Fall Fest: Winning Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Ace your Thanksgiving with these all-star side dishes.
By: Caitlin Heikkila

Cooking Channel Truffled Cheese Mash Beyond The Basic Mash-Potatoes

Photo by: Armando Rafael Moutela ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved. 2014, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Armando Rafael Moutela, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved. 2014, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Let’s be serious. The sides are the real stars of the Thanksgiving dinner table. Once your plate is piled high with mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing and cranberries, the bird is hardly the main event.

We've rounded up our go-to picks for each category, but tell us: What’s your favorite Thanksgiving side dish? Vote in the comments as we give thanks to our picks.

1. Mashed potatoes are comfort food royalty. Dress them up for the Thanksgiving holiday with truffles and cheese (pictured above), and you may earn VIP spud status for life.

2. Get your greens Thanksgiving-style with a classic green bean casserole. This version uses only fresh ingredients and no canned stuff, so put that onion-soup mix away.

fresh-green-bean-casserole-recipe

fresh-green-bean-casserole-recipe

Fresh Green Bean Cassarole

Photo by: Marshall Troy ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Marshall Troy, 2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

3. Simplicity rules on Thanksgiving when there are so many flavors on one plate. Bay leaves and thyme bring out the best in oven-roasted butternut squash, with large Kosher salt crystals to add a bit of crunch.

Laura Calder - Roasted Squash.

Photo by: Adrian Mueller ©2012, Adrian Mueller / AMueller.com, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Adrian Mueller, 2012, Adrian Mueller / AMueller.com, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

4. Candied yams are a traditional Thanksgiving debate: sweet or savory? If you opt for sweet, try topping yours with gingersnap cookies in lieu of marshmallows.

©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

5. If cranberry sauce conjures memories of gelatinous, can-shaped goo, we suggest  this homemade version. Undertones of vanilla and orange balance the berries' sweet-tart taste for instantly better Thanksgiving memories.

Looking for more picks? Here are other Thanksgiving side classics from friends and family:

Jeanette's Healthy Living:  100 Healthy Holiday Side Dish Recipes

Big Girls, Small Kitchen:  Maitake, Leek & Bacon Dressing

The Cultural Dish:  Pumpkin Risotto
Napa Farmhouse 1885:  Sweet Potato Biscuits
Daisy at Home:  Roasted Cranberry Pear Sauce

Elephants and the Coconut Trees:  Baby Lima Beans Salad with Bell Pepper and Pomegranate

Dishing With Divya:  Ash Gourd Raita
Dishin & Dishes:  Stuffin Muffins
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