Simple Holiday Sides
Get your holiday meal on the table in no time flat with these quick-and-easy side dish recipes.
Sheet Pan Roasted Vegetables
A mix of colorful root vegetables may be your star side. Peeled, prechopped butternut squash saves time, but pieces tend to be irregular and small--we prefer peeling and cubing it yourself.
Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Pomegranate and Pine Nuts
Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Pomegranate and Pine Nuts
Skillet Green Bean Casserole
We've shortened (and lightened) this holiday classic by bringing everything together in one pan and using the stovetop and broiler rather than baking. To save yourself even more time, you can substitute panko in place of homemade breadcrumbs.
Classic Herb Stuffing
A straightforward holiday stuffing calls for great bread; we love the nutty, toasty dimension of a bakery whole-grain loaf. Sauté the onion, celery, and carrot mixture until tender but not browned. The added moisture from the veg will help soften the bread and make for a more cohesive stuffing.
From the Kitchen of…Cheryl Slocum, Senior Food Editor
"The smell of freshly risen dough always takes me back to my mom's rolls."
If the yeast doesn't bubble, it may have expired; start over to avoid wasting time and ingredients.
Creamed Winter Greens
Two beloved dark leafy greens, spinach and lacinato kale, combine to bring deep, earthy flavor to this updated take on classic creamed spinach.
Broccoli with Lemon Crumbs
Make life a little easier during the hectic holiday season by preparing tasty sides that are ready in a flash.And the microwave is not off limits. For a zesty dish your guests are sure to love, top microwaved broccoli with lemon-flavored homemade breadcrumbs. To simplify meal preparation even further, make the breadcrumbs up to 2 days ahead and store at room temperature.
Asparagus with Crispy Pancetta
Dress up plain asparagus by sprinkling with pancetta, often referred to as Canadian bacon, and seasoning with pepper and lemon juice for a fresh taste.
Baked Fennel Parmigiana
Fennel is a crunchy, sweet vegetable of the parsley family and a good source of fiber and Vitamin C. After baking, top with marinara sauce and cheese. Your guests will think they’ve walked into a fancy Italian restaurant!
Browned Butter and Lemon Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are packed with fiber, Vitamin C and K, and other valuable nutrients. Served with creamy butter and tangy lemon juice, this nutritious side dish will melt in your mouth.
Butternut Squash with Orange
With only 5 ingredients, these creamy mashed potatoes are perfect as an easy side dish for both holiday menus and weeknight meals.
Bulgur is a form of whole wheat often used in European and Indian cuisine. Made with shredded carrot and chopped cilantro, this nutritious dish is high in fiber and protein and low in saturated fat.
Carrots with Lemon and Thyme
Cooked carrots are an often overlooked choice for a vegetable side. A little lemon, salt, pepper, and thyme are all you need for this nutritious dish.
Cavatappi with Arugula and Cannellini Beans
Dress up a simple pasta side dish with beans, arugula, and lemon juice. You can substitute the cavatappi for 2 cups penne, macaroni, or other hot cooked pasta.
This dish is made with basmati, a long grain Indian rice, but you can substitute it for jasmine or any long grain white rice if necessary.
Glazed Carrots with Pecans
Make the most of the natural sweetness of carrots by cooking them in a skillet with brown sugar and minced fresh ginger, and add just the right crunch with toasted pecan halves.
Goat Cheese and Basil Polenta
This delicious polenta dish has a texture similar to grits or mashed potatoes. The goat cheese gives it a slightly tart and extra creamy taste.
Sweet-and-Sour Green Beans
Instead of green bean casserole, go with a simpler dish featuring beans flavored with bacon, onion, sugar, and cider vinegar.
Green Beans with Walnuts
Simple green beans are a crowd-pleasing side that’s easy on the pocketbook. The toasted walnuts provide an extra dose of heart-healthy omega-3s.
Try this healthy, whole-wheat orzo dish. Parsley and grated lemon and orange rind give it a fresh, zesty flavor.
Layer sliced sweet potato in a baking dish and bake in a mixture of whipping cream and Parmesan cheese for a luxurious variation of a sweet potato casserole.
Barley is a nutrient-packed whole grain high in iron and fiber and low in fat. One serving of this nutritious side dish, and you’ll be well on your way to meeting your recommended intake of fiber for the day.
Louisiana Red Beans
Straight from Louisiana, this Cajun classic is a perfect compliment to serve over top a bowl of white rice.
Dress up a bowl of creamy, classic grits with mushrooms, garlic, and parsley. Serve with any lean meat entrée for a simple and healthy meal.
Cranberry-Almond Wild Rice
Dress up quick-cooking brown rice with the addition of a package of long grain and wild rice, dried cranberries and toasted almonds. Because you are using packaged rice, the entire recipe takes only about 25 minutes from start to finish.
Noodles with Carrot and Onion
Udon is a thick Japanese noodle made of wheat flour. Serve with onion, garlic, and shredded carrot for a quick and easy side to chicken teriyaki or another Japanese-inspired entrée.
Broccoli and Penne with Asiago
This simple pasta is a go-to side if you're looking to add some quick carbs to a meal. Add a slice of butter to make it an extra creamy and kid friendly dish.
