The Best Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Side Dishes

By: Amanda Frittz

Hey friends! I have a secret, I actually don’t like Thanksgiving food. I know, I know. Don’t be mad at me. I’m not a fan of turkey, and growing up I had mash potatoes and gravy all the time. Needless to say, the food selection just doesn’t impress me.

If you’re anything like me, and you could care less about the endless platters of Thanksgiving food then this article is for you! Here are some MUST HAVE non-traditional Thanksgiving side dishes that are sure to be a crowd pleaser, even for your picky palette!

1) Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

Need I say more? Bacon wrapped anything would probably be a hit.

Okay, Guys, this one is a goodie. Even better, it’s the easiest one on the list! You literally just heat up your oven to 375-400 degrees and place the bacon wrapped asparagus in until the bacon is fully cooked – flip the asparagus over and repeat.  I recommend cutting the bacon in half before wrapping it around the asparagus and seasoning with some salt and pepper. This one is going to go CRAZY fast, so I’d buy 2 bushels of asparagus and 2-3 packages of bacon at least!

2) Crostini with Brie and Elephant Garlic

Okay, this one is more of an appetizer, but I had to share it because it’s my absolute favorite!

My mom makes this every year, for just about every holiday and it is so so good. All you need is a french baguette, brie, and 1-2 elephant garlic cloves. Consider having some candy mints in a bowl if you’re going to make this dish!

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  • cut the tops of the garlic, and peel the skin off
  • drizzle olive oil on the top of the garlic clove and wrap it in tinfoil
  • bake for 45-60 minutes (until soft)
  • add brie to the oven wrapped in foil (take out once it’s softened)
  • turn oven to broil
  • cut french bread into crostinis and place on baking sheet
  • drizzle olive oil over bread before placing in the oven
  • wait 3-5 minutes or until bread is golden
  • plate and serve to guests

3) Mac n’ Cheese with Bacon

If you’re vegetarian feel free to sub out the bacon and add vegetarian sausage or just rid the meat altogether.

Have you ever had homemade mac n’ cheese? It’s the best. It’s been a while since I made this, however, so I’ll link a recipe that seems similar to what I’ve made in the past. If you’re feeling adventurous when making this dish add some ground mustard (the amount by taste) to add some zest to this delicious meal!

4) Brussel Sprouts with Cranberries and Almonds

My aunt was the one who introduced me to this recipe, and it quickly became my families favorite dish she makes.

This recipe is not only easy, but it incorporates the traditional flavors of a Thanksgiving meal with the addition of dried cranberries. Guys, it’s seriously so good! The brussel sprouts end up being crispy on the edges, juicy in the middle and pack a punch of flavor with the balsamic vinegar. Make sure to make plenty because this is a side dish that will go fast!

5) Loaded Potato Casserole

Admittedly, I actually like a green bean casserole when it’s done right. However, that’s about the only Thanksgiving casserole dish I can get down with.

Like I said before, I’m not head over heels for the idea of eating mash potatoes on Thanksgiving but this dish seems like the perfect compromise. It’s easy, loaded with cheese, bacon, and sour cream. How could you go wrong?

6) Sweet and Spicy Cauliflower

I don’t know about you but just the name of this side dish gets my mouth drooling!

I have been absolutely obsessed with cauliflower recently! If you aren’t a fan of spicy – try this pan-fried cauliflower recipe instead. If you have any vegetarians or vegans in your family then a cauliflower dish is an absolute must! Cauliflower is a great substitute for chicken or turkey, it’s hardy and super satisfying.

7) Roasted Cabbage Wedges with Onion Dijon Sauce

This is a delicious way to get in your veggies on Thanksgiving day! Personally, I love cabbage. You know what I love even more? delicious sauces to dip my food in. So this choice is obvious with the pairing of the onion dijon sauce.


That’s it! Let me know your favorite thanksgiving side dish in the comments. Happy Holidays!


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