Our Must-Have Thanksgiving Side Dishes
The holidays are an excellent time to flex your creative muscle in the kitchen. They're one great way to show off your culinary skills. The beauty of it is that when you're making a side for a feast like Thanksgiving, you can try out interesting ideas to dress up some of the classic side dishes. We picked three of our favorite sides and made them into must-have recipes with a few simple tricks and a kick of flavor from our Bearded Butcher Blend Seasonings.
Black Truffle Mashed Potatoes with Mascarpone Butter
Mashed potatoes are America’s favorite side dish with Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of serving up bland, gooey potatoes that are only edible when drowned in gravy, use some interesting and unique ingredients to make mashed potatoes into an essential side dish. The addition of mascarpone cheese and black truffle oil creates a savory flavor with an amazing fluffiness. Bearded Butchers Blend Butter Seasoning makes these fancy taters explode with delicious flavor.
Whole, fresh truffles are a luxury that are priced outside of most people’s budget. Instead of breaking the bank, you can order black or white truffle oil and zest. This is a reasonably-priced substitute that does an acceptable job of giving your dish a truffle flavor. You can use either white or black. We prefer white for this recipe because it provides a slightly garlicky and nutty flavor over the stronger black variety.
Yukon gold potatoes are the best for mashing. Russet potatoes work in a pinch. Avoid using red potatoes or other waxy varieties. They get gummy when mashing.
- Yukon Gold Potatoes, 2-3 lbs
- Heavy Cream, ½ cup
- Butter, 4 tbsp, room temperature
- Parmesan Cheese, 4 tbsp
- Mascarpone Cheese, 4 tbsp
- Truffle Zest, 2 tsp
- Truffle Oil, 1 tbsp
- Bearded Butchers Blend Butter Blend Seasoning
- Wash, peel, and dice potatoes into equally sized, one-inch chunks. Fill a heavy-bottom stock pot with enough cool water to cover the potatoes. Add chunks of potatoes to the water then put on high heat and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a low simmer, 20-30 minutes until fork tender.
- Remove from heat and drain. Return potatoes to a warm pot. Sprinkle with Butter seasoning and drizzle truffle oil.
- Using a potato ricer or a masher, mash potatoes until smooth. Avoid over-mashing to prevent making sticky potatoes.
- Add heavy cream and butter, truffle zest, and cheeses, then fold to combine evenly.
- Serve with garlic-infused butter.
Ancient Grains Salad with Pomegranate and Roasted Brussels
This is a delightful grain-based salad that has the flavor and color of Thanksgiving with the deliciousness of the Bearded Butchers Blend Hollywood Seasoning and roasted brussels sprouts. Pomegranates add a pop of tart sweetness and bright color that makes this a must-have side.
The roasted brussels add a slightly smoky flavor perfectly complemented by the Hollywood seasoning. These are so good that we make them as a side on a regular basis. Pick smaller-sized brussels that have a tight head and no signs of worms or browning for the best results.
We use grapeseed oil over the more common olive oil. Grapeseed oil doesn’t impart any flavor and there is less risk because of the higher smoke point. Extra virgin olive oil works just as well and imparts more of a Mediterranean flavor.
You can also add chopped and roasted nuts to this salad. Pistachio, cashew, and pinenuts are all popular additions.
- Red quinoa, 1 cup cooked
- Farro, Freekeh, or Kamut, 1 cup cooked
- Wild rice, 1 cup cooked
- Brussels sprouts, 2 lbs halved
- Shallots, 2-3 diced
- Bearded Butchers Blend Hollywood Seasoning
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Cracked black pepper, to taste
- Grapeseed Oil, 3 tbsp
- Balsamic vinegar, 2 tsp
- Pomegranate arils (Seeds), ⅓ cup
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Wash and remove the outer leaves of the brussels. Cut them in half and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Sprinkle the brussels with salt, pepper, and Hollywood seasoning. Add the shallots. Drizzle with grapeseed oil and toss to coat the sprouts.
- Arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast until just crisping, about 20 minutes. Stir them at 10 minutes.
- Mix the cooked grains together. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar.
- Toss the brussels sprouts and shallots with the grains, then top with pomegranate arils.
- Garnish with a sprig of coriander and serve.
The combination of melty cheese and smoky flavor makes this one of the most popular sides at our table. We add our Original Blend seasoning to kick up a little spicy flavor and the sweet smokiness of applewood to punch this mac & cheese side dish up to a new level. This is a must-have side at pretty much any family gathering. We decided to make this one gluten-free by using corn starch for a thickener and corn-based gluten-free pasta.
This recipe layers mac and cheese for a creamy, luscious texture. You’ll want to add lots of cheese in this recipe to prevent the mixture from drying out when smoking. Keep the temperatures low in the smoker. You can go up to about 220, but much higher and you’ll lose too much moisture.
- Gluten-free pasta, 1 lb uncooked
- Butter, ½ cup, room temperature
- Whole milk, 2 cups
- Heavy cream, 1 cup
- Corn starch, ¼ cup
- Cream cheese, 8 oz, softened
- Sharp cheddar cheese, 3 cups, freshly shredded
- Smoked gouda, 4-5 oz, sliced or shredded
- Pepper Jack, 1 cup, freshly shredded
- Kosher salt, 1 tsp
- Cracked black pepper, 1 tsp
- Bearded Butchers Blend Original Seasoning
For the topping:
- Unsweetened corn flakes or potato chips, 1 ½ cup, crushed
- Butter, 1 tbsp, melted
- Preheat smoker to 180 degrees.
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a rolling boil. Cook pasta according to directions, but stop cooking about two minutes before the pasta is done. Gluten-free pasta made from corn is the best choice for this recipe. Rinse in cool water, drain, and set aside.
- In a heavy saucepan, melt the ½ cup of butter and whisk in the corn starch. Add in the cracked pepper, Original seasoning, and Kosher salt. Cook over medium heat on the stove top for 2-3 minutes whisking constantly until the mixture begins to darken.
- Slowly add the milk and cream, whisking constantly. Cook for an additional two minutes, but don’t allow the milk mixture to burn. Reduce heat to a low simmer.
- Add in the cream cheese and stir until completely melted. Add in the pepper jack and cheddar in handfuls, stirring to melt between additions.
- Stir cooked pasta into cheese mixture
- In a disposable aluminum tray or a cast iron pan, put half of the mac & cheese. Layer slices or sprinkle shredded smoked gouda over the top of the layer, then top with the remaining pasta.
- Mix the melted tablespoon of butter with the corn flakes or potato chips. Spread the mixture on the top of the macaroni and cheese.
- Place in the smoker for 2-3 hours until crisp on top and bubbly in the middle. We use apple wood for our smoke flavor.
These are just a few of our go-to recipes we love making for our family and friends. While some of the ingredients sound like they are exotic, these dishes are all relatively simple to make and offer excellent results. This Thanksgiving, get creative with your sides and offer up something unique.
If you're looking for more side dish ideas, check out our other blog post featuring sweet potato casserole, gluten-free cornbread, bacon green bean casserole, cheddar bacon mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce.
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