Three Easy Side Dishes to Add to Your Thanksgiving Spread

Thanksgiving hot take: I get sick of mashed potatoes!

I know that’s a very unpopular opinion — borderline sinful, even — but it’s true. I love Thanksgiving dinner, but having the same thing year after year can get a little, well, boring.

Thanksgiving is sure to look different this year anyway, so why not change the menu while you’re at it? I’ve gathered some of my favorite fall side dishes that I’ve made over the last few months, and they’re too good to ignore this holiday season.

Whether your Thanksgiving gathering is much smaller this year or you’re having a whole buffet over Zoom, these side dishes are so easy to make, can be easily adjusted to serve however many people you’re feeding and are sure to add some delicious fall flavors to your meal.


1. Sheet Pan Roasted Fall Vegetables

I love roasting vegetables because it’s low maintenance, lends a nice charred flavor and is so easy to customize. My favorite fall combination is butternut squash, brussels sprouts, carrots and apples, but you can certainly add whatever you like!

Peel the butternut squash, cut each vegetable (and fruit, if you choose to use apples) into relatively similar sized chunks, then toss with some olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Spread onto a sheet pan and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes at 400°F, giving a toss about halfway through. It’s that easy!


2. Maple Carrots and Green Beans

This dish is great because it adds a just the right amount of sweetness to the veggies. You can use fresh or frozen carrots and green beans for this (about 2 cups each), just simmer either in some boiling water until soft and cooked through.

Once your veggies are soft, strain them and toss them in a pan with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons each butter, brown sugar and maple syrup. Add a pinch of salt and cinnamon as well. Cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring until veggies are coated and caramelized. 

These are great served with some dried cranberries and slivered almonds on top!


3. Pumpkin and Mushroom Risotto

This one can be a bit complicated, but it becomes so much easier if you use a quick-cooking rice. My favorite is Seeds of Change Quinoa and Brown Rice, which cooks in the microwave in about 2 minutes!

Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large saucepan over low-medium heat. Saute about 3/4 cup chopped white onion, 2 cloves of minced garlic and 4-5 sliced mushrooms until the onion is translucent. Add about ⅓ cup pumpkin puree and 1 cup vegetable broth, stir until combined and bring to a boil. Add in your rice and simmer until the rice is fully cooked and absorbs some broth and the risotto begins to thicken. 

Stir in some grated Parmesan and you’re ready to serve!


Whether your Thanksgiving meal is textbook-turkey-and-potatoes or something completely different, I hope you find some time to be grateful for the food available to you and the people you spend your day with. Happy eating!