When Thanksgiving rolls around, most of us turn back to our traditions — the same comforting mashed potatoes and green bean casserole recipes we’ve been making and eating for years. And that’s a wonderful thing.
But let’s say, inspired by the increasingly exciting Nashville restaurant scene, you wanted to switch it up a bit this year, and take notes from the chefs that have made Nashville so delicious lately. Conveniently enough, it’s not that hard to pull together a menu comprised entirely of dishes developed by your favorite Nashville food names.
We dug up a whole bunch of recipes, and picked out a Nashville chef-inspired meal that’d make a Thanksgiving table extra incredible. Here’s our menu — click the photos (or the names of the dishes) to head to a page with a full recipe.
Something to start off light, but unboring: With peppery arugula and rich kale, plus sweet Fuji apples and licorice-y fennel, you have something balanced and exciting, created by the mind behind East Nashville’s over-the-top excellent Lockeland Table.
Sure, turkey’s the tradition, but if we’re going to mix it up, why not do so with the main event? Chef Waxman’s JW Chicken is a staple of his (and it’s on the menu at his Nashville restaurant Adele’s in The Gulch), and while it might look simple, that salsa verde — with capers, anchovies, arugula, parsley, basil, tarragon and sage — adds a complex pop of bright, fresh flavor.
We shared a tribute to Nashville’s own Food Network Star, Arnold Myint, back in July. And although we’ve had a bunch of different delicious Myint creations, the brussels sprouts served at the now-shuttered Cha Chah — spicy with Thai chilis and smoky with Arnold’s own smoked salt (which you can buy through him) — were a big favorite. Not your usual Thanksgiving side, but it’d definitely be a memorable one.
Local star chef and James Beard Award finalist Tandy Wilson of City House got this dish — with roasted sweet potatoes, lots of butter and rich sorghum syrup — from his grandmother. And while it’s definitely not a predictable potato dish, you know if a recipe came from Grandma, it’s the time-tested kind of good.
So this doesn’t come from a chef, but a Nashville cocktail mixer company, so it fits the bill, we think. Since it’s based on Eli Mason’s spiced simple syrup — with flavors of ginger, clove and allspice — plus rum and hot tea, it feels extra appropriate for fall.
If we’re shooting for something rich like dessert (or biscuits), it seems logical to turn to the chefs at Loveless Cafe, who know that world better than most. If you love pumpkin pie, this Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake — with a ginger snap crust and swirls of pumpkin butter — will almost certainly earn your devotion.
There’s our Nashville food scene-inspired Thanksgiving menu. Feeling fired up to try something new this year, or are you more driven toward tradition? Let us know what you think, and how we did with our menu planning!