20+ Easy & Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes
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.
Hello, Easy 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!
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.
If you’re not a fan of white potatoes, sweet potatoes are your answer. This mashed side is just as creamy, 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 surprisingly loaded with delicious garlicky herb flavors.
Because you can never have too many mashed side dishes right? 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. Pretty much all the tasty Thanksgiving flavors in one easy baked dish.
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. Trust me, these side dishes bring out the best of seasonal vegetables. 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.
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!
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.
Another way to dress your potatoes is to roast them in garlicky herb goodness. This dish brings out their creamy centers with golden crisp edges. Not to mention it’s so easy to make and offers something different than your classic mashed potatoes.
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.
Aside from sweet potatoes, don’t forget that you can dice and roast little cubes of butternut squash. They’re crispy on the outside and smooth on the inside. They have a sweet yet nutty flavor that makes them great for complementing any other dishes on the table.
Nothing gets easier than roasting a batch of broccoli for a quick yet delicious side dish. This one’s tossed with garlic, roasted til crispy, and sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Always a family favorite.
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.
Essential Thanksgiving Side Dishes
No matter what you make, these few simple sides help tie all Thanksgiving food together.
What’s Thanksgiving without a bowl of cranberry sauce on the table? This one’s naturally sweet with a hint of orange, and is the perfect chunky texture.
Have excess pan drippings from roasting your Thanksgiving turkey? Use that as a base for an ultra-smooth and flavorful turkey gravy!
This simple side dish is surprisingly crispy, tender, and flavorful. Best of all? It only takes 15 minutes to make.
Fresh spinach leaves become perfectly wilted with a savory, garlicky aroma. Don’t overlook an easy Thanksgiving side dish such as this!
These sweet yet savory spuds might be the easiest side dish you make. All you need to do is wash, poke, and bake for a versatile side you can eat straight up or stuff with leftover turkey.
Fall Salad Recipes
You definitely need salad greens on your Thanksgiving table. And these easy fall salads add a light, refreshing bite.
If you’re not roasting Brussels sprouts, this salad is a must. It’s a simple blend of Brussels sprouts, red apples, and cranberries – tossed in a homemade lemon vinaigrette.
You can never go wrong bringing a big bowl of broccoli salad to a dinner party. It’s a classic for a reason.
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. It’s hearty with just the right amount of sweet and savory. You can also remove the chicken since you’ll have turkey instead!
Cozy 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.
If you plan to make a soup, this roasted butternut squash soup is a must. It’s naturally sweet and nutty in flavor. And becomes irresistibly creamy and smooth when blended.
Light and comforting, this cauliflower soup is perfect for serving on the side and a sneaky way to add in more veggies.
Thanksgiving is the perfect time for you to experiment with sweet potatoes. 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!