A great Thanksgiving feast requires not only a fantastic main dish but also a variety of delicious sides. There are so many traditional sides to choose from, including stuffing, cranberry relish, and sweet potato casserole. Although it’s hard to give up the traditional sides, it can be a lot of fun to experiment with integrating new side dishes into your usual Thanksgiving menu.
Planning Your Thanksgiving Menu
First, consider how many people you will be serving. If you are hosting a large family gathering, don’t feel shy about asking for help. Many people have special holiday recipes that they will likely be eager to share. You can ask any volunteers if they have a specific dish they’d like to bring, but be prepared to give them an idea if they don’t have something in mind. Also, keep in mind that if you throw the doors wide open, you could end up with 7 pumpkin pies and no stuffing! Make sure that each type of side is covered by keeping a list of which person is bringing what.
Where to Find Thanksgiving Recipes
The internet is the perfect place to search for holiday recipes. If you know what types of dishes you’re looking for, you can do a search and find dozens of variations on the recipe. Often you can also read reviews by people who have tried the recipes, and if you are fairly comfortable in the kitchen you can combine a few recipes to make your own creation.
If you aren’t quite sure what dishes you’d like to prepare, sites like Allrecipes and Epicurious have special holiday categories. You can browse these sites for Thanksgiving side dish recipes until you find an idea that inspires you.
Thanksgiving Side Dish Suggestions
Since a lot of Thanksgiving side dishes are pretty filling, a good salad can be a nice contrast. A simple salad of spinach, pumpkin seeds, and and sliced pears is both refreshing and elegant. You can garnish it with a pumpkin seed oil vinagrette.
Sweet potatoes are a great Thanksgiving side because they work so well in dishes that are both sweet and savory. Many sweet potato casseroles are so gooey and sweet they’re practically dessert. But a salty or savory sweet potato dish can be a nice contrast to the natural sweetness of the yams. A very simple option is to lightly coat sweet potato chunks with olive oil, sprinkle them with salt, and roast them in the oven. For a bit more savory flavor, mix the sweet potatoes with diced sausage.
No Turkey Thanksgiving
For some people a Thanksgiving dinner without a turkey might sound terrible. But if you are vegetarian or just aren’t that interested in cooking a turkey, a great alternative is to make a Thanksgiving menu entirely of side dishes. With so many delicious and filling side dishes to choose from, adding a few more to a Thanksgiving spread will make up for the missing turkey.