Nontraditional Thanksgiving Sides
Fill your cornucopia with our favorite recipes for unexpected Thanksgiving sides — they just might become your new traditions.
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Kabocha Squash Mash
Kabocha squash, also known as Japanese pumpkin, brings a pumpkin-meets-sweet-potato flavor and a pop of orange color. Kabocha can also stand in for (or at least alongside) mashed potatoes. It's more fibrous than spuds, so be sure to use a food processor or immersion blender to yield a smooth, creamy texture.
Get the Recipe: Kabocha Squash Mash
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette
Ina Garten's colorful salad makes the most of fall flavors by using caramelized cubes of squash as a foil to peppery arugula, then pulls it all together with a maple-apple cider dressing.
Get the Recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette
Using rainbow carrots gives the plate added panache, while the addition of toasted, crushed coriander gives it a certain je ne sais quoi. (Be prepared to share the recipe, because people are guaranteed to ask!)
Get the Recipe: Coriander-Glazed Carrots
Cauliflower, everyone's favorite cruciferous vegetable lately, takes a starring turn in Ina's gratin, in which florets are cloaked in a creamy sauce and baked under a blanket of Gruyère and breadcrumbs.
Get the Recipe: Cauliflower Gratin
Smoked Chile Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
For this anything-but-basic side, Bobby Flay layers thinly sliced sweet potatoes and drizzles them with a chipotle-spiked cream.
Get the Recipe: Smoked Chile Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips and Brussels Sprouts
Parsnips look like carrots but are cream-colored and boast a sweeter, earthier flavor profile. Carrots are a natural pairing for parsnips, but Giada De Laurentiis pulls in additional Thanksgiving veggie staples for her hearty dish.
Get the Recipe: Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips and Brussels Sprouts
Creamy Corn and Millet
Creamed corn is typically a super-rich side, but this recipe pulls in millet and freshly grated corn on the cob to give the dish a velvety texture without weighing it down.
Get the Recipe: Creamy Corn and Millet
Mashed Parsnips and Potatoes
Tyler Florence leans on parsnips to lend extra starch and a nutty sweetness to mashed potatoes.
Get the Recipe: Mashed Parsnips and Potatoes
Cheesy Barley Gratin
Gratins — baked dishes with toasty breadcrumb toppings and melted cheese — are winners (and so easy to make). If you didn't tell anyone what it was, this gratin might be mistaken for mac and cheese. The creamy sauce is just as cheesy, featuring a trio of Gruyère, mozzarella and Parmesan, while pearled barley stands in for the pasta.
Get the Recipe: Cheesy Barley Gratin
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Bacon
Provided you're not vegetarian, bacon is an obvious choice for adding a salty pop, but the secret savory weapon for this dish is the addition of bourbon or apple cider vinegar.
Get the Recipe: Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Bacon
Baked Farro and Butternut Squash
Serve Ina's satisfying side dish warm; the tender, nutty farro and butternut squash get a double dose of umami from bacon and grated Parmesan.
Get the Recipe: Baked Farro and Butternut Squash
Melting Sweet Potatoes
These spuds are baked at a high temperature so the outside gets intensely caramelized, while chicken broth gives them a silky-smooth and savory interior.
Get the Recipe: Melting Sweet Potatoes
Tex-Mex Green Bean Casserole
Turkey is typically a neutral canvas, which allows for plenty of creative freedom when it comes to spicing up sides with a little heat. Try a little Tex-Mex flair with a tortilla-chip-and-Cotija-topped green bean casserole, gussied up with poblano peppers, ancho chile powder and shredded pepper Jack cheese.
Get the Recipe: Tex-Mex Green Bean Casserole
Roasted Beets with Lemon Vinaigrette
Roasting beets intensifies their sweet-earthy flavors while a simple lemon vinaigrette adds a burst of freshness.
Get the Recipe: Roasted Beets With Lemon
Sweet and Spicy Glazed Sweet Potatoes
When it comes to tubers, instead of doubling down on the sweetness with dishes like candied yams or marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole, opt to play savory flavors off sweet. Trisha Yearwood nails the combo by pairing toasted pecans and a chili-spiked honey drizzle with sweet potatoes.
Get the Recipe: Sweet and Spicy Glazed Sweet Potatoes
Orange Honey Glazed Carrots
Glazed carrots are a staple, but there are ways to take 'em up a notch. Fresh ginger adds a complementary tropical sweetness and subtle warming note to orange and honey.
Get the Recipe: Orange-Honey Glazed Carrots
Warm Wheat Berry and Mushroom Salad
Between the chewy-tender wheat berries and the meaty mixed mushrooms, Anne Burrell's hearty salad offers plenty of texture (and can be made vegetarian by omitting the bacon and subbing vegetable stock for the chicken stock).
Get the Recipe: Warm Wheat Berry and Mushroom Salad