about 35 to 45 minutes.

Rebecca Ets-Hokin is a certified culinary professional. Visit her Web site at www.GoRebecca.com. She can be reached at [email protected].