25+ Easy & Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Updated Nov 19, 2022
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Looking for easy and healthy Thanksgiving side dishes? Welcome to your one stop shop for all things sweet potato, roasted vegetables, fall salads, and of course the classics that will surely impress the dinner crowd.
All The Best Thanksgiving Sides
While your Thanksgiving menu revolves around a perfectly roasted turkey, let’s be real. It’s all about the side dishes given that they make up the majority of your dinner plate. That’s why nailing down your mix of textures, flavors, and colors is important.
Mainstay classics such as buttery mashed potatoes or roasted Brussels sprouts are a must. But if you game plan ahead of time, you might even have room to experiment with new recipes — the Downshiftology way.
Lighten up your hearty dinner spread by adding extra greens, refreshing salads, or even something on the sweeter side. With the list below, I’m sure you’ll have plenty of recipe inspiration!
Table of Contents
Mashed Thanksgiving Side Dishes
When it comes to planning out textures across the table, a mashed side is a must. They’re rich, creamy, and add a delicious softness to your Thanksgiving plate. But don’t think you’re limited to just mashed potatoes. Transform seasonal vegetables into the best mashed sides.
A quintessential side dish that’s a no brainer for the dinner table. But to make sure you get a perfectly fluffy and creamy consistency, follow this no-fail recipe. This one is irresistibly creamy and buttery.
Swap white potatoes for these sweet spuds! They’re loaded with nutrients and the perfect balance between sweet and savory.
Mashed cauliflower is an easy way to sneak in more veggies to your dinner spread. Not to mention, it’s a low-carb alternative that’s loaded with delicious garlicky herb flavors.
This one is ultra creamy, light, and a great way to incorporate butternut squash into your menu.
The Best Casserole Side Dishes
Comforting and hearty, there’s nothing like a good ol’ casserole dish. Especially if you have a larger crowd. These recipes make batch prepping easy and can be made ahead of time. Just pop them in the oven to warm up on the big day of and voila!
For those who are gluten-free and dairy-free, meet this healthy green bean casserole that skips the canned soup. It’s layers of fresh green beans, a creamy homemade mushroom sauce, and topped with crispy shallots for the perfect crunch.
You might find this lightened-up, sugar-free version even better than the classic recipe. It’s layered with creamy, spiced sweet potato topped with a nutty pecan crumble.
This one is admittedly a bit decadent. The potatoes are rich, cheesy, and so so flavorful. If that sounds like your jam, this side dish is one to indulge in. And since this one takes a bit of prep work, you’ll be happy to hear that it can be made up to 4 day in advance.
Roasted Vegetables Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Roasted vegetables are always favorite and for very good reason. The vegetables caramelize on the outside and transform into a savory, naturally sweet flavor. Plus, they’ll add bright-colored hues to a somewhat beige table.
This easy sheet pan recipe transforms the everyday carrot into a highly addictive side dish. It’s sweet, savory, and beautifully caramelized.
Soft mushroom caps are stuffed with the best cheesy, herby, and garlicky filling. Then they’re baked until golden with crumbled pecans on top!
Everyone will love this roasted acorn squash that’s coated in a golden, crispy, cheesy herb crust.
Roasted sprouts are another Thanksgiving classic that can’t be beat. They’re addictively crunchy on the outside and so tender on the inside.
For an elevated Brussels sprouts side dish, roast the sprouts with crispy bacon bits, then toss in a sweet balsamic glaze. This one always disappears fast!
Roasted cauliflower is great. But when you add za’atar spice, dates, pine nuts, and thyme to the mix, it definitely kicks it up a couple notches.
Crisp potatoes with garlicky herb goodness are a match made in heaven.
Baked potatoes are a classic, but we’re opting for sweet potatoes this time. Just pop them in the oven and load them up with toppings like butter, green onion, chives, and sour cream!
Have a spaghetti squash on hand? Whip up this easy side dish with leftover Brussels sprouts and crispy shallots. It’s tender and crispy, all in one dish.
Need a quick and easy roasted veggie? These sweet potatoes are tossed in delicious spices and baked with caramelized edges. It’s always about that perfect seasoning.
You’d be surprised how delicious broccoli is with a touch of roasted garlic and fresh parmesan cheese!
