Celebration-Worthy Side Dishes
Tuscan Kale with Brown Butter, Pecans and Golden Raisins
The recipe below makes more than enough of chef Anne Kearney's Spiced Pecans for this dish. Not to worry. They're fantastic for snacking or sprinkling on salad. Tuscan kale, sometimes called dinosaur or lacinato kale, has darker, smoother leaves than curly. It also has a more tender texture.
Tossing cauliflower with bread crumbs, Dijon, cheddar, herbs and almonds makes this humble veg holiday-special.
Sweet Potato Biscuits
Orange zest, nutmeg and smoked paprika add layers of flavor to these tender biscuits.
Cranberry-Apple Sweet Potatoes
Mix pantry ingredients—canned apple pie filling, canned sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, apricot preserves, orange marmalade and chopped pecans—for a quick-and-easy side dish with a crunchy nut topping.
Bourbon-Ginger Glazed Carrots
The carrots from chef Edward Lee's cookbook Smoke and Pickles are sweet, buttery—and, yes, boozy.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Quivey's Grove in Madison, Wisconsin, whips up this version of mashed potatoes that matches plenty of dairy richness with garlic, Parmesan, black pepper and green onion.
Southwest Corn Pudding
Buttery onions, cheddar and green chilies lace our stuffinglike pudding. Inspired by traditional skillet corn bread, this recipe works as a side or as a meatless main served with a salad or garlicky sauteed kale.
Harvest Salad with Walnut Oil Vinaigrette
Walnut oil adds a nutty flavor to vinaigrette on this colorful salad from Clabber Girl Bake Shop in Terre Haute, Indiana. Add cooked chicken (or your bumper crop of leftover turkey) for a quick main dish.
Spiced Pumpkin Bisque
The Inn at Irish Hollow in Galena, Illinois, serves this creamy, curried soup throughout the fall and winter. You can make your own crème fraîche for the garnish, or use purchased crème fraiche or sour cream.
Wilted Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing
This recipe, from a Dearborn, Michigan, restaurant, dresses up a classic side-dish wilted salad. "I really enjoyed the addition of fresh mushrooms and hard-boiled eggs," notes a reviewer on our website. "I could easily make a meal of this."
Lemony Green Beans
Cinnamon Carrots with Maple Thyme Butter
These sweet oven-roasted carrots are a perfect complement to a holiday menu, but they're easy enough to be a weeknight side. This comfort food recipe comes from Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Missouri.
Mix-and-Match Bread Dressing
Whether you're looking to tweak your favorite dressing or create a new tradition, this method meets the challenge. Start with the basic recipe, then try one of the blends shown at left or craft your own custom dressing.
--Top right: Whole wheat bread anchors a mix of sweet potato, celery, almonds, apricots and sage.
--Left: Wild rice stands in for bread in this dressing studded with button mushrooms, celery, bacon, pecans, golden raisins and thyme.
--Bottom right: Sourdough bread cubes blend with cooked bulk Italian sausage, celery, dried cranberries, pine nuts and rosemary.
Fruit Brunch Medley
Honey and lime add snap to this fruit bowl with Granny Smith and Delicious apples, red and green grapes, kiwi and dried tart cherries. Serve it at brunch or as a meal accompaniment.
Bacon-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Frying bacon in the skillet, then tossing sprouts and red onion in the drippings before roasting means you'll only dirty one pan making this elegant side dish.
Cranberries and apple simmer with red onion, ginger and mustard seeds for a spiced variation on traditional sauce. Try it on a sandwich with leftover turkey.
Chicken Artichoke Brie Soup
Bits of spinach and artichoke color this creamy chicken soup, perfect for a first course at dinner or alongside a sandwich for a holiday lunch.
Pappa’s Pear Stuffing
You can serve this hearty, fruit-studded dressing with roasted or grilled pork, poultry or ham. The recipe comes from the historical Story Inn in Nashville, Indiana.
Roasted Root Vegetables
Parsnips, turnips, potatoes, carrots and onions are drizzled with honey and sprinkled with sage for fresh, sweet flavor. "I found this when it was first published and it has been part of every Thanksgiving since!" writes one of our website readers. "A lovely new tradition! The only dish I've ever taken that people ask me for the recipe."
Make-Ahead Pumpkin Cornbread
Masa harina, a fine corn flour, gives this bread light texture and corn flavor. Store in refrigerator up to 2 days before your meal, then reheat just before serving.
