Let’s face it: Turkey has always been the leading lady of Thanksgiving dinner. She’s big, she’s bold and she requires every last inch of oven space. But that doesn’t mean it’s OK to serve soggy green beans, mushy sweet potatoes and lumpy gravy to back her up (we’re looking at you, Aunt Mildred—we’ll never forget the Thanksgiving of 1993). At the same time, you don’t want to monopolize the oven or stove all for a single bowl of whipped potatoes. This year, up the ante with 55 Thanksgiving vegetable side dishes—like cacio e pepe cauliflower and maple-glazed Brussels sprouts—that are just as fabulous as the big bird (and easy to make, too).
1. Oven-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Crispy Chickpeas and Yogurt Sauce
Skip the peeling and mashing, and instead roast the sweet potatoes skin-on and tossed in a spicy-sweet honey sauce. (And whatever you do, don’t skip that yogurt sauce.)
2. Baby Vegetables with Orange and Thyme
Instead of dirtying yet another pan, you’ll wrapped these veggies in a parchment parcel before roasting them. Not only does it eliminate the mess, it also helps them cook faster.
3. Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Sriracha and Lime
Maybe your guests indulged in one too many cocktails before they made it to the table…and now they’re falling asleep. No worries, this spicy number will wake them right up.
4. Charred Cauliflower with Crunchy Garlic Chile Oil
While grilling will add a satisfying smoky note to the dish, you can just as easily cook it in your oven. Make the crunchy garlic chile oil ahead of time for one less thing to worry about.
5. Alison Roman’s Roasted Squash with Yogurt and Spiced Buttered Pistachios
We’d like to sprinkle the spiced, buttered pistachios on everything from now on.
6. Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Horseradish and Sea Salt
They have the crunch factor of a French fry but the classiness of a fingerling. And don’t get us started on that horseradish cream sauce.
7. Roasted Winter Vegetable Platter with Miso Aioli and Romesco Sauce
You have all your star players (cauliflower, carrots, kabocha squash) plus two dips that are as easy to make as they are to eat. Feel free to mix up the veggies as you see fit, though.
8. Charred Sweet Potatoes with Pistachio-Chili Pesto
You have to admit, these spuds are a lot more attractive than the traditional pureed, marshmallow-topped casserole. Just sayin’.
9. Radicchio, Lentil and Apple Salad with Vegan Cashew Dressing
With so many heavy, roasted options on the table, it’s nice to have a bright, slightly bitter salad to wake things up.
10. Delicata Squash Rings with Garlic-Lemon Sauce
They’re like onion rings, if onion rings got all dressed up for a special occasion. The garlic-lemon sauce is made with store-bought mayo, but you don’t have to tell anyone.
11. Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Ranch
When your mom rolls her eyes at the first mention of “ranch,” tell her it’s actually homemade and very sophisticated. (It actually is.)
12. Dorie Greenspan’s Maple Syrup and Mustard Brussels Sprouts
When the green vegetables are paired with a tangy maple-Mustard glaze and crispy bacon bits, even the kids table will gobble them up.
13. Green Bean Casserole Galette
Just because it’s a vegetable course doesn’t mean it can’t be wrapped in flaky pastry. This is a holiday, after all.
14. Cacio e Pepe Brussels Sprouts
Our Thanksgiving motto? Parmesan cheese on everything.
15. Spiralized Winter Vegetable Gratin
This hearty dish is like a riff on potatoes au gratin: creamy, luxurious and overflowing with cheese. The only difference? It’s slightly lighter, thanks to parnsnips, sweet potatoes and butternut squash.
16. Hasselback Butternut Squash
Hasselback everything in sight! Why? Because the technique is deceptively simple, and yields the ideal ratio of crispy-to-soft every single time.
17. Broccoli Rabe and Burrata with Lemon
What’s the difference between broccoli rabe and plain old broccoli, you ask? Good question. It’s not actually broccoli at all, but a relative of the turnip (the more you know). It can taste a little bit bitter, so cutting it with lemon juice and adding creamy burrata balances everything out.
18. Harissa and Honey Roasted Carrots
Glazed carrots are no match for these sweet and smoky beauties. (It’s all about showing off those carrot tops, so leave them long for presentation.) Place them on a bed of yogurt and don’t forget to take lots of photos for Instagram.
19. Kale and Brussels Sprouts Caesar Slaw
The best part of this low-maintenance side dish? The creamy dressing is totally vegan, thanks to sunflower seeds, blanched almonds, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and a clove of garlic. Even salad haters will be convinced to try a bite.
