Perfectly Paired Holiday Sides
Round out your holiday meal with one (or more!) of our spectacular side dish recipes.
Smash potatoes chunky and rustic, or mash them silky smooth.
Recipe: Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
This light side is full of fresh flavor that will perfectly complement whatever is on the menu. Use your favorite fresh herbs for a custom dish.
Recipe: Herbed Couscous
Farro is an ancient form of wheat that has seen a resurgence in recent years. Here we toast cooked farro in a bit of browned butter for a surprisingly delicious side.
Recipe: Browned-Butter Farro
Look for Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, which adds nutty flavor and an earthy depth to the grits.
Recipe: Creamy Parmesan Grits
Roasting whole carrots in a hot oven and then giving them a final toss in a sweet glaze yields an unforgettable side dish. Look for multicolored carrots for a stunning presentation. If you can't find them at the supermarket, try a local farmers' market. We use a little chile pepper to add just a whiff of heat. Feel free to increase the pepper or omit it, if you prefer. Also, you can sub chopped fresh thyme or mild flat-leaf parsley for the rosemary.
Recipe: Orange-Ginger-Chile-Glazed Carrots
Humble cabbage is an affordable and easy holiday side. Make it more elegant by braising red cabbage with apple slices. Adding bacon makes it delicious.
Recipe: Braised Cabbage with Apple and Bacon
Grainy Creole mustard adds texture and a delightful kick to the dressing, and roasting the lemons and oranges heightens both the sweet and sour flavors, creating a wonderfully nuanced balance. If you can find satsuma oranges, definitely use them to add a bright sunshiny tang. You can make the vinaigrette and pecans several days ahead.
Recipe: Harvest Salad with Roasted Citrus Vinaigrette and Spiced Pecans
This cheesy potato gratin gets a punch of flavor from nutmeg and fennel. It's impressive enough for a holiday party, but easy enough to put together on a busy weeknight.
Recipe: Fennel-and-Potato Gratin
This deluxe version of spinach salad features a tangy sweet maple syrup vinaigrette, sliced apple, onion and and goat cheese and is topped with sweet curried pecans.
We loved the dash of dried crushed red pepper—it made the flavor lively, not hot.
Browned butter adds a heavenly toasted nut taste and aroma to traditional mashed potatoes.
- Recipe: Browned Butter Mashed Potatoes
This homemade baked macaroni and cheese recipe beats the boxed kind any day of the week. For a divine main dish, stir in chopped cooked ham before baking, and then sprinkle top with chopped cooked bacon before serving.
- Recipe: Golden Macaroni and Cheese
Make a cheesy, creamy potato casserole for your next family gathering or holiday meal. Make it easy with frozen hash browns, cream of mushroom soup, and cornflakes cereal. You can also make it ahead and refrigerate until you are ready to bake.
- Recipe: Au Gratin Potato Casserole
If you receive candied or spiced nuts as a holiday gift, try them on this salad for a special touch. To splurge, use a variety of mushrooms such as shiitake, portobello, oyster, or enoki. Often grocers carry a gourmet mushroom mix. Standard white mushrooms will yield tasty results too.
- Recipe: Perfect Mashed Potatoes
Bacon, onion, and brown sugar pack these beans with holiday flavor.
- Recipe: Home-Style Butterbeans
Combine French green beans and red bell pepper strips with shallots and garlic for a delicious side dish that's far from boring.
This from-scratch recipe is suited for any level of cook—even first timers.
Tip: Brush unbaked rolls with lightly beaten egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and fennel seeds. Or, brush unbaked rolls with melted butter; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, kosher salt, coarsely ground pepper, and dried Italian seasoning.
Recipe: Hurry-Up Homemade Crescent Rolls
Cheddar and Parmesan combine forces with yellow squash in this creamy casserole. For a tasty and colorful twist, substitute sliced zucchini for half of the yellow squash.
- Recipe: Two-Cheese Squash Casserole
Sweet, caramelized pearl onions make an elegant side dish. This version is flavored with butter, white wine, and brown sugar and then baked for less than an hour.
- Recipe: Baked Onions
The presence of apple elevates this often overlooked veggie to new and delicious heights.
A quick and creamy Dijon-mustard sauce laced with Parmesan and Cheddar cheese turns a simple dish of broccoli and cauliflower into company fare.
