5 side dishes for Thanksgiving and beyond

Feast on these Thanksgiving recipes

It’s time to get creative with your holiday menu, from starters to the final sweet bite.

Appetizers: Dips that do double duty as spreads for leftovers, too.

Thanksgiving dips thumbnail
Appetizers: Dips that do double duty as spreads for leftovers, too.

Stuffing: Three ways, including one vegan, to upgrade the traditional side.

stuffing thumbnail
Stuffing: Three ways, including one vegan, to upgrade the traditional side.

Side dishes: From spuds to salads, 5 recipes that bring new flavors to the table.

thanksgiving sides thumbnail
Side dishes: From spuds to salads, 5 recipes that bring new flavors to the table.

Wine: Our favorite boxed wines to bring along to holiday gatherings, plus an N/A must-have.

wines guide thumbnail
Wine: Our favorite boxed wines to bring along to holiday gatherings, plus an N/A must-have.

Dessert: Tips to help you make pie crust like a pro, plus the recipe for a gluten-free chocolate tart.

desserts thumbnail
Dessert: Tips to help you make pie crust like a pro, plus the recipe for a gluten-free chocolate tart.

As the finishing touches are added to Thanksgiving Day menus, those of us doing the planning are faced with a dilemma: How do we feed both the expectations of those around the table and our desire to try new things?

Turkey and stuffing/dressing are musts. Ditto green bean casserole and mashed potatoes. It’s called Thanksgiving math — you can add dishes, but not subtract — and the solution is in side dishes.

Start small, with amped-up glazed carrots or a salad with squash and greens (that happens to be vegan). Combine corn and wild rice for a winning take on sweet corn. Or introduce new ways to embrace potatoes with stunning spiralized roasted potatoes or a fennel and potato gratin, recipes culled from this fall’s crop of new cookbooks.

If all this is too “interesting” for Thanksgiving traditionalists, that’s OK; it’s just the start of the holiday cooking season. There are plenty more chances to sneak in one of these great dishes.

Caramelized Carrots with Coriander, Golden Berries and Crushed Pistachios

Serves 2 to 4.

Note: From “Polish’d: Modern Vegetarian Cooking From Global Poland,” by Michał Korkosz (The Experiment, 2023), who writes: “This is the finest way to prepare carrots. I use the French technique of cooking the carrots until the water evaporates, but I add my own twist, charring the carrots in butter. They become sweet and tender, pairing beautifully with the acidity of golden berries, the Polish superfood, and pistachios.” If you don’t have golden berries on hand, try substituting dried cranberries.

• 1 lb. young carrots, washed, dried, and halved lengthwise

• 1 tsp. fine sea salt

• 1 tsp. sugar

• 1 tsp. coriander seeds

• 3 tbsp. unsalted butter

• 1 lime, halved

• 1/4 c. unsalted pistachios, chopped

• 3 tbsp. dried golden berries (see Note)

• Fresh cilantro, for serving


Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Place the carrots, salt, sugar and coriander in a large skillet. Pour over enough boiling water to cover the carrots. Return to a boil, and cook over high heat until the water has completely evaporated, 20 to 30 minutes.

Add the butter and pan-fry the carrots until charred all over, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and drizzle with the juice of half the lime. Transfer the carrots to a platter, and sprinkle with the pistachios and golden berries. Top with the cilantro, squeeze juice from the remaining lime over it, and serve.

Fennel and Potato Gratin

Serves 6.

Decadent and soul-warming, this is such a brilliant way to show off fennel. If it doesn’t make the Thanksgiving table (although it should), it makes for a lovely main at a dinner party, as well. Some watercress or salad leaves on the side are all you need. Try mixing in some blue cheese for a little funk. From “More Daily Veg,” by Joe Woodhouse (Kyle, 2023).

• 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter

• 4 onions, sliced

• 2 celery sticks, finely sliced

• 3 sprigs of thyme

• 2 lb. fennel, or 4 to 5 bulbs, tough woody stalks removed

• 2 lb. potatoes

• 7 tbsp. white wine or cider

• 3/4 c. crème fraîche

• 1 3/4 c. cheese of your choice, 
a mixture is good

• 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated

• Sea salt flakes and black pepper

• Couple of bunches of watercress or bitter leaves, to serve, optional


Melt the butter in a large saucepan that will accommodate everything over a medium heat. Add the onions and celery with a good pinch of salt and the thyme. Begin to soften for 12 to 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, slice the fennel and potatoes as thinly as possible. The thinner the slices are, the more layers there will be in the finished dish. (I like to use a mandoline, but you can also use a knife.) Slice each bulb in half, then lay it cut-side down with the root facing toward you and cut across each half. Add the fennel, potato and garlic to the pan. Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, until wilted.

Add the wine or cider and allow to bubble before then adding in the crème fraîche and two-thirds of the cheese. Turn off the heat and taste for seasoning. Add more salt if needed and a good few grinds of black pepper. Transfer the mix to a baking dish and spread out evenly. Top with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes, then rotate 180 degrees and continue cooking for 20 to 30 minutes until golden on top and bubbling. Allow to cool for 10 to 20 minutes and dig in. Serve with watercress or bitter leaves, if desired.