20. Zesty Chargrilled Broccolini
Uh, wait—what’s the difference between broccoli rabe and broccolini? Broccolini is actually a hybrid—a delicious cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli. Chargrilling it keeps it crispy; no soggy stalks in sight.
21. Black Fig and Tomato Salad
This simple, six-ingredient salad takes only a couple of minutes to whip up but looks ultra impressive. If you really want to show off, mix up the dressing tableside and drizzle it on top in front of your guests.
22. Yotam Ottolenghi’s Cauliflower, Pomegranate and Pistachio Salad
The Simpsons said it best: You don’t win friends with salad. But salad haters have obviously never tried this satisfyingly crunchy beauty. It’s a shame there won’t be any leftovers, because it’s also great on the second day.
23. Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Chèvre Ranch
Green beans? Yawn. This year, we’re thankful for extra crunchy snap peas slathered with a creamy goat milk ranch dressing. We wouldn’t call it traditional, but we would call it delicious.
24. Creamed Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions
Nothing against crispy veg, but Thanksgiving is the one day to go all out. These greens are smothered in a mix of cream and Gruyère cheese for the ultimate in decadence.
25. Slow-Cooker Creamed Corn
OK, technically this dish sits in the slow cooker for about three hours. But with only ten minutes of prep time, we’re going to consider it a quick side, since you’ll be cooking other stuff during this time anyway. Best of all, using the slow cooker frees up stove space for other dishes, which you’ll be extremely thankful for about an hour before dinner is served.
26. Cacio e Pepe Cauliflower
Your biggest critics on Thanksgiving? The kids’ table. It’s a challenge to get them to eat any vegetables at all. Problem solved: Whip up a side that looks like pasta but is secretly a healthy veggie. You’ll get clean plates…and bonus points from the parents, too.
27. Cauliflower Stuffing with Pomegranate Seeds and Almonds
Gluten-free friends, rejoice—this hearty substitute for stuffing is just for you. It’s loaded with rosemary, thyme, sage and parsley, so it’s just as flavorful as the real thing. Bread, who? We don’t know her.
28. Microwave Mashed Potatoes
When you mash up spuds the old-fashioned way, you’re incorporating pockets of cold air that lower the temperature of the dish before everyone is done eating. By nuking them in the microwave, you’ll keep them hot all the way until the end of dinner. (Plus, microwaving frees up the oven for pumpkin pie.)
29. Brussels Sprouts Skillet with Crispy Pancetta-Garlic Breadcrumbs
Prove to your great aunts and uncles that Brussels sprouts don’t have to taste and smell like…um, feet. It’s all about the preparation—cook them in a skillet and the edges will get all caramelized and crispy. They’ll be begging for the recipe, so keep it handy.
30. Coconut Creamed Spinach
This side dish is dairy-free, so your vegan cousins can help themselves to seconds. The secret ingredient? Coconut milk. Top it off with onion, garlic, ginger and a few spices, and you have a side that’ll have everyone at the table asking, “mmm, what is that delightful flavor?”
31. Green Beans with Browned Butter Almondine
This dish has the same satisfying crunch as those frizzled onions everyone loves, but it’s so much fancier. (But don’t worry, we won’t judge if you decide to sneak a couple of onions on there, too. It’s Thanksgiving, after all.)
32. Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes
If you don’t have an Instant Pot in your arsenal yet, it’s about time you did. Sweet potatoes, which famously take ages to cook, are ready in just 30 minutes with this fabulous gadget. Plus, the oven is now free to cook the turkey, which always takes a billion times longer than you think it will.
33. Buttery Herb Sautéed Mushrooms
Eat these babies on top of mashed potatoes and prepare to swoon. Best of all, they’re ready in just 15 minutes. And if you’ve got a vegetarian in your midst, this hearty side can double as a main course—just be sure to make an extra batch, because even meat eaters will be dying to try it.
34. Whole30 Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes with Garlic and Herbs
We strongly suggest you forget all about Whole30 on Thanksgiving. But if you must diet on the best holiday of the year, this piping hot bowl fits the bill. The secret ingredient? Coconut milk. It’s all about balance, people.
35. Dorie Greenspan’s Roasted Acorn Squash Wedges
The creamy squash is accentuated by a sticky sweet glaze made of pomegranate molasses, lemon juice and za’atar. Go ahead, lick your fingers. It’s that good.
36. Squash, Arugula, Pomegranate Salad with Tahini Dressing
This hearty winter salad holds its own beside sweet potato casserole and cranberry sauce. (And look at those festive colors.) Oh, and did we mention you can make everything ahead of time, then assemble it right before you’re ready to eat? We love a tasty dish that’s also a time-saver.
