While the turkey often gets all the glory at Thanksgiving dinner, it’s the side dishes that turn the turkey into a full meal. From creamy mashed potatoes and classic green bean casserole to roasted vegetables, cranberry sauces and buttery, flaky breads, the seemingly second-string dishes can indeed take the spotlight at your holiday feast. Below are Food Network’s best-of-the-best side dish picks, the tried-and-true winners that will surely garner praise from your holiday guests.
Tag: side dishes
Cheesy does it, cheese lovers. In addition to taking your favorite food by the block, don’t forget that one of the most-splendid ways to use cheese is in go-to side dishes.
1. Mashed Potatoes + Cheese
Mashed potatoes are normally improved upon with a lake of gravy in the center, but they’re even better than that when a little cheese gets involved. Ina Garten stirs garlicky herb goat cheese (as well as sour cream, butter and half-and-half) into her Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes for Food Network Magazine (pictured above). After sprinkling the creamy side with Parmesan, she sets it in the oven so it gets a nice golden-browned top. You might never take your mashed taters without cheese again.
Who are we kidding? You probably aren’t on the edge of your seat waiting for peas to come in season. That’s because, as far as frozen fare goes, peas are the king, requiring little defrosting before you can toss them into a dish and start eating. Still, even if that lifestyle works for the rest of the year, springtime is the time to get your fresh pea fix. In the spirit of the season, we’ve got quite a few ways for you to put these little green gems to use. Most of these recipes call for the frozen alternative, but you can make your dishes worthy of springtime by swapping in the fresh stuff to your heart’s content.
When a need for pasta salad arises, Ina Garten’s Pasta, Pesto and Peas (pictured above) is the freshest way you can make it. Toss the pasta with homemade pesto and be sure to swap in fresh peas for frozen for that extra pop.
The utterance “I’m going to get a salad” often evinces visions of diets and other streaks of healthy eating. But, if you’re asking me, leafy greens and their accompaniments are anything but punishment. On the contrary, our favorite green salads emanate fresh vibrancy with every invigorating bite. Plus, when they’re enjoyed as a main dish, they bring a certain brightness to the main event. Next time you’re on the hunt for a side dish, think of these glorious side salad recipes for all kinds of leafy greens.
Amazing grains, how sweet the sound! (That is how the song goes … right?) Either way, there’s no denying the awesome powers of whole grains. Beyond the obvious health benefits of swapping them in for pasta, white rice and more, using grains as a nourishing alternative brings a welcome quirkiness to your go-to side dishes.
1. Take the rice out of your fried rice by using farro instead.
The glory of digging fried rice out of a takeout container could never be fully replaced, but making a good grain swap is a sure way to keep things interesting. Look to farro, an Italian grain of wheat that’s satisfyingly tender and chewy, for Healthy Farro Fried “Rice” (pictured above) that ups the texture of the classic Asian staple.
Face it: When you’re busy hunting down eggs, opening up your Easter basket and dyeing eggs, who has time to throw together a massive spread? After you pin down your master plan for your Easter ham or rack of lamb, feast your eyes on extra-easy side dishes that won’t consume your Easter Sunday.
Tossing high-impact ingredients like seasoned barley, lemon-marinated mushrooms and roasted asparagus together brings on a multi-textured, elegant Mushroom, Barley and Roasted Asparagus Salad (pictured above) with only 20 minutes of active prep. Plus, while you leave the asparagus to roast in the oven, you’re free to get to work on your other dishes.
Chances are you’ve ladled out your fair share of mashed potatoes over the years. Though this creamy, dreamy side could never, ever get old, there’s something to be said for dressing up your family’s tried-and-true recipe every once in a while. This week, in celebration of our first installment of Sensational Sides, we’re digging into mashed potato recipes that come to the table with a few extra-special touches.
When you sink a spoon into Giada De Laurentiis’ Baked Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan Cheese and Bread Crumbs (pictured above), you’re met with a crunchy, buttery topping that contrasts just right with the creamy, rich mashed potato center. Browned on top and served in a casserole dish, this cheesy take on mashed potatoes gives a special edge to a weeknight staple.
Though your holiday preparations may not have gone beyond trips to the store and hours spent scrolling for gifts online, another most-important element of the holiday season is coming up fast: Christmas dinner. While you may think of your recipes for Christmas ham and rib roast as yearly centerpieces, remember that seasonal side dishes are an integral part of your holiday spread. Start rounding out your celebratory meal by adding ingredients for in-season, produce-heavy side recipes to your shopping list. Here are some of our favorites:
Just like Thanksgiving, Christmas dinner puts the spotlight on stuffing. To differentiate from what was eaten in November, Giada De Laurentiis makes her Christmas Stuffing with Bacon with two varieties of rice (short-grain brown rice and wild rice) in place of bread, and stocks it with hearty veggies like pearl onions, Brussels sprouts and chopped bacon.
At its simplest, squash casserole consists of thinly sliced tender summer squash and a cheese sauce to bind it all together, perhaps with a smattering of crispy, buttery crumbs strewn on the top for crunch. But, as with many favorite dishes, there are a whole lot of opinions about which recipe is the absolute best. Variations include those with homemade white sauce, those with sauces made with familiar red-and-white cans of cream of fill-in-the-blank soup, decadent heavy cream and cheese-laden versions crowned with smashed sleeves of crackers and pats of butter, and mayonnaise-cream cheese dump-and-stir versions. The truth is, nearly all are foolproof, crowd-pleasing favorites, because nothing, absolutely nothing, spells Down-Home Comfort like a casserole. Read more
The babies in your life may be all about mashed veggies, but big kids (including adults) find just as much down-home comfort in them. This week, FN Dish is zeroing in on this fool-proof technique that works for potatoes and beyond. Feast your eyes on these favorite mashed recipes, each perfect for weeknight eating.
Potatoes are eaten in abundance year-round for a reason. To get in the spring spirit, add market-fresh produce into your mashed potatoes for a different kind of side. Giada’s Baked Mashed Potatoes with Peas, Parmesan Cheese and Breadcrumbs, for instance, go in the oven until crispy and golden brown on top. For a different dose of greens, try Giada’s Mashed Potatoes with Kale, which have mascarpone cheese folded in for added creaminess.
Chives, a mellow onion-esque herb now starring in a leading role at your local farmers market, add more than vibrant color. Chop them up and fold into Tyler’s Chive and Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
For a loaded appetizer gone side dish, leave the skins on — and fold in some crispy turkey bacon — get Rachael’s Mashed Potato Skins (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine.