Balancing Fall Colors and Bright Dishes on the Thanksgiving Table

By: Gaby Dalkin

When planning the same holiday year after year, how do you keep your celebration fresh and interesting while maintaining a sense of tradition? We asked our favorite bloggers and food people to share what's inspiring their Thanksgiving planning this year. From ancestor's recipes and falling leaves, to beautiful piles of ingredients and thoughtful home decor, there was no shortage of imagination. See what motivates some of the most creative minds we know, and then start planning your annual feast.

Thanksgiving is one of my all-time favorite holidays. Not only is it a celebration that includes quite a bit of decadent and delicious food, but it’s also a time that you get to spend with your friends and family, and really slow down and enjoy each other’s company. The last few Thanksgivings, we’ve asked our extended family members to bring over the mixings for cocktails or their favorite pies and then we take care of the rest.

This year’s Thanksgiving celebration is all about the side dishes and sweets. It’s a given in my house that we will have a beautiful turkey with gravy and all that jazz, but what really gets me excited is being able to pick and choose what kind of side dishes we should pair with the turkey to really wow our guests.

In my opinion you can never have enough carbs, so I’ve opted for not one, not two, but three potato dishes. There will be a Roasted Parmesan Potato dish, crisp Sweet Potato Fries and a Goat Cheese Potato Gratin. I guarantee that all of these will fly off the table and leave your guests begging for more.  And if you do happen to have a spoonful or two left over, it makes for the best lunch the following day.

To brighten things up a bit, I like to make Garlic Charred Lemon Brussels Sprouts and a Spicy Green Bean Salad. This Brussels sprout dish will wow even a serious Brussels sprout skeptic. And to finish things off, not only will there be pies and apple crisps from our friends and family, but I also like to put out some of my mom’s famous molasses cookies and chocolate chip pumpkin muffins. (These make an excellent late night snack too.)

This collection of recipes is a perfect balance of fall colors and a few bright dishes that will pop against your table. Having any or all of these on your table will make your guests feel right at home and ready to chow down on some amazing Thanksgiving grub.

For more Thanksgiving ideas, visit our Thanksgiving Inspiration Board Gallery.

Gaby Dalkin is a chef, amateur photographer/food stylist, enthusiastic traveler and guacamole fanatic. She is the founder of What's Gaby Cooking, where she showcases her simple and sassy recipes that feature whichever ingredients she is currently obsessing over. She lives in Los Angeles with her fiancé, Thomas, and her cat, Stella.

Thanksgiving Side Dish and Dessert Ideas from Cooking Channel

Keep Reading

Next Up

Unexpected Colors for Your Thanksgiving Palette

Jenny Park and Teri Lyn Fisher share their favorite Thanksgiving traditions, including how to add unexpected twists to classic fare and decorate the table so it accents the food.

Don't Forget to Decorate: Thanksgiving Table Ideas

Get ideas for decorating your Thanksgiving table (traditional, modern and rustic).

Fall Fest: Top In Season Thanksgiving Sides

With one week to go until Thanksgiving, plan on cooking these seasonal recipes that turn market-fresh produce into delicious sides for turkey day.

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Thanksgiving Side Dishes

It may be Turkey Day and all, but everyone knows Thanksgiving is all about the sides, and many of the best ones are meatless.

All The Thanksgiving Classics, Plus a Few New Dishes

Ashley E. Rodriguez shares her favorite Thanksgiving traditions, including a roasted red onions, cardamom caramel pears, sage pesto and slow-roasted tomatoes.

Thanksgiving Side Dishes That'll Hold Up to Reheating

Get make-ahead Thanksgiving side dish recipes that will reheat well on Cooking Channel, including cranberry sauce, stuffing and more.

Inspired by Fall Favorites

Rubyellen Bratcher shares her favorite Thanksgiving traditions, including cauliflower mashed potatoes, homemade pumpkin pie and as many things with cinnamon as possible.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! The feast doesn't end with pie: Get our best recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers, from turkey soup and chili to potato quesadillas and more.

On TV

Pizza Masters

7:30am | 6:30c

Pizza Masters

8:30am | 7:30c

Sugar Showdown

9:30am | 8:30c

Sugar Showdown

10:30am | 9:30c

Unique Sweets

11am | 10c

Unique Sweets

11:30am | 10:30c

Unique Sweets

12pm | 11c

Unique Sweets

12:30pm | 11:30c

Unique Sweets

1pm | 12c

Unique Sweets

1:30pm | 12:30c

Good Eats

2pm | 1c

Good Eats

2:30pm | 1:30c

Unwrapped 2.0

3:30pm | 2:30c

Choccywoccydoodah

4:30pm | 3:30c
7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight
8pm | 7c
9pm | 8c
10pm | 9c
11pm | 10c
12am | 11c
1am | 12c
2am | 1c
3am | 2c
What's Hot
What's Hot

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

New Episodes Sundays 8|7c

Pick a Side!

The Snackdown

In our new animated series, we debate the most-pressing food matters of our time, like is cereal a soup?

So Much Pretty Food Here