37. Broiled Green Beans with Roasted Lemon Gremolata
Eat your heart out, green bean casserole. For the uninitiated, gremolata is a tangy, herby sauce made with garlic, parsley and lemon zest, and you need it in your life. Cooking green beans on the broiler keeps them crispy and charred—no wilted, mushy green beans here.
38. Ina Garten’s Baked Spinach and Zucchini
Leave it to Ina, queen of elegant entertaining, to make the most show-stopping side dish out of humble spinach and zucchini. It’s all about the blanket of cheese and breadcrumbs, people.
39. Sautéed Asparagus with Garlic and Parmesan
Technically, asparagus is a spring veggie, but we’re big fans of enjoying it year round…especially when you can make a whole darn skillet of it in ten minutes. The best way to get rid of the tough ends? Snap them off before cooking. (So put Cousin Jim to work when he starts hanging around the kitchen.)
40. Roasted Brown Butter Honey Garlic Carrots
We’re obsessed with this sweet (but not too sweet) sauce. Oh, and do you want to know a secret? You don’t even have to peel the carrots. Just scrub them, cut them into 2-inch pieces and you’re good to go. (You can even skip the cutting step if you use baby carrots instead of full-size.)
41. Simple Skillet Green Beans
Thanks to the addition of red pepper flakes, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice, this recipe is elevated enough for a special occasion (like, you guessed it, Thanksgiving). But thanks to the five-minute prep time and ten-minute cook time, something tells us it’s going to become a part of your weekday rotation, too.
42. Brussels Sprout Sliders
Prep these little cuties in advance and have them ready to go when your guests arrive. They’ll be relieved to have a little snack after the long drive, and they’ll stay occupied, so you can sneak away to get the rest of the feast prepared.
43. Oven Roasted Broccoli
Sometimes simple and crowd-pleasing is all you need. Just toss the veggies in olive oil, salt and pepper, and ta-da—you’re all done.
44. Roasted Zucchini with Parmesan
When in doubt, keep things simple (especially when Grandpa has eaten all of his vegetables boiled with no salt for the last 45 years). When you roast zucchini, you avoid that slimy texture that sometimes happens when you cook it on the stove—dust it with a coating of Parmesan cheese and you’re good to go.
45. Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Sure, mashed russets are a total classic. But don’t snooze on mashed sweet potatoes, which are incredible with a dollop of butter and a big helping of cranberry sauce. You might want to make a triple batch of these guys, because they’re about to go fast.
46. Garlic Fingerling Potatoes
Baked potatoes are for boring old Mondays. Fingerlings just feel inherently classy, especially when you add a gorgeous green tahini sauce. The turkey won’t know what hit it.
47. Easy Fennel Salad
Believe it or not, fennel is actually a member of the carrot family. It’s an acquired taste for some, and you might not be able to convince Uncle Randy to take a bite, but its licorice-y flavor will be a welcome change of pace for most of your guests at the Thanksgiving table. (Maybe next year, Uncle Randy.)
48. Charred Broccoli with Sriracha Almond Butter Sauce
We never met a cruciferous vegetable we didn’t like. Add a sweet and spicy sauce (warning: it’s so tasty, you’ll want to drink it), and it’s quickly become one of our favorite dishes of all time. The Thai flavors bring a little bit of fusion to your feast.
49. Mashed Cauliflower
If mashed potatoes are so “been there, done that” for you, spring for mashed cauliflower, which has the same creamy, decadent taste but fewer carbs. And when you make the dish in the Instant Pot, you can cut the cooking time down by a lot.
50. Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
Sure, you could chop each individual Brussels sprout by hand with a knife. But to save time—and time is of the essence on Thanksgiving—run these babies through a mandolin. If the idea of slicing a finger freaks you out, you can also use a food processor. Better yet, buy a pre-sliced bag at the store.
51. Whole Roasted Pumpkin Stuffed with Wild Mushrooms and Gruyère
It doesn’t get more festive (or delish) than this.
52. Ina Garten’s Roasted Broccolini & Cheddar
As the Barefoot Contessa would say herself, “how easy is that?”
53. Easy 5-Ingredient Corn Soup
If you have time to boil corn on the cob, you can make this easy five-ingredient corn soup
54. CINNAMON ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH
Maple syrup, fresh rosemary and spices take this vegetable side dish a long, long way.
55. LEMONY FRIED BRUSSELS SPROUTS
We’re keeping this one in the Thanksgiving menu rotation for years to come.