14 Vegetable Sides for the Holiday Table
During the holidays, vegetable side dishes have to meet such high expectations. Their work is cut out for them: The timeless but evolving menus of festive tradition demand a plethora of accompaniments to escort, flank, and support the main event, whether it's roast turkey, beef, or ham. And the challengingly long nights and chilly days of the winter makes us long to nourish ourselves with comforting fare that warms and fills us but still leaves room for more.
Happily, the seasonal produce of late fall is a wonderful source of inspiration. We turn to the hearty blond root vegetables like potatoes (in all their exciting variety), celeriac, and parsnips, that are so good at absorbing sauces and dressings, and retaining the flavors we pair them with. Bright carrots, like those shown here, and beetroot offer their natural sweetness and vibrance.
The brassicas are at their best: succulent cauliflower is a divine mashed potato substitute for anyone conscience of carbs. No table would be complete without a dish of nutty green Brussels sprouts. Cool-weather leaves like spinach, chards, kales, and chicories are versatile and healthy (and a perfect antidote to our tendency to overindulge at this time of year).
And don't forget the fruit, when thinking about preparing vegetable-side dishes; late season grapes and an endless selection of apple varieties are marvelous complements for everything from to celeriac to winter squash. And those squashes! They alone are worthy of an infinity of recipes.
In this gallery, you'll find some of our favorite vegetable side dishes. You may decide there's enough delicious variety here to make you ditch the roast altogether!
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes and Walnuts
In this sheet pan side, the toasty appeal of roasted Brussels sprouts is boosted by the warmed juices of grapes and the crunch of tree nuts.
Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and Almonds
Sweetly toasted almonds and the deep flavor of fried garlic bring out the best in bold broccoli rabe.
Roasted Delicata Squash with Lady Apples
Satisfying enough for an entrée, slices of delicata squash and tiny lady apples roast together until their juices blend with bacon fat and fresh thyme. Feel free to substitute your favorite squash and any good cooking apple.
Radicchio with Honey and Balsamic
Sautéing radicchio in warm oil brings out the mellow side of this pretty chicory, whose color is made for a holiday table. Honey and balsamic add sugar and acid to balance the radicchio's famously bitter tonic kick.
Roasted Parsnips with Rosemary
Earthy, sweet parsnips don't get all the press that potatoes do, but they should. These easy oven fries are fragrant with rosemary's essential oils and sure to go fast.
Braised Fennel with Pomegranate
A delicately creamy puree, that's so perfect for collecting gravies and sopping up sauces. Once you try this cauliflower purée, you may never mash a potato again.
Glazed Carrots with Ginger
Petite, whole carrots are inherently glamorous. Here, their sweetness is balanced and enhanced by the heat of fresh ginger in a pan glaze.
Roast Duck Fat Potatoes
Possibly the perfect food combination, duck fat and potatoes seem destined to be together. These decadent morsels are a seasonal must.
Grated Beet Salad
This gorgeous salad brings the beauty of beets to the table in their most pure (and healthy) form: raw, with their rooty sweetness enhanced by a dressing of rice vinegar and lime juice.
Hearty Garlic Greens
A cornucopia of autumn green leaves is packed into this powerfully nutritious side. Use Swiss chard, kale, mustard greens or your favorite combination. Plenty of garlic pulls it all together.
Celery Root and Apple Remoulade
Pungent and crunchy, celeriac is a sop for the mayonnaise spiked with hearty mustard that creates the creamy dressing for this salad. The tartness of Granny Smith apple slices is a perfect counterpoint.
Spinach and Cheese Puff
Like creamed spinach, but cheesier, this is comfort food at its best. The mineral-rich spinach leaves are softened by the luscious texture of the melted Gruyère.