Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

Find healthy Thanksgiving side dishes to make ahead including cranberry, mashed potato, squash and green bean recipes.

Staff Picks

Maple-Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Rating: Unrated
12
In this easy vegetable side dish recipe, sweet potatoes are tossed with maple syrup, butter and lemon juice and are roasted until tender and golden brown. The delicious glaze that forms on these maple-roasted sweet potatoes transform this ultra-simple dish into something sublime.

Steamed Butternut Squash

Rating: Unrated
1
Butternut squash steams quickly, making this a great cooking technique to enjoy this fall vegetable as a weeknight side dish. For extra flavor, toss the steamed butternut squash with salt, pepper and a little bit of olive oil, butter or Parmesan cheese after cooking.

Sautéed Butternut Squash

Sautéeing butternut squash in olive oil quickly yields perfectly cooked results and slighly caramelizes the squash for extra flavor. This recipe makes a delicious vegetable side dish to pair with roasted meats.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

This healthy recipe is a savory riff on the traditional brown-sugar-and-pecan-topped sweet potato casserole so often found on Thanksgiving tables. Crispy baby kale leaves make a stunning garnish, but any green or herb that suits you will look great, fried or not.

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Onions

Rating: Unrated
6
Fresh herbs, onion and bacon sauté alongside Brussels sprouts in this easy vegetable side dish recipe. This savory dish is delicious in the fall and winter months, when Brussels sprouts are in season. If you can find them still attached to the stalk, don't be intimidated--buy them, as they're likely more fresh. Recipe adapted from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.

Oven-Roasted Squash with Garlic & Parsley

Rating: Unrated
6
Winter squash becomes tender and sweeter when roasted--a delicious side for a holiday dinner. Look for interesting squash like kabocha or hubbard at your farmers' market and try them in this recipe. Recipe adapted from Alice Waters.

Sautéed Leek Mashed Potatoes

In this healthy mashed potato recipe, we flavor the mashed potatoes with leeks lightly sautéed in butter and tangy buttermilk. These mashed potatoes are an amazing side to grilled steak or chicken.

Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes with Spinach

Rating: Unrated
1
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.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Smoky Aioli

The delicious dipping sauce makes this easy Brussels sprouts recipe an irresistible appetizer or side dish. If you want to double the recipe, use two large rimmed baking sheets and swap their spots in the oven halfway through cooking.

Beet Salad

Rating: Unrated
7
It's time we rescued beets from our childhood nightmares--when they were little better than bland wedges scooped out of a can. Roasted beets are delightful, sweet but very earthy and aromatic--great for a side salad.

Cauliflower-Broccoli Gratin

Rating: Unrated
1
This creamy broccoli-and-cauliflower casserole is a hassle-free side dish that just about everyone loves. Our healthier version skips the heavy cream and butter found in most recipes--saving about 160 calories and 12 grams of saturated fat compared to a traditional version.

Layered Mashed Potato & Mushroom Casserole

Rating: Unrated
3
Fancy up regular mashed potatoes with a layer of mushroom duxelle--a sauté of finely chopped mushrooms and shallots. We omitted the traditional butter in the duxelle and added chard for a nutritional boost. Serve this hearty side in place of mashed potatoes at any holiday feast or enjoy it as a vegetarian main dish.

Inspiration and Ideas

Cornbread & Oyster-Mushroom Stuffing

This stuffing is perfect to bake a day or two in advance so it has time to dry out a bit, which lets it absorb the flavors more readily.

Make-Ahead Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Cut down on Thanksgiving Day craziness and free up space in your oven by making some dishes ahead of time. From Green Bean Casserole to Scalloped Potatoes, all of these classic Thanksgiving side dishes come with tips to prep them ahead of time. A quick reheat is all they’ll need before making their way to your dinner table.

Cauliflower with New Mornay Sauce

Rating: Unrated
3

A topping of Mornay sauce is a delicious treatment for numerous vegetables: broccoli, asparagus, fennel, Belgian endive, to name a few. In our revised version, we have replaced some of the high-fat cheeses and cream with low-fat cottage cheese, which contributes a rich dairy flavor without the fat. Even children will eat cauliflower prepared this way.