The Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Traditionally, the turkey is the star of Thanksgiving. But a truly memorable, well-rounded, belt-loosening, nap-inducing meal features a stellar supporting cast as well.
They’re side dishes, not a sideshow. They don’t have to be sad and forgotten. A simple spin on the traditional can make unexpected and delicious things happen. Here are just seven (out of the gazillions of recipes online) mouthwatering Thanksgiving side dishes that will leave your family and friends with clean plates, expanded waistlines and huge smiles.
Best Ever Green Bean Casserole
Anyone can put mushroom soup and onion crisps on green beans and bring them to Thanksgiving dinner. This year, we dare you to make your green bean casserole stand out in a crowd by using Alton Brown’s Best Ever Green Bean Casserole. Real onions, real bread crumbs and a unique variety of spices will make your green beans the fanciest and tastiest veggies on the table. (And you can even add bacon. Bacon!)
Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes
Of course, it’s not Thanksgiving dinner if there aren’t mashed potatoes. But these aren’t just any mashed potatoes. The Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes recipe includes cheese—lots and lots of mascarpone cheese (we admit we’d push the envelope and use more than is called for). This recipe lists russet potatoes, but rumor in the kitchen is that Yukon Gold potatoes make the best mashed taters, so you may want swap those in. Just keep the amounts the same.
Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing
Another staple of Thanksgiving side dishes is the stuffing. This year, why not try something a little different than just pouring a box of croutons into the big bird. Go with Martha Stewart’s Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing recipe. The delicious pairing of cornbread and sausage is sure to be a hit (don’t forget to follow one of Martha’s tasty cornbread recipes to get started). Cornbread, sausage and sage blend together for the kind of dressing everyone will gladly get stuffed on.
Classic Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet potatoes never get enough attention. Despite having marshmallows on top, they still play second fiddle to their non-sweet cousins. Even nice veggies finish last, apparently. But not this year, when you present Southern Living’s Classic Sweet Potato Casserole. You can’t go wrong when you’re topping your sweet potatoes not only with marshmallows, but also with cornflakes, chopped pecans and brown sugar. It’s the dessert before the dessert (in case you get full, doze off and don't make it to pie time).
Then there are the cranberries, the neglected stepchild of the dinner. You can change all that this year. First, don’t dump your cranberries out of a can creating a pile of can-shaped goo. Second, follow this recipe for Cran-Citrus Chutney. Third, get major applause from your family and guests. The good news is, frozen cranberries work as well as fresh ones in recipes (so you can stock up now), just make sure you let them thaw. This sweet and tangy side dish will definitely bring some much-deserved love back to the cranberry.
After putting new twists on standard Thanksgiving sides, you should also add a few non-traditional dishes—particularly this Southern Living Squash Casserole. Squash will love being cooked with two kinds of cheese, fresh herbs, breadcrumbs and French-fried onions, and your family will gobble (heh) it right up. Why should green beans get all the onion-casserole glory? And why should squash be merely a decorative centerpiece? We can't think of a reason. This dish is a must-have.
Spinach and Cheese Puff
With all there is to eat on Thanksgiving, it’s important to warm up beforehand. You have to get your buds and bellies ready to take it all in. We recommend having your family start off with Martha Stewart’s Spinach and Cheese Puff. It's cheesy and good, but it also has spinach in it so it’s got some nutritional value too. Everyone can have a little bit to get started, or you can serve it with crackers as a crowd-pleasing spinach-dip appetizer. Turkey? What turkey?
List of recipes described above:
- Best Ever Green Bean Casserole: Cooking Channel
- Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes: AllRecipes.com
- Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing: Martha Stewart
- Classic Sweet Potato Casserole: Southern Living
- Cran-Citrus Chutney: Food Network
- Squash Casserole: Southern Living
- Spinach and Cheese Puff: Martha Stewart