Top 10 Thanksgiving Sides

Stephanie Rayner
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Top 10 Thanksgiving Sides

Thanksgiving is a time for gathering with loved ones and indulging in a delicious feast. While the turkey may take center stage, it’s the sides that truly complete the meal. From creamy mashed potatoes to tangy cranberry sauce, these dishes add depth and flavor to the Thanksgiving table. In this article, we will explore the top 10 Thanksgiving sides that are sure to impress your guests and elevate your holiday meal.

1. Creamy Mashed Potatoes

No Thanksgiving meal is complete without a heaping serving of creamy mashed potatoes. This classic side dish is loved by all and pairs perfectly with turkey and gravy. To make the perfect mashed potatoes, start by boiling peeled potatoes until tender. Then, mash them with butter, milk, and a touch of salt and pepper. For an extra indulgent twist, add cream cheese or sour cream for a rich and velvety texture.

2. Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole is a beloved Thanksgiving side that combines tender green beans, creamy mushroom sauce, and crispy fried onions. This dish is not only delicious but also easy to prepare. Simply mix together canned or fresh green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and top with fried onions. Bake until bubbly and golden brown for a crowd-pleasing side that will have everyone coming back for seconds.

3. Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet potato casserole is a sweet and savory side dish that adds a touch of elegance to any Thanksgiving spread. Start by baking or boiling sweet potatoes until tender. Mash them with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Top with a crunchy pecan streusel and bake until golden and bubbly. The combination of creamy sweet potatoes and crunchy topping is simply irresistible.

4. Cranberry Sauce

No Thanksgiving meal is complete without a tangy and sweet cranberry sauce. Whether you prefer homemade or canned, cranberry sauce adds a burst of flavor and vibrant color to your plate. To make your own cranberry sauce, simply simmer fresh cranberries with sugar, orange zest, and a splash of orange juice until the berries burst and the sauce thickens. The result is a delicious accompaniment that complements the richness of the turkey.

5. Stuffing

Stuffing, also known as dressing, is a Thanksgiving staple that brings comfort and nostalgia to the table. Made with bread, herbs, vegetables, and sometimes meat, stuffing is a versatile side dish that can be customized to suit your taste. Whether you prefer a traditional sage and onion stuffing or a more adventurous version with sausage and apples, this dish is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

6. Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels sprouts are a delicious and nutritious addition to any Thanksgiving feast. These mini cabbages become tender and caramelized when roasted, bringing out their natural sweetness. Toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roast in the oven until golden brown and crispy. For an extra burst of flavor, drizzle with balsamic glaze or sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

7. Cornbread

Cornbread is a classic Southern side dish that adds a touch of warmth and comfort to the Thanksgiving table. Made with cornmeal, flour, buttermilk, and a hint of sweetness, cornbread is a versatile accompaniment that pairs well with a variety of dishes. Serve it warm with a pat of butter or use it as a base for a delicious cornbread stuffing.

8. Roasted Root Vegetables

Roasted root vegetables are a hearty and flavorful addition to any Thanksgiving meal. Carrots, parsnips, turnips, and sweet potatoes become tender and caramelized when roasted, bringing out their natural sweetness. Toss them with olive oil, garlic, and herbs, then roast in the oven until golden and crispy. The combination of flavors and textures adds depth to the meal and satisfies even the pickiest eaters.

9. Creamed Spinach

Creamed spinach is a decadent and indulgent side dish that adds a touch of elegance to the Thanksgiving table. Start by blanching fresh spinach until wilted, then squeeze out any excess moisture. In a saucepan, melt butter and sauté garlic until fragrant. Add flour and cook until golden, then whisk in milk and bring to a simmer. Stir in the spinach and cook until thickened. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg for a creamy and flavorful dish.

10. Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash soup is a comforting and flavorful addition to any Thanksgiving menu. Made with roasted butternut squash, onions, and spices, this soup is velvety smooth and packed with autumnal flavors. Serve it as a starter or alongside the main course for a cozy and satisfying dish that will warm your guests’ hearts.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Can I make these sides ahead of time?

Yes, many of these sides can be made ahead of time to save you time and stress on Thanksgiving day. Dishes like mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and sweet potato casserole can be prepared a day in advance and reheated before serving. This allows you to focus on other tasks and ensures that everything is ready to go when your guests arrive.

2. Can I make these sides vegetarian or vegan?

Absolutely! Many of these sides can easily be made vegetarian or vegan by making simple substitutions. For example, you can use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth in stuffing or swap dairy milk for plant-based milk in mashed potatoes. There are also plenty of vegan recipes available for dishes like green bean casserole and creamed spinach.

3. How can I make these sides healthier?

If you’re looking to make these sides a bit healthier, there are several options. For example, you can use olive oil instead of butter in roasted vegetables or opt for a lighter version of mashed potatoes by using low-fat milk or Greek yogurt. Additionally, you can reduce the amount of sugar in sweet potato casserole or experiment with alternative sweeteners.

4. Can I customize these sides to suit my taste?

Absolutely! These recipes are just a starting point, and you can easily customize them to suit your taste preferences. Feel free to add your favorite herbs and spices, adjust the sweetness or saltiness, or experiment with different toppings and mix-ins. Cooking is all about creativity, so don’t be afraid to make these dishes your own.

5. Are there any gluten-free options?

Yes, many of these sides can be made gluten-free with a few simple substitutions