Candied sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes with gravy, green bean casserole; these are all tried and true Thanksgiving recipes that most people have eaten or served. For anyone hoping to do something a little different, or to go over and above traditional expectations, these recipe ideas are sure to be a big hit.
Mashed White Sweet Potatoes
Instead of serving candied yams or sweet potatoes along with mashed potatoes, try serving mashed white sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are actually root vegetables that have little in common with tubers, or standard potatoes. They are also distinctly different from yams, and can come in a variety of colors, including purple, white and the most recognized orange.
White sweet potatoes have a milder flavor than orange sweet potatoes, while still containing plenty of Vitamin A, fiber, and relatively low sugar. Mashing them with butter and salt, and serving them in place of standard potato or yam dishes will give a flavorful twist to the meal. For extra flavor, try mixing sharp cheddar cheese into the mashed dish, and then placing them in the oven to bake before serving.
Sautéed Green Beans
Instead of serving a green bean casserole, try serving sautéed green beans instead. Use whole green beans, just snapping off the end. Heat olive oil in a large pan until very hot and just beginning to smoke. Add the green beans and sauté by either jerking the pan quickly from the elbow, or by continually stirring them with a wooden spoon over high heat.
Continue to sauté until the beans begin to turn slightly brown and crisp at the edges, about 20 – 30 minutes. The beans will caramelize slightly, giving them a crisp, sweet taste. For an added dimension of flavor, add cracked red pepper about five minutes before the end of cooking. Make the beans last, after other dishes and serve them very hot.
Baked Cinnamon Apples
For a sweet side dish without the added sugar of cranberry sauce, try serving baked cinnamon apples instead. Peel and slice any apple that has a sweet taste, but firm texture, to avoid them turning to mush when cooked. Look for Cortlands, Fuji, Pink Lady, or Jazz apples, but stay away from Red Delicious or Gala.
Dot the apples with butter and sprinkle them with cinnamon. Bake in at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the apples are very soft and easily cut with a fork.
Acorn Squash Slices
Rather than mashed butternut squash, serve acorn squash slices for a harvest flavor with a substantial taste. Slice an acorn squash around its equator in concentric rings. Then slice these rings in half, to produce smile shaped slices. Dust them with cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and ginger and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Brush melted butter over the slices before serving. The entire slice, including the skin is edible, and the squash itself has a sweet taste, with a substantial feel to it.
By serving Thanksgiving side dishes with a slight difference from traditional recipes, family and guests will be treated to a special culinary experience, while still enjoying the taste of tradition.