The Ultimate Side Show

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Everyone knows that the turkey isn't the real star of the Thanksgiving table—it’s merely the backdrop for an incredible lineup of side dishes. From family traditions passed down through generations to new dishes you’ve got to try, it’s time for the side-kicks to step into the spotlight.

Here are the top five crave-worthy sides and the recipes to make them!

MASHED POTATOES. A staple side for most families throughout the year, this is when these creamy, pillowy bites really shine. Known on many tables across the country as the ultimate binder, many people use mashed potatoes to combine a plateful of flavors like turkey, cranberry sauce, corn and more for the best bite ever. But as the definition of comfort food, it is best served smothered in gravy. Check out this mouthwatering Food Network recipe. 

BRUSSEL SPROUTS. The unsung hero of Thanksgiving, these little balls of delicousness add a burst of green to your harvest feast. Sure, brussel sprouts have gotten a bad rep over the years and not many diners go for this side dish—but with this recipe from the Food Network, they just might give it a try because of one magical ingredient: bacon! 

STUFFING. The only other essential you’ll find on the table (besides gravy!) stuffing can be made with everything from Wonder Bread to grandma’s cornbread—and it’s all good. The combination of perfectly toasted bread, buttery veggies and an autumnal blend of spices warms any gathering but has a special place on Thanksgiving Day. So, if you want to try making it for the first time, check out this basic recipe—you’re gonna love it.

YAMS. Sure, there is sweet potato casserole and sweet potato pie, but sometimes all you really need is a dish of candied yams for a sweet representation on the table. This recipe uses honey and cinnamon for a healthy version of this side or you can go all out with marshmallows, pecans and more with this one. 

GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE. The best veggies on any table are the ones that don’t actually taste like vegetables and Thanksgiving is no exception to the rule. With that in mind, classic green bean casserole is going to satisfy every guest this season. This salty, creamy iconic dish is a true must-have for every holiday—especially when topped with those crispy little onions! 

PASTELES. Leave room for this Puerto Rican traditional dish! Pasteles are a type of tamale made with pork in adobo sauce encased in green banana masa, wrapped in banana leaves and boiled not steamed like Mexican tamales. Just be sure you get true green bananas (not unripe bananas) and banana leaves, you can find them in Latin markets and you can taste the difference—and this dish is so good you want to make this recipe right!