Autumn Fruit Salsa
Here's a refreshing holiday salsa from Mackinnon's Restaurant and Gourmet Catering in Northville, Michigan. Serve the pear and veggie mixture with blue corn chips.
Sausage-Wild Rice Casserole
Pork sausage and wild rice blend with onion, mushrooms and water chestnuts in an easy-to-make casserole. Add 2 cups cubed, cooked chicken or turkey to make it a main dish.
Champagne-Poached Pear Salad
Dried cranberries and toasted walnuts accent this elegant fruit salad from Courtright's Restaurant in Willow Springs, Illinois. Finish the plate with Brie coated with bread crumbs.
Cranberry-Orange Relish, from chef Richard Fisher of Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake, Minnesota, goes well with meats such as turkey and pork.
Sweet Potatoes with Toasted Pecans
Toasted pecans and melty marshmallows top whipped sweet potatoes in this classic holiday side dish.
This delicious sweet-and-sour relish sparkles with the flavor of fresh cranberries and Asian pears. Make it up to five days ahead of your holiday meal.
Fresh Fruit Salad with Honey-Rum Dressing
Mint, lime juice, rum and honey bathe the fruit in fresh flavors. Serve it as a holiday side dish or an easy fruit for brunch or breakfast.
Browned Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Feta
Give Brussels sprouts a fresh taste with this colorful side dish. The trick to preserving the vegetables' mild flavor is to avoid overcooking.
Pumpkin Parsnip Bisque with Hazelnut Toasts
Puree wintry vegetables like potato, leek and parsnip into a velvety soup. Don't skip the crisp, buttery dippers. They're delicious dunked in the soup.
Orange-Glazed Baby Carrots
Need a side dish in a hurry? Just melt together butter and orange marmalade, and toss with tender steamed carrots to create this super-easy side.
Butternut Squash and Apple Salad
Sweet squash and apple pair with sharp Gorgonzola and tangy dressing in this autumn salad from Black Star Farm in Suttons Bay, Michigan. The dressing calls for verjus, a tart pressed grape juice. You can order verjust online or find it as specialty stores, but wine vinegar makes a good substitute.
Veggie Cheese Chowder
This easy soup combines colorful veggies—corn, chopped green or red sweet pepper and sliced celery—with cream and three types of cheese products for a pretty, flavorful dish.
Cranberry Cashew Salad
Sliced apples, roasted cashews and dried fruit combine with mango chutney, spinach leaves and curry for an exotic, fresh-tasting salad. The recipe comes from the New Albany (Ohio) Cooking with Friends community cookbook.
Gingered Pumpkin Soup
Maple syrup adds sweetness to Gingered Pumpkin Soup, which makes a creamy side dish or appetizer.
Calico Corn Bread Dressing
Homey corn bread meets woodsy sage, thyme and shitake mushrooms. Carrots and apricots add color and sweetness.
Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad
Apples, dried cranberries and grapes meet crunchy celery and wheat berries in this festive holiday salad tossed with apple-cinnamon dressing.
Cheesy Broccoli Bake
Packaged chopped broccoli and cheese spread combine in this classic, creamy side dish.
Sprinkle sauteed onions with Parmesan cheese for a festive touch.
Persimmon, Blood Orange and Pomegranate Salad
A colorful burst of fresh flavor is worth the time it takes to peel and section or slice fruit for this holiday salad. If you're in a rush, use 2 to 3 cups jarred, drained, sectioned citrus fruit in place of the four oranges.
Chipotle Smashed Potatoes
This rich side dish casserole, perfect for entertaining, has both yellow and sweet potatoes as well as cream cheese, butter, sour cream, bacon and canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce.
Brined Brussels Sprouts with Lemony Mushrooms
Salty brine boosts the flavor of these petite vegetables. Then they're skillet-roasted and tossed with seasoned mushrooms to make a tasty side dish for meat or chicken.
Costa Rican Hearts of Palm Salad
Mix avocado, papaya and olives with hearts of palm for an exotic, colorful salad. Hearts of palm look like white asparagus without the tips and taste like artichoke.
Pumpkin-Currant Scones and Best Potato Rolls
Pumpkin blends with spices such as ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in fragrant Pumpkin-Currant Scones from Cafe Latte at Victoria Crossing in Saint Paul. Another holiday bread your guests will love: Best Potato Rolls from Lucia's Restaurant in Minneapolis. Our recipe for the potato rolls also gives a variation for Garlic and Rosemary Knots pictured at left.
Continue for more great Midwest Living holiday recipes
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