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16 Thanksgiving sides to cook next Thursday, or whenever

16-thanksgiving-sides-to-cook-next-thursday,-or-whenever

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Graphic: Allison Corr, Photo: Allison Robicelli

This Thanksgiving, we’ll all be appreciating the act of gathering just a little bit more than we ever have before. Leaves in the table, crowds in the kitchen, a buffet full of pies. But even more than dessert, for most of us, the sides are the real highlight of the meal. What follows is a selection of the best Thanksgiving side dishes from our recipe archive.

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Classic Cheese Ball

Classic Cheese Ball

Classic Cheese Ball
Photo: Gwen Ihnat

Kick off a holiday gathering of any size with the retro appetizer that draws in guests like moths to a flame. This Classic Cheese Ball comes to us from Dena Rayess, author of Cheese Balls: 40 Celebratory And Cheese-licious Recipes. It’s so easy to make and yields so much wow factor. Be warned: you’ll need a sturdy dipping apparatus, like a pita chip or celery, because this is one dense serving of cheese. Music to your ears, we hope! Here’s the recipe.

Pumpkin Curry Spice Soup

Pumpkin Curry Spice Soup

Pumpkin Curry Spice Soup
Photo: Kate Bernot

Pumpkin (and) Spice Soup is a perfect starter: it won’t leave you too full and will set you up to eat more. It’s light and bright and creamy, and even though it contains both pumpkin and spices, it’s not the “pumpkin spice” you’re thinking of. Instead, it includes more savory elements like onions and garlic and red pepper flakes and curry powder and coriander. As long as you know how to chop an onion, you’ve got this. Here’s the recipe.

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Sweet Potato Parker House Rolls

Sweet Potato Parker House Rolls

Sweet Potato Parker House Rolls

Sweet Potato Parker House Rolls
Graphic: Allison Corr

Go ahead and combine sweet potatoes and rolls into one dish. These cozy, buttery Sweet Potato Parker House Rolls taste like fall incarnate, and they’ll make your Thanksgiving day bread basket look all the more beautiful. Best of all, you can form the dough to make them as gigantic as you like. Here’s the recipe.

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Salted Honey Butter Corn Muffins

Salted Honey Butter Corn Muffins

Salted Honey Butter Corn Muffins

Salted Honey Butter Corn Muffins
Photo: Allison Robicelli

Cornbread is heavy and dense. Corn muffins are light and airy. And sure, it’s pretty easy to whip up a batch from the Jiffy box, but it’s not that much harder to mix up a dozen of these Salted Honey Butter Corn Muffins, whose flavor is superior and superb. The only real challenge is waiting for half an hour for the batter to hydrate. Plus, as their name implies, they contain salted honey butter. Does Jiffy have that? Here’s the recipe.

“Homemade” Garlic Knots

Homemade Garlic Knots

Homemade Garlic Knots
Photo: Kate Bernot

Some of us fear baking with yeast. Some of us don’t have time to wait for bread to rise. Some of us just have no access to yeast, period. But there’s no shame in using store-bought dough for your Garlic Knots, especially if you slather it with vast quantities of butter and garlic. Pillsbury pizza dough (yes, the kind in a tube) works well if you can’t find Pillsbury breadsticks. Within half an hour, you’ll have garlic knots, and that’s the important part. Here’s the recipe.

Real Cranberry Sauce

Real Cranberry Sauce

Real Cranberry Sauce
Photo: Gwen Ihnat

The debate rages every year: some people swear by the classic, gelatinous canned cranberry sauce, while others prefer to make it themselves from scratch. If you’re in the latter camp, we’ve got you covered. Superior Homemade Cranberry Sauce is easier than pie, and it makes your kitchen smell amazing. It’s almost as simple as opening a can, so why not try it out this year and see how you like it? Here’s the recipe.

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Glazed Roasted Vegetables

Glazed Roasted Vegetables

Glazed Roasted Vegetables

Glazed Roasted Vegetables
Graphic: Karl Gustafson

There are certain inalienable facts of life, and one of them is that roasting a vegetable is like putting it through a movie-montage makeover. Chop them up, drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, shove them in a hot oven for a little while, and voila! Brussels sprouts, once the butt of so many jokes, are now chic and delicious and everyone loves them, the prom queen of the dinner table. But because it’s Thanksgiving, a special time, maybe you should try making Glazed Roasted Vegetables. It’s only marginally more difficult to prepare than plain old roasted vegetables and infinitely customizable. Here’s the recipe.

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Balsamic Benihana Garlic Veggies

Balsamic Benihana Garlic Veggies

Roasted vegetables with Balsamic “Benihana” Garlic Sauce

Roasted vegetables with Balsamic “Benihana” Garlic Sauce
Photo: Allison Robicelli

If you’ve ever been to a Benihana Japanese Steakhouse, then you know that its vegetables are coated in a sauce that could make old shoe leather delicious. What better to pair with the lightest part of your Thanksgiving meal? In this recipe for Balsamic “Benihana” Garlic Sauce, the classic recipe is given a boost of acidity, brightening up your vegetables with a condiment that keeps well in the fridge or freezer to dress up your sides anytime. Here’s the recipe.

