18 Make-Ahead Christmas Side Dishes for an Easier Holiday
Loaded Scalloped Potatoes with Bacon, Cheddar & Chives
Imagine a loaded baked potato topped with bacon, Cheddar and chives combined with the creamy goodness of scalloped potatoes, and you have the ultimate comfort food casserole. This scalloped potato recipe is made healthier than original versions by using low-fat milk in place of heavy cream, but it still tastes just as rich and creamy.
Cornbread & Oyster-Mushroom Stuffing
Mushrooms are a rich, meaty addition in this healthy cornbread stuffing recipe. Here we use oyster mushrooms, but you can use any variety you like. If you have time, bake the cornbread a day or two in advance so it has time to dry out a bit, which lets it absorb the flavors more readily.
Green Bean Casserole Salad
Trying to lighten up your green bean casserole? Try this quick and easy salad version, which combines fried shallots, croutons, mushrooms, green beans, and chopped chard leaves for a lighter take on a holiday classic.
Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
If you're looking for a twist on classic scalloped potatoes, this recipe using roasted sweet potatoes and melty Gruyère has all the creaminess of the original with a new flavor twist. The sweet potatoes and lightened sauce--made with flour and low-fat milk--keep it healthier than butter- and cream-laden versions. Don't cut your sweet potatoes too thin--they'll turn mushy under the sauce.
Crispy Potato Stacks with Fresh Sage
These little cute stacks are everything you want in a potato side dish: tender in the middle, devilishly crispy on the outside, and seasoned with sage and butter throughout. For best results, use a mandoline to slice the potatoes extra-thin.
Cauliflower Casserole with Mixed-Seed Crust
The cheesy-seedy crust that tops this healthy cauliflower casserole recipe evokes everything bagels. Serve for the holidays or as a hearty side dish with roast chicken.
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.
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.
Vegan Green Bean Casserole
Now everyone can enjoy classic Thanksgiving favorites, like this dairy-free green bean casserole. We make a homemade vegan cream of mushroom soup using almond milk for the creamy base that's combined with fresh green beans. Top it off with classic french-fried onions (we have a vegan recipe for that, too!) for a side dish everyone will devour.
Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes with Spinach
Classic scalloped potatoes get a burst of color, heartier texture and a healthy update with the addition of chopped spinach. The greens in this side dish also create a nice contrast to the creamy, velvety potatoes.
Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
Make this classic comfort food side dish in an electric pressure cooker, like the Instant Pot, to get the potatoes soft and tender in a jiff! This easy, 5-ingredient recipe is perfect for the holidays because it's all done in one pot and doesn't take up any extra oven or stove space.
Kumquat & Cranberry Relish
Kumquats add zesty citrus notes when chopped together with cranberries for this holiday relish. Serve for Thanksgiving with roast turkey or with almost any roasted meat, such as a pork roast or beef tenderloin.
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.
Vegan Scalloped Potatoes
These scalloped potatoes are surprisingly rich and creamy even though they're made with no dairy (milk, butter or cheese)--vegan comfort food at its best. We use almond milk, herbs and spices to make a flavorful sauce and finish the dish with a crunchy almond topping. This makes a satisfying side dish if you're cooking for dairy-free or vegan diets.
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.
Mixed Green Salad with Pomegranate, Dates & Bacon
Jewel-like pomegranate seeds star along with bacon, tangy clementines and sweet dates in this mixed green salad recipe. To make it a dinner salad, top with chicken, shrimp or pan-seared salmon.
Vegan Cornbread Stuffing
Whether you call it stuffing or dressing, now this classic side dish is available to everyone. We love the deep flavor of cornbread in this entirely plant-based recipe. Our secret to getting that traditional flavor without chicken broth or turkey stock is adding in poultry seasoning--despite the name, there is no poultry in it!
Easy Mashed Sweet Potatoes
This quick mashed potato recipe has just 5 ingredients and is dinner-ready in 20 minutes. Using sweet potatoes for this classic side dish adds color to your plate along with a little sweetness and a boost of Vitamin A. With classic and simple flavors, it can easily be paired with any of your favorite dishes.