Our Favorite Comfort Food Sides
If your menu needs another vegetable or side, these healthy versions of your favorite comforting classics will surely net compliments for the cook.
We'll start our journey with a rustic stuffing. Holiday foods are some of the most nostalgic of our family traditions. Don't leave this favorite off the table.
Sweet Potato Stacks with Sage Browned Butter
A dose of salty, nutty Parmesan balances the flavor in these adorable, delicious stacks. Get the kids to help by having them stack the slices and cheese in muffin cups as you follow behind with the browned butter. Use small potatoes so the slices will fit into the muffin cups. Make sure to slice the potatoes on the thin side, about 1⁄4-inch thick, so they’ll cook through (insert a toothpick in the center of each stack to test for doneness). You can also alternate with slices of baking potato or parsnip for pretty white and orange layers.
Sweet Onion Casserole
Onions, rice, and a creamy cheese sauce make this casserole a winner in our book. We're fairly sure you'll agree.
Skillet Green Bean Casserole
We've shortened (and lightened) this holiday classic by bringing everything together in one pan and using the stovetop and broiler rather than baking.
Roasted Chile-Garlic Broccoli
The bold flavors of chile paste and dark sesame oil call for pairing with a robust entrée like grilled salmon, tuna, or beef.
Potato and Leek Gratin
A mandoline will slice the potatoes quickly and to the same thickness, though a sharp knife will also work. Instead of being buried in cream, the potatoes and leeks are simmered in and drizzled with milk so the potatoes get wonderfully crisp and tender and the cheeses form a melty, golden crust. The result is a rich, rustic potato side with contrasting flavors and textures—a bit of crunch to round out the stuffing, sauces, and mashes on the plate. Reheat leftovers in the oven until crisped and warmed through, and then serve with eggs and a side of fruit for breakfast.
Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Shallots
You don't need butter and cream to make wonderfully creamy mashed sweet potatoes. Heart-healthy olive oil adds flavor and silkiness without saturated fat.
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
Keep mashed potatoes warm by placing in a heatproof bowl, covering with plastic wrap, and setting over a saucepan of gently simmering water. This will keep them moist and warm without scorching. A ricer finely breaks up the cooked potatoes without activating the potato starches, which could make the consistency gluey. It also allows the butter and liquid, such as milk or buttermilk, to quickly incorporate so the mash is smooth and free of lumps. If you don't have a ricer, use a potato masher, being careful not to overwork the potatoes. Our Butternut-Swirled Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Mashed Potatoes variations require a little extra time but are well worth the effort.
Smoky Three-Bean Bake
Three kinds of beans take the classic dish from ho-hum to fun, with different shapes and pleasing textures—from the al dente bite of chickpeas to the creaminess of Great Northern beans. If you happen to use hot smoked paprika, you can omit the ground red pepper.
Fish House Sweet Potato Hash
We absolutely love this simple, comforting hash. It pairs well with almost anything—Grilled Trout with Cherry Compote, as well as roast chicken, pork chops, steak, and even sunny-side-up eggs. If you would like to get a head start on the recipe, you can bake the sweet potatoes a day or two ahead; then you'll only need about 15 minutes to pull the dish together.
Browned Butter Asparagus
A hint of tarragon adds unique, fresh flavor to the dish, but you can use any herb you like.
The vivid garlic-and-fresh-herb vinaigrette contrasts with the sweet carrots. If baby carrots are unavailable, simply cut a regular carrot in half widthwise, halve the skinny bottom portion lengthwise, and quarter the thicker top section.
Brussels Sprouts Gratin
Braise the Brussels sprouts and toast the bread-crumbs up to a day ahead. Before serving, add cooked, crumbled bacon to the toasted breadcrumb mixture, and then sprinkle the mixture over the sprouts. Broil 3 minutes or until golden and thoroughly heated.
Easy Refrigerator Pickles
Tangy Mustard Coleslaw
This recipe uses less salt than traditional recipes and comes together in less than 30 minutes—what's not to love?
Zesty Broccoli Casserole
This favorite casserole was revamped to include the same creamy tang of the original recipe, but with 26 fewer grams of fat. The water chestnuts add a surprising crunch, and the substitution of sharp Cheddar cheese for the milder Colby variety provides additional zing.
Southerners are well acquainted with the joys of okra, especially the crunchy-tender combination that results from deep-frying the pods. But anyone can enjoy this dish, which keeps all the crunch and dispenses with the grease.
New-Fashioned Apple and Raisin Slaw
Crunchy and creamy are the two most important characteristics of a good slaw, but this recipe turns the traditional on its head. Sweet apples form the base of the salad, along with a generous helping of raisins, while balsamic vinegar in the dressing keeps things from getting too sweet.
Camembert Mashed Potatoes
Soft, mild Camembert cheese adds the same creaminess to mashed potatoes that butter and cream do, but it also brings in a sophisticated tangy, distinctly cheesy flavor. Any young, soft cheese can be used in this recipe―try your favorite brie, or even a creamy chévre.
Rated 5-stars by readers and named an all-time favorite by our staff, these oven-baked fries are so good (and easy!) that you'll never go back to deep-fried fries.