Savor the robust flavors of autumn by using the season's bounty in unique side dish recipes that are easy to make and even easier to enjoy.
Butter-Pecan Mashed Sweet PotatoesAs a shortcut to sweet potato casserole, simply bake sweet potatoes in the microwave, mash them, and top with chopped pecans. This 5-ingredient recipe also includes three additional flavor variations using maple syrup, chipotle chili, or parmesan cheese and sage.
Bacon-Brown Sugar Brussels SproutsLots of flavor—and only five ingredients—make this Brussels sprouts recipe a winner. Even reviewers who aren't sprouts fans like this version
Roasted ParsnipsThough mildly sweet like their carrot cousins, parsnips are starchy, like potatoes. Subbing them for spuds, as in this recipe, is a good way to expand your winter repertoire.
Pecan White and Brown Rice PilafDress up a simple rice pilaf with dried cranberries and toasted pecans for full autumn flavor. Mixing brown rice with white rice makes this dish great for transitioning to whole grains.
Raw Spiced ApplesauceIn this easy homemade applesauce recipe, you don’t have to peel the apples, or even cook them. The whole thing is made in a food processor.
Roasted Root VegetablesRoasting root vegetables (such as parsnips, carrots, and potatoes) in olive oil, salt and pepper creates a rich, caramelized flavor and transforms these simple veggies into a memorable side dish for pork or beef.
Sweet Potato PocketsTired of sweet potato casserole and looking for a fresh way to serve this fall favorite? Simply stuff won ton wrappers with canned mashed sweet potatoes, boil, and sauté in oil until golden brown.
Cider-Glazed CarrotsInfuse julienne-cut carrots with the flavor of apple cider by glazing with a sauce made from brown sugar, butter, cider vinegar, and seasonings. This side is easy enough to serve on busy weeknights, yet pretty enough to include on holiday dinner menus.
Sautéed Green Beans and PearsThis side takes just 10 minutes to prepare and 5 minutes to cook. Simply sauté sliced pears with butter, brown sugar, and balsamic vinegar and combine with green beans steamed in the microwave.
Butternut Squash with Green Chile and Mustard SeedsAccent classic butternut squash with brown mustard seeds and sliced serrano chile for a Southwestern-inspired side dish. Substitute a 2-lb bag of precut butternut squash to save some prep time.
Pumpkin-Sage PolentaPair this richly flavored polenta with ham steaks or pork tenderloin for a satisfying supper. Aromatic sage perfectly complements the light pumpkin flavor.
Green Beans with Chanterelles and Cipollini
Chanterelle mushrooms and cipollini onions are worth the splurge, but you can substitute halved cremini mushrooms and frozen pearl onions and the results will still be very tasty.
Cane Syrup-Glazed Acorn Squash
Cane syrup adds old-fashioned Southern sweetness to this stunning side. Feel free to use maple syrup or honey instead.
Pimiento Cheese Creamed Spinach
"Creamy spinach casserole has always been a favorite in my family, so it's a sure-fire hit for any gathering. The pimiento cheese flavors give it a uniquely Southern twist." --Perre Coleman Magness, author of Pimento Cheese: The Cookbook
Braised Cabbage with Apple and Bacon
Humble cabbage is an affordable and easy holiday side. Make it more elegant by braising red cabbage with apple slices. Adding bacon makes it delicious.
Farro is an ancient form of wheat that has seen a resurgence in recent years. Here we toast cooked farro in a bit of browned butter for a surprisingly delicious side.
Roasting whole carrots in a hot oven and then giving them a final toss in a sweet glaze yields an unforgettable side dish. Look for multicolored carrots for a stunning presentation. If you can't find them at the supermarket, try a local farmers' market. We use a little chile pepper to add just a whiff of heat. Feel free to increase the pepper or omit it, if you prefer. Also, you can sub chopped fresh thyme or mild flat-leaf parsley for the rosemary.
Cauliflower with Anchovy BreadcrumbsSpice up this cauliflower by adding crumbs which add texture and great flavor.
Cauliflower with Coconut Curry SauceLove cauliflower? Get ready to love it even more with this decadent coconut curry sauce.
Turn up the volume on classic glazed carrots with exotic cardamom and fragrant fresh ginger. If you can find multicolored carrots, use them for a lovely presentation. The parchment paper lid slows moisture loss just enough to form a beautiful glaze.
Farro Stuffing with Butternut Squash, Red Onion, and Almonds
Earthy flavors and starchy comfort come from whole-grain farro, not bread, in this nontraditional stuffing. You can assemble up to 2 days ahead. Take out of the fridge, let stand at room temperature 45 minutes, then bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
Roasted Fennel with Rosemary Breadcrumbs
Instead of roasted root vegetables or Brussels sprouts, try roasted fennel. Fennel has licorice notes that mellow in the oven, becoming slightly sweet. A splash of cider vinegar at the end brightens the dish.
Sautéed Chard Agrodolce
Agrodolce is Italian for sour-sweet flavors typically created with vinegar and sugar. It's a perfect counterpoint to sautéed greens in this quick and simple side dish.