Best-Ever Thanksgiving Sides
From the best seasonal vegetables to the classics--stuffing, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole--we've rounded up our best Thanksgiving sides. Whether you're hosting or making a dish to share, these healthy recipes will round out your feast deliciously.
Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Green Horseradish Sauce& Kumquats
These roasted smashed potatoes show off all the goodness of russets: fluffy insides surrounded by shatteringly crisp skin. The easy horseradish sauce topping adds a delicious flavor boost.
Winter Greens Salad with Pomegranate & Kumquats
Kumquats deliver a piquant burst of citrus, especially when eaten skins, seeds and all. Here we toss them with a trio of greens for their vivid orange color as much as their zestiness. Pomegranate seeds and pistachios bring a jewellike finish.
Roasted Fennel & Italian Sausage Stuffing& Kumquats
This homemade stuffing recipe is special because it comes complete with a sausage-making lesson from the Sausage King himself, author and famed business owner Bruce Aidells.
This gratin dish has all of the craveable flavors of artichoke dip in a more sophisticated form. It makes a terrific side with any roasted meats or poultry.
Roasted Vegetable Antipasto
A zesty vinaigrette makes these roasted beets, fennel, carrots and Brussels sprouts pop. If you can't find small carrots, halve larger ones crosswise then quarter lengthwise. Put this vegetable antipasto on your Thanksgiving menu as a side dish or appetizer.
Apple, Fig & Brussels Sprouts Salad
To add a little bit of green to the Thanksgiving table, this Apple, Fig & Brussels Sprouts Salad is a sweet-tart side to neutralize heavier dishes. Salad dressing made from sweet and mellow white balsamic vinegar balances out the assertive greens and Brussels sprouts in this fall salad. If you have one handy, a small mandoline makes it easy to slice the Brussels and apple.
Pan-roasted carrots become an exotic winter side dish recipe when topped with dukkah, an Egyptian spice blend, in this healthy vegetable recipe for Thanksgiving dinner. The dukkah adds crunch and umami with seeds and nuts while fresh herbs brighten the carrots.
Caramelized Onion & Apple Stuffing
Caramelized onions are a sweet and savory addition to this healthy stuffing recipe. Choose an apple that becomes tender yet holds its shape when cooked—try Jonagold or Cortland.
Green Beans with Parmesan-Garlic Breadcrumbs
In this easy green bean recipe, browning the butter before tossing it with the breadcrumbs produces a nice nutty flavor. Serve this green bean dish as a healthy alternative to green bean casserole to keep things light on Thanksgiving Day.
Beer-Braised Cipollini Onions
Creamed pearl onions have long been a staple Thanksgiving side dish, but this lighter, sweet-and-savory cipollini onion recipe may send that traditional recipe to the back of your file for good. For a fruity (and gluten-free) twist, use your favorite hard cider instead of beer.
Roasted Lemon-Parmesan Cauliflower with Capers
Roasted cauliflower and lemon segments tossed with Parmesan, olive oil and capers makes an easy side dish. Pair it with roast chicken.
Sauteed Broccoli & Kale with Toasted Garlic Butter
In this easy vegetable side dish, broccoli and kale are drizzled with a butter, garlic and crushed red pepper sauce. Serve this healthy recipe alongside roasted chicken, turkey or ham--or on top of your favorite whole grain, such as quinoa or farro.
Honey-Glazed Roasted Delicata Squash
Tangy cider vinegar, sweet honey, crunchy pine nuts and fresh mint come together to make an amazing glaze in this healthy roasted winter squash recipe. If you use delicata, the whole squash--including the gorgeous skin--is edible.
Slow-Cooker Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions
Thanks to fresh green beans, an easy homemade cream sauce and crispy onion topping, this green bean casserole recipe is healthier and more delicious than traditional recipes that use canned soup, beans and onions. Plus, the slow cooker saves you time cooking at the stove. Make sure to use fresh green beans, as frozen green beans will become mushy.
Mashed Cauliflower & Yukon Golds
The term “cauliflower mashed potatoes” usually means subbing cauliflower for potatoes completely, but in this recipe we use both cauliflower and potatoes: Yukon Golds add to the buttery hue of the mash and their waxy texture balances out the more watery cauliflower to keep it velvety. The mash is easy enough to make as a weeknight dinner recipe, but it would also make an excellent side dish for Thanksgiving or another special occasion.
Cider-Braised Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
Everyone loves Brussels sprouts when they're drizzled in a tangy-sweet sauce. Plus, bacon! Serve with chicken, pork or steak and roasted potatoes.
Roasted Cranberry, Squash & Cauliflower Salad
Serve this healthy salad as a main course or as a starter for a special meal. To speed up prep, look for precut butternut squash in the refrigerated area of the produce section at your grocery store.