Fresh Cranberry-Orange Relish
No Thanksgiving meal is complete without the cranberry relish, and this easy one will help streamline your holiday meal preparation because you can make it up to 3 days ahead.
Whipped Maple Sweet Potatoes
For a quick and easy alternative to sweet potato casserole, stir maple syrup and butter into mashed sweet potatoes and top with toasted pecans.
Pasta with Sugar Snap Peas and Ricotta Cheese
If you haven’t experienced the deliciousness of sugar snap peas, you’re in for a treat. With the addition of ricotta cheese and fresh chives, this simple pasta dish becomes a sensational side in less than 10 minutes.
Quinoa with Broccoli and Bacon
Dress up a plain quinoa dish with bacon bits and sautéed broccoli for a fresh and colorful side.
Pepper Jelly-Glazed Carrots
These carrots win the prize for easiest side ever. Baby carrots, chicken broth, butter, and red pepper jelly are all you need for a hot 'n spicy dish that is ready in less than 15 minutes and takes just two steps.
Roasted Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
Tired of plain mashed potatoes? Cauliflower, milk, and butter are added here to create a rich, creamy side. Serve with gravy and a succulent cut of roast beef.
Roasted Rosemary Rutabaga Fries
Salty and delicious, you won’t even realize they're not the real thing. Best of all, one serving is a mere 116 calories—less than a third of the calories in a normal serving of potato fries!
Green Peas with Crispy Bacon
Like the asparagus, this dish takes just 20 minutes to prepare. Plus, you can use either frozen or fresh peas, making it a perfect year-round side. For a lower-fat version, use turkey bacon.
Rustic Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Tired of plain mashed potatoes? Try this creamy butter and garlic recipe. Serve with gravy and a succulent cut of roast beef.
Get this tasty–and healthy–asparagus dish on your table in just 20 minutes. It's flavored with olive oil, garlic, and almonds–all very nutritious foods!
Spicy Brown Rice
Give brown rice a little kick by adding chile paste and sesame oil to this Asian-inspired side.
Gingered Green Beans
Ham bouillon, onion, garlic, ginger, and a toasted pecan topping give this dish its great flavor. All you need are a few minutes to boil and sauté, and these beans are ready to serve.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Apples
Add amazing flavor to Brussels sprouts by combining them with sweet-tart apples and roasting them for about 25 minutes or until they are tender and mellow.
Spicy Tomato Macaroni and Cheese
Try this spicy, south-of-the border pasta dish for a fresh twist on traditional mac 'n' cheese. If your family prefers less spicy foods, substitute regular cheese and milder chiles to take the heat down a notch.
Steamed Spinach with Curry Butter
Sugar Snap Peas with Ginger and Soy
If you haven’t experienced the deliciousness of sugar snap peas, you’re in for a treat. This simple Asian-inspired dish can be ready in just over 5 minutes and will be devoured even faster!
Sweet and Sour Cipollini
Just a few ingredients make for a complex condiment that dresses up simple roast chicken or pork. To add a floral note, replace the brown sugar with clover honey.
Dress up okra, a humble but beloved Southern favorite, with spicy Creole flavors for a mouthwatering holiday side. This recipe calls for frozen and canned vegetables, so no chopping required.
Sweet Potatoes with Spiced Yogurt and Honey
You’ve probably never considered adding Greek yogurt to sweet potatoes. You may never go back to brown sugar after you add in this delicious and innovative ingredient to a classic side.
Wild Rice with Squash
We think butternut squash tastes good in just about anything. Complimenting a simple wild rice dish here, it adds just the right amount of sweetness.
Wilted Kale with Golden Raisins and Pecans
Kale is among the world’s healthiest vegetables. Sautéed and served with golden raising and chopped pecans, this is a tender side with a slightly nutty taste.
Whipped Potatoes with Three-Onion Butter
The tricks to achieving very creamy mashed potatoes are to not overcook them and to whip them just until smooth (if you overwhip, they'll get gluey). Serve some of the butter on the side, so guests can determine their level of richness.
Creamed Onion Tart
"This recipe makes classic creamed onions seem inventive and stylish. A generous wedge is an appealing side dish, but it'll make a nice first course, if paired with a salad. The tart tastes great served warm or at room temperature." --Sheri Castle, author of The Southern Living Community Cookbook
"There are two things you'll always find at the Summers' family Thanksgiving table: Julia Child's iconic Cornbread Sausage Stuffing and lively table conversation. A few years ago, I started amping up the spice in Julia's stuffing by adding jalapeño and using chorizo sausage. As the years progressed, I noticed the spicier the stuffing, the livelier the conversation." —Libbie Summers, stylist and author of Sweet & Vicious
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
Smash potatoes chunky and rustic, or mash them silky smooth.
Roasted winter squash adds bright color to your holiday table.
Creamy Parmesan Grits
Look for Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, which adds nutty flavor and an earthy depth to the grits.
Use your favorite fresh herbs.
Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Shallots
These mashed sweet potatoes are elegant and memorable, perfect for a special occasion.