Everyone always talks about the main dish, but a really good side dish can steal the show. Here we keep the calories low enough so that a second helping won’t do much damage.
What would Thanksgiving be without sweet potato casserole? Who wants meat without the potatoes? Feel free to dig into these
significantly lighter casseroles and veggie dishes that will delight your family and dinner guests.
For example, a delicious serving of Brussels Sprouts with Bacon.
Roasting Brussels sprouts really brings out their nutty flavor, which goes so well with smoky bacon and sweet red onions.
View Recipe: Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
If you start with naturally creamy potatoes, like Yukon Golds, you won’t need to add cream and sticks of butter to make delicious
mashed potatoes. A gentle fresh chive garnish brightens these rich flavors.
View Recipe: Mashed Potatoes
This sophisticated stuffing truly satisfies. It combines the sweet licorice flavor of fennel, the tang of sourdough bread,
the tartness of apple, and the rich spiciness of Italian sausage.
View Recipe: Fennel, Sausage & Caramelized-Apple Stuffing
Moms often serve this dish to picky eaters who don’t want to eat their vegetables. It works every time, thanks to the crumbled
crackers and creamy cheese traditionally found in this dish. This version is lighter—but your kids will never know the difference.
View Recipe: Squash Casserole
See More of America's Favorite Casseroles
Corn pudding is a specialty of the rural South. This recipe, which uses 5 cups of kernels, is great when you have a bumper
crop of corn. Frozen, thawed kernels can be substituted when corn is out of season.
View Recipe: Corn Pudding
Enjoy a healthier version of this Chinese takeout favorite at home! To make it a meal, increase the portion size and top with
a sunny-side-up egg.
View Recipe: Fried Rice
This recipe is a lightened-up version of the double award-winning mac and cheese from Chef Tico Starr of Rustique Bistro in Aspen, Colorado. His secret ingredient is white truffle oil, which adds a rich, earthy flavor to the sauce.
View Recipe: Truffled Mac and Cheese
Tips for Magnificent Mac and Cheese
This Southwestern summer squash mixture is a popular side dish throughout New Mexico and south Texas. Calabacitas means “little
squash” in Spanish. Tuck it into tortillas for a vegetarian taco or add pork or chicken to make it a main.
View Recipe: Calabacitas
Roasted butternut squash is a classic fall dish. A tangy sweet-and-sour vinaigrette made with honey and red wine vinegar and
a garnish of vibrant basil and mint gives this well-loved dish a delicous new twist.
View Recipe: Butternut Squash Agrodolce
This popular Utah comfort food is commonly brought to a post-funeral communal meal. The covered dish, or easy-to-reheat casserole,
is a classic for potlucks and other large gatherings.
View Recipe: Funeral Potatoes
This is a simple slaw with a lot of attitude. It’s the perfect complement to a pulled-pork sandwich and an ideal side dish
to serve at a summer barbecue.
View Recipe: Classic Slaw
In Boston, molasses and salt pork are the traditional additions to a pot of baked beans. The sauce for these baked beans isn’t
as thick and sweet as Boston’s rendition, and the flavor of the maple syrup and bacon make it undeniably Vermont.
View Recipe: Vermont Baked Beans
This spicy casserole, an old Cajun favorite, traditionally features chicken livers and gizzards, but we’ve substituted juicy
View Recipe: Baked Louisiana Dirty Rice and Beans
The Southerners in the Cooking Light Test Kitchen love this dish. It uses pink-eyed peas, which are a local favorite, but feel free to use black-eyed peas instead.
View Recipe: Southern Field Peas
This is THE way to enjoy sweet onions from Washington, California, or Georgia. Rice and cheese add heft and flavor to this
casserole while letting the star veggie shine.
View Recipe: Sweet Onion Casserole
The nutty, almost smoky flavor of wild rice pairs beautifully with sweet dried cherries. This dish works well with turkey
and other poultry.
View Recipe: Wild Rice Stuffing with Dried Cherries & Toasted Pecans
Collard greens are a favorite in the American South, where the greens are traditionally boiled with ham hock. This modern
technique relies instead on a speedy sauté, which cooks ribbons of greens in record time. The quick cooking preserves most
of the greens’ nutrients so they aren’t lost to the “pot likker,” the broth left at the bottom of the pot after the greens
have been cooked.
View Recipe: Quick Collards
Based on sweet potato pie, a favorite in the South, this famous Thanksgiving side dish has a rich history. The marshmallows
were added by Janet McKenzie Hill, the founder of the Boston Cooking-School Magazine, in 1917, when the marshmallow evolved
from a specialty confection into an everyday treat.
View Recipe: Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallow Topping
These roasted potato wedges, blistered and brown from the heat of the oven, beautifully combine the rich flavors of potato
View Recipe: Garlic-Parsley Steak "Fries"
Cooking the sweet potatoes on a grill retains vitamins that would be lost if they were boiled, and gives them a crisp, charred
edge that contrasts with the sweet interior. Tossing them with the lemon-olive oil dressing brightens the flavor.
View Recipe: Grilled Sweet Potato Salad
Roasting intensifies the delicate flavor of this vegetable, lending it a sweet, nutty flavor and creamy texture. The dry cooking
technique far surpasses boiling, which can leave cauliflower soggy, bland, and depleted of nutrients.
View Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower with Mornay Sauce
This recipe takes its cue from Italian-American cooks, who know how to make fresh seasonal ingredients taste wonderful. For
a hearty main dish, simply toss with whole-wheat pasta.
View Recipe: Beans & Greens
Unlike deep-fried onion rings, these are cooked in a shallow pan with a smaller amount of oil. Be sure to check that the underside
of each onion is nicely browned before you flip.
View Recipe: Onion Rings
Succotash is generally made with lima beans, but edamame add protein to this colorful side. Shelled edamame are now commonly
available year-round in the frozen food section of most supermarkets.
View Recipe: Succotash
Okra is a Southern classic that people tend to love or hate. Here, the acidity of the tomatoes helps thin the vegetable’s
viscous juices and preserves its crunchiness. Be sure to pick small pods, as they are more tender.
View Recipe: Stewed Okra & Tomatoes