Apologies to those who get really excited about Thanksgiving turkey, but it’s everything else on the table that makes my heart beat a little faster each November.
And that’s not just because of all the homemade gravy I’m pouring over my stuffing and mashed potatoes.
If left to my own devices, I would make a menu consisting of nothing but Thanksgiving side dishes every year—and I actually have been able to live the dream once or twice at some of my Friendsgiving and smaller gatherings.
And you know what? Nary have I heard a word of complaint as the casserole dishes of vegetables and starches circled around the table. Plates were still licked clean, bellies were still stuffed, and everyone rolled home happy.
Everyone has a favorite Thanksgiving side, whether it be the aforementioned stuffing or sweet potatoes (with or without marshmallows) or, if you’re my dad, a bowl of regular buttered corn that he can mix into his mashed potatoes. You do you, dad.
And if you have an heirloom family recipe that absolutely must be part of your Thanksgiving lineup, I’m not here to dissuade you from that. Far from it!
But if you’re looking for some Thanksgiving side-spiration, this list of recipes is here to give you the menu juju you need.
From the tried-and-true classics to newfangled comfort, and a few things that could even pass for a main course (kale and bacon bread pudding, I’m looking at you), it’s a veg- and carb-fest to be proud of.
Each of these easy Thanksgiving side dishes is a time-tested, crowd-approved dish that has graced my table more than once in the past decade.
In quite a few cases, I’ve even busted out these recipes in the middle of the year when I’m feeling the urge.
Pick a few, or make ’em all. There’s no wrong way to gorge yourself on Thanksgiving.
For a classic Thanksgiving stuffing that's always welcome at the holiday table, try this version that can easily be made vegetarian to serve everyone.
You can make your Thanksgiving mashed potatoes on the stovetop, in a pressure cooker, or a slow cooker to save on precious oven space. Here's how to do it any way you want.
A basket of warm dinner rolls is never overkill at Thanksgiving. Here's an easy recipe that you can make from start to finish in about an hour.
Or if you'd prefer an even more seasonal dinner roll, try these savory pumpkin nut rolls that also can be made a few days ahead of Thanksgiving.
For a variation on scalloped potatoes, this creamy celery root and spinach gratin is inspired by classic steakhouse sides and brings a little green to your Thanksgiving menu.
The traditional cranberry spread couldn't be easier than this version, which uses real maple syrup for sweetness. Make double to eat with toast the next morning.
Kale, leek, and bacon bread pudding is so hearty it could be a side dish or a main course if you want to do an all-sides Thanksgiving. Sub in mushrooms for bacon to make it vegetarian.