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16 savory starters and side dishes for the Thanksgiving table

  • Progresso

  • iStock

  • Trudy Slabosz

  • Banza

  • Parul Mehra

  • David Pazmiño

  • iStock

  • The Lazy Goat

  • Sydney Kramer, The Crepes of Wrath

  • Jason Houston

  • Lexington Brass

  • Matthew Kenney Cuisine

  • New York Style

  • Progresso

  • Maker’s Mark

  • Jodi Moreno, What’s Cooking Good Looking

Are you stressed about planning a holiday meal? One guest may be gluten-free, another shuns dairy– and plenty of people are forgoing meat these days.

With different palates and diets, it can be difficult to strike the right balance in the kitchen. 

Home cooks, have no fear– we’ve compiled a list of 16 side dishes– that also serve as appetizers– to please any hungry crowd this Thanksgiving. 


  • 1.&nbspFocaccia Stuffing with Apples and Pancetta


    All the other boring stuffings will be jealous when this one makes its debut on your holiday table! Herbs, citrus, nuts, pancetta and Progresso’s new Cooking Stock simmered with real bones, come together as an ensemble cast that will turn a humble side dish into the star of the show.

    Foccaccia Stuffing with Apples and Pancetta Recipe

  • 2.&nbspTar Heel Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Pecans


    North Carolina is the nation’s major producer of sweet potatoes, and while the spuds are cooked every way imaginable in the state, never are they more de­lectable than when cut into cubes, parboiled, fried in butter and brown sugar till beautifully glazed, and dredged in ground pecans.

    Tar Heel Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Pecans Recipe

  • 3.&nbspBaked Rosemary Mushroom Polenta

    Trudy Slabosz

    Traditional polenta is spiced up with a little cayenne pepper and parmesan cheese, then topped with rosemary infused mushrooms. Even the most devout carnivores will be convinced after trying this deceptively simple holiday dish. This recipe comes to us from Trudy Slabosz of Veggie.num.num.

    Baked Mushroom Rosemary Polenta Recipe

  • 4.&nbspJalapeño Cornbread Mac & Cheese


    Warm, cheesy and perfect for spicing up the holidays. Take your macaroni and cheese  game to the next level. 

    Jalapeño Cornbread Mac & Cheese Recipe

  • 5.&nbspPumpkin with Onion and Ginger

    Parul Mehra

    This is a recipe of pumpkin infused with various spices which have anti- inflammatory properties. The flavors of this dish are not very overpowering rather it feels very soothing on the palate.

    Pumpkin with Onion and Ginger Recipe

  • 6.&nbspFluffy Mashed Potatoes

    David Pazmiño

    Keep it classic with this tried and true method of mashing potatoes. For the lightest, fluffiest texture, use a ricer but a food mill is the next best alternative. And yes, the type of potato you use does make a big difference.

    Fluffy Mashed Potatoes Recipe

  • 7.&nbspSauteed Wild Mushrooms


    Esca’s Chef Dave Pasternack’s sauteed wild mushrooms goes perfectly with pan-seared striped bass with roasted sweet potatoes.

    Sauteed Wild Mushrooms Recipe

  • 8.&nbspRoasted Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Serrano Ham, Manchego Cheese & Sherry

    The Lazy Goat

    Upgrade your Brussels sprouts with this flavorful recipe that’s salty,  savory and just a little bit sweet.

    Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Serrano Ham, Manchego & Sweet Sherry Recipe

  • 9.&nbspRoasted Broccoli Soup with Peppers and Onions

    Sydney Kramer, The Crepes of Wrath

    One of the oldest ‘super foods,’ broccoli is rich in many vitamins and minerals that kids and adults need. This rich soup will make a satisfying, and colorful starter to any holiday feast.

    Roasted Broccoli Soup Recipe

  • 10.&nbspRoasted Butternut Squash and Cranberry Salad

    Jason Houston

    For those who want to take a lighter approach this holiday season. Butternut squash is a good source of carotenoids, vitamins A, B6, C, and folate, and is also rich in phytochemicals This is a pretty salad that offers a colorful change of pace with its roasted squash, goat cheese, pecans, and cranberries.

    Roasted Butternut Squash Salad Recipe

  • 11.&nbspRoasted Carrots with Harissa Sauce

    Lexington Brass

    Move aside pumpkins! While carrots are the often-overlooked stars of fall and winter vegetables, they come many vivacious colors and preparation styles. This dish features multi colored carrot varieties such as black midnight, red, orange and yellow. Add harissa yogurt to the mix and you’ve got a colorful, healthy side.

    Roasted Carrots with Harissa Sauce Recipe

  • 12.&nbspButternut Tagliatelle, Mushroom-Pecan Ragout with Pine Nut Parmesan

    Matthew Kenney Cuisine

    With the quick rise in vegetarian/vegan trends, Executive Chef Scott Winegard of Matthew Kenney Cuisine created this delicious, healthy and veggie-focused dish. The Butternut Tagliatelle with Mushroom-Pecan Ragout with Pine Nut Parmesan is perfect for any palate whether your crowd consists of vegans or carnivores – this plant-based dish is sure to keep guests pleased.

    Butternut Tagliatelle, Mushroom-Pecan Ragout with Pine Nut Parmesan Recipe

  • 13.&nbspButternut Squash Bruschetta

    New York Style

    New York Style Chips puts a seasonal spin on a classic appetizer and top with butternut squash and almonds for the finishing touch.

    Butternut Squash Bruschetta Recipe

  • 14.&nbspCornbread Stuffing with Sausage and Collard Greens


    Add a little southern flavor to your holiday table with this delicious sausage- and greens-loaded stuffing featuring Progresso’s new Cooking Stock simmered with real bone.

    Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage and Collard Greens Recipe

  • 15.&nbspSmashed Sweet Potatoes with Bourbon, Chestnuts and Sage

    Maker’s Mark

    Bourbon adds a touch of smoky sweetness to liven up a tried and true holiday side staple.

    Smashed Sweet Potatoes with Bourbon, Chesnuts and Sage Recipe

  • 16.&nbspPumpkin and Beet Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing

    Jodi Moreno, What’s Cooking Good Looking

    Although pumpkin and beets might seem like an unlikely combination, I think you will be pleasantly surprised how well these two fall veggies go together,” says Jodi Moreno of What’s Cooking Good Looking. “The carrot ginger dressing pulls it all together beautifully. This is a fun and unique way to incorporate pumpkin into your menu at home.

    Pumpkin and Beet Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing Recipe

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