With less than a week until Thanksgiving, we’ve officially entered crunch time. If you find yourself in the procrastination camp, don’t panic. I created an entire hosting plan for an easy and meaningful gathering you can put together with minimal prep work. I showed you how to create a statement floral centerpiece and outlined a classic Thanksgiving menu, but today I wanted to add a few side dish options to the mix. These are fresh takes on classic sides that just might become the crowd hit at your table this year.
Charcuterie boards and bacon-wrapped dates are what your guest might expect for a pre-dinner app during the holiday season. But allow me to introduce what is sure to be everyone’s new favorite: pull apart cheese bread. Think garlic cheese bread fresh out of the oven and sprinkled with chopped herbs for good measure. Just as the name suggests, your guests can easily pull off a chunk of delicious cheesy bread goodness to munch on before dinner hits the table. The Modern Proper has the best step-by-step instructions, and it’s super easy to prep in advance.
It’s not Thanksgiving in the Casey house without a bowl of warm roasted brussels sprouts on the table.
recipe via What’s Gaby Cooking
It’s not Thanksgiving in the Casey house without a bowl of warm roasted brussels sprouts on the table. They’re hearty vegetables that pair well with potatoes and turkey and are also a cinch to make. You’ll drizzle with olive oil and season before roasting your sprouts at 450 degrees F for roughly 40 minutes. About ten minutes before they’re done, you’ll squeeze a lemon over the brussels sprouts, and that hint of citrus really helps brighten up the heaviness of a Thanksgiving menu.
If you’ve already got the oven on for roasting brussels sprouts, adding these rainbow carrots is a no-brainer. They’ll be cooked at the same temperature for about 15 minutes (depending on the size of your carrots) or until lightly browned. As a home cook, this recipe is the absolute easiest lift, and they add so much color to the tablescape. They’re also really delicious, but I’m honestly convinced they’re worth it for the aesthetics alone.
The salad features creamy burrata cheese and a cranberry vinaigrette as a nod to the season.
recipe via Jacquelyn Shao
When I think of Panzanella (AKA: bread salad), I typically imagine a summer side with lots of fresh tomatoes and basil. But then I came across Chef Jackie’s holiday-inspired version and knew I wanted this to be a last-minute addition to our Thanksgiving menu. She uses a cranberry walnut loaf for the cubed bread and roasted brussels and squash in place of tomatoes. The salad features creamy burrata cheese and a cranberry vinaigrette as a nod to the season.
There’s much debate about the best mashed potatoes, but in my opinion, this one takes the cake. It’s straightforward and uncomplicated, but it also packs a lot of flavor with the garlic and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. You can easily double (or triple) this recipe if you’re serving a large crowd, and they make for excellent leftovers the next day. Hot tip: do not over mash, or you’ll run the risk of the potatoes turning gluey. Taste along the way and stop mashing when you’ve reached a nice, creamy consistency.
recipe via Half Baked Harvest
Last but not least, we’re drizzling everything in gravy—but not just any gravy. This is Tieghan’s legendary white wine gravy made with butter, shallots, and chopped fresh sage. The key is to make this gravy ahead (up to three days in advance) and have it ready to go in your refrigerator. It’s one less thing to stress over on the day of that you can quickly heat just before serving.
More to Read: 12 Kitchen Essentials for the Home Cook
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