Meal Prep | 5 Classic Vegetarian Side Dishes with a Twist for Thanksgiving Dinner

by | Nov 20, 2017 | Entertaining, Home

We’re just a few short days away from Thanksgiving Day, can you believe it? In my home turkey isn’t the real star on the Thanksgiving table—it’s all those yummy side dishes. This year we’re serving up a feast for five and while many will fill their plate with turkey and pasta (yes, pasta Sal’s family is Italian) my plate will be packed with a vegetarian menu. If you’re hosting a vegetarian or two this year at your dinner table you’ll want to try out one of these recipes.  

I don’t know how you feel, but when it comes to Thanksgiving, the more side dishes offered the better, here are five delicious side dish recipes that are sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Carrots Al Forno

Carrots are one of my favorite vegetables. Add some cheese and well, this becomes a tasty dish. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1-2 bunches of whole carrots with stems
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • whole wheat bread crumbs
  • parmesan cheese
  • salt + pepper
  • 6-8 ounces veggie stock

Pre-heat oven 375 degrees. Cutback stems leaving a tiny a 1/4 on carrot. Peel carrots. Bring a pot of water to a boil (season with salt if desired) and add carrots allowing them to blanch for about 5 minutes. Lightly oil a Pyrex glass dish. Next, add carrots so they lay flat in the dish. Lightly oil the carrots before adding a thin layer of bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and pepper. Finally, add  vegetable stock into the dish (so the carrots soak in a 1/4 inch thick bath this will prevent the carrots from burning. Let it bake in oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. 

Reduced Fat Mashed Potatoes

I love me some mashed potatoes, it’s the star of my dish the only problem is, most regular mashed potato recipes called for ingredients with high fat. In my house there are two ingredients we refuse to cook with milk + butter. Before you pass over the recipe, try potatoes this way first, yes we loose the fat but there is still a ton of flavor. Here’s what you need:

  • 6-8 Idaho baked potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups of veggie stock
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • salt + pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil (season with salt if desired). Peel potatoes then place them in the boiling water until tender. Strain the potatoes. Next, place on low heat until mashed. Add the veggie stock and sour cream. Salt and pepper as desired before and after you mash the mix. You’ll want to serve this hot, so time these accordingly. 

Corn + Tomatoes

It’s important to have this simple veggie mix as a topping on my mashed potatoes. It adds more flavor and another textured to the plate. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • 1 package of frozen corn
  • 1 package of baby tomatoes (cut in half)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt + pepper

Lightly oil a sauté pan, place on medium heat until oil is hot. Next add your corn and tomatoes. Sauté until  lightly golden brown. Add salt and pepper as desired before serving. 

Drunken String Beans with Shallots

Growing up string bean casserole was a major dish in our Thanksgiving dinner, I still require this vegetable at my table but I’ve changed up the ingredients to remove any cream. Here’s what you need for this recipe:

  • 1 package of french cut string beans (cut off ends)
  • 2 medium size shallots (thinly cut)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt + pepper
  • 1 cup of veggie stock
  • 1/4 cup of cognac
  • crispy friend onions (as garnish)

Lightly oil a sauté pan, place on medium heat until oil is hot. Next add shallots for 1-2 minute until golden brown. This part can get tricky, so be careful. Reduce heat, add in your favorite cognac until it burns off. Then add in veggie stock and string beans. Sauté until tender. Let stand, dish and garnish with crispy fried onions.

Brussel Sprouts with Orange-Rosemary Infused Olives + Walnuts

In this recipe, we combine two dishes into one creating a unique flavor on an unpopular vegetable. I never really liked brussel sprouts until we sautéed and baked them. Add the rest of these ingredients of a festive flavored dish. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • 1 bundle of brussel sprouts (cut in half)
  • 1 orange peel
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt + pepper
  • 1/4 pound of pitted kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts (whole)
  • 2 tablespoons of veggie stock
  • 4 rosemary sprigs

This is a three step process. Preheat oven to  375 degrees. Step 1: In a cast-iron pan add a light coating of oil over medium heat once hot add in brussel sprouts and sauté until golden brown. Set aside. Step 2 (the sauce): In the same pan without the brussel sprouts add a touch more oil, the orange peel, kalamata olives and rosemary. Sauté together over medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown. Finally, add your veggie stock, walnuts and brussel sprouts for another 3-5 minutes. Step 3: Transfer the ingredients to a baking dish and let it cook in oven for about 20 minutes or until crisp.

There you have it five simple vegetarian side dishes with a twist. What sides do you serve up for your Thanksgiving dinner? Let us know in the comments below. I’d love to hear about them. 
Happy Thanksgiving,

P.S. Did you miss our latest free online class? Ready. Set. Decorate. How to Maintain a Show-Ready Home During the Holidays to Welcome Guests (Even Unexpected Ones.) If you missed it, you can still catch the replay by watching here or clicking the image below. We had a lot of fun and shared a ton of information that created a few eye openers even for the expert panel.

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