Cooking For Compost: Thanksgiving


We started our Cooking For Compost series this year with the intention of only creating a couple of back-pocket recipes for three waste-free meals. But after rave reviews from readers, we decided it would be silly to ignore the biggest meal of the year.

Who said your Thanksgiving feast had to produce a full trash can of waste? Photo: Amanda Wills,

For the Thanksgiving Edition, we called on the award-winning chefs of Candle Cafe and Candle 79 to design a completely waste-free Thanksgiving meal especially for Based in New York City, Candle 79 offers an upscale dining experience with an artful menu.

While Candle 79 is a vegan restaurant, it has garnered an impressive celebrity following and has earned top reviews from die-hard meat eaters. As a local hotspot, it’s not unusual to see lines of patrons waiting to be seated, even on a weekday night.

This Cooking For Compost menu was carefully selected by co-owner Joy Pierson and COO Benay Vynerib. The base recipes for these dishes can be found in the Candle Cafe Cookbook, but the Candle crew has added some special touches for this Thanksgiving meal.

Prepared by Chef Eugenio Miranda, we sampled these recipes for ourselves and were truly surprised to find just how easy it is to create a five-star dinner at home with little to no waste.

Recipe: Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries

Chef Miranda added leafy greens to the original recipe for this salad to give it a true appetizer feel. This dish can also be used as a stuffing later (see the Stuffed Winter Squash recipe below).

Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries atop leafy greens with sliced apples is a great starter to a hearty Thanksgiving dinner. Photo: Amanda Wills,

Serving size: 4-6 people

Your shopping list:

1 cup black long-grain or wild rice
1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped red onion or scallion
1/4 cup tamari soy sauce
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons grated orange zest

How to make it:

1. Boil 1 1/3 cups of water. Add wild rice, cover and simmer for 50-60 minutes.

2. Mix together cooked rice and sunflower feeds, toss in cranberries and onion. In a separate bowl, whisk together tamari soy sauce and lemon juice, and slowly whisk in oil until well combined. Pour over rice mixture and toss. Sprinkle orange zest on salad.

Chef’s tip: Add salad to mesclun greens and top with thinly shaved Gala apple slices.


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