Thanksgiving

54 of Our Favorite Thanksgiving Vegetable Side Dishes

October 31, 2019
Photo by Julia Gartland

Turkey gets a lot of attention on Thanksgiving (the holiday’s nickname is Turkey Day, after all), but it’s not the whole shebang. There’s also gravy and cranberry sauce and stuffing and, best of all, the vegetable sides. These are where your holiday table finds its groove (color! freshness! vitamins!), and where you get to have fun with the recipes—maybe even try something new.

Here are 54 of our favorite recipes to mix and match. Plan on serving two to three.


Green Beans

1. Stovetop Green Bean Casserole

This contemporary take on the classic green bean casserole takes place entirely on the stove. Because Thanksgiving has enough recipes vying for the oven.

2. Glazed & Glistening Haricot Verts

If you’re searching for a simple, green side to serve alongside your feast, look no further than this garlicky, buttery beauty.

3. Green Bean “Casserole”

Like a casserole, but it’s actually a salad. Haricot verts in a mustardy crème fraîche dressing, with crunchy hazelnuts sprinkled on top.

4. Sichuanese Dry-Fried Green Beans

Sichuan peppercorns add citrusy, tingly spice to these green beans—a welcome snap-crackle-pop of flavor next to soo much richness.

5. Green Beans Vinaigrette

Sometimes simple does it. Green beans get boiled in salty water (so they’re seasoned throughout), then doused in a zingy vinaigrette with sherry vinegar and Dijon mustard.


Potatoes

6. Warm Purple Potato Salad With Green Beans, Radish & Fennel

I love a side dish that has so many vegetables in it, I can barely tell which category it fits into. Feel free to swap in whatever potato you like best, but I love how dramatic purple is.

7. Roasted Potato Salad With Mustard-Walnut Vinaigrette

Most potatoes start with a pot of water for boiling, but this one turns to the oven instead. Roasting adds even deeper, cozier flavor, perfect for a nutty vinaigrette.

8. Squashed Potatoes

Calling all crispy potato fans. The secret to these little wonders is boiling first (to soften), then squashing (to increase surface area, aka potential for crispy edges) and frying.

9. Mashed Potatoes With Caramelized Onions & Goat Cheese

Perhaps you want a twist on your usual mashed potatoes. These two ingredients are workhorses: savory-sweet caramelized onions and tangy-creamy goat cheese.

10. Twice-Baked Potatoes With Kale

This recipe has so much kale, it almost ended up in the “Hearty Greens” section below. I love how these are easy to serve to a big group—just snag a potato half and pass along the tray.


Squash

11. Spaghetti Squash With Kale Pesto & Burrata

Spaghetti squash is feeling very, very special thanks to a kale pesto (feel free to swap out the pine nuts for walnuts, pecans, or cashews), parsley bread crumbs, and creamy-oozy burrata.

12. Roasted Delicata Squash With Spicy Yogurt Dressing & Pomegranate

“Delicata squash is one of my favorite fall vegetables,” our test kitchen director Josh Cohen writes. He roasts half-moons, then dresses them up with a spiced yogurt dressing and handful of pomegranate seeds.

13. Caramelized Butternut Squash Wedges With Sage-Hazelnut Pesto

It doesn’t get more autumnal than a sage-hazelnut pesto. Feel free to swap in another squash instead of butternut, or even another vegetable entirely, like carrots or parsnips.

14. Roast Squash & Chickpea Salad With Orange-Tahini Dressing

Squash, chickpeas, and a tangy tahini dressing make this a hearty side that could double as a main if you have any vegetarians at your table.

15. Butternut Squash Gratin

That just happens to be vegan and gluten-free. Almond or soy milk take the place of heavy cream, while almonds and nutritional yeast create a crunchy-crumbly topping.

16. Roasted Butternut Squash With Spicy Onions

Butternut squash is sweet to begin with, then gets even sweeter when roasted. To balance things out, try topping it with spicy onions and plenty of fresh herbs.


Sweet Potatoes

17. Sweet Potatoes Anna With Prunes

Pommes Anna is a classic French dish with sliced, layer potatoes and a boatload of butter. This sweet potato take (with fudgy prunes!) comes by way of the late, great Nora Ephron.

