Tasty But Unique Thanksgiving Side Dishes


Looking for something new to accompany your Thanksgiving feast? This collection of fabulous Thanksgiving side dishes is full of delicious recipes that are certain to be a winner around your holiday table.

The BEST Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate gratitude and to be surrounded by friends and family. But I can’t deny how excited I get about Thanksgiving dinner! Change things up this season while still celebrating fall-inspired flavors with these unique Thanksgiving side dishes.

Let’s be honest; the side dishes are what make Thanksgiving dinner so tasty. No one comes just for the turkey! They want the sweet casseroles, crunchy side salads, and the cozy flavors of fall alongside their white or dark meat.

Celebrating Friendsgiving? Try THESE Friendsgiving recipes everyone will be talking about!

Looking for more thanksgiving accompaniments? Try These:

Tasty and underused Thanksgiving side dishes

Like yours, my family has plenty of Thanksgiving and holiday staples that you’ll find at every family dinner. But we also like to mix things up a bit! I’m always trying out new recipes that are loosely inspired by the season and bringing them to the dinner table.

I wanted to share a few of those with you today – all family and Thanksgiving approved. Celebrate the holiday with some of these Thanksgiving side dishes you may not have thought of in the first place!

Onto the recipes!

1. Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Apples

We all know how popular roasted Brussels sprouts are around thanksgiving, but they can easily be upgraded with just a few extras. I add Honeycrisp apples, dried cranberries, and pecans in this recipe.

You get a little bit of crunch, sweetness, and tartness, and you just might be able to convince a picky eater that Brussels sprouts can absolutely be delicious.

platter of roasted Brussels sprouts for Thanksgiving side dishes

2. Shaved Brussel Sprouts Salad

How about tossing Brussels sprouts in a salad? This is my version of an ideal salad, paired with Honeycrisp apples, pine nuts, dried currants, and pecorino Romano cheese. You get tart sweetness, crunch, salt, creaminess, and a hint of earthy delight.

Thanksgiving often has tons of heavy food, so I like to add in a light and crisp seasonal salad to mix things up.

Winter Brussels Sprouts Salad on a plate.

3. Mashed Butternut Squash 

Now, I don’t want to play favorites, but this is one of those Thanksgiving side dishes that is up there for sure, thanks to my love of butternut squash. The flavor is bold and delicious and adds sweetness to what’s otherwise a typically hearty meal.

It’s quite simple to whip up and can easily feed a crowd. So if you want to switch up the sweet potato casserole, try this mashed butternut squash instead!

mashed butternut squash Thanksgiving side dish in a bowl

4. Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin

My mom brought this delightfully cheesy cauliflower Thanksgiving side dish into my life. The pan is scraped 100% clean every time it’s served. It has three different kinds of cheese: Monterey Jack, parmesan, and goat cheese.

Cauliflower softens up and takes on the cheesy flavor for a sneaky dish, complete with a vegetable serving.

cauliflower gratin Thanksgiving side dishes

5. Roasted Honeynut Squash

My love for squash continues with this roasted honeynut squash. A cross between butternut squash and buttercup squash, honeynut squash has a much sweeter and nuttier flavor than the two. You can also eat the skin if you want to give that a try!

This recipe is nice and simple, roasting the squash with butter, sugar, and spices.

drizzling maple syrup on roasted honeynut squash

6. Pumpkin Mac and Cheese With Bacon

Pumpkins can do more than decorate the dining table and be dished up in a pie. While pumpkin mac and cheese might sound odd, I promise you the fusion of flavors is tasty! It blends into the creamy cheese and savory bacon taste, making the dish feel a little cozier and fall inspired.

When you’re ready, bake the dish for a delightfully warm and easy side dish.

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Bacon

7. Roasted Carrots With Candied Pecans and Goat Cheese

This year, jazz things up a bit by upscaling your roasted carrots. The carrots are first oven roasted with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon for a sweet, seasonal seasoning. Then, pecans add a nice crunch to the soft carrots, while goat cheese adds a creamy, lightly sour flavor to offshoot the sweetness.

It doesn’t take much more work than your typical roasted carrots, but it tastes that much better.

Roasted Carrots with Candied Pecans and Goat Cheese - fall Thanksgiving side dishes

8. Baked Delicata Rings

Delicata is a type of squash that also has edible skin. This makes it super simple to slice the delicata into rings, toss it with a breading, then place it in the oven. With the breading, you get a delicious sweet and salty combo.

With the rings, I also included my recipe for creamy herb dip. Together, you can also serve this as a tasty appetizer for your guests while you’ve busy cooking up a storm.

baked delicata squash rings on a plate

9. Broccolini Salad

This broccolini salad is super versatile and can work with any type of thanksgiving meal you’re preparing, whether that’s going for the classics or a modern Friendsgiving.

Add some crispiness to the meal with broccolini, kale, spinach, red onion, pumpkin seeds, and golden raisins, plus a maple syrup and vinegar dressing. Yum!

broccolini salad for fresh Thanksgiving side dishes

10. Radicchio and Blue Cheese Bread Salad

While technically a side dish, this radicchio and blue cheese bread salad has plenty of bold flavors to steal away the show from the turkey. The toasted baguette, radicchio, pancetta, blue cheese, and red leaf lettuce make the meal feel slightly fancy, but it’s quite simple.

If you want a unique salad recipe, this one won’t disappoint.

blue cheese and radicchio bread salad in a white bowl

11. Fall Harvest Pasta Salad

Celebrate some of the best flavors of fall with this delicious pasta salad. While pasta salad may seem like a summer meal, this one is most definitely fall-focused. It has roasted sweet potatoes, dried cranberries, pine nuts, goat cheese, and broccoli alongside some colorful Cellentai pasta (the hollow centers hold lots of sauce!).

fall inspired pasta salad with sweet potatoes and dried cranberries

12. Waldorf Salad

Waldorf salad is another popular staple of my family’s Thanksgiving side dishes. Now, I’m passing along our family recipe to you! It contains apples, grapes, celery, walnuts, and marshmallows, all smothered with a mayonnaise-based dressing.

While it might sound strange if you’ve never had a Waldorf salad before, the combination really is a scrumptious one.

Waldorf salad in a bowl next to whole red apples

13. Orange Pineapple Dream Salad

You can serve orange pineapple dream salad alongside other Thanksgiving side dishes or as a dessert—I’ll leave that one up to you! I’m not quite sure why this one is called a salad, but I won’t mess around with tradition.

Similar to ambrosia, this recipe has fewer fruits and fillings. Made with cream cheese, milk, dream whip, and some gelatin, it reminds me of a cloud infused with pineapple and mandarins.

orange pineapple Thanksgiving side or dessert

14. Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Swirl

Every time someone visits me in the fall, chances are I’ll have some pumpkin bread ready to serve. It’s a quick and easy dessert to make ahead of time, enhanced with a cream cheese swirl inside the bread. Yes, it really is as delicious as it sounds!

When the bellies are stuffed from the meal and the sleepy turkey brain sets in, there’s always room still for pumpkin bread.

baked pumpkin bread sliced showing cream cheese swirl inside

What to serve with Thanksgiving side dishes

What is Thanksgiving dinner without a few libations? Here are some of my favorite cocktail recipes you can also serve alongside Thanksgiving dinner.

That’s a wrap of Thanksgiving side dishes

And those are my unexpected, yet dearly special to me, thanksgiving recipes! There’s bound to be a recipe or two from this list that will inspire you this Thanksgiving and hopefully offer a little variety to the holiday. Happy cooking!

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