Everyone like to make a big fuss about meat: a crispy-skinned roast chicken at the center of the table, that perfect filet cooked until just medium-rare, and—during Thanksgiving especially—a grand, glistening turkey.
But a single main dish, no matter how showstopping, does not a dinner make. A few side dishes have got to show up to the party, too.
When it comes to side dishes, vegetables are always a good choice. They keep things light and bright, while also bringing some different textural components into the mix (think: crunchy cabbage, tender beets, roasty-toasty Brussels sprouts).
From creamy corn pudding with a kick to absurdly addictive asparagus, here are 21 of our best, most delicious, all-around easiest vegetable side dishes for the holiday season and beyond.
(And in case you were wondering, yes, they're all vegetarian-friendly.)
This toasty, tahini-soaked spin on basic roasted broccoli is so unreasonably tasty, it just might steal the main dish's thunder. (Don't forget the lemon juice and garlic either.)
This totally no-cook salad hits all the right texture and flavor notes—crunchy corn and cucumbers, soft feta, and a creamy dressing—without those rough, bitter edges you often find in a raw salad.
"Isn't it time to take a break from roasted beets with goat cheese?" our co-founder Amanda Hesser asks herself. The answer is no—it turns out—if you're tossing the warm beets with sherry vinegar, Dijon, and olive oil. Oh, and skipping the goat cheese altogether.
Brussels sprouts are a fall and winter classic, and a bit of sweet seasonal fruit and crunchy pistachios complement their lightly bitter tang in just the right way.
Not that there was anything wrong with old-fashioned corn pudding to begin with, but this sassy riff on the Southern staple has just a bit more oomph thanks to hot sauce and ground mustard.
If you're worried about getting sick of butternut squash during Thanksgiving and the winter holidays, try mixing things up by cutting it into wedges and topping it with a fragrant, earthy pesto and fresh ricotta salata.
In case you're wondering if this vegan-friendly salad is any good, just read this snippet from one community member's review of the recipe: "I just made this and wow, very very good. The dressing is to die for."
There's a reason this simple—yet absurdly addictive—asparagus recipe is one of our all-time most popular, but to find out what that reason is means you're going to have to make it yourself. (And if you want to keep it vegetarian-friendly, you can skip the pancetta and use a bit of olive oil.)
This fall-ready gratin stars garlic-infused milk (instead of heavy cream), thinly sliced root vegetables, and lots and lots of yummy cheese—what's not to love?
This easy side dish takes three of our favorite things—ripe, juicy tomatoes, grilled sourdough bread, and so much mozzarella—and turns them into an impossibly delicious panzanella, aka a bread salad.
The eggplant Senior Editor Eric Kim grew up eating was boring and bitter. So he decided to make an eggplant dish that was everything but: an earthy, roasted eggplant salad with bright pops of fresh mint and lemon juice.
Kick those plain boiled carrots off the table and swap in their flashy cousin from out of town dressed up in toasted hazelnuts, chopped parsley, and a big 'ol squeeze of lemon.
We've got nothing against heavy cream, but there's something to be said for using the sweet starch hidden inside corn kernels to make this holiday-ready—and hey, vegan!—side dish luxuriously thick and glossy.
Everyone knows that mother knows best, but it's especially true for this zuchhini gratin, which calls on a mix of squashes, grated cheese, and—the key ingredient—tangy crème fraîche.
We'll never say no to a tried-and-true green bean casserole on Thanksgiving, but did you know it's even easier (and dare we say tastier?) when you make it with just five ingredients on the stovetop?
We promise we're not lying: For the all-time best pan-roasted potatoes, all you need are potatoes, olive oil, and salt. Seriously. Let that sink in for a second (and then go bookmark the recipe).
Canned chickpeas take a warm, cozy bath in olive oil, onion, capers, herbs, chile flakes, tangy olives, and thinly sliced lemon wheels and honestly we'd jump right in there with them if we could.
This crunchy, über fresh-tasting salad bring those summery flavors to the table all year round thanks to a bit of blanching, good-quality olive oil, and a tangle of mixed herbs.
19. Baked Beans
These baked beans are always welcome at the table thanks to their versatility (feel free to riff on the spices, or make the dish vegetarian-friendly by swapping bacon fat for olive oil) and creamy deliciousness.
This one-pot kale and quinoa pilaf might not seem like much, but somehow takes seven simple ingredients and transforms them into something light, savory, and impossible not scarf down in three minutes flat.
For all the times you were traumatized by sad, limp raw mushroom in salads before, this umami-rich roasted mushroom salad is here to make you feel just a little bit better.
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