We all know about the stars of Thanksgiving…the main characters, turkey and ham. But what about the supporting cast, the secondary stars of the show; the side dishes. I mean without the sides, can the main dishes even shine?
The stuffing, the creamy mashed potatoes, the corn on the cob, the green bean casserole, the mac ‘n’ cheese, … yep, I can take this train to foreverville. For now, I present you with a definitive and completely non-subjective ranking of some of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes!
It was a tough choice…okay that’s a lie, it wasn’t tough. And yes, it’s a side! There’s something so fulfilling and delicious about gravy that it actually gets my first place slot. I put it on e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. As a matter of fact, I could eat it by itself—with a spoon, with a straw, over here, or over there! It’s especially delightful when you get a couple of tender turkey bits in every bite!
I personally love anything sweet so candied yams would have to take the second spot. All that honey, raw sugar, fall spices (like nutmeg & cinnamon), a dab of butter, and baking flavors like vanilla, almond, and dare I say…rum, all just melts together to make a delicious treat. Have it for dessert, breakfast …or anytime you want a lil’ something sweetly satisfying.
Thanksgiving just ain’t Thanksgiving without some stuffing! Whether you go Little Red Hen and make it from scratch or decide on putting your own flair to a box version, by all means don’t leave this satisfying bread symposium of onions, celery, peppers, turkey drippings off your menu!
I eat so much rabbit food during the year that another day can’t possibly hurt. It’s one of my favs because you can go simple (classic spring mix, cherry tomatoes, and a light vinaigrette or more decadent (gourmet cheeses & fruits), this palate cleanser can help get your mouth ready for servings number 1, 2, or 3 if you have the room!
MAC ‘N’ CHEESE
I have a love-hate relationship with mac and cheese but Thanksgiving just isn’t complete without some ooey-gooey-cheesy goodness! A good-aged cheddar, milk, a little seasoning, pinch of sugar, a smidgen of finely chopped onions, and bread crumbs and you’re on your way to making your mac and cheese saaang.
ROLLS & BREADS
Carbs? Enough said! There’s just something about the smells of fresh-baked rolls and bread (even if it’s out of a can), with a dab of butter/margarine slowly cascading down the mountain of carbs that makes it one of the sides that also must make it to the Thanksgiving round table.
This one is a side I regularly eat with things like salmon or baked chicken. But guess what? It’s just as fabulously with Turkey. The mellow flavorings and long grains can be just what you’re looking for if you want rice with a bit more panache.
If this isn’t a mainstay Thanksgiving veggie, then what in the Thanksgiving is? It doesn’t overpower other side dishes or compete with other veggies at the table. It’s just always happy to be invited to the party!
In theory, cornbread should be at the very top of this list or perhaps in the category of rolls and breads. Yet with its rustic crumble and gentle sweetness, it’s a nice addition especially if you get the edges lightly crispy. The only bad thing is you may find yourself eating piece after piece after piece, and before you know it, no more room for food.
All in all, Thanksgiving is a day to cherish fun memories, eat good food, and spend time with loved ones. So gobble til you wobble and enjoy your time off!