Thanksgiving Side Dishes That Steal the Show

With Halloween behind us, we feel like it’s finally appropriate to shift our focus to Thanksgiving. Of course, the turkey often reigns supreme, but let’s be real, it’s the sides we get most excited about. From a classic Southern stuffing to an inspired and fresh eggplant dish, we’ve got some star-stealing offerings from Scouted culinary experts across the country. Now, who’s bringing dessert? 

Mini Roasted Eggplants with Lemon & Feta

Photography courtesy of Caramelized.

“Turkey might take the main stage on Thanksgiving, but if it were up to me, I’d prioritize sides all day,” Cara Greenstein, owner of Caramelized in Memphis, Tennessee, explains. “To balance the stuffing and cornbread, these perfectly portioned roasted eggplant halves bring a smoky, earthy flavor to the lineup while keeping things light. I love the tahini drizzle to round out this easy recipe.”

Yields 8 servings


  • 4 mini eggplants, halved and scored
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Cumin, to taste
  • Harissa, to taste
  • Za’atar, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 half lemon
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Tahini, to taste


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place eggplant halves, scored side up, on the sheet. Pour olive oil generously over eggplants, adding more if needed. Liberally sprinkle spices over eggplant. Roast for 30-40 minutes until soft and golden. Remove from the oven, and sprinkle with feta and parsley. Squeeze lemon over vegetables and drizzle extra olive oil or tahini on top, if desired.

Recipe courtesy of Cara Greenstein of Caramelized. Caramelized appears in The Scout Guide Memphis.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Cider Vinaigrette

“This is one of our go to sides for Thanksgiving and fall catering menus. A unique and delicious way to eat your veggies,” Richard LeBeau, head chef at Artichoke and Company in Bonita Springs, Florida, says. “The cider vinaigrette gives a burst of flavor alongside the sweet, crispy bacon and toasted pecans, atop an elegant bed of tender brussel sprouts.”

Yields 2 to 6 servings


  • ¼ cup fresh apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 slices thick-cut bacon, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • ½ cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped 


Whisk together cider, dijon, whole grain mustard, vinegar, and oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer bacon to the bowl and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat. Add shallot to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to soften, about 1 minute. Add Brussels sprouts and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, 4 to 6 minutes: transfer to bowl with bacon. Add dressing to the skillet and cook, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet, until it thickens, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Return bacon and Brussels sprouts to skillet and toss to coat. Discard the thyme. Serve warm, topped with toasted pecans.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Richard LeBeau of Artichoke and Company. Artichoke and Company appears in The Scout Guide Naples.

Mashed Potatoes

Photography courtesy of Allianna’s Kitchen.

“These mashed potatoes are creamy, soft, delicious, gluten free and perfect for Thanksgiving! The coconut cream combined with ghee and fresh garlic is to die for,” Allianna Schneider Moximchalk, owner of Allianna’s Kitchen in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, shares. Head to Allianna’s website for her full thanksgiving recipe roundup.

Yields 6 servings


  • 24 ounces rainbow mini potatoes, about one bag
  • 3/4 cup coconut cream or almond milk
  • 5 tablespoons ghee (if you are vegan, sub for vegan butter)
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper, for garnish


Wash all potatoes and dice them into fourths. Place the diced up potatoes in a large pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 20 minutes. Once the potatoes are soft, drain the water in a colander and place the potatoes in a bowl. Using your potato masher or meat tenderizer, mash up the potatoes (I like to leave the skin on because it contains a ton of nutrients). Add in the melted ghee, garlic, sea salt, pepper, and dairy free milk or cream of your choice and blend with the handheld food processor until a mashed potato-like consistency forms. Garnish with fresh herbs and cracked pepper.

Recipe courtesy of Allianna Schneider Moximchalk of Allianna’s Kitchen. Allianna’s Kitchen appears in The Scout Guide Pittsburgh.

Classic Cranberry Relish

“This dish has the perfect amount of sweet and acidity to add to the umami flavor profiles of any Thanksgiving menu; fresh is always best,” David Pan, personal chef and co-owner of Orange Beach Concierge in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama, explains.

Yields 6 to 8 servings


  • 1 pound fresh cranberries
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup 100% cranberry juice
  • 1 cup local honey


Wash the cranberries and discard any that are soft or wrinkled. Combine the orange juice, cranberry juice and honey in a 2 quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cranberries and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst and the mixture thickens. Do not cook for more than 15 minutes as the pectin will start to break down and the sauce will not set as well. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Carefully spoon the cranberry sauce into a 3 cup mold. Place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to overnight.

Recipe courtesy of Chef David Pan of Orange Beach Concierge. Orange Beach Concierge appears in The Scout Guide Gulf Coast.

Cornbread Dressing

Photography courtesy of The Bower.

“I’ve been thinking about favorite Turkey Day recipes and only one dish really comes to mind: my Mom’s cornbread dressing,” says Marcus Woodham, executive of The Bower in New Orleans, Louisiana. “It’s the dish I look forward to and the one that I must have every year—she makes an extra pan for me to take home each year. It’s fairly easy to make and the results are awesome!”

Yields 12-15 servings


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound tub Savoie’s dressing mix
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 large ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch of Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 2-3 boxes Jiffy cornbread mix
  • 6-8 cups chicken broth


Brown ground meat in a large, heavy pot. Add Savoie’s dressing mix and stir well. Add chopped onion, celery and bell pepper and simmer on medium low until ingredients have softened. Cook Jiffy cornbread according to package directions, let cool and crumble into a large bowl (large enough to accommodate the meat mixture and chicken broth). Add meat mixture to the crumbled cornbread along with the chopped green onions and parsley and mix together well. Start adding chicken broth until mixture is soupy and mix well. Pour into a large aluminum pan and bake at 350 degrees uncovered until the top is golden brown.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Marcus Woodham of The Bower. The Bower appears in The Scout Guide New Orleans.