3 Surprising Dishes to Include on Your Thanksgiving Table

By Sandra Ozaki, Publisher Macaroni Kid North Little Rock, Arkansas November 2, 2019

Are you looking for a new dish or two for your Thanksgiving table? Want to shake things up a little? Here are three surprising dishes that can jazz up your holiday menu this year. And you can feel good shopping at any of the recommended places below because they're all family-owned and operated local businesses.

Roasted Chickpeas aka Garbanzo Beans are a versatile, protein rich food that can easily be roasted at home in the oven. Garbanzos have that satisfying crunch factor. You can substitute them for nuts as a snack or appetizer, or they can easily be transformed into a hearty, vegetarian dish. Garbanzos take to a wide range of seasonings from basic sea salt and pepper to cumin or curry powder. Top them with a roasted tomatillo salsa and serve on toasted corn tortillas for a fantastic meatless taco. Garnish with thinly sliced radishes to give this dish a spicy bite that will appeal to your vegetarian guests as well as your meat lovers. You can use fresh or canned garbanzos making this an easy dish. Tomatillo salsa is widely available in supermarkets and easy to make at home. 

Or, get that "I can't believe you made this yourself!" taste by buying salsa from your local taqueria. El Paisano, at the corner of Camp Robinson and 47th St. in N. Little Rock, has excellent red or green salsa. If you're in Little Rock, grab some salsa verde from La Hacienda on Cantrell Rd. While you're there, ask for some of their creamy, green salsa too. It's fiery so use with caution. Those in Maumelle can stop by Senior Tequila on the boulevard. Be sure to ask for the spicy red or green salsa. You'd do well to get some Cheese Dip while you're there too. There is also a Senior Tequila in Sherwood, plus two nearby Casa Mexicana restaurants, one on JFK in North Little Rock, and the other on Kiehl Ave. in Sherwood.

Thai Papaya Salad makes an attractive appetizer when served in butter lettuce cups or romaine hearts. It consists of finely shredded green papaya, chopped tomatoes, fermented fish sauce, lime juice, roasted peanuts, palm sugar, garlic, and finely sliced red chili peppers. If you're adventurous and have time on your hands, feel free to make it yourself. But if you'd like to serve the best of the best, call Chang's Thai Cuisine in Sherwood to order a couple of orders to go. If you can take the heat, order it as a #3 or #4. Otherwise, stick to #1 for those who cannot eat spicy food, or #2 for a mildly spicy dish. Note: this dish is subject to the availability of green papayas, so be sure to call and order in advance.

It wouldn't be a Southern table without a little BBQ and where you get it can make for lively discussion at the dinner table. I'm partial to  Lindsey's Hospitality House in North Little Rock or Sim's in Little Rock. But, if you really want to surprise your guests, splurge on some authentic Argentinian grilled meats served with house-made Chimichuri Sauce. Buenos Aires Grill and Cafe in the River Market area has several platters to choose from and a wide variety of unique appetizers. Try the Argentinian platter, a hearty assortment of flank steak, skirt steak, beef ribs, bratwurst, sweetbread, chicken, and blood sausage. And grab a Picada Party Plate (salami, ham, prosciutto, assorted cheese, chimichurri olives, and tostini) to round out your appetizers.

If you visit one of these businesses, please let them know Macaroni Kid North Little Rock sent you.

This article is not sponsored by any of the aforementioned businesses and I have not been compensated for including them. All opinions are my own.