Squash Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Dressing

Serves 4.

This is the sort of salad that excites guests and just so happens to be vegan. Pomegranate seeds and pomegranate molasses lend both sweetness and tartness and are fabulous additions to nearly any salad — pomegranate seeds are easily found in the prepared food section of grocery stores, while pomegranate molasses can be found in Southwest Asian grocers and online. Goat cheese or feta would be a lovely add-in for some tang and creaminess. From “Maman & Me,” by Roya Shariat and Gita Sadeh (PA Press, 2023).

For the salad:

• 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 tbsp. maple syrup

• 1 tsp. fine salt

• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

• 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-in. chunks

• 10 oz. spring mix or any tender fresh greens

• 1/2 c. shredded carrot (about 1 medium carrot)

• 1/2 c. pomegranate seeds

• 1/4 c. pumpkin seeds, toasted

• Flaky salt

For the dressing:

• 1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil

• 3 tbsp. pomegranate molasses

• 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

• 1 tbsp. honey

• Fine salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

To prepare the salad: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, fine salt and pepper.

Spread the squash on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet, pour the maple mixture over the squash, and toss to evenly coat. Roast the squash, shaking the pan once or twice, for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned and fork-tender. Set aside to cool.

In a large salad bowl, combine the spring mix, carrot, pomegranate seeds and pumpkin seeds.

To prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, pomegranate molasses, vinegar and honey until evenly combined. Taste the dressing and add salt and pepper as needed.

Add the cooled squash to the salad mixture, along with the dressing, and gently toss to combine. Season with flaky salt and freshly ground pepper and toss again.

Serve immediately.

Spiralized Roast Potatoes

Serves 10 to 12.

If you’re already ladling gravy over the meat and the dressing, do you really need mashed potatoes, too? Wouldn’t it be just as nice to set a caramelized coil of potato between your turkey and the jellied cranberry sauce? Maybe just this once. From “Company: The Radically Casual Art of Cooking for Others,” by Amy Thielen (Norton, 2023).

• 6 c. water

• 3 tbsp. sugar

• 8 tbsp. (1 stick) butter, softened, plus more for the baking dish

• 12 medium yellow potatoes, enough to fill a 9- by 13-inch baking dish

• Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 3 sprigs thyme

• 1 sprig rosemary


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the water and sugar in a bowl and whisk until the sugar dissolves, to make a dip for the potatoes to keep them from oxidizing to a gray cast. The light sugar solution will also boost their caramelization when they’re in the oven.

Rub a heavy 9- by 13-inch baking dish generously with butter and set aside. Put the potatoes through a hand-cranked apple corer, adjusting the control to make sure that you’re not peeling them too deeply or to thinly. Swish each stacked potato coil through the sugar water as you go and transfer to the buttered baking dish, continuing until you have enough potatoes to fit comfortably in a snug (but not crowded) single layer.

Season the potatoes with an even, generous dusting of salt and pepper and scatter the herbs around them. Pour a very thin layer of sugar water in the bottom of the pam, to create a little steam. Cover tightly with foil and bake until the potatoes test tender when poked with a paring knife, about 30 minutes. Keep an eye on them, because different varieties and sizes of potatoes cook at different rates, and you don’t want them to become so tender that they collapse.

Melt the stick of butter. Uncover the baking dish and spoon the melted butter over the potatoes, basting them until every inch is covered. Raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees and roast the potatoes until caramelized at the edges, basting once more with the butter, about 25 minutes.

Serve warm, directly from the dish.

To spiralize by hand: Insert a wooden skewer into the bottom of a potato and push it all the way through. Starting at the top of the potato, hold a sharp, thin knife at an angle while turning the potato in a spiral motion, cutting in the opposite direction you are turning the potato, cutting down to the skewer. Work your way down the potato.

Wild Rice Street Corn

Serves 6.

It’s a cultural collision as wild rice and street corn combine to make one festive (and easy) side dish, or a great vessel for leftovers. The recipe, from the Minnesota Cultivated Wild Rice Council, was a finalist in the 2023 recipe contest and created by Lisa Keys of Kennett Square, Pa.

• 1 (10-oz.) pkg. frozen sweet corn

• 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

• 1/4 c. canola oil

• 1/2 tsp. chili powder

• 3 c. cooked wild rice

• 4 scallions, thinly sliced, including 2 inches of green part

• 1/4 c. chopped cilantro

• 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced

• 1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese

• 1 tsp. lime zest

• 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

• 1 clove garlic, minced

• 3 tbsp. light mayonnaise


In large nonstick skillet, sauté corn and salt in oil, 10 minutes. Stir in chili powder and wild rice; cook 2 minutes. Transfer to large bowl.

Add the scallions, cilantro, jalapeño, feta, lime zest, lime juice, garlic and mayonnaise and stir to combine. Serve immediately.

Leave a Comment