Top 10 Thanksgiving Side Dishes of All Time
By Kalyn Denny on November 21, 2014
BlogHer Original Post
Wouldn't it be fun to play Family Feud with the topic of Thanksgiving side dishes? If you haven't seen this American TV game show, two sets of extended family members square off against each other to try to predict what the most common responses are for a particular topic. I'm guessing the number-one response for Thanksgiving side dishes would be mashed potatoes or stuffing, but after that, who knows?
Thanksgiving dinner may be the only holiday meal where we take the main course for granted, and the real attention is on side dishes. Most people like roast turkey well enough, but it's menu items like mom's famous caramelized sweet potatoes or your favorite version of stuffing that really define this holiday.
Coming up with a top 10 list of Thanksgiving side dishes was a challenge, so let me start by clarifying that I'm defining "side dishes" as things that share the plate with juicy slices of turkey. I'm not including salads or homemade rolls, which I think have their own category, and in my mind, side dishes are most often vegetables, so that's what I'm focusing on. Of course everyone probably has their own picks for a top 10 list of Thanksgiving side dishes, but here are some dishes I'd suggest you take a look at and consider adding to your holiday table. And if I've missed something that you consider a must-have side dish for Thanksgiving, please let me know about it in the comments!
Photo of Horseradish and Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes from Life's Ambrosia
Thanksgiving Side Dish #1: Mashed Potatoes
At Thanksgiving mashed potatoes are what's under the delicious homemade gravy, and even if you don't need a recipe to make basic mashed potatoes, Crockpot Mashed Potatoes from Feels Like Home may be an idea you'd find useful. If you'd like something a bit more special, may I suggest Horseradish and Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes from Life's Ambrosia, or Mashed Potato Casserole from Pinch My Salt?
Thanksgiving Side Dish #2: Stuffing
There are a lot of variations of stuffing, but when I asked people on Twitter about their favorite Thanksgiving side dishes, we give two thumbs up to Mom's Turkey Stuffing from Simply Recipes. I also like the sound of Nana's Sausage Stuffing from Kitchen Parade, Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing from What We're Eating, and Wild Rice Stuffing with Hazelnuts and Dried Cranberries from Dawn's Recipes. A Year of Slow Cooking also has Perfect Homemade Stuffing in a Crockpot.
Thanksgiving Side Dish #3: Green Beans
Of course, there are those traditional canned green bean casseroles with mushroom soup that some people love, but fresh green beans are what I'd go for as a Thanksgiving option. Lisa is Cooking has a "made from scratch" Green Bean Casserole, Your Home-Based Mom has Tropical Green Beans, and Andrea Meyers has Brown Butter Greens Beans with Almonds.
Thanksgiving Side Dish #4: Sweet Potatoes
I'm not a fan of those traditional "candied" sweet potatoes, but I do like the sound of Nikki's Sweet Potatoes from 101 Cookbooks, which use coconut milk to add flavor. I'm also drooling over Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Maple Smoked Bacon and Beer from Food Blogga. If you can't give up on your traditional sweet potatoes, check out Maryea's sweet potato casserole. It's vegan and gluten-free.
Photo of Lemony Quinoa with Butternut Squash from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
Thanksgiving Side Dish #5: Butternut Squash
I'm a huge fan of butternut squash, and I'd love to see it on the Thanksgiving table whether it was a roasted squash dish like Maple-Pecan Roasted Butternut Squash with Goat Cheese from The Inadvertent Gardener, a casserole like Butternut Squash Gratin from Dlyn or something non-traditional like the Lemony Quinoa with Butternut Squash from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.
Thanksgiving Side Dish #6: Brussels Sprouts
You might consider Brussels sprouts to be one of those "love 'em or hate 'em" types of vegetables, but in recent years roasted or pan-fried Brussels sprouts dishes have been winning over a lot of Brussels sprouts naysayers. I've shared 10 outstanding recipes for Thanksgiving-Worthy Brussels Sprouts, all of which can help you make the case for Brussels sprouts.
Thanksgiving Side Dish #7: Onions
Are you surprised to see onions on this list? When I was a kid we always had Onions with Cheese Sauce for Thanksgiving. I certainly think a dish like the Parmigiano-Reggiano-Stuffed Onions Wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma from Ms. Adventures in Italy would make a perfect Thanksgiving side dish. For other onion options, how about Roasted Balsamic Onions from Dianne's Dishes, Baked Stuffed Onions from Retro Food, or Herb Roasted Onions from The Way the Cookie Crumbles?
Thanksgiving Side Dish #8: Carrots
Carrots sometimes don't get the respect they deserve, but sweet organic carrots can have the most wonderful flavor, especially when they're roasted. Carrots are a Thanksgiving side dish that more traditional-minded eaters will like, and I think Pan-Roasted Carrots from Stumptown Savoury sound simple and traditional, but tasty enough for a holiday meal. More carrots that sound interesting include Wrinkled Roasted Carrots from Modern Beet, Roasted Moroccan Carrots from My Own Sweet Thyme, and Rustic Carrot Tart Tatin from 64 Sq. Ft. Kitchen.
Thanksgiving Side Dish #9: Beets
Beets are another one of those subject-to-controversy vegetables, but beets are positively elegant when they're prepared well, and I love the color that beets add to the Roasted Root Vegetables that Tea from Tea and Cookies says her mom always makes at Thanksgiving. The Best Beets Ever from Kayotic Kitchen also sound positively addictive. More ideas that sound nice to me are Honey Roasted Beets with Orange and Thyme from The Perfect Pantry, and Grilled Beets with Feta from Sarah's Cucina Bella.
Thanksgiving Side Dish #10: Broccoli
Broccoli is a vegetable that's easy to dress up and take to dinner, and last year I made Broccoli Gratin with Swiss and Parmesan for Thanksgiving, which was a huge hit. I'd also give a thumbs-up to Parmesan Roasted Broccoli from The Purple Foodie, Caramelized Broccoli with Garlic from Sweetnicks, and Broccoli with Burrata, Pine Nuts and Warm Anchovy Vinaigrette from The Traveler's Lunchbox.
Kalyn Denny also blogs at Kalyn's Kitchen, where she's focused on creating low-glycemic recipes using fresh ingredients, and at Slow Cooker From Scratch, where she features "from scratch" slow cooker recipes.