Thanksgiving dinner is one of my favourite meals of the year. I love having a big table full of friends and family. I love going around the table and everybody sharing something that they are thankful for. I love the way the house smells and how warm it is when the oven has been on all day. I love the turkey, the stuffing, the carrots and potatoes, and this year I even learned to love the brussels.
I do know that preparing a turkey dinner can take a bit of work. With a few simple and well chosen recipes that you can prep ahead of time you can make sure that you’re sitting down with a glass of wine in hand before any of your guests even arrive. These Thanksgiving side dishes are (most of them) very easy to make and can be made ahead of time to save you time on turkey day.
These brussels sprouts are so good that they will be gobbled up by even the most die hard brussels haters around the table.
Make ahead: Since your turkey will likely be taking up all the room in your oven for several hours, you can pre cook these before the turkey goes in and then finish them when it comes out. That way they’ll be ready to go as soon as you start to carve the turkey.
These carrots are sweet with just a touch of bourbon flavour in the background. The crunchy pistachios will be everyone’s favourite.
Make ahead: Shell the pistachios up to a week before. You can wash the carrots and leave them in the pan you plan on cooking them in several hours before.
Watch out turkey, these gorgeous stuffed onions will steal the show.
Make ahead: To save you time on Thanksgiving you can make stuff these up to a day ahead and then store them in your fridge until you are ready to bake them. Pop them in the oven as soon as you take out the bird and they’ll be ready in time for dinner.
Every turkey dinner needs a cranberry sauce to go with it. This is my go to recipe that I have used for years and it never fails me. If you’ve never made cranberry sauce before you’ll be amazed at just how easy it is, and how much better it tastes than store-bought.
Make ahead: You can make this up to three days ahead and then store it in your fridge until you are ready to serve it.
Ok so this recipe isn’t exactly easy but it’s just so pretty that I couldn’t help but include it in this list anyway. If you’re going for a little wow factor at your Thanksgiving dinner then this is the perfect side dish for you.
Make ahead: To save you a little precious time you can make the potatoes a day ahead and then pipe them just before you pop them in the oven. If you store the prepared mashed potatoes in a large pipping bag in your fridge it will save you lots of time when you are ready to pipe them
Every turkey dinner needs a salad and this one will make a colourful and tasty addition to your table. Baby kale is hearty enough to stand its own on a plate of hot food (no sad looking wilted salad here) but it is tender enough that no one will notice they’re eating kale.
Make ahead: The pecans can be made a week in advance, the pomegranate de-seeded up to 3 days in advance and the dressing made a day before.
I know asparagus isn’t exactly a traditional Thanksgiving side dish but sometimes it’s great to try new things. And besides, asparagus goes great beside your carrots, turkey and potatoes. These guys are also cooked in a pan on your stove top so there’s no need to worry about putting more in your oven. Also, asparagus takes a lot less time to cook than most people think; 5 minutes is more than enough time to perfectly cook it. Anymore and you’ll be left with mushy green sticks.
I tried this recipe for the first time last year and new it would be my go-to stuffing recipe for any turkey meal. Not only is it a breeze to make it is also incredibly delicious. I think my favourite part are the crunchy walnuts; they’re just so unexpected but work so well with this dish.
Make ahead: you can prep this the evening before your dinner and just leave it in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
Making this recipe will really hinge on whether or not you can find good carrots; if you can then definitely make this one. If you’re carrots don’t have the greens still on them you can substitute parsley instead for the pesto.
Make ahead: You can prepare the pesto a day in advance and store it in your fridge.
This is another show-stopper. The mini mandarines and the plump cranberries are absolutely gorgeous. This slightly tart and slightly sweet cranberry sauce goes great with turkey, and just looks so pretty.
Make ahead: You can make this up to 2 days in advance and store it in your fridge. Bring it to room temperature before serving.
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