18. Sweet Potato Casserole

You can’t beat this classic from Edna Lewis—silky, custardy sweet potatoes topped with a crunchy pecan streusel.

19. Mashed Maple Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

My family and I made these last year for Thanksgiving and I’ve been thinking about them ever since. I love the opposites-attract pairing of syrupy maple and smoky chipotles.

20. Ottolenghi-fied Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes, inspired by some of Ottolenghi’s favorite flavors. You roast hunks, glaze with pomegranate molasses, drizzle with tahini sauce, and scatter with crispy chickpeas.

21. Roasted Sweet Potato, Chickpea & Kale Sheet-Pan Salad

Instead of a bowl, this salad comes together on a sheet pan for a delightfully colorful combo of roasted and raw produce.

22. Spiced Peanut Sweet Potato Salad

These sweet potatoes fell in with the right crowd: dates, black sesame seeds, and peanuts. Not to mention the peanut butter–sesame oil dressing, which we want to put on everything.


Brussels Sprouts

23. Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Pears & Pistachios

This recipe first published on Food52 in 2013 and went on to win our recipe contest for “Your Best Green Holiday Side.” (Green Brussels sprouts, green bears, green pistachios!)

24. Brussels Sprouts Caesar

Instead of romaine, this newfangled Caesar uses Brussels sprouts, which explode into confetti when shaved on a mandoline or with a knife.

25. Boiled Brussels Sprouts With Bacon Mayo

Boiled vegetable plus flavored mayo is one of my all-time favorite pairings. This recipe preserves Brussels sprouts’ bright green color, then calls in one of their best friends: bacon.

26. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Balsamic-Cranberry Glaze

Our contributor EmilyC writes, “These are my family's favorite Brussels sprouts, hands-down.” If you’re a fan of Emily’s recipes, like we are, that’s saying a lot.

27. Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Fish Sauce Vinaigrette

You will want to put this fish sauce vinaigrette—with rice wine vinegar, lime juice, and red chiles—on all roasted vegetables from here forward. And you should!

28. Brussels Sprouts & Apple Salad With Cheddar & Rye Bread Crumbs

This salad would love to sit next to your roast turkey. But if you want to repeat it after Thanksgiving (you will), try skillet-crisped sausages or pan-roasted pork chops.


Hearty Greens

29. Lacinato Kale Gratin

What happens when you combine a lot of kale with a lot of cream and a lot of cheese? Good things. Very good things.

30. Miso-Creamed Kale

Instead of classic creamed spinach, why not swap in kale? And, while you’re at it, add a spoonful of miso to the mix—its salty, fermented funk keeps the richness in check.

31. Kale & Bulgur Salad With Brown Butter Apple Vinaigrette

No shortage of good stuff here: kale, bulgur, apples, almonds, Gruyere! If you’re pinched for time, you can swap out the brown butter vinaigrette for something simpler (say, olive oil and apple cider vinegar).

32. Escarole Salad With Za’atar Pita Crisps, Blood Orange, Radishes & Hazelnuts

If you aren’t sure about escarole, this will convince you. The juicy blood orange and crispy radishes add some much-needed brightness to the holiday spread.

33. Chard Salad With Garlic Bread Crumbs & Parmesan

Chard is often cooked—but you should try it raw, too. Especially when garlicky bread crumbs and Parmesan are involved.

34. Slab Galette With Swiss Chard & Gruyere

Pie with dinner? Yes! This one is highly savory thanks to Swiss chard, onion, garlic, and not one, but two types of cheese.


Mushrooms

35. Double Mushroom & Kale Farro

A one-pot dish that’s super hearty thanks to farro. It could even serve as a substitute for stuffing if anyone at your table doesn’t eat bread.

36. Roasted Mushroom Salad

The trick here is to use a variety of mushrooms (button, cremini, shiitake, oyster, you name it), so you get a range of flavors and textures.

37. Mushrooms WIth Caramelized Shallots & Fresh Thyme

Repeat after us: Don’t crowd the mushrooms. Cooking them in multiple batches means better browning (and, in turn, better flavor).

38. Caramelized Onion & Mushroom Tart

This tart crust has a couple of tricks up its sleeve: whole-wheat flour (which adds nuttiness) and fresh thyme (which gets along great with the onion and mushroom).

