Most of the fun of preparing a large meal like Thanksgiving resides behind the humble side dishes, soups and sauces that add color, flavor, texture and personality to the meal.
From traditional, seasonal to unconventionally unique sides, don’t be afraid to mix and match them all to make an unforgettable meal that will be uniquely yours.
Here are three of our favorite Thanksgiving Day side dishes.
Thanksgiving Day side dishes
Brussels sprouts with prosciutto and pomegranate
1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed, and halved
2 Tbsp. extra virgin coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces Italian or Spanish prosciutto, coarsely chopped (you can add pancetta instead)
4 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup organic, low sodium vegetable broth
Seeds from 1 pomegranate, or toasted pumpkin seeds
Blanch Brussels sprouts and set aside.
Over medium heat, heat oil in a large heavy saucepan. Add prosciutto and sauté until crispy, about 2-3 minutes.
Add garlic and sauté until golden, about 2 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts and sauté until nicely browned, about 3-4 minutes. Season to taste.
Add broth, let it simmer until reduces enough to coat the sprouts, about 2-3 minutes. Add pomegranate seeds. Combine well and serve.
Maple butternut squash purée
5 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into pieces
2 cups of water with salt
1/3 cup organic or high quality maple syrup
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cardamom, optional
1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, optional
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a large pot with salted water cook the butternut squash until tender, about 15 minutes.
Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, discard the rest.
Using a food processor or blender, purée squash with spices, maple syrup and butter adding the reserved cooking liquid if needed to adjust consistency. Taste, adjust seasoning. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve while hot.
Kitchen note: For extra texture, after pureeing, you may add candied toasted pecan or crumbled bacon.
Chipotle mashed sweet potatoes: For a spicier, more dramatic, and more Latino version of this classic, just add some chopped chipotle chiles in adobo to your sweet potatoes purée. If you need extra heat, throw one chopped jalapeño or a pinch of Sriracha sauce. To add creaminess and consistency, drop a tablespoon of butter and a splash of whole milk or cream while puréeing.
Chunky cranberry persimmon sauce
This recipe is more about taste than anything else. In the past, I used to like my cranberry sauce really sweet. Today, I am always looking for that bittersweet balance. Though a seasonal sauce, this sauce goes perfect with any white meat, so use it and abuse it while it lasts.
And since I have tried it before with oranges, beets and ginger, this time I am adding a new seasonal twist: persimmons. So don’t be afraid to add your own unique touch.
Yields 3 cups
4 cups fresh cranberries
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 Tbsp. beet or pomegranate juice (not added sugar)
1 tsp. cloves
1/2 cup organic demerara sugar
Sea salt, to taste
3 ripe Fuyu persimmons, peeled and diced
Seeds of 1 pomegranate
Zest of 1 lime or orange (organic)
Place cranberries, balsamic vinegar, wine, pomegranate juice, star-anise, cloves, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil—stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, simmer for another 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning and sweetness, adding salt, more sugar or a splash of fresh lemon juice.
Fold in the persimmons, pomegranate and zest.
Transfer to a bowl, and serve at a room temperature or slightly chilled.