Glazed Turnips

Glazed Turnips

Glazed Turnips
Photo: Allison Robicelli

When it comes to choosing which vegetables to add to your Thanksgiving spread, turnips are a wildly unpopular option, even more so than Brussels sprouts once were. But this recipe for Glazed Melting Turnips mellows out turnips’ natural bitterness by adding balsamic vinegar and honey, and turns the humble turnip into something worth getting excited about. Couldn’t we all use a pleasant surprise at the Thanksgiving table? Find the recipe here.

Classic Creamed Spinach

Classic Creamed Spinach

Classic Creamed Spinach
Photo: Stacey Ballis

You can always dress up vegetables the more “traditional” way, which is to say, by drenching them in six different forms of dairy, plus seasoning. Here is a classic recipe for Creamed Spinach (cadged from the chef at Chicago’s Covenant Club and a legend in certain circles), quite possibly the richest and most unhealthy vegetable dish ever created and arguably the most delicious. Here’s the recipe, in all its glory.

Green Bean Casserole Dip

Green Bean Casserole Dip

Green Bean Casserole Dip
Photo: Allison Robicelli

It is customary to put vegetables into dip. But what if the vegetables were the dip? Eh? Embrace the absurdity of all that we’ve been through these last few years and serve up some Green Bean Casserole Dip. It takes all the best aspects of the classic Thanksgiving casserole and presents it in a dippable form that you don’t even have to leave the couch to enjoy. Here’s the recipe.

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Millionaire Mashed Potatoes

Millionaire Mashed Potatoes

Millionaire Mashed Potatoes

Millionaire Mashed Potatoes
Photo: Kevin Pang

Though it would probably be nice to win the lottery or get in on the ground floor of some very lucrative stock options and become a literal millionaire, eating these Millionaire Mashed Potatoes makes you feel like you’ve achieved greatness in your life. These bear a superficial resemblance to peasant mashed potatoes, but they are richer and smoother and contain way more butter. Top with a rich, beefy gravy, or feel free to just eat them plain—they’re that good. Here’s the recipe.

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Whole Roasted Pumpkin Stuffed With Wild Mushrooms And Gruyere

Whole Roasted Pumpkin Stuffed With Wild Mushrooms And Gruyere

Whole Roasted Cheese-Stuffed Pumpkin

Whole Roasted Cheese-Stuffed Pumpkin
Photo: BENITO MARTIN / Hardle Grant Publishing

Danielle Alvarez, author of the Always Add Lemon cookbook, developed this Cheese-stuffed pumpkin as a spur-of-the-moment solution when a dear friend dropped by her restaurant unexpectedly and she wanted to create a low-effort showstopper. It really is easy: you layer cheese, mushrooms, and bread into a pumpkin and let it cook for two hours to get all tender and melty. There’s a lot of downtime, which you can use to make any of the other sides on our list. Here’s the recipe.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Strawberry Pretzel Jell-O Salad

Strawberry Pretzel Jell-O Salad
Photo: Credit:DarcyMaulsby (iStock by Getty Images)

The strawberry-pretzel salad has three specific layers: a crushed pretzel crust (with a ton of butter and a little sugar), a filling made of cream cheese and Cool Whip (and even more sugar), and strawberries in strawberry Jell-O on the top. It defies description—technically, it’s gotta qualify as a pie, right? No matter. The fact that it’s a “salad” means it can sit on the Thanksgiving table with all the other sides, hiding its dessert-like qualities behind the walls of a casserole dish. Here’s the recipe.

Green Stuff

Green Stuff

Green Stuff
Photo: bhofack2 (iStock by Getty Images)

Green Stuff is known by many names, including Watergate Salad, but no matter what you call it, it’s a side dish/dessert hybrid that can stay on the table throughout every course of your Thanksgiving meal. It’s made of Cool Whip, pistachio pudding, mini marshmallows, and canned crushed pineapple. Simply mix, refrigerate, and enjoy the simple pleasures of this nostalgic foodstuff. Here’s the recipe.

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Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash Pavlova

Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash Pavlova

Butternut Squash Pavlova

Butternut Squash Pavlova
Graphic: Libby McGuire

Pies are delicious, but they can be finicky. This Butternut Squash Pavlova harnesses the delicious and unmistakably autumnal flavors of Thanksgiving pies and transfers them over to a delightfully imperfect dessert, one made from a meringue of whipped egg whites and topped with a pile of maple-roasted gourd and tangy yogurt whipped cream. Here’s the recipe.

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