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Meg is a staff writer for The Hudsucker. After going through high school thinking she “didn’t like to write,” she found her love for it her freshman year at college and it’s only deepened since then. Upon graduating from Rutgers University with a BA in Communication in 2013, she began working in online marketing for the hospitality industry. She currently splits her time between NYC, where she works, and NJ, where she lives—but hopes that one day she’ll be able to live & work in the same state (that’s the dream).

7 Amazingly Delicious Vegetable Sides to Make This Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving less than a week away now, it’s time to start finalizing the menu you’ll be serving if you are the one hosting. Even though most of us link the day with an excess of food, the big turkey sitting in the middle of the table more often than not gets the most attention out of all the dishes served. That’s a real shame because, if you ask me, the real stars of the meal are all the options for Thanksgiving sides.

There are so many different opportunities for flavor and choices to be made that will add more to your plate than turkey will. It’s also a great time to enjoy vegetables that you might not get to have regularly. To help you get a head start on your holiday menu, here are seven of my very favorite recipes for Thanksgiving vegetable sides.

Stovetop Green Bean Casserole {via alex guarnaschelli}
Green beans are a standard at most Thanksgivings. Many times they are made in a baked casserole dish and use a can of cream of mushroom soup to help with the creaminess and add flavor. But you know what else is standard on Thanksgiving? A need for oven space. It’s scarce! Anything that can be done to free up some space is greatly appreciated: That’s why I love this green bean dish that is made on the stove-top so much. Even better, this recipe doesn’t use a can of soup, instead you get to make your own mushroom base, so you’ve got complete control of the ingredients here.

Image Credit: neha deshmukh

Brussel Sprouts with Parmesan & Lemon {via food52}
Even though Brussels have gained some traction in recent years and stopped being a food that most of us looked at in bitter fear, there is still some of that lingering hesitation around eating them, especially for kids. Brussel sprouts really are delicious, you just have to make sure that you cook them correctly, and the good thing is that they are not hard to prepare at all. Roasting them (as is done here) is a surefire way to make sure you do just that. Adding in breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and lemon adds extra yummy flavor and complements the Brussels nicely.

Garlic Roasted Carrots {via damn delicious}
Not one of your usual Thanksgiving sides and I’m not quite sure why. Roasted carrots are a total showstopper — not only do they taste great but they look absolutely stunning and are easy to prepare. All you need to do is mix your glaze together (here it is balsamic vinegar, garlic, and herbs), pour it on the carrots, put them in the oven, and you’re done! The roasting of the carrots brings out their natural sweetness, which then contrasts against the balsamic in the glaze and gives you a nice flavor. Also, did I mention how pretty they are? They’re very pretty.

Mama Mauro’s Mashed Potatoes {via jeff mauro}
Perhaps mashed potatoes aren’t exactly what you think of when you think “vegetable side” for Thanksgiving. Not because they aren’t a vegetable (they are!) but because everything that gets added to them takes them as far away from your typical vegetable as you can imagine. And…this recipe is no different! In fact, we’re going all in with the additions here by adding half and half, cream cheese (don’t be afraid), butter, garlic, and more butter. The result is some of the best mashed potatoes ever made, and this is coming from a potato connoisseur, so you know it’s serious.

Mustard-Parmesan Whole Roasted Cauliflower {via food network kitchens}
Similar to roasted carrots, cauliflower isn’t exactly a popular Thanksgiving side, but there’s no reason not to break tradition here — especially if you or people you are serving are trying to avoid certain food groups. A whole roasted cauliflower can be a replacement for people who aren’t eating turkey, and they won’t feel like they are being underserved. I have a feeling you’ll be surprised by how simple this recipe is: you are only mixing a few ingredients together, painting it on the cauliflower, and sticking it in the oven to roast. It comes out about an hour later with the most delicious flavor and looks very impressive. The only change I make here is the recipe says that the glaze is for two cauliflowers but I usually use the entire amount for only one.

Image Credit: meg quinn

Roasted Butternut Squash with Bacon {via the clever carrot}
We’re kind of in the midst of a butternut squash renascence and yet I still feel like it gets shoved to the side so attention can be paid to it’s squash sister that goes by the name of pumpkin. Thanksgiving is a great time to bring it out again and be reminded of it’s own unique flavor. Baked on a sheet pan with bacon, maple syrup, and brown sugar to contrast and bring out it’s own natural sweetness this also falls into the super easy side dish category. I have a feeling this dish might get some unexpected and overwhelming attention at your table.

Braised Kale {via john besh}
Speaking of not getting enough attention, greens definitely get undeserved on Thanksgiving. There’s usually a sad salad hanging around that gets pushed to the side to make room for it’s “better looking” competitors, but just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean we need to forget about greens completely. Kale is such a great addition to the table, with it’s distinct flavor and ability to be made in large portions. Braising the kale is very simple and can even be done a day ahead of time and reheated just before dinner — saving you time and space on the stove-top the day of.

What’s your favorite vegetable to eat on Thanksgiving?

Featured image is from logan ingalls.

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