No-Sugar-Added Sweet Potato Casserole
Instead of loading up this comfort food side with tons of brown sugar and marshmallows, we have turned to sweet spices, vanilla and inherently sweet dried fruit to enhance the natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes. A topping of pecans and pepitas replaces traditional marshmallow topping to keep it healthy and add texture and color for a beautiful casserole.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Roasting butternut squash with herbs and garlic gives this healthy soup a more complex flavor. A bit of maple syrup adds sweetness, while a splash of apple-cider vinegar brightens up the flavors. This easy recipe requires just 15 minutes of active prep time, but you can cut down on that even more by buying precut squash. Serve with bread and a salad for a light supper, or as a starter for a holiday meal.
Garlic & Chive Mashed Potatoes
Russets are our potato of choice for this garlicky mashed potato recipe because they cook up super-fluffy.
Farro Salad with Cranberries & Persimmons
When shopping for this healthy salad recipe, be sure to pick up the right type of persimmons. The flat-bottomed Fuyus called for here are bright orange and have texture of an almost-ripe peach when ready to eat—perfect for salsas and salads, with or without the peel. Oval-shaped, darker orange and larger Hachiyas are only edible when almost liquid on the inside. The flesh is best used in baking or can be scooped out of the skin and eaten like custard. Underripe, they are off-puttingly tart.
Smoky Mashed Sweet Potatoes
This colorful twist on traditional mashed potatoes swaps in roasted sweet potatoes and incorporates the flavors of smoked paprika, cayenne, and orange zest. You can use regular paprika instead of smoked, and can omit the cayenne for a less spicy version.
The Best Homemade Cranberry Sauce
This is our go-to recipe for homemade cranberry sauce. It's simple (just five ingredients!), is lightly sweet without being too sugary and has just the right amount of zesty flavor from orange peel. Plus, it's so easy—it goes from stove to table in just 20 minutes!
Fig & Walnut Wild Rice Dressing
This gluten-free dressing (or stuffing, if you prefer) leans on a blend of brown and wild rice for a complex nutty flavor. Look for dried Mission figs in the bulk aisle or with the packaged dried fruit in your grocery store. You can swap in dried cherries or cranberries if you can't find dried figs.
Wilted Kale With Warm Shallot Dressing
Vinegar is the key to making this sautéed kale recipe special. Look for vinegar that's cloudy—it likely still has some of the mother in the bottle and will give you a sweet acidity rather than a harsh bite. Organic apple cider vinegar is usually your best bet. For the most eye-catching version of this side, use different colored varieties of kale.
Roasted Veggie & Quinoa Salad
Quick, simple and packed with satisfying protein and fiber, this salad makes a perfect lunch or easy one-dish dinner.
Simple Sautéed Spinach
Sautéed spinach (or any greens) with garlic and a squeeze of lemon (or vinegar) is a simple formula that lets spinach shine and will never go out of favor.
Garlic-Rosemary Smashed Potatoes
A combination of baked, mashed and roasted, these crusty, garlicky smashed potatoes are a healthy and creative alternative. Serve alongside a seared steak or roasted pork tenderloin and green beans.
Warm Pear & Spinach Salad with Maple-Bacon Vinaigrette
Mature, larger-leaved spinach holds up better to the warm bacon vinaigrette than baby spinach in this healthy spinach salad recipe. If you don't want the spinach to wilt, let the dressing cool before tossing it with the salad.
Honey & Orange Glazed Carrots
Bright and fresh, these candied carrots have just a hint of sweetness from the honey and citrus. This one-pan dish is quick and easy to make, but also has such a pretty presentation that it works both as an entertaining-worthy or weeknight side dish. Look for carrots that are similar in size so they cook evenly.
Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Honey-Balsamic Glaze
This lightning-fast side dish produces deliciously sweet Brussels sprouts, thanks to honey that caramelizes and crispy, salty bacon. They're so good your kids will even eat them! If the Brussels sprouts are hard to skewer, consider microwaving them a minute longer and then try skewering again. If you'd like to make this Brussels sprouts recipe vegetarian, simply omit the bacon.
Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes
These healthy mashed sweet potatoes owe their kick to the chipotle peppers. Want it spicier? Add another tablespoon to your mash. You can even use chipotle chile powder to punch up the heat—use a couple teaspoons instead of the full 3 tablespoons of chipotles in adobo.
Celeriac, Gruyère & Potato Tart
This tart is as beautiful to look at as it is to eat. Serve this potato tart as an appetizer or cut a larger serving for a healthy vegetarian dinner. If you don't have a mandoline, use your sharpest knife to slice the potatoes and celeriac as thin as possible.
Chorizo, Chestnut, Brussels Sprout & Apple Stuffing
Who says a Thanksgiving stuffing recipe has to be dominated by the bread? Check out this veggie-packed healthy stuffing, with 4 cups of Brussels sprouts topping the list. Chorizo adds some piquant flavor, in this case a zesty chile-pepper-and-vinegar kick found in the Mexican version of the sausage, but quite frankly you won't go wrong using any type of fresh, spicy sausage.