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Who Needs Turkey with These Thanksgiving Sides?

November 13, 2012

We’re approaching one of my favorite holidays — Thanksgiving! Really, what’s better than a holiday devoted to food and eating? No gifts, no guilt, just delicious food and family.

Each year I always make the same traditional side dishes, many of which I’ll still be making again this year. But I wanted to try out some new Thanksgiving side dish recipes, especially since I had some great new cookbooks and magazines to pull inspiration. So I’ve tested three side dishes already and would love to share with you the results.

First up, Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Gillette from Smitten Kitchen. Despite it looking complicated, it was a fairly easy dish to prepare. Especially if you used a pre-prepared Trader Joe’s pie crust, which I did. Sure, you can make the dough from scratch. But I was looking for a few shortcuts and I had the dough in my freezer already.

But really, you just roast the squash, caramelize the onion, roll the dough, and grate the cheese. And PERFECTION!

The assembled and unbaked gillette …

The baked gillette …

The second side dish was a new take on roasted Brussels Sprouts. I love the ease of roasted brussels sprouts — just coat them in olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper, and put them in the onion to crisp up. But then I found a recipe in my Taste of Home Best Holiday Recipes magazine for Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Sauce. This was INCREDIBLE! And this mustard sauce is my new “go to” sauce of choice. I can’t believe I had not discovered the brilliance of mustard cream sauce before this dish.

Honestly, I could have made a meal out of just these two dishes (I did actually) …

Finally, I wanted to try a new stuffing recipe (although I still love my crockpot stuffing idea). I could not resist trying the Leek and Mushroom Bread Pudding stuffing in the new Barefoot Contessa Foolproof cookbook. I’ve always thought leeks were such an under-valued onion. They are incredibly flavorful. And, well ladies and gentlemen, this recipe is a keeper and is a serious contender for this year’s Thanksgiving feast.

I did make a few changes to Ina’s creation. First, I used less cream and a bit more chicken stalk. Second, I omitted the pancetta because I wanted to keep it meatless. Third, the only bread I had was a loaf of challah. So I toasted that instead of the bread she recommends. And I do think it made the dish especially delicious.

While I was skeptical of the cheese at first, it really gave it a nice subtle nutty flavor. You can leave it out, but perhaps try it with the cheese too. And by the way, when I tested this recipe for just Bryan and me (Sophie refused to eat anything with a leek or mushroom), I cut it in half. We still have more than half the dish left over.

Enjoy these new Thanksgiving side dish recipes and let me know if you make any of them. I’ll be moving on to desserts next!

What are you making for Thanksgiving? What’s your classic side dish? Or are you trying a new dish this year?

13 Comments leave one →
  1. November 13, 2012 3:25 am

    I admire that you tested the recipes out. I’m way too lazy. If I want to try a new recipe I do it for the day. My new one this year will be quinoa with roasted squash, brussell sprouts and grapes from Stacey’s Snacks. Happy T-day!

  2. November 13, 2012 4:03 am

    I made your beautiful creamed corn recipe last year and it was divine. I love butternut squash and might just have to try that 🙂

    And I have completely absconded with your “stuffing in the crockpot” idea – BRILLANCE!

    🙂 Happy Thanksgiving, now I’m hungry.

    MJ

  3. November 13, 2012 7:51 am

    I’m always a guest at Thanksgiving, so I don’t usually prepare a meal, but I’ve been on the lookout for great new vegetable dishes. I loved your roasted Brussels sprouts, so I’ll definitely have to try the mustard sauce version. All three recipes look fabulous and I can’t wait to try the gillette! Thanks for sharing!

    • December 10, 2012 6:21 am

      I made the leek & mushroom bread pudding for my book club and it was a hit. Thanks!

  4. November 13, 2012 8:18 am

    Good golly that look yummy.

  5. November 13, 2012 8:53 am

    Oh my gosh… my mouth is WATERING. That all looks SO good. And while I enjoy the Thanksgiving feast preparation, we are actually taking a time-out this year. After six straight years of hosting Thanksgiving AND Christmas meals, we’re tired. SO, instead, we’re going for a hike and buying a complete-made meal from a local restaurant. It may not be as good as our homemade, but I’m going to savor EVERY morsel since I’m not cooking a dang thing! 😉 Christmas will be another story!

  6. November 13, 2012 10:50 am

    Ummmm, umm, all the recipes look delicious. Which would you like to make for Thanxg? The bread pudding and the brussels sprouts sound DE-licious. I have a feeling you and your fam’ might be the only ones gulping down the Butternut Squash dish. Maybe I should try that one on my own. Can you tell me the recipe on the phone?

  7. November 14, 2012 12:16 am

    While I detest brussels sprouts & squash, the bread pudding looks awesome and I’ll admit, I’ve never been a fan of Thanksgiving turkey – I always held out for the stuffing, salad, & pie! 🙂

  8. November 14, 2012 4:48 am

    Live these ideas. I’m a vegetarian so they appealed to me particularly. I may try the squash recipe without the pie crust to save a few calories, though. I’ll let you know how it goes

  9. November 15, 2012 12:17 pm

    Totally going to try those and I cannot wait to get the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. I feel like I owe it to her to buy a few copies as gifts after so many years of FREE recipes on her site.

  10. November 20, 2012 11:13 am

    Yum to the pictures! Although I will be unable to spend T-giving with family this year, when I do I always skip the turkey (because I am vegetarian) and go straight to making a meal out of the side dishes. I’m a big fan of the desserts anyways =)

  11. Elizabeth permalink
    November 21, 2013 3:18 pm

    If you’re just trying keep bits of meat out, then leaving the pancetta out accomplishes your goal. However, making stuffing with chicken stock does not make a meat-free stuffing. It will, in fact, lead to any vegetarian guests getting quite ill. Just something to keep in mind.

    The gallete looks amazing. It’s hard to go wrong with caramelized onion!

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