Photography by Dan Austin
Styled by Lisa Malott

Last year, pastry chef and founder of Honeycomb Bread Bakers, Benjamin Vickers, gave us the essentials needed to master the roast. Now, we’re taking a look into some of our favorite side dishes to accompany this classic recipe and giving them a reinventive twist.

Much attention is paid to the main course of a meal, especially for grand feasts such as a Thanksgiving spread. Last year, that’s all we talked about! Let’s shine a new light on the often overlooked and undercooked side dishes. The Bonnie to your Clyde; the baby’s breath to your bouquet; the Snoopy to your Charlie Brown. The recipes included in this Taste feature represent both traditional and unique culinary perspectives ranging from the comfort food-craver to the sweet-toothed chef. Mix and match as you see fit for endless combinations that will keep your family well-fed for many meals beyond Thanksgiving.

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Mix and match these reinventive holiday classics to create the perfect Thanksgiving combination for your family.


[item title=”Cornbread”]

1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably organic stone-ground 1/2 cup all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour 3/4 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 2 eggs 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt or buttermilk 1/2 cup milk 1 tablespoon mild honey 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter (to taste)

1. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Also, heat a 9-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven while you prepare the batter.

2. In a bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda with a whisk. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, milk, and honey. Whisk the cornmeal mixture into the liquid mixture and stir until just combined.

3. Carefully take the hot cast iron from the oven and swirl around the butter so that it melts quickly but doesn’t get too brown, then quickly whisk the butter into the cornbread batter. Quickly pour all of the batter into the hot pan and place in the oven. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. It will be quite brown on the edges. Allow the bread to cool in the pan.

[item title=”Use the cornbread for dressing”]

Use the Cornbread for  dressing
3 tablespoons olive oil 1 large onion, minced Salt to taste Pecan pieces 4 stalks celery, minced 4 garlic cloves, minced 2 teaspoons sage 1 tablespoon thyme 1/2 cup parsley, minced Freshly ground pepper A double batch of the above cornbread, crumbled About 1/2 cup milk

1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large nonstick pan, and add the onion. Stir often until the onion begins to soften, then add a pinch of salt, celery, and pecans. Cook together for another few minutes until the onion is tender. Add the garlic, and stir together for about 60 seconds, until fragrant. Transfer to a large bowl and fold in the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Moisten as desired with the milk.

2. Transfer to a greased baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. This dish can be made ahead and reserved until you’re ready to heat through in a 325°F oven for about 30 minutes. 


[/item][item title=”Fluffy Pumpkin Cookies”]

Classic Fluffy Pumpkin Cookies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon salt Pumpkin or sunflower seeds (lightly toasted) 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 1 stick butter, softened 1 cup pumpkin puree 1 egg 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in medium bowl.

2. Using a mixer on medium speed with paddle attachment, cream the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy.

3. Add the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla, stirring on low speed. Add the flour mixture and toasted seeds and stir on low speed until just combined. Portion onto the baking sheet.

4. These cookies can be baked same-day, but flavor is best when chilled overnight and transferred directly from the fridge to a hot oven. 

[/item][item title=”Wild Rice and Roasted Vegetables”]

2 cups vegetable broth 1/2 cup uncooked wild rice 1 teaspoon rosemary 1 teaspoon thyme 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed 1 yellow onion, diced 2 red or golden beets, peeled and cubed A handful of dried cranberries or golden raisins Olive oil, as needed Salt and pepper to taste


1. In a medium-size pot, bring wild rice, vegetable stock, and rosemary to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and let simmer, covered, for about 45 minutes, until all liquid has absorbed.

2. Remove cover and let cool for about 10 minutes. Add thyme and balsamic vinegar, and toss together until well mixed.

3. Preheat oven to 375°F

4. Toss the peeled veggie cubes and onion with a little olive to coat, and lay out in a single layer on an aluminum-lined baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until veggies are tender and fragrant.

5. In a serving bowl, toss the rice and veggies and cranberries together. Serve hot.

[/item][item title=”Gooey Mac and Cheese”]

2 cups macaroni noodles Salt for the pasta water 1/3 cup heavy cream 5 ounces hand-grated sharp cheddar cheese (not preshredded) 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder 1/8 teaspoon onion powder Tiny pinch of cayenne pepper, or a dash of your favorite hot sauce

1. Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Add the noodles and some salt. Cook until the pasta is al dente. In the meantime, make sure all of your ingredients are measured and ready.

2. Drain the pasta and leave it in the colander for now. Return the empty pasta pot to medium heat and bring the cream to a boil for one minute.

3. Add all of the cheese and spices, and stir until the cheese has fully melted to produce a creamy sauce. Add the pasta, stir until the pasta is evenly coated in cheese sauce, and remove the pot from the heat.

4. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Reserve, cover, and reheat with a little milk in the pot when you’re ready to serve.

[/item][item title=”Spicy-Sweet Glazed Edamame”]

2 cups frozen edamame in the shell 1 teaspoon oil 1 clove garlic grated 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated 2 tablespoons soy sauce 2 tablespoons water 1 tablespoon rice vinegar 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1. Cook or steam the edamame according to package directions.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, water, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes.

3. Heat the canola oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Once heated, add the garlic and ginger. Sauté for about 60 seconds, until fragrant, stirring to avoid burning.

4. Stream in the soy sauce mixture and raise the heat to medium. Let cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce reduces to a glaze, about 5-7 minutes. Once you reach the desired glaze consistency, add in the cooked edamame and toss well.


[/item][item title=”Cranberry Sauce”]


12-ounce bag of frozen cranberries 1 cup raw sugar 2 tablespoons water Zest of 1 orange Cinnamon stick Pinch of salt and pepper

Place the cranberries in a pot, reserving about 1/2 cup in a small bowl for later. Add sugar, orange zest, cinnamon, and water. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, about 12 more minutes. Reduce the heat to low again and stir in the reserved cranberries. Taste the sauce, and adjust the sweetness and spiciness as needed. Serve hot, or cool before serving.