The American celebration of Thanksgiving is a tradition dating back almost 400 years to Plymouth Rock and the earliest European settlers, when the first meal consisted of duck, deer, seafood, cabbage, onions, corn, and squash – a menu quite unlike the Thanksgiving feasts we enjoy today. Though they didn’t celebrate with turkey, the spirit of the holiday was the same: giving thanks for family, friendship, and all that we have.
Over the years, the holiday has evolved. The theme of giving thanks hasn’t changed, but the spread certainly has. The modern turkey-day table is usually pretty formulaic; usually the bird, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and some kind of funky jello/miracle whip dessert your aunt made. However, these twists on well-known side dishes are sure to break tradition in the best way possible and give your family one more thing to be thankful for: knowing such a good cook!
Creamy Pumpkin Mashed Potatoes – recipe via Suite101
It’s hard to go wrong with mashed potatoes. They’re starchy, creamy, sometimes cheesy, sometimes buttery, and always delicious. This recipe takes another fall-favorite – the pumpkin – and incorporates the both of ‘em… with bacon! The pumpkin adds some nutritional value as well. The nutritional upgrade might be countered by the addition of bacon, but then again bacon is good for your soul.
Horseradish Apple Sauce – recipe via Saveur
The sweetness of the apple sauce is a perfect counterpoint to the whole-mouth (and sometimes nose) spiciness of horseradish. This makes an excellent side-sauce in the event that your turkey gets a little dry or overcooked, and is great on its own as well. Horseradish can be overwhelming, so be sure to incorporate it slowly and find the balance between spicy and sweet that fits your taste.
Lavender Roasted Carrots – recipe via Our Life in the Kitchen
This simple dish takes an old favorite, the roasted carrot, and adds something unexpected. We here at DRY are big supporters of lavender based dishes; especially ones so simple and scrumptious!
Cornbread and Chorizo Stuffing - recipe via Epicurious
This side dish hits the perfect balance of sweet and savory with just enough spice. Any other day, this stuffing could be a meal itself. Remember that a dish is always improved by quality ingredients. A good, spicy chorizo and homemade cornbread could mean the difference between “did you make any of the regular kind,” and, “can I have the recipe?”
Polenta, Sausage, and Apple Stuffing – recipe via Food52
This stuffing is a tasty update to a family favorite. The apples and sausage add a wholeness of flavor accentuated by all these great spices to create an entirely new take on this Thanksgiving staple. Also, since polenta replaces bread in this recipe, it’s gluten free!