Ah, yes, Thanksgiving: that annual tradition of stuffing ourselves so full our fat pants don’t fit. No, really! What comes to mind when you think about Thanksgiving? It’s all food (turkey, mashed potatoes, yams and sweet potatoes, stuffing, rolls, cranberry sauce, gravy, green bean casserole). Or maybe football. But mostly food. This year, try mixing things up a bit with these unique side dishes!
Bacon and Cheese Brussels Sprouts Casserole: When I was pregnant, I decided to up my veggie intake. One of the first amazing veggies I discovered was Brussels sprouts. Add cheese and bacon? I’ll take seconds, please.
Millet, Lentil, and Pomegranate Salad: My husband loves pomegranates, so I’m always excited when I find a recipe that incorporates them. This salad is a fun mix of textures and flavors.
Bourbon-Cranberry Compote: I usually make my own cranberry jelly, which is a pain in the ass. The sauce is easy, but straining the sauce to get jelly? Ugh. So I like this more sophisticated version, which seems fancier than a basic cranberry sauce, but isn’t really. (Also, the alcohol cooks off, so don’t worry about this being a 21-and-up dish!)
Colcannon: It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes (because carbs). This year, though, mix things up a bit and make colcannon, an Irish dish that mixes creamy, buttery mashed potatoes with greens. The greens make it healthy. *nods seriously*
Carrot Soufflé: Don’t be intimidated by the “soufflé” part. This is a pretty simple recipe and c’mon—how fancy will you be serving a soufflé?!
Susan’s Peach Stuffing: One of my favorite so-so-bad-for-you foods is canned peaches in heavy syrup. Guess what kind of peaches this recipe calls for! Peaches are an unexpected flavor for Thanksgiving because they’re not in season this time of year, which is one of the reasons this stuffing is so fun.
Pimiento Cheese Green Beans: I love pimiento cheese. And green beans, too, actually! So why not combine them into one amazing dish. Like the colcannon (AKA mashed potatoes with greens), I firmly believe adding green beans to the cheese makes it healthy.
Butternut Squash and Leek Bread Pudding: I love bread pudding as a dessert, so the idea of a savory bread pudding side dish is pretty intriguing. And all that cheese—yum!
Roasted Broccoli with Pickled Shallots and Peanuts: Roasted broccoli is one of my go-to weekday recipes because it’s so easy. The (quick) pickled shallots and peanuts give this recipe a complex flavor that makes it worthy of a spot on your holiday table.
Moist Buttermilk Cornbread With Cream-Style Corn: Do you remember the corn cake from Chi-Chi’s? That stuff was wicked good. (You can actually buy a mix for it in the grocery store, but it’s not as awesome as I remember.) Anyway, this cornbread reminds me of that sweet corn cake. And it solves one of my biggest cornbread challenges, with the creamed corn and buttermilk keeping the bread nice and moist.
Let us know which recipes you try and what you—and your guests—think!