- Recipe: Broccoli-and-Cauliflower Gratin
Roll salmon into spirals if you have extra time when making Smoked Salmon-Avocado Salad.
- Recipe: Smoked Salmon-Avocado Salad
These potato pancakes are a classic Hanukkah dish. Make a variety of flavors and add distinctive garnishes to clue guests in on the different flavors. All three are superb with Horseradish-Sour Cream Sauce and Spiced-Thyme Applesauce.
Frisée is a member of the chicory family often used in mesclun salad mixes. Buy bunches with crisp leaves and no signs of wilting. Use all of the leaves except the core.
Sauté fresh garlic to jazz up this simple yet delicious side dish.
- Recipe: Green Beans with Garlic
Recipe developer Victoria Amory recommends mashing Yukon gold potatoes by hand. "Don't even think about using a blender or food processor. Giving in to such temptation will result in a dense, inedible paste
- Recipe: Mashed Potatoes en Croûte
Pancetta and Parmesan cheese add salty flavor to the roasted Brussels sprouts. You can substitute bacon for the pancetta.
- Recipe: Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta
Sliced pears and roasted glazed pecans add a sweet, crisp flair to this super simple salad.
- Recipe: Leafy Greens Salad with Pears
Salty tapenade pairs with Asiago cheese, which is sweeter than Parmesan or Romano, in these elegant rolls. Starting with refrigerated pizza dough keeps the prep simple.
- Recipe: Easy Asiago-Olive Rolls
Packed with nutrients and hearty flavors, this salad is both pretty on the plate and perfect for winter. It tastes equally delicious with other roasted vegetables, such as butternut squash, onions, carrots, and potatoes.
- Recipe: Roasted Root Vegetable Salad
For a more pungent flavor in this classic salad, use gorgonzola cheese.
- Recipe: Arugula-Pear-Blue Cheese Salad
A medley of roasted vegetables including carrots and turnips combine with Brussels sprouts, cranberries, and a drizzle of molasses in one delicious side dish.
For this earthy salad, make sure to use wild rice, not a blend, to get a nice chewy texture.
- Recipe: Wild Rice with Bacon and Fennel
Make the soup through Step 2 the day before. Reheat, and stir in the lime juice before serving.
- Recipe: Sweet Potato Soup
The Panko-coated goat cheese slices lend a nice and crisp bite to this salad, which we've topped with a fruity pomegranate vinaigrette.
Tie green beans in small bundles of five or six with chives that have been boiled for 5 seconds.
A mixture of Gruyère and Parmesan cheese makes this luxurious baked dish all the more delicious.
Recipe: Potatoes Patio
Recipe developer Alex Hitz learned this creamy soup from his former business partner Mary Boyle Hataway. Strong coffee gives it superior depth.
- Recipe: Tomato Bisque
Use any combination of citrus on hand to compose this vibrant, fresh salad, and present it however you like. No matter how you serve it, sweet and sunny citrus complements any roast or fish.
- Recipe: Citrus Salad with Spiced Honey
Look for farro, a grain gaining in popularity, in your supermarket, or substitute wild rice. High in fiber, farro's firm texture and nutty flavor pair well with tender, sweet roasted squash and creamy crumbles of cheese.
To make ahead, prepare recipe through Step 1. Then, spread vegetables in a single layer in a jelly-roll pan, and cool. Cover and let stand up to 4 hours. Proceed as directed.
- Recipe: Glazed Turnips and Parsnips
We love how buttery Gouda and nutty Parmesan lend richness and depth of flavor to this dish. Bake it as directed or divide among 6 to 8 ovenproof dishes, reducing the bake time to 30 minutes.
This new take on glazed sweet potatoes looks as good as it tastes. We used the slender 'Garnet' variety commonly grown in North Carolina. If you can't find them, any petite sweet potato will work well in its place.
- Recipe: Sweet Potato Soldiers
Move over, creamed spinach—there's a new steak house side in town. Give the packaged collards an extra chop with a sharp knife to get them to bite-size pieces.
- Recipe: Collard Greens Gratin
Cornmeal is a key ingredient in this soufflé-like side from Durham, NC, chef Sara Foster. It provides structure so the spoonbread won't fall in the center, even after you scoop out a serving.
- Recipe: Sweet Potato Spoonbread