Simple and surprisingly unexpected Thanksgiving side dishes
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20 Thanksgiving Side Dishes That Go Beyond the Stuffing and Mashed Potatoes

Bet your guests didn’t see these dishes coming
Simple and surprisingly unexpected Thanksgiving side dishes
zi3000/Shutterstock

Certain Thanksgiving side dishes — mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, perhaps a green vegetable or two — can feel required on a Thanksgiving table. But once you check off all those boxes, it can get a little tricky to find sides that are easy to make, crowd-pleasing and just outside-the-box enough to elicit some oohs and aahs. Whether you’re hosting Turkey Day or looking for a side dish to bring along, these 20 recipes are sure to give you plenty of inspiration.

 

Mac and cheese fries

Mac and cheese fries
iStock.com/juanmonino

These may look like mozzarella sticks, but they’re actually deep-fried sticks of mac and cheese, simply prepared with a little help from Velveeta.

For the mac and cheese fries recipe, click here.

Southern sausage balls

Southern sausage balls
iStock.com/lissart

This simple Southern classic only contains three ingredients — sausage, biscuit mix and cheddar cheese — but it’s popular enough to deserve a home on every Southern Thanksgiving table.

For the Southern sausage balls recipe, click here.

Buttercup squash and couscous

Buttercup squash and couscous
A_Lein/Shutterstock

A comforting pile of couscous is a perfect side dish, especially when kicked up with some cherry tomatoes, scallions and diced squash.

For the buttercup squash and couscous recipe, click here.

Potato gratin with onions and sage

Potato gratin with onions and sage
iStock.com/margouillatphotos

Fontina cheese, caramelized onions, thyme and sage make this creamy potato gratin an absolute crowd-pleaser.

For the potato gratin with onions and sage recipe, click here.

Quinoa with sweet potatoes and kale

Quinoa with sweet potatoes and kale
iStock.com/haoliang

If you want to provide your guests with a healthy side dish that’s still autumn-appropriate, this melange of ingredients including kale, button mushrooms, quinoa and sweet potatoes is a perfect option.

For the quinoa with sweet potatoes and kale recipe, click here.

Cheesy hash brown casserole

Cheesy hash brown casserole
iStock.com/D. Homer

Even just hearing the phrase “cheesy hash brown casserole” makes us hungry, and this Midwest-inspired favorite, with cheddar, colby jack and a secret ingredient (it’s condensed cream of chicken soup), will keep your guests coming back for seconds and thirds.

For the cheesy hash brown casserole recipe, click here.

Bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits

Bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits
iStock.com/Lara Hata

Why just serve plain old dinner rolls when you can serve buttermilk drop biscuits with cheddar, bacon and scallions?

For the bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits recipe, click here.

Pumpkin-sage cheese grits

Pumpkin-sage cheese grits
Yulia-Bogdanova/Shutterstock

These rich and creamy grits receive a seasonal twist thanks to the addition of sage and pumpkin puree.

For the pumpkin-sage cheese grits recipe, click here.

Brussels sprouts with pearl onions, mushrooms and crispy prosciutto

Brussels sprouts with pearl onions, mushrooms and crispy prosciutto
Peredniankina/Shutterstock

Fried prosciutto is a perfect complement for Brussels sprouts, especially when sauteed with pearl onions, and oyster and maitake mushrooms.

For the Brussels sprouts with pearl onions, mushrooms and crispy prosciutto recipe, click here.

Welsh rarebit

Welsh rarebit
locrifa/Shutterstock

Welsh rarebit is a classic Welsh comfort food made by dousing thick-cut toast with a rich sauce made with beer and cheese. Cut it into slices, pass it around your Thanksgiving table and watch your guests go nuts.

For the Welsh rarebit recipe, click here.

Asparagus in a blanket

Asparagus in a blanket
iStock.com/asab974

Vegetables do belong on a Thanksgiving table, so why not treat asparagus like mini hot dogs and wrap them in puff pastry?

For the asparagus in a blanket recipe, click here.

Maple walnut sweet potato casserole

Maple walnut sweet potato casserole

Sweet potatoes and pears are layered and topped with brown sugar, cinnamon, maple syrup and walnuts for a sweet and tasty side.

For the maple walnut sweet potato casserole recipe, click here.

Caramelized onion tart

Caramelized onion tart
iStock.com/DariaZu

This classic side dish is super easy to make; just top puff pastry with caramelized onions and Gruyere and bake.

For the caramelized onion tart recipe, click here.

Avocado sage cornbread

Avocado sage cornbread
iStock.com/Lynne Mitchell

Replacing the oil with avocado in this cornbread doesn’t just make it healthier, it also puts a modern twist on a classic recipe. The sage also makes it perfect for Thanksgiving.

For the avocado sage cornbread recipe, click here.

Baby beets with orange blossom water, feta and mint

Baby beets with orange blossom water, feta and mint
MShev/Shutterstock

Beets always make for a colorful side dish, and they partner perfectly with feta, mint and orange blossom water, which lends sweet and citrusy notes.

For the baby beets with orange blossom water, feta and mint recipe, click here.

Potatoes Savoyarde

Potatoes Savoyarde
iStock.com/Bartosz Luczak

Potatoes Savoyarde is a classic potato preparation. It’s also super easy to make. Just layer sliced potatoes, Gruyere and garlic in a casserole dish, top with a little chicken stock and bake.

For the Potatoes Savoyarde recipe, click here.

Pumpkin risotto

Pumpkin risotto
iStock.com/Mariha-kitchen

You might not think of risotto as a perfect Thanksgiving side dish, but it totally is, especially when loaded with pumpkin and garnished with pumpkin seeds and pecans.

For the pumpkin risotto recipe, click here.

Bacon and shiitake mushroom bake

Bacon and shiitake mushroom bake
iStock.com/ALLEKO

This savory, creamy spin on bread pudding is loaded with bacon, cheddar and earthy shiitake mushrooms.

For the bacon and shiitake mushroom bake recipe, click here.

Green tomato and cheddar pie

Green tomato and cheddar pie
Lapina Maria/Shutterstock

If you love tomatoes, then you’ll love them baked in a pie with plenty of cheese.

For the green tomato and cheddar pie recipe, click here.

Muffin mix buffet bread

Muffin mix buffet bread
Courtesy of Pillsbury

These buttery loaves of bread use a package of corn muffin mix as a base, which means they’re super easy to make, and they’re super tasty (and super retro) with a can of condensed cheddar cheese soup. You can tell your guests that this recipe actually won the 1967 Pillsbury Bake-Off, and you can see every Pillsbury Bake-Off winner here.

For the muffin mix buffet bread recipe, click here.

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