Turkey may be the sturdy foundation that holds the construction that is Thanksgiving together, but everybody knows it’s the sides that are the pretty embellishments inside – the midcentury-style West Elm sofa, the marble coffee table on brass legs, the impeccably-styled bar cart in the corner. Below are six Thanksgiving sides I urge you to try this year. Some – like the Brussels sprouts and smashed potatoes – are unexpected twists to the classics, while others, like the endive apple salad, are flavors you may not have considered adding to your menu before.
The secret to great Brussels sprouts is cooking them on high heat. They’ve got to be caramelized or, better still, charred, for optimal flavor. High heat also means less time in the oven, so they retain most of their bite and don’t turn into a mushy mess. This recipe is one of my favorites from Friendsgiving. The pomegranate seeds bring out the sweetness of the balsamic vinegar and complement the color of the sprouts. The briny feta contrasts nicely with the charred flavor and brightens up the whole dish. To save time on Thanksgiving day, be sure to trim and cut up the Brussels sprouts in advance.
Unlike classic mashed spuds, these potatoes are boiled and smashed with their skins on, which means way less prep time for you and a chunkier texture for the final product. The fried alliums are a nod to my Ukrainian heritage, inspired by varenyky, to be exact. Get the full story and recipe over on The Kitchn.
Here is the OG snack/appetizer/side dish from my high school Friendsgiving days – a favorite among friends and the inspiration behind the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Crostini Bar featured in my cookbook (and on Oprah.com!).
As you probably already know, the secret to a great kale salad is the art of the massage. For this salad (another #FriendsgivingBook favorite), I massage the kale with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt. This helps wilt and soften the greens, which makes them easier to chew and digest, and mellows out their flavor. This salad is a delicious and beautiful way to add nutrition and color to your Thanksgiving table.
A traditional French gratin is made with whole milk and plenty of cream. However, a healthier, plant-based version is possible, thanks to the reigning power of cashews, miso and mushrooms. For this recipe, I make a quick cashew milk by soaking and blending the nuts in boiling water. I turn the “milk” into béchamel with an olive oil-flour roux and use miso to add umami.
Endive Apple Salad with Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette, Walnuts and Bethmale Chèvre
The crunchy combo of Belgian endive and tart green apple is a refreshing and elegant way to round out your menu. Endive, walnuts, and honey are a classic French trio, but I love how the sweet apples contrast with the bitter endive. “Bethmale Chèvre” is a mind-blowing goat cheese I recently discovered while working with Goat Cheeses of France. It’s a funky, aged, semi-hard cheese with nutty, mushroomy notes, and it is the crown jewel of this salad. If you’re committed, you can buy it online, but Manchego is a good, easy-to-find substitute. Get the recipe below.
Bethmale Chèvre is an aged, semi-hard goat cheese with nutty, mushroomy notes, and it is the crown jewel of this endive apple salad. If you’re really committed, you can buy it online but Manchego is a good easy-to-find substitute. (This recipe was created in partnership with Goat Cheeses of France).
- 1 tablespoon red wine or apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 small heads of Belgian endive, trimmed, leaves separated
- 1 medium tart green apple (like Granny Smith), cored and thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup chopped toasted walnuts
- ⅓ cup crumbled Bethmale Chèvre or Manchego cheese
- In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper. While continually whisking, gradually drizzle in the oil and continue whisking until the vinaigrette is emulsified.
- Place the endive and apple in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with two-thirds of the vinaigrette and gently toss. Transfer the salad to a serving platter, drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette, and top with the walnuts and cheese. Serve immediately.
- Calories: 315
- Fiber: 18 g
- Protein: 13.5 g