Aside from sweet potatoes, don’t forget that you can dice and roast little cubes of butternut squash. They have a sweet yet nutty flavor that makes them great for complementing any other dishes on the table.
Sautéed Vegetable Thanksgiving Sides
Don’t want to take up more oven space during Thanksgiving? Whip up these stovetop sautéed vegetable side dishes!
Sauteed cabbage is tossed in butter (or ghee), garlic, and onions, then caramelized into a delicious sweet side.
Slighty caramelized carrots get elevated with a sweet and savory bacon Dijon dressing. There will be no leftovers of this side dish!
Fresh spinach leaves become perfectly wilted with a savory, garlicky aroma. Don’t overlook an easy Thanksgiving side dish such as this! It only takes 10 minutes.
Green beans are a classic for Thanksgiving. But give it some oomph with shallots and fresh lemon juice and zest!
Don’t forget about the humble cabbage for the best-tasting side dish. All you need to do is add a bit of bacon and Dijon mustard to give it a big flavor.
Essential Thanksgiving Sauces
No matter what you make, a bowl of gravy and cranberry sauce helps to tie all Thanksgiving food together!
This easy, classic version is naturally sweet with a hint of orange, and the perfect chunky texture.
Have excess pan drippings from roasting your Thanksgiving turkey? Use that as a base for an ultra-smooth and flavorful gluten-free gravy!
Thanksgiving Salad Recipes
Aside from cooked greens on the table, don’t forget to make a big salad bowl! They help to add a light and fresh bite in between everything else.
Waldorf Salad: Oh yes, a simple (and classic) fruit and nut salad tossed in a tangy-sweet, creamy dressing. There’s a reason why this salad is super popular for Thanksgiving, it’s so refreshing!
If you’re not roasting Brussels sprouts, this salad is up next. It’s a simple mix of Brussels sprouts, red apples, and cranberries – tossed in a homemade lemon vinaigrette.
You can never go wrong with bringing a big bowl of broccoli salad to a dinner party. It’s a classic for a reason!
Give potato salad a fresh new twist with this extra green version — all thanks to this easy homemade chimichurri sauce.
This roasted chickpea salad ticks all the boxes for unique, flavorful, and loaded with fresh veggies. All you need to do is prep some roasted chickpeas prior to making it!
Even though this salad is simple, it’s surprisingly flavorful and will add a fresh, vibrant green touch to your menu.
Tossed with crisp apples and chicken, this kale salad screams autumn flavors. You can also remove the chicken since you’ll have turkey instead!
Cozy Thanksgiving Soup Recipes
I think we can all agree that a bowl of soup never fails to warm your soul. So let’s bring those same vibes to your Thanksgiving dinner! And don’t worry, these recipes aren’t too heavy and will complement any dish on the table.
All I can say is that this butternut squash soup is one of those must-make recipes of the season! It’s creamy, savory, and celebrates butternut squash in the best possible way.
If you can grab some leeks at this time of year, you won’t want to skip this potato leek soup. It’s got a ton of flavor and adds a cozy vibe all around.
Not only is this soup perfect for adding a bright pop of red to the table. But it’s such a delicious way to enjoy beets this season.
Light and comforting, this cauliflower soup is perfect for serving on the side and a sneaky way to add in more veggies.
Aside from casseroles or mashed sides, turn this spud into a velvety soup!
If you make any of these Thanksgiving side dishes, let me know how they turned out! I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.
20+ Easy & Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes
- 3 pounds sweet potatoes
- 1/4 cup melted butter , or ghee
- 1/4 cup milk, dairy-free milk also works
- salt and pepper , to taste
- parsley , finely diced
- Bring a large pot of water to boil on high heat.
- Peel the sweet potatoes with a hand peeler.
- Dice the potatoes into chunks and place them into the pot. Cook the potatoes for 20-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Drain the potatoes over a colander.
- Place the potatoes in a large mixing bowl and mash them with a hand masher or electric beater.
- Then, pour the butter and milk into the mixture and continue mixing until creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
- Scoop the mashed sweet potatoes into a bowl, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve!
- To create a more creamier consistency, use a food processor, hand mixer, or stand mixer to blend.
- To make it dairy-free, you can swap butter for ghee as well as use any type of nut milk.
- My favorite peeler is a Y peeler. It’s the best for peeling potatoes!
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Originally posted November 2020, but updated to include new information.