It’s often been said that Friendsgiving is the best made-up holiday, and we’re not ones to disa-brie. While Thanksgiving can be a juggling act of social duties and kitchen responsibilities, Friendsgiving is meant to be a low-key celebration where you honor dearest friends with great food. Besides, who doesn’t want another reason to enjoy delicious and hearty comfort food? Make this your best Friendsgiving celebration yet with this collection of recipes and tips perfect for any cheese lover.
Gouda-Pancetta Smashed Potatoes
When it comes to Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving side dishes, few are as gouda as mashed potatoes. But let’s be honest, when is the last time regular ole’ mashed potatoes had you going back for second or thirds? That’s why we decided to up the ante by adding some pancetta and some of Wisconsin’s finest gouda to transform a timeless classic into a modern masterpiece worthy of your dinner table.
Marieke® Gouda Plain Mature: This nine-time award-winning gouda makes us proud to be from Wisconsin. The expert cheesemakers at Marieke Gouda age this cheese for six to nine months to maximize the creamy and full-flavored richness that gouda is known for. The strong flavors of this cheese are ideal to match the starchy mouthfeel of potatoes and luxuriously savory pancetta.
Recipe Tip: Those looking for something even more adventurous can substitute plain gouda with Marieke® Gouda Foenegreek. Dotted with foenegreek seeds, this nutty, sweet gouda has flavor notes reminiscent of maple syrup.
Get the recipe for our Gouda-Pancetta Smashed Potatoes.
Radicchio Blue Cheese Salad
If you ask us, salad is the most underappreciated dish in any Friendsgiving feast. A great salad balances the richness of Thanksgiving mainstays like turkey and mashed potatoes with a little bit of tang and crunch. Featuring healthy seasonal veggies and, of course, cheese, our Radicchio Blue Cheese Salad will be sure to convert even the most stubborn carnivore at your celebration.
Roth Original Buttermilk Blue®: Meet the cheese that turns blue critics into blue-ievers. Roth Cheese makes this cheese in small batches with a higher butterfat than most blues for a creamy texture. This extra butterfat also helps couch the sharp, piquant taste that many Wisconsin blues are famous for. If you haven’t found the blue cheese right for you, we’re pretty confident this one might be what you were looking for all along.
Recipe Tip: If blue cheese really isn’t your thing, that’s OK! Try substituting with a tangy fresh feta as an alternative.
Get the recipe for our Radicchio Blue Cheese Salad.
Kale Gratin Stuffed Squash
There’s a beauty to simple, homecooked recipes that look like you spent hours preparing them. No one will suspect that our Kale Gratin Stuffed Squash took just 30 minutes of prep time to get in the oven. What’s the secret? Wisconsin Cheese. We use Roth’s Grand Cru alpine-style cheese as a shortcut to add complex flavors to our kale-stuffed squash, all without spending hours in the kitchen.
Roth Original Grand Cru®: Made in giant copper vats and aged for four months, Roth’s Grand Cru combines balances robust taste with light floral notes for one incredible alpine-style cheese.
Recipe Tip: Our recipe uses Lacinato Kale. Lacinato kale is also known as black, dinosaur, or Tuscan kale. In a pinch, you can substitute curly kale as well.
Get the recipe for our Kale Gratin Stuffed Squash.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies
It was a stroke of cheese-fueled, creative genius, but we found a way to combine our love of pumpkin pie, cheesecake, and brownies into one mind-blowing finale for any Friendsgiving celebration. This decadent dessert is surprisingly easy to put together and tastes like happiness in a pan.
Wisconsin Cream cheese: This infinitely spreadable cheese is what helps create the lusciously smooth cheesecake layer of our Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies. Cream cheese is for more than just bagels!
Wisconsin Mascarpone cheese: One of our favorite additions to any dessert, mascarpone is soft, airy, and balanced with sweet and tart flavors. Here in Wisconsin, we don’t add preservatives to our mascarpone—so you know you’re getting the freshest, highest-quality cheese out there.
Get the recipe for our Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies.
Friendsgiving Tips and Pairings
Tip #1: Ditch the Appetizers and Grab your Cheese Board
We suggest keeping appetizers to a minimum since you’ll be preparing a feast with turkey, sides, desserts, and more. Instead, a simple cheese board is a great way to start the celebration with something easy, delicious, and special. You won’t have to worry about crowding the oven or cooking anything—just throw some Wisconsin Cheese onto the cheese board of your choice with a few accompaniments and call it a day! Try our Friendsgiving Cheese Board recipe or use our cheese board guide to create your own.
Tip #2: Divide and Conquer the Side Dishes
As much as we love cooking, it’s no fun spending the whole day in the kitchen. Divide side dishes among your family or housemates so that everyone is pitching in to make your Friendsgiving a successful one. Many sides like our Gouda-Pancetta Smashed Potatoes can be prepared the day before, refrigerated, and served on the day.
Tip #3: Try these Fall Beer and Cheese Pairings
The harvest season features many fun seasonal beer and cider offerings like Oktoberfest beers, pumpkin ciders, amber ales, and more. We’ve come up with four cheese pairing suggestions perfect for any of these fall drinks.
Carr Valley Apple Smoked Cheddar
Sartori SarVecchio® Parmesan
Saxon Creamery Saxony Alpine Style
BelGioioso Mascarpone, mixed with pumpkin puree and cinnamon and spread on a gingersnap cookie
If these Friendsgiving recipes have got you hungry for something else, try our selection of over 300 handcrafted recipes featuring Wisconsin Cheese. Share your autumnal cheese board with us on Instagram or Facebook and become part of the largest cheese community in the world. Don’t forget to read our latest Harvest issue of Grate.Pair.Share where you’ll find even more recipes, stories, and Thanksgiving tips!
Searching high-and-low for that one Wisconsin Cheese with no luck? You can get all your favorite Wisconsin cheeses delivered right to your door with our continuously updated list of cheesemakers and retailers that allow you to order cheese online. Award-winning Wisconsin Cheese is just a click away.