Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Thanksgiving table with roasted turkey, sliced ham and side dishes

Whether you are hosting a dinner this upcoming Thanksgiving Day for two or a dozen there is something you all must have on your table next to the main dish and that is a side dish or two (or four). A Thanksgiving menu is not complete without a side dish. You may have some traditional Thanksgiving side dishes that have been passed down from generation to generation or maybe you like to change things up yearly. We will be talking about easy Thanksgiving side dishes ideas you can mix and match and make your own.  

By Wanda Lopez, My Sweet Zepol

5 Thanksgiving Side Dishes to Make Ahead 

1. For those that love good traditional Thanksgiving sides a good stuffing recipe may come to mind. Everyone one of our family members and guests always request our Thanksgiving stuffing. Our twist includes cornbread and prosciutto. It’s absolutely delicious and this side dish can be made the day before.

Make-ahead dishes are always a winner for us. Other twists on a favorite: 

  • Spices: There are typical spices you’ll find in a lot of stuffing recipes, but some stand out – frequently overlooked spices include: cardamom (its a spicy-sweet flavor usually used in East Indian cooking), cayenne (made from tropical chilies – a little goes a long way) and paprika (it’s typically made with sweet orange and red peppers, which are dried and ground). I personally love smoked paprika in almost every dish I make.   
  • Prosciutto: is always delicious, our personal favorite, but if you’re looking for savory meats to add, other options are: chorizo (it can be sweet or spicy depending on the peppers used in it) – as it brings out a smokiness flavor, or pancetta adding a bacon flavor without the smokiness. With any of these meats, you will have your guests guessing what is your secret ingredient.
  • Bread: My family loves cornbread. The average stuffing recipe usually requires, stale country white bread, but other fun breads to try whether store-bought or homemade: pretzel bread, brioche, bagels, even frozen waffles work. How fun would that be?

2. A Thanksgiving vegetable side dish we all love in our home are green beans. Since the dawn of Campbell’s green bean casserole with the frizzled onions on top and cream of mushroom. This dish is one of the easiest Thanksgiving side dishes you could ever make. A tip to make it your own is by giving it a theme.

For example: Asian flavors. Or a spicier twist by adding Sriracha to your green beans. I love making a simple side dish with olive oil, ground pepper, a dash of salt and freshly grated garlic. It’s a healthy side dish that your guests will love and ask for seconds.  

3. Most of us enjoy a carb or two as a side dish on our Thanksgiving table. Consider making a twist by serving a large bowl filled with garlic knots. This side dish is a winner for the kids in our family (and grown-ups too).  

Other ideas to incorporate carbs is by making garlic toasts. Grab some ciabatta bread, drizzle some olive oil, mashed garlic and toast until lightly browned around the edges. Serve warm and your guest will devour them.

4. There’s always the traditional fresh green salad. We like to keep things balanced with some healthy side dishes options. Maybe you want to change things up and serve your salad in a large taco bowl. This is as simple as baking a tortilla in the oven over a bowl in order to give it that shape. We all love an entirely edible dish. Give your side dishes a fun twist this year. 

Another great healthy take on your green salad is by making a kale salad with freshly diced apples or pears, cranberries, sliced almonds, and a vinaigrette dressing of your choice. It’s refreshing and fruity.

5. One of our favorite side dishes is a good potato salad. We usually have selected family members bring those dishes they are the best at making. You know who they are in your family too. Maybe your aunt is the best at making a potato salad that brings you so much joy. Give thanks for her. We have one too.  

More tips to make your Thanksgiving dinner special

1. Always remember to display your Thanksgiving meal in your favorite dishes. If you are looking for inspiration, or looking to add new pieces to your already collection of platters, or just need some in its entirety you must check out these beautiful curated table setting inspired platters and table setting decor.  

2. Make a list of the dishes you want to enjoy and give them a time and day to be made. If you have not done so yet, make your side dishes ahead of time and you’ll see how relaxed you’ll feel this Thanksgiving day. We love to make ahead of time recipes, especially easy Thanksgiving side dishes. Grab some of the recipes listed above plus more. You’ll feel inspired to start planning those Thanksgiving side dishes. 

3. Also consider assigning side dishes to your family or friends. This helps your guests feel included in the dinner process and brings everyone together in such a lovely way.  

We hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving day and make those very needed memories around your kitchen table. We all need new memories filled with love to end 2020 stronger than ever. We are thankful for you, your family and everyone around you.  

Share with us your favorite Thanksgiving side dishes and tell us if you assign dishes to family or friends (guests) coming over. We would love to hear in the comment section below.

Wanda Lopez

Wanda Lopez a blogger at heart and shares her insight on all things food, recipes, home décor, travel and more at https://www.mysweetzepol.com. She’s a passionate content editor and contributor for household brands such as Kraft, Publix, Ford, Best Buy and more, educator and photographer. In love with design, food and the outdoors. Balancing work, motherhood and all things in between.