Our 21 Best Thanksgiving Sides: The Big Hits, Plus New Classics

There is no other holiday on the U.S. federal calendar that lets you celebrate vegetables, salads, and side dishes in such an unbridled, unapologetic way as Thanksgiving does. When it comes to this holiday, turkey—as much as I love the taste of it with its drippings and the amazing future sandwiches it’s destined to root—is the one side at my table. Thanksgiving lets you go the extra mile with the supporting characters, so much so that, for many, they somehow end up becoming the stars of the show. It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it, when the underdog finally gets to shine?

I’m a sides guy, in short. I think many people are. Which is why it makes sense to really nail down your mix because there’s a lot going on in side dish land: You’ve got to keep some mainstay classics because the point of Thanksgiving is, on the one hand, tradition: the comfort of repetition and family and the dinner table. On the other hand, time (and the day off!) to do nothing but dwell in the kitchen, cooking and communing and experimenting with new recipes. In the midst of all the cheesy casseroles and starchy starches (the reliable standbys), it helps to throw in something green, or something crunchy, or something fresh and vibrant and zingy—something new. Eye-opening side dishes that will become, in their magnificence, new classics.