About three years ago, I was inspired by something (maybe a TV cooking segment, maybe a magazine, I can’t remember!) to try new side dish recipes for Thanksgiving.
It felt risky to bring unexpected dishes to the traditional spread of a holiday centered around food. I didn’t mess with the turkey or Great-Grandma’s gravy recipe that’s been a staple for decades since I thought there might be a revolt, especially from my kids, who like everything to be the SAME every year. But to my surprise, I got rave reviews! It turns out change in small doses can be nice, so I’ve kept the new recipes and sprinkled in a few new side dish alternatives every year just to keep everyone guessing.
Within this post, I’m sharing the biggest recipe hits I’ve had with my crowd, which I hope will inspire you to try a few new ones with your family. Caution: Whining may ensue, but, I can almost guarantee that once your guests see how refreshing it can be to mix classic and current trends, this may become one of your new favorite traditions!
Side dish staples
Don’t even think of not including potatoes… this is a no-brainer. (I’d have plates thrown at me if I didn’t keep potatoes on the table.) Instead of eliminating potatoes, I’m simply going to show you how to elevate them with this trendy twist. The bonus here is that they’re super easy.
- Start by whipping up this simple recipe for old fashioned mashed potatoes.
- Then fold in one package of Boursin cheese (I like the Shallot & Chive flavor) for every 3 cups of potatoes, while it’s still very warm, and stir until melted. Tip: Keep the cheese on the counter for an hour beforehand to bring to room temperature for easier mixing. This will add some creaminess and a great herbal flavor to the otherwise monotonous potatoes.
- Sprinkle some chopped chives on top, and you can thank me later.
A salad? Really?
A salad provides a nice contrasting cold dish for this traditional Thanksgiving meal since everything else is served warm. Black currants, pomegranates, toasted almonds and Parmesan cheese atop hearty winter kale and Brussels sprouts make for a beautiful addition to the table. The colors are so vibrant, and this dish lightens up an otherwise very heavy meal.
Here’s my recipe for Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad.
Recipe Tip: I like to add dried fruit and pomegranates.
How ’bout them carrots??
Serving carrots at Thanksgiving is pretty traditional at my house, but preparing them this way takes it to a new level. I used heirloom carrots and some interesting flavors and spices like honey, balsamic and thyme, to transform this dish into something really special. Get the recipe here.
Ever heard of cauliflower steaks?
Well, now you have. By using browned butter, capers, and artfully-cut cauliflower, you will undoubtedly wow your guests with this amazing veggie side. Roast at a high temperature to caramelize the cauliflower, which imparts a sweetness, then, when combined with the brininess of the capers, it’s magical. Click here for a great cauliflower steak recipe.
Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours! I hope you enjoy time with family and friends, some old traditions, and maybe start some new ones too.