Posted on 07 Nov 2022
Let’s be honest: Turkey may be the star of Thanksgiving, but it’s the side dishes that truly tie the meal together. While we love traditional holiday sides like green bean casserole, stuffing, and mashed potatoes, hosts and hostesses may be itching to break the Thanksgiving mold by introducing new dishes to the table. This year, wow your guests with these five creative sides to accent your Thanksgiving meal and give diners something to write home about.
Tangy roasted brussels sprouts
Less flavor-adventurous guests or kids may be wary of brussels sprouts, having only encountered them in their boiled and flavorless incarnation. However, this cruciferous vegetable has gotten a massive glow-up in recent years, with roasted and fried brussels dishes sprouting up on restaurant menus everywhere. The key to delicious brussels sprouts is to roast them with oil in a hot oven, seasoned with salt and pepper. This recipe incorporates a splash of balsamic vinegar that adds a tang to the perfect textural mix of crunchy charred edges and soft, leafy interior. Dig in!
Sweet potato dinner rolls
Some kind of bread or roll is traditional in a Thanksgiving feast, but soft, fluffy sweet potato rolls add a welcome twist to an old favorite. All it takes is one large mashed sweet potato to infuse the rolls with seasonal flavor. These rolls are enriched with eggs, butter, and milk to create a soft and tender crumb, perfect for soaking up all the extra gravy. Brush some melted butter and a sprinkle of salt or herbs on top and you’ve got a side dish that will get guests talking!
Fennel and pear salad
Though cold salads might not traditionally grace a holiday table, this salad’s crunch of vegetables, tangy dressing, and fresh flavors can cut through the heaviness of a meal full of turkey, casseroles, and pie. Fennel is a vegetable of the carrot family, known for its liquorice taste, white dense bulb, and feathery leaf fronds. Fennel is in season during the colder months, and sliced pears add a sweet-tart note. Simply slice fennel bulb into thin strips, add sliced pears, and combine with arugula and toasted walnuts for a hearty texture. This recipe uses orange champagne vinegar, but white wine or apple cider vinegar should also do the trick.
Cheesy cabbage au gratin
Your guests may be familiar with familiar potatoes au gratin, but they definitely won’t expect to find green cabbage underneath this cheesy, buttery crust. Green cabbage stands up well to the richness of bechamel sauce and Gruyere, particularly when roasted beforehand to draw out excess moisture. Bonus points: This dish, courtesy of Bon Appetit, can be prepped entirely ahead of the big day then warmed in an oven before mealtime to get it bubbling hot again.
Wild mushroom, sausage, and sage stuffing
Stuffing is a staple of a holiday meal, but most stuffing recipes don’t venture beyond the traditional components of celery, sage, and onion. Not so with this dish, which incorporates cubes of sourdough bread, plenty of herbs, wild mushrooms, and rich, savory ground pork. Stuffing recipes work best with bread that is slightly stale — all the better to soak up the chicken stock and herbs! Use any wild mushroom variety you can find — like chanterelles, cremini, or shiitake — and a blend of seasonal spices like fennel seed, nutmeg, garlic, and rosemary. Watch out — this stuffing is so flavorful that it might upstage your turkey!
No matter which dishes you choose to serve at your holiday meals, what’s most important is sharing delicious food with friends, family, and neighbors. To find your perfect holiday cooking spot, check out move-in ready homes in our beautiful hometown Reunion community today!