3 Impressive Thanksgiving Sides
Are you ready for Thanksgiving? If you are in charge of the Thanksgiving meal, it can seem overwhelming. So many sides, desserts, drinks, appetizers, not to mention the Turkey. Whether you are making it all or just bringing a dish, these sensational Thanksgiving sides are easy, quick, yet impressive. With secret ingredients like cauliflower in the mashed potatoes, and sweet potatoes smothered in butter, you will have the “health enthusiast” and the “go all outers” asking for seconds!
Lets first start with the thanksgiving staple-mashed potatoes. For this recipe, we are adding cauliflower. We do this first to vary our veggies and second because cauliflower has less calories and carbohydrates than potatoes, plus is packed full of nutrients.
With just a little steaming/boiling, mixing and broiling you have a quick, impressive side dish. You can serve this in one large bowl or individual portions depending on preference (makes about 6-7 cups).
Cheesy Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
- 2 medium heads of cauliflower (about 2 lbs each)
- 1/4 + cup milk (more or less for desired consistency)
- 1-2 cups hot mashed potatoes
- 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Season to taste with snipped herbs: rosemary, chives, thyme, etc
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Break cauliflower into small florets and steam until tender. Mash cooked cauliflower with milk as you would mash potatoes. Stir in 1-2 cups mashed potatoes (up to half potatoes half cauliflower) and half the cheese. Add additional milk for desired consistency; season to taste. Scoop Cauliflower and potatoes into mounds in baking dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake until hot throughout and cheese is golden brown. . (Alternate cooking method; cook cauliflower and potatoes together.)
Our next side dish is the green beans. With all the heavy food at thanksgiving, it can be nice to just have some fresh veggies without the casserole. These green beans are light, and full of flavor! With sautéed mushrooms, a sprinkle of pine nuts and parmesan cheese, you won’t miss the heavy sauce. The other benefit is, it is all done on the stove and leaves you oven free for other dishes!
Sautéed Green Beans and Mushrooms
- 1 pound green beans
- 4 ounce portabella mushrooms
- 1-2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 clove crushed garlic, more or less to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1-2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1-2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, shredded
Snip the ends off the green beans, wash and set aside. Cut mushroom into cubes. In a large skillet sauté mushrooms in 1-tablespoon butter until lightly browned on edges. Place mushrooms in a bowl and set aside. Add green beans to skillet, add 1/4-cup water, cover and simmer 4-6 minutes. Remove lid from pan and cook until moisture evaporates. Add 1-2 teaspoons butter and garlic; stir fry until almost crisp tender (as needed, periodically cover with a lid to generate moisture). Add mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste, continue to cook until beans are crisp tender. Place in serving bowl, squeeze approximately 1/2 lemon over beans, sprinkle with pine nuts and parmesan cheese. Serve warm.
Our next side is pure indulgence. These baked sweet potatoes slices are covered in butter, sugar, and pecans. They take a little time in the oven, but overall are easy and turn out gorgeous. Serve a couple slices to each person, or have a big tray for the taking. It takes about 1 cookie sheet per sweet potato, to fit all the slices, so plan to cook more than one sheet at a time. Your guests are going to love this one!
Crispy Butter Pecan Sweet Potatoes
- 3-4 sweet potatoes
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 cup coarse chopped pecans
- Dash of Cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees; line baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices. Brush potatoes with 2-tablespoons melted butter. Arrange slices on baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Bake 15 minutes, turn slices; bake 15 minutes longer or until tender. (May refrigerate at this point and finish later). Mix together remaining 2-tablespoons butter with the brown sugar; brush over sweet potatoes. Lightly sprinkle with cayenne pepper (to taste). Sprinkle with chopped nuts; bake 10 minutes longer or until glaze is crisp.
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