Roasted Fall Vegetables with Kale Hazelnut Pesto

Make your house smell like fall with these roasted fall vegetables served with a kale and hazelnut pesto! Perfect for Thanksgiving!

Ready for Thanksgiving?? I know everyone is reeeeeeally excited to see family, especially this year ;)

Hey, at least we can all get excited for mac and cheese!

Personally, I am very excited for Thanksgiving, both the family and the mac and cheese. But for many the holidays can be a stressful time. If you're on the path to making peace with food, the holidays may be a challenge. Many of my clients come from families where dieting, calories, and body shaming is a frequent topic of conversation. And all they want to do is eat their damn turkey and cranberry relish in peace!

You have the right to a peaceful and pleasurable holiday. The Thanksgiving table is no place for diet talk. You shouldn't have to eat your stuffing with a side of shame. It goes much better with gravy anyway.

You have the right to eat as much, or as little food as you like. You can come to the table with intents of eating until you're comfortably satiated, or rock your stretchiest pair of sweatpants, ready to do action.

You have the right to choose what you want to eat. That may mean seconds of some foods, and skipping on others. If your aunt Susan is that upset by your passing on her "famous" jello salad, I have the name of a few therapists I can recommend.

The hard part is sticking up for your rights. I would recommend going the polite but firm route. A simple, "no, thank you" goes a long way. But if needed, I've brainstormed a few responses you can rehearse and try:

"Do you mind if we keep the table free of diet talk? It's Thanksgiving - let's enjoy ourselves!"

"Yup, the squash casserole probably does have a thousand calories but it's also ahhh-mazing so let's focus on that!"

"Thank you, but I think I'll pass on the apple pie. My mouth got a really itchy the last time I ate apples and I think I might be developing an allergy!" (I am not above making up a ridiculous story if it gets a particularly persistent relative to back off)

"Yes, I am having a second helping of stuffing. It's my favorite Thanksgiving food and we enjoy it just once a year."

"Thanks for offering seconds, but my stomach is getting really overly full and I want to be able to enjoy time with you all after the meal without feeling miserable."

"Your broccoli casserole looks fabulous and it was always one of my favorite dishes, but wouldn't you know, I got sick after eating broccoli a few weeks ago and I don't think I'm quite to the point of being able to eat it again!" (Again, no shame in storytelling for pushy relatives)

Now, on to today's recipe. One of my favorite dishes for Thanksgiving is roasted vegetables. We put chopped root vegetables under the turkey to soak up all the yummy turkey juices. It's simple, but delicious. If you'd like to give your veggies a Thanksgiving-style upgrade, serve them with this kale and hazelnut pesto. The hearty greens give it a hint of bitterness and the hazelnut makes it taste like fall.

The recipe makes leftover pesto which you can serve tossed with pasta, veggies and beans for a vegetarian main, stir into scrambled eggs, or serve with roasted meats, or freeze extras for later use.

Roasted Fall Vegetables with Kale Hazelnut Pesto

Serves 4-6


Roasted Vegetables

  • 1 lb parnsips, in 3/4-inch dice
  • 4 large carrots, in 3/4-inch dice
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped in 3/4 inch dice
  • 1 fennel bulb, in 3/4-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons hazelnut or extra virgin olive oil

Kale-Hazelnut Pesto

  • 5 ounces kale, chopped
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons hazelnut oil or olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together vegetables with oil. Season with salt and black pepper. Spread vegetables evenly on 2 large baking sheets. Place in the oven and roast 20 minutes. Flip the vegetables and switch places in the oven. Roast for an additional 20 minutes.
  3. While vegetables are roasting, place kale, hazelnuts, parmesan, garlic in the food processor. Blend, slowly streaming in oil, until creamy. Season with salt and black pepper.
  4. While vegetables are still hot, toss with about 1/2 cup of pesto.

More Thanksgiving sides: 

Roasted Green Beans and Mushrooms with Herbed Breadcrumbs
Roasted Green Beans and Mushrooms with Herbed Breadcrumbs
Caramelized Roasted Cauliflower with Capers and Golden Raisins
Caramelized Roasted Cauliflower with Capers and Golden Raisins
Kale and Caramelized Onion Stuffing with Apples
Kale and Caramelized Onion Stuffing with Apples