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Tania is currently the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker, and Senior Editor at the Nashville, Tennessee based PopCulture.com. With past writing and editing credits with Womanista, Quietly, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) and NBC Newsvine, she is currently a member of Indianapolis based, Society of Professional Journalists — one of the oldest organizations in the U.S. that promotes and represents journalists. She is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Elvis Presley and baseball fan as well as a lover of pancakes and fine cheeses, film, and music. Tania is a Hoosier at heart with a passionate wanderlust for always traveling and giving back to those in her community. She is currently studying at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Follow Tania on Twitter: @westlifebunny.

10 Simple Twists on Traditional Thanksgiving Side Dishes

{Image Credit: Minimalist Baker}

Year in and year out, the turkey gobbles its way to the top of all your Thanksgiving festivities. But the truth is your side dishes are the real stars of the holiday season as they bring the beloved protein to life with flavor and color. From the classic green bean casserole to the potato-everything — it’s time to tweak your favorite recipes for maximum flavor and minimal stress.

To help streamline your Thanksgiving meal-preparation as you tend to that gorgeous dining table, its centerpieces and festive decor, we share our top picks for the easiest side dishes that are not only delicious and add a vibrancy to your meal, but put a creative spin to the usual flavors.

{Image Credit: Gimme Some Oven}

Orange Bourbon Cranberry Sauce {via gimme some oven}

Put a spin on your traditional cranberry sauce with this bourbon infused delight that takes less than 20 minutes to make. Integrating less than seven ingredients and an extra zest of orange, this will be a table favorite.

Slow Cooker French Onion Mashed Potatoes {via on sugar mountain}

Step aside, plain old mashed potatoes because there’s a new mouthwateringly fragrant mashed potato dish in town — and best of all, it utilizes a slow cooker to help balance meal prep. Blending the flavors of a comforting French Onion Soup, this recipe is deliciously creamy and bursting with rich flavor as the slow cooker soaks all those juices into the potatoes.

Baked Southern Candied Sweet Potatoes {via le creme de la crumb}

Out with the casserole and in with the southern style, caramelized sweet potatoes! Combining both sweet and crunchy, this side dish screams autumn with its exquisite flavors and textures that make it the perfect side for the holidays.

{Image Credit: Half Baked Harvest}

Butternut Squash and Wild Mushroom Stuffing {via half baked harvest}

Some might think stuffing is just a Thanksgiving filler, but if done right it can be a beloved staple. Though this recipe calls for basic ingredients, it is anything but — thanks to the addition of butternut squash and wild mushrooms that blend for a moist and buttery flavor.

Creamy Baked Parsnips and Thyme {via gourmande in the kitchen}

This easy side of oven-braised parsnips with thyme is one of the most elegant ways to serve this root vegetable. With a sweet, nutty intensity, the oven gives them a beautiful color and a creamy quality that is incredibly complementary to the main dish.

Brown Butter Herb Garlic Knots {via how sweet eats}

Turns out, garlic knot bread is super easy to make and the quintessential addition to your Thanksgiving plate. Smothered in a rich, garlicky butter, these knots are perfect for running through that drizzle of gravy or a spoonful of mashed potatoes. And if you’re short on time, store-bought dough is totally Thanksgiving appropriate — we promise.

Quinoa, Pumpkin and Kale Salad with Tempah {via green evi}

With seasonal colors and flavors, this salad couldn’t get any better. Featuring a hearty dosage of healthy ingredients like tempah and quinoa, your Thanksgiving guests will never guess amid the butternut squash and pumpkin that it’s actually a good digestive too. Not to mention, it’s super vegan and tasty.

{Image Credit: Sally’s Baking Addiction}

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Crumble {via sally’s baking addiction}

This classic sweet potato casserole is the perfect combination of sweet and savory as the potato mash blends most appetizingly with a brown sugared, cinnamon pecan crumble. Both buttery and rich, this casserole makes for an easy side dish or even a dessert.

Delicata Squash Bake with Tahini Sauce {via minimalist baker}

Naturally sweet and bursting with color and flavor, this squash bake adds a spin to tradition in less than 30 minutes with the use of tahini and pomegranates for a marriage of autumn’s best produce. If you can’t find delicata, substitute for kabocha, butternut, buttercup or acorn squash.

Vegan Green Bean Casserole {via oh my veggies}

This delicious and easy recipe puts a new-age spin on a childhood classic by making it vegan-friendly. But the real magic happens when the crispy fried onions meet with the mixture, for a crunchy and salty indulgence.

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