Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays! I enjoy spending time with family, especially when it is centered around food. Thanksgiving for my side of the family is usually hosted by yours truly. There is a handful of us who love to cook and get creative in the kitchen which makes for a more non-traditional menu when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner. Don’t get me wrong, we love traditional Thanksgiving dishes too, but we love to spice things up with unique Thanksgiving sides. Here are a few of our favorites from our past Thanksgiving menus.
Sautéed Green Beans with Leeks, Mushrooms, and Maple-Soy Sauce
This recipe has the core ingredients of green bean casserole, but much lighter in its flavors. The maple-soy sauce is sweet and salty (my favorite flavor combination) and provides a burst of umami that makes this dish addicting. Blanching the green beans before cooking them in the pan helps to cook the green beans through, but still keep a crisp texture and bright green color.
Roasted Apples and Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are a tradition in our family, and I think every year we try a different recipe because there are so many great ways to prepare them. This recipe combines Brussels sprouts with another fall favorite—apples. I love love love roasted apples—they are sweet and flavorful and a perfect addition to roasted root vegetables, but also to bitter greens like Brussels sprouts.
There is the option of adding toasted walnuts and dried cranberries to this recipe which I highly recommend! They both provide another layer of flavors and textures that round out this dish! This version doesn’t have any bacon, but if you are like me and love bacon and Brussels sprouts, it is lovely added to this recipe.
Smashed Baked Potatoes
It’s hard to convince my husband that we aren’t having mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner, but if there is one recipe that he will take a substitute on the classic Thanksgiving potato dish, it is this one right here! It isn’t fancy and there aren’t any unique flavor combinations, but it makes for garlicky, salty, and crispy potatoes—who doesn’t like the sound of that?? First you boil your potatoes, then you “fry” them by baking them at high heat with avocado oil. My kids call them French fries and I call them delicious!
Spiced Pecans with Roasted Yams
Besides turkey, nothing screams Thanksgiving like yams or sweet potatoes. Often you find sweet potato casserole that is overly sweet or roasted yams topped with marshmallows and tons of brown sugar. These dishes, for me, are too sweet and the flavor of the sweet potatoes or yams are lost along with any nutritional value. That is why I love this recipe!
The yams are par-boiled which enhances the development of their simple sugars making them sweeter and more flavorful than just roasting them. The pecans are pan roasted in spices, oil, and a little bit of brown sugar to provide a unique spiced flavor and a nice crunch to the roasted yams. I prefer to use ghee in this recipe because I love the flavor it lends to the dish. Avocado oil (or any other high heat oil) works fine and creates a tasty dish, too.
Savory Cornbread Stuffing
I remember the first time I had cornbread stuffing—I thought this is a game changer! I love the subtle sweetness of cornbread and when you turn it into stuffing, we have my favorite flavor combination again—sweet and salty! This recipe is from a dear friend and co-worker, Teenie. She is an incredible cook and everything she creates is absolutely delicious! She adds grated apple to her cornbread stuffing to help keep it from drying out which can be a problem with stuffing. Teenie also uses the recipe for cornbread that comes from the Arrowhead Mills Organic Yellow Cornmeal package—I used this same recipe to make gluten free cornbread in my cornbread muffins recipe. So, if you need it to be gluten free, we’ve got the recipe for you!
I posted this recipe a few weeks back, but it’s worth sharing again. I love homemade cranberry sauce! I make it often when cranberries come into season. I even freeze bags of cranberries, so I can make it throughout the winter, as well. This recipe ends up being more like a spread with its thick jam-like consistency. I spread it on my turkey and definitely on my Thanksgiving rolls after I smother them in butter. It has bright, bold flavors with a little bit of sweet and tart. And, it’s great on top of pumpkin pie!
Beth Blessing (Organic Beth) has a Masters in Nutrition and is the co-founder of Green Bean Delivery. She is a mother of three that loves supporting family farms and searching for unique, artisanal products. Her goal is to help others eat better and live a more natural, holistic life through healthy recipes and practical tips. Follow her on Facebook: @OrganicBeth