The turkey generally gets fussed over the most on Thanksgiving, but sometimes the sides are more memorable than the ol' bird. Here are suggestions for ways to round out your feast on Thursday. Michelle Stark, Times food editor
Recipes for Thanksgiving side dishes: Green beans, sweet potatoes, biscuits and more
Don't think you like Brussels sprouts? Think again. This simple, unadorned recipe brings out their wonderful flavor.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- 1 pint brussels sprouts (about a pound)
- 4 to 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, to coat bottom of pan
- 5 cloves garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Heat oven to 450 degrees. Trim bottom of brussels sprouts, and slice each in half top to bottom. Heat oil in cast-iron pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers; put sprouts cut side down in one layer in pan. Put in garlic, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Cook, undisturbed, until sprouts begin to brown on bottom, and transfer to oven. Cook, shaking pan occasionally, until sprouts are quite brown and tender, about 1/2 hour.
- Taste, and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in balsamic vinegar, and serve hot or warm. Serves 4-6.
For something a bit lighter than traditional stuffing or mashed potatoes, try this light, bright whole grain salad.
- 2 crisp apples, cored, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cup red or white quinoa, rinsed well
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 2 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
- Optional: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss apples with lemon juice.
- Mix quinoa, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 2 cups cold water in a pan. Cover; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until most of water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, then turn out onto a baking sheet to cool for at least 10 minutes.
- Spread almonds in a skillet. Toast until golden over medium heat, 7 to 10 minutes, shaking skillet once. Transfer to a plate to cool. In a bowl, whisk vinegar and mustard. Gradually add olive oil, whisking, until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
- Drain apples, if necessary, and add to bowl. Add quinoa, almonds, cranberries and scallions. Gently toss; season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serves 4-6.
Looking for something a little different from sweet potato casserole? This roasted dish is even easier to put together.
Crispy Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- 4 sweet potatoes (about 3 pounds), cut into thin wedges
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon lime zest, plus 2 tablespoons lime juice
- Salt and black pepper
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Heat oven to 425 degrees. Toss the potatoes, oil, lime zest, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Roast, tossing once, until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Drizzle with the lime juice and sprinkle with the cilantro. Serve warm. Serves 8.
The best part about this recipe is that it cooks entirely on the stovetop, freeing up some valuable oven space.
Green Beans with Rosemary and Garlic
- 2 cups stale crusty bread cubes
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt
- 2 pounds green beans, trimmed and halved
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Freshly ground pepper
- Pulse the bread in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the bread, 1 teaspoon rosemary, the red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bread is golden brown, about 10 minutes; transfer to a bowl.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water and blot dry with paper towels. (You can refrigerate the green beans, covered, for up to 4 hours; keep the bread mixture at room temperature.)
- Heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and the garlic in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until the garlic is lightly golden, about 3 minutes, adding the remaining 1 teaspoon rosemary during the last 30 seconds. Add the green beans and lemon zest; cook, stirring, until coated. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the bread mixture. Serves 6-8.
What's another carb between friends and family on Thanksgiving? Biscuits are actually less-fuss than traditional dinner rolls, because they aren't made with a yeast dough that needs to rise. Here are two versions, one classic and one a bit more adventurous but still classically Thanksgiving.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 scant tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
- 1 cup whole milk
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Transfer to a food processor. Cut butter into pats and add to flour, then pulse 5 or 6 times until the mixture resembles rough crumbs. (Alternatively, cut butter into flour in the mixing bowl using a fork or a pastry cutter.) Return dough to bowl, add milk and stir with a fork until it forms a rough ball.
- Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and pat it down into a rough rectangle, about an inch thick. Fold it over and gently pat it down again. Repeat. Cover the dough loosely with a kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
- Gently pat out the dough some more, so that the rectangle is roughly 10 inches by 6 inches. Cut dough into biscuits using a floured glass or biscuit cutter. Do not twist cutter when cutting; this crimps the edges of the biscuit and impedes its rise.
- Place biscuits on a cookie sheet and bake until golden brown, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.
Sweet Potato and Black Pepper Biscuits
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup butter
- 1 cup cold mashed sweet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Whisk flour, baking powder, sugar, pepper, baking soda, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Cut butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir sweet potatoes and cream into the flour mixture until the dough is soft.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead the dough, turning over about 5 times. Roll to about 1/2-inch thick. Cut 2-inch circles out of dough and arrange on a baking sheet.
- Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Makes 27.