I like easy, and maybe you do, too? Here are 8 Easy Thanksgiving Side Recipes that don’t require much fuss. Most of them you can make ahead and just reheat before serving.
Autumn Roasted Vegetables With Feta Cheese and Red Grapes
Baked Scalloped Potatoes With Cheese
Bourbon Pecan Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Creamed Corn Casserole
Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Balsamic Vinegar and Parmesan Cheese
Cranberry Orange Relish
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges with Maple and Cinnamon
Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!
This Cranberry Orange Relish is a holiday favorite. It’s the perfect combination of tart and sweet.
It uses only 4 ingredients and can be made in under 10 minutes. No cooking required! You do need a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix, or food processor, though. I like to make this relish a day ahead and let the flavors deepen in the refrigerator overnight.
You’ll need fresh cranberries, 2-3 large organic oranges, about 1/2 cup orange juice and a little maple syrup or organic sugar, if you prefer. Rinse the cranberries well and let them drain and dry. Wash the oranges well, too. I like to leave the orange rind on, so just cut each orange into quarters. Remove any seeds that you see.
Using your blender or food processor, add the orange sections and just a splash of the orange juice and blend for a few seconds. You don’t want the oranges totally pulverized. Add half of the cranberries and blend again, adding another splash of orange juice. Scrape down sides of blender, as needed and/or use the tamper if using a Vitamix. Add the remaining cranberries and blend, adding orange juice as needed. I like to leave the relish a little chunky, if possible.
Pour relish into a bowl and sweeten with maple syrup (or organic sugar) and stir well. Taste as you go. You can always add more sweetener if you desire. I like this relish on the tart side, so I tend to hold back on the sweetener. If you make it ahead and refrigerate it for a few hours or overnight, the flavors will develop. Taste again before serving to see if you need to adjust the sweetness. Enjoy!
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Cranberry Orange Relish
- 2 12 oz. packages of fresh cranberries, rinsed, drained, and dried.
- 2 - 3 large organic oranges, washed and quartered with rinds intact.
- ½ cup organic orange juice
- ¼ cup of maple syrup or organic sugar
- Rinse, drain and dry cranberries. Set aside.
- Wash oranges, cut into quarters, leaving rinds intact. Remove any visible seeds.
- Add oranges to high-powered blender or food processor, add a splash of the orange juice and blend into large chunks.
- Add half of the fresh cranberries to the blender, add another splash of orange juice, and blend again. Scrape sides of blender, or use blender tamper if needed.
- Add remaining cranberries and orange juice and blend until combined. Leave chunky, if desired.
- Pour relish into bowl and add maple syrup or sugar. Stir well and taste. Add more sweetener if desired.
- NOTE: can make ahead and refrigerate overnight. Flavors will deepen. Taste before serving and readjust sweetness if desired.
Autumn Roasted Vegetables with Feta Cheese and Red Grapes makes a beautiful warm salad or side item. It’s easy, healthy, naturally gluten-free and tastes amazing.
I kept this very simple by using golden beets, Brussels sprouts and small golden potatoes for the veggies. You could really use any type of beet or potatoes. I just like the sweeter version of tartness that the golden beets seem to give off when roasted. As for the potatoes, whatever you have on hand is fine. Sometimes I’ll use the tri-colored small round potatoes or fingerling potatoes. Here, I had some small golden potatoes on hand.
The process is simple: peel the beets and potatoes and slice them. Cut off the tips of the Brussels sprouts and cut in half length-wise if the sprouts are large; you can leave them whole if they’re small. Go ahead and throw the veggies on a large roasting pan, salt them with some sea salt and drizzle with olive oil. Toss them bit, either by hand or with a large spoon, making sure all the veggies are covered. Feel free to line your pan with foil for easier cleanup. Lastly, season them with some herbs. Here, I had some dried oregano and rosemary on hand, so that’s what I used.
Roast in the oven for approximately 40 minutes or until veggies are at your tenderness preference. Remove from oven and garnish with crumbled feta cheese and red grapes for a touch of sweetness. Serve and enjoy!
Autumn Roasted Vegetables With Feta
- 3-4 Golden beets, peeled and sliced
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and sliced
- 2 cups Brussels sprouts, stems cut and removed
- ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
- ½ cup red grapes, cut in half
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- Herbs, such as dried oregano and/or rosemary
- Pre-heat oven to 375° F. Line large roasting pan with foil. Set aside.
- Peel beets and potatoes and slice them. Cut off the tips of the Brussels sprouts and cut in half length-wise if the sprouts are large; leave them whole if they're small.
- Put the vegetables on the prepared roasting pan; spread out evenly.
- Salt the veggies and drizzle them with olive oil. Toss them bit, either by hand or with a large spoon, making sure all the veggies are covered with oil.
- Lastly, season them with some herbs, such as oregano and/or rosemary.
- Roast in the oven for approximately 40 minutes or until veggies are at your tenderness preference.
- Remove from oven and garnish with crumbled feta cheese and red grapes for a touch of sweetness.
These Bourbon Pecan Mashed Sweet Potatoes are sure to be a favorite for your fall holidays and beyond.
Here’s a healthier version of the classic sweet potato casserole of yesteryear. Remember the gooey marshmallows on top and the overly sugary taste? I could never figure out why it was on the table as a side item at Thanksgiving when it clearly belonged on the dessert table! As a kid, I loved that casserole.
But now? No way! So unhealthy and full of sugar. But I still love sweet potatoes, so here’s a healthy alternative to last century’s sugary potato casserole offering.
Bonus: this recipe can and should be customized to your tastes. I seriously considered writing the recipe as “a pinch of this, a dash of that…” since it really does need to be created according to your tastes. I made the effort and actually wrote down particular portions and amounts, but please note these are guidelines.
So here’s how you put it together; it’s so simple. Peel, chop, and boil the sweet potatoes until just tender. Do not overcook; otherwise, the whole thing will be just too watery and won’t hold together well. Drain the potatoes, return to pot and start adding the ingredients as you mash. (Full instructions included in the recipe details down below.)
And here’s the crucial part – you must taste as you go. For example, you might like a more pronounced bourbon flavor; just add a little more. You might think it doesn’t need the addition of maple syrup; so don’t add it. You might want a little more cinnamon to shine through; add a dash more…you get the idea.
A word on the pecans: I like a smattering of pecans in my sweet potatoes, but someone else in the house wants a smattering of sweet potatoes with his pecans. ::ahem:: So my answer is to garnish heavily on top with the nuts, and he can dig in from there, while I go for the ‘taters underneath.
And of course, you can always leave them out altogether. Your choice, your ‘taters. Enjoy!
Bourbon Pecan Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- 3 medium organic sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2-3 Tablespoons butter, more or less to taste
- 2 Tablespoons organic maple syrup, more or less to taste
- 2 -3 Tablespoons of bourbon whisky, more or less to taste
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp ground ginger
- ⅛ tsp ground cloves
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- Place the sweet potato chunks in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil.
- Cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Do not over cook.
- Drain the cooked sweet potatoes and return them to the pot on the stove.
- Turn off the burner heat.
- Add the butter to the pot and let it melt just a bit before beginning to mash with a potato masher.
- Add salt, vanilla and bourbon and continue mashing, tasting as you go.
- Add maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger and clover and mix.
- Pecans: either add into the potatoes, reserving a little for garnish, or just add the entire chopped pecans as a topping/garnish.
- Serve immediately while hot.