7 Ways to Food-Style Your Thanksgiving Table

Use edible garnishes to make your Thanksgiving meal look as good as it tastes.

Photo By: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

©2012, Food Network

Photo By: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Garnish Like a Pro

Thanksgiving dinner is one of those meals that — even though it’s delicious — sometimes needs a tiny bit of help looking as good as it tastes. When you’re garnishing a plate, of course looks matter, but the best garnishes bring a textural or flavor contrast to the party as well. Edible garnishes are our favorite kind — especially when their flavors complement the dish they accompany. The following suggestions are based on both color and dish texture, and they are guidelines. This is your table, so make your dishes your own.

 

From Food Network Kitchen

Bronzed and Roasted: Pair with Orange or Green

For bronzed and roasted foods (like your turkey) try orange or green: Roasted carrots, fresh leafy herbs or fresh watercress add brightness and delicious contrast. Or go with a more old-school tableau and surround the bird with fresh fruit (oranges and golden pears work particularly well for this).

Try It: Turkey + Herbs and Oranges

Trisha's simple no-fuss bird looks gorgeous surrounded by leafy greens, herbs and oranges. 

Get the Recipe: No-Baste, No-Bother Roasted Turkey

Orange and Smooth: Think Red

For orange and smooth dishes (like butternut squash soup or mashed sweet potatoes), think red, crunchy and tangy: Pomegranate seeds, quick-pickled red onions or chopped fresh cranberries all work very nicely.

Try It: Butternut Squash Soup + Pomegranate Seeds

Just a few pomegranate seeds break up the orange monotony of creamy butternut squash soup, and their tart flavor adds great balance, too. 

Get the Recipe: Butternut Soup

White and Creamy: Go Green

For white and creamy items (celery root salad, mashed potatoes), crunchy, oniony greens are always welcome: Chives, scallions or a fresh green salsa all add brightness.

Try It: Mashed Potatoes + Chives

These classic-flavored mashed spuds (made in a slow cooker!) need nothing more than a sprinkle of chopped chives to lend a pop of color and textural contrast.

Get the Recipe: Slow-Cooker Home-Style Mashed Potatoes

Tender Greens: Try Nutty and Crunchy

For tender greens (green beans, creamed spinach) go with brown, nutty and crunchy: slivered almonds, toasted walnuts or hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, the Middle Eastern spice blend dukkah, or (of course) fried onions.

Try It: Creamed Spinach + Fried Onions

Fried onions are the classic topper for green bean casserole, but they're also perfect atop creamed spinach. 

Get the Recipe: Creamed Spinach

Yellow and Brown: Choose Leafy Herbs

For vast expanses of yellow or brown (stuffing, onion dip, mac and cheese, cornbread), go with leafy green herbs: A scattering of chopped parsley, fennel fronds, celery leaves or cilantro will add freshness and contrast.

Try It: Sausage Stuffing + Chopped Parsley

Stuffing is notoriously not the most-photogenic dish, but a simple handful of chopped parsley turns it into a beauty. 

Get the Recipe: Slow-Cooker Sausage Stuffing

Reds: Add Citrus or Crunch

For the reds (like cranberry sauce), you can go one of two ways: either citrus zest (lemon, orange or grapefruit work best) for brightness and extra tanginess, or toasted chopped nuts (better for homemade, rustic-textured sauces) for crunch.

Try It: Cranberry-Orange Relish + Pecans

Finely chopped pecans add color contrast and a nutty crunch to this rustic Southern relish. 

Sweets: Keep It Simple

For desserts, many don’t need more than a bit of gently whipped cream or a dusting of powdered sugar, but if you really want to gild the lily, a chunk of pumpkin-seed brittle or a few candied cranberries would be gorgeous.

Try It: Pumpkin Pie + Crunchy Cranberry Topping

Tyler makes a simple topping for his pumpkin pie with just three ingredients: pecans, frozen cranberries and amaretti cookies. A dollop of fresh whipped cream takes this dessert over the top.

Get the Recipe: The Ultimate Pumpkin Pie with Crunchy Cranberry Topping