It’s not the turkey that complicates the holiday menu nearly as much as the sides. How many Thanksgiving side dishes should we have? Should they be traditional? Can we accommodate everyone’s favorite dish? Does that mean two varieties of dressing and cranberry sauce? Do the old favorites need an update? Which recipes can be made in advance?
With several dozen guest showing up at the farm, I will have lots of helpers who’ll be bringing food. Below are some of the recipes that we’ll be serving or have served in years past. If you’re looking for another side dish for the annual feast, hopefully, this list will give you some ideas.
Cornbread Sausage Dressing
For me, the turkey stuffing is the pièce de résistance. I cook part of the dressing in the bird and the rest in a casserole. I’ve made this recipe for years and love the smell of sausage, onions and celery that heralds Thanksgiving Day.
Shredded Brussels Sprouts
This has become one of my favorite vegetable recipes. If you’re looking for a colorful, crunchy dish look no farther. True, it’s a bit labor intensive, shredding all those Brussels sprouts, but that part can be done in advance. If you’re wanting to introduce a new vegetable to the family’s holiday meal, this recipe is a good starter.
This recipe, given to my mother 50 years ago, calls for making a persillade to go atop the buttery, cooked carrots. Persillade is a French term for chopped garlic and parsley. Bread crumbs are also added to the mixture, adding to the festive look of the vegetable.
Garlic Cheese Grits
These are grits for people who don’t think they like grits. It’s a casserole that’s cheesy, eggy, and silky smooth. I’ve not made the recipe for Thanksgiving for a long time, because we have a family member, who makes a mean pot of grits and provides us this Southern delicacy each year.
French Green Beans with Shallots
I used to serve Green Bean Casserole from a classic 50’s recipe, that my mother-in-law gave me. You know what I’m talking about: the delicious dish made with canned, French-style green beans and mushroom soup topped with fried onions. But in recent years, my family has convinced me to lighten up on the beans. That was hard to do until I came upon this recipe (with video) from Jenn Segal at Once Upon a Chef. If you’re wanting to transition to healthier side dishes you might want to give this one a try.
There are a number of versions on the Internet. Martha Stewart, New York Times, Barefoot Contessa, and Williams Sonoma all have small variations of green beans and shallots. I use haricot verts (the thin, French green beans that come pre-packaged in the produce section). You can get them at Trader Joe and Schnucks.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Couldn’t you just dive headlong into this bed of mashed potatoes? These spuds are spiked with half and half, butter, creamed cheese, and a whole head of roasted garlic. Wow! Take a look at the recipe. After cooking the potatoes, I use both a ricer and an old-fashioned potato masher rather than a handheld mixer. I like the texture better.
One of the guys coming to the farm for Thanksgiving is making this. This incredible cranberry recipe has it all: whole cranberries, grated pear, brandy and walnuts. The blog, Food52, describes the contest winning dish as “silk and fragrance.”
Since the Native Americans put maize on the first Thanksgiving table, it’s fitting that we salute the day with a corn dish. Here’s one for a hearty corn pudding, that will please both kids and grown-ups.
Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares
Not all your guests will be fans of pumpkin pie. But I bet they’ll gobble up these delightful Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares from Martha Stewart. They’re beautiful, as well as tasty, and not nearly as hard to make as they look.