Side Dishes to Upstage the Thanksgiving Turkey

These side dishes are so delicious they might just outshine the roasted turkey
Side Dishes to Upstage the Thanksgiving Turkey

Once you make your own cranberry sauce from scratch (and see how easy it is) you’ll never go back to the canned variety.

We often think of the roasted turkey as the most important part of a traditional Thanksgiving meal; after all, many hours of planning and preparation are devoted to cooking a juicy, flavorful bird. Though the turkey is no doubt the centerpiece of most Thanksgiving dinners, it is always accompanied by a table full of delicious side dishes, too — mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce, to name a few. Many Thanksgiving side dishes are rooted in tradition and don’t vary much from year to year, but with a little bit of planning, it’s easy to create Thanksgiving side dishes so amazing they might even upstage the turkey.

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Though it sounds counterintuitive, one of the easiest ways to make amazing Thanksgiving side dishes is to look for recipes that are simple; few ingredients, uncomplicated technique, ease of preparation, and ability to make a recipe ahead all make for delicious Thanksgiving side dishes. If you try to tackle too many complicated side dishes or try to work with ingredients that are foreign to you, it’ll be easy to become overwhelmed and make mistakes. If you’re looking for spectacular Thanksgiving side dishes, skip the truffles and caviar and try using fresh herbs and seasonal fruits and vegetables instead.

You also have to consider tradition. Though you don’t want to create a Thanksgiving meal without familiar flavors and ingredients, it’s easy to incorporate a few nontraditional ingredients if you want to. Utilizing ingredients from different world cuisines can be an easy way to upgrade your Thanksgiving side dishes; a pinch of curry powder or a splash of soy sauce can transform your usual Thanksgiving side dishes into something even more amazing. If your family loves sweet potato casserole, for example, you should make it during the holidays, but try topping it with toasted coconut instead of marshmallows.

If you’re looking for ways to build on holiday traditions (or create new ones), try these delicious side dish recipes.

Hoisin Green Bean Salad

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Instead of your traditional salad or green bean casserole, try this Asian-inspired bean salad. It's healthy and takes little to no time to make. 
Click here for the recipe.

Butternut-Sage Mashed Potatoes

(Credit: Shutterstock)
Adding a bit of sage to your mashed potatoes is a really simple way to upgrade classic mashed potatoes. Make it even more festive by mashing in some bright orange butternut squash.
Click here for the recipe.

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Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.