39. Mushrooms in Pickle-Brine Butter

Here’s a fun game to play at the Thanksgiving table: Serve this knockout Genius recipe, then ask your guests to guess the secret ingredient.


Onions

40. Tuscan Onion Confit

This recipe is a family favorite for our co-founder Merrill Stubbs. For years, she knew it as “Tuscan Onion Goo.” Maybe it’ll catch on.

41. French Onion Tart

This onion tart has cheese in two places: the filling, of course, but also the flaky pastry crust. Because when it comes to cheese, the more the better.

42. Onion Tarte Tatin

Traditional tarte tatin is made with apples for dessert. This one uses onions instead for a delightful dinner side.


Broccoli & Cauliflower

43. Steamed Broccoli With Caper-Raisin Vinaigrette

Steamed broccoli might not be as trendy as roasted, but I love its crisp-tender texture and shiny green color. It’s also the perfect blank page for a salty-sweet vinaigrette, like this caper-raisin one.

44. Blissed-Out Crispy Cheesy Broccoli Sheet-Pan Gratin

Not all gratins need a casserole dish. This one turns to a wide, flat sheet pan for even more crispy goodness (think: corner piece in every bite).

45. Shaved Broccoli Stalk Salad With Softa Feta & Golden Raisins

Don’t throw out the stalks! This salad, with creamy feta and chewy raisins, is happy to turn them into pappardelle-like ribbons with a vegetable peeler.

46. Brown Butter Cauliflower With Dates & Capers

Brown butter cauliflower would be wonderful on its own (and a nice substitute for roast turkey). Sweet dates and briny capers make it even better.

47. Shaved Cauliflower, Fennel & Beet Salad With Parmesan Dressing

A mandoline does all the hard work here. Feel free to swap in broccoli or Brussels sprouts or whatever vegetable suits your fancy. Just don’t touch the umami-laden Parmesan dressing.

48. Cauliflower Salad With Pickled Grapes, Cheddar Cheese & Almonds

Pickled grapes are equal parts sweet, sour, and sassy. Here, they liven up down-to-earth roasted (and raw!) cauliflower.


Carrots & Parsnips

49. Roasted Carrots With Carrot-Top Pesto & Burrata

You say carrot, we say carrot-top pesto. This green often goes to waste, but is just as ready-to-rumble as basil.

50. Pomegranate-Roasted Carrots

The game-changer ingredient here is pomegranate molasses, which cookbook author Melissa Clark says “tastes nothing like either pomegranate or molasses, but has a puckery, caramel, almost SweeTarts candy flavor that perks up just about anything you drizzle it on.”

51. Turmeric-Roasted Carrots With Seeds

The more dishes you can make ahead for Thanksgiving, the better. Here to help are these turmeric-roasted carrots (“actually great at room temperature,” writes author Alison Roman).

52. Creamed Spinach & Parsnips

How to improve upon creamed spinach: Just add parsnips. Ta-da!

53. Seared & Glazed Parsnips With Rosemary

If glazed vegetables feel too blasé to you, do as our test kitchen director Josh Cohen does and give them a quick char before glazing.

54. Parsnip Latkes With Apple Chutney & Horseradish Yogurt

Not all latkes have to start with potatoes and be served at Hanukkah. You can fry these in advance, cool on a wire rack, then blast in a hot oven before serving.

What vegetable sides are you serving for Thanksgiving this year? Share your ideas in the comments!
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Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.

5 Comments

Donna T. November 6, 2019
My CSA offered cauliflower that was rose-pink in color. When I par boiled it the cauliflower turned dark gray. Actually tasted the same as more traditional cauliflower but the color was off-putting. Ever heard about this?
 
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Emma L. November 6, 2019
Whoa! I haven't crossed paths with this problem before, but curious to hear if others have.
 
Donna T. November 6, 2019
javascript:void(0) I saw yellow/green color cauliflower in Sicily when I was there in October. It looked good to me.
 
Anna F. November 3, 2019
I have saved so many of these! Thank you for such a fantastic round up. It's going to be so hard to choose!!!!
 
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Emma L. November 6, 2019
Yay, thanks Anna!