I’ll be honest, I don’t love turkey. I know, gasp. My father is rolling his eyes at my dislike of meat as I type. But it’s true. I don’t mind turkey when it has a good dose of gravy on it, but it’s definitely not the main event for me at Thanksgiving. I prefer a good helping of Green Bean Casserole, Sweet Potatoes, and more of the yummy side dishes. So, if you’re like me and you’re looking for some delicious Thanksgiving recipes for side dishes that will taste better than the turkey, you’re in the right place! Here are four of the best side dishes to have on your Thanksgiving table.
Thanksgiving Recipes: Side Dishes That Taste Better Than The Turkey
Better Than Turkey Side Dish 01: Green Bean Casserole
This recipe does the classic right! Everything is made from scratch (no canned soup here) and it all contributes to a delicious casserole that won’t last long. All you need is a skillet like this one and you’re in business.
Green Bean Casserole
- 1 lb. green beans trimmed
- 6 Tbsp. butter divided
- 1 onion sliced thinly
- 8 oz. sliced baby bella mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ c. flour
- 3 c. milk
- 1 ½ c. French's Fried Onions
- Begin by heating your oven to 350°F. While the oven is heating, fill a large pot with water and set over high heat until you have a rolling boil. Then add the green beans and cook for about 6 minutes or until they are bright green and tender. When the green beans are done, remove them from the boiling water and set in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Next, drain the water and set the beans aside.
- Then in a large skillet, melt 2 tbsp. of butter over medium-high heat before adding the onion and allowing to cook until it's tender. This should take about five minutes or so. When the onions are done, add the mushrooms and cook until they are golden, making sure to stir often. When the mushrooms are golden brown, add the garlic and stir for a minute or so before transferring the mixture to the green beans.
- Next, melt the remaining 4 tbsp. of butter in the skillet before whisking in the flour. Continue to whisk and cook until the flour is golden before gradually whisking in the milk and seasoning with salt and pepper. Allow the mixture to simmer until it starts to thicken, which should take 3-4 minutes. Then remove the skillet from the heat and fold in the green beans, mushrooms, and onions. To finish, bake the mixture in the oven for about 30 minutes before adding the fried onions and allowing to cook for five minutes more.
Better Than Turkey Side Dish 02: Candied Yams
Okay, I’ll be honest again, I have no idea what the difference is between yams and sweet potatoes. I could google it, but at this point in my life, I’m not sure it matters. Because whether they are sweet potatoes or yams, they are my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner. They are creamy, sweet, crispy, and damn delicious! Trust me when I tell you, no Thanksgiving dinner is complete without this dish. You don’t have to add the marshmallows if you don’t want, the dish is plenty sweet on its own. I like the way they mix with the texture though, so you’ll always find marshmallows on my table. 😉
- ½ c. brown sugar
- ½ c. orange juice
- 3 Tbsp. butter plus more for the pan
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 1 pinch salt
- 3 lb. sweet potatoes
- 1 ½ c. mini marshmallows if desired
- Start by heating your oven to 400°F and buttering a baking dish. Then combine the sugar, orange juice, butter, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring so that it combines. When the mixture beings to boil, reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for about ten minutes so that it begins to thicken slightly. Remove from heat and discard cinnamon stick.
- While the orange juice mixture is simmering, peel and slice the potatoes into ½" rounds before placing them in the baking dish. Then pour the syrup over the top and cover the dish with foil.
- Bake the potatoes covered for about 30 minutes before removing the foil and cooking for another 50 minutes. Continue to check while it's baking and baste with the sauce about every 15 minutes. For the last 15 minutes of cooking, add the mini marshmallows to the top if desired. Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly, then serve and enjoy!
Better Than Turkey Side Dish 03: Mashed Potatoes
I have a sister-in-law who literally saves an entire plate just for the mashed potatoes. No joke. They are serious business in our family. Ideally, the perfect potatoes can stand on their own without the addition of gravy, are smooth while still having texture, and complement the gravy nicely. These will do just that! The only thing you need is a potato masher. If you’re old school, grab one here. If you’re more of a get-it-done-quick kid, grab this instead.
Perfect Mashed Potatoes
- 3 lb potatoes use a mix of russet and Yukon gold
- 10 Tbsp. butter divided
- ½ c. milk or cream
- ½ c. sour cream
- freshly ground black pepper
- If you don't like skin in your mashed potatoes, then start by peeling them. If you don't mind the skins, then just give them a good wash before placing the potatoes into a large stockpot, covering them with water, and adding a good pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes until they are soft, about 20 minutes. Then drain the water and mash those potatoes!
- While the potatoes are being mashed, place the butter and milk into a saucepan over medium heat and cook until the butter melts. When the butter is melted, pour the milk mixture over the potatoes and stir until creamy and combined. Then add in the sour cream and stir until incorporated. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper to your taste and garnish with a few tablespoons of butter before serving.
Better Than Turkey Side Dish 04: Stuffing
Okay, you can totally make this inside your turkey. But I’ll be honest, just cooking a turkey scares me. So I prefer to not add anything additional to that task. Instead, I like to use my slow cooker and make my stuffing separate. It’s just easier and doesn’t rely on more precious oven space. So if you want to fix-it and forget-it on a busy day, then you’ve got to check this out!
- slow cooker
- ½ c. butter
- 3 stalks celery finely chopped
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme
- 1 tsp. fresh rosemary finely chopped
- 1 tsp. sage finely chopped
- 2 eggs beaten
- 2 C. chicken broth
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 7 C. stale bread cubed
- 1 Tbsp. parsley finely chopped
- Start this recipe by melting the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Then toss in the celery, onion, thyme, rosemary, and sage and cook for about five minutes while stirring often. When the onions are translucent, remove from the stove and allow to cool.
- Next, grease the bowl of your slow cooker (or put a liner in) before adding in your bread. Then pour in the eggs, veggies, broth, and parsley and give it a good toss to combine. Close the lid and allow to cook on low for 3-4 hours, making sure to stir it halfway through. Then garnish with parsley or rosemary if desired, and serve! *If you want your stuffing to be a little crispy, just toss the mixture into an oven-safe dish and bake at 400°F for 5-10 minutes.
You can, of course, add in dishes like Brussels sprouts, carrots, and cranberry sauce to help make up for the turkey. I’ve found, however, that having these four dishes on my table more than makes up for the turkey. Hopefully, your family will love them as much as mine does!