We are so excited about Thanksgiving here at The Southern Weekend, we started talking about which side items we were most looking forward to. Then, someone had the brilliant idea to rank them. Six hours, two near fist fights and plenty of hungry staff members later… and we’re pleased to say we’ve come up with our list.
So here you go: 15 Thanksgiving Side Items Ranked by The Southern Weekend
The Nice-to Haves
This group of sides is a nice bunch. If they are on the dinner table, we’re going to eat them. If they are there one year and not the next, that’s okay with us too.
15) Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Some of us love them, some of us hate them. None of us said we needed them at every Thanksgiving meal. (Except Molly who got a little tear in her eye with this one.)
Sometimes, we like a change of pace from the traditional potato based holiday fare. Enter rice. Pair it with some gravy. Use it in a stand alone side dish, either cold or warm. Tuck it into a casserole. Rice is nice.
13) Dinner Rolls
Do you really need that extra bit of starch on Thanksgiving? Bread and butter is always nice, but to be honest, we can either pass the rolls, or pass on them altogether.
12) Deviled Eggs
People need to eat a little something while they are waiting for the turkey to finally finish cooking. Enter this Southern staple: the deviled egg. Knock a few back in early afternoon as you are settling in for the first football game, and waiting for the bird suddenly isn’t quite as bad.
The Family Traditions
Each one of these dishes had someone on our staff who passionately argued it was not Thanksgiving unless that dish was on the table. That said, none of these dishes were a staple on all of our plates.
11) Cornbread and/or Biscuits
Are you Southern? Are you eating dinner? Any other questions? There was a bit of a debate amongst our office as to which would win out. You be the judge.
10) Broccoli Casserole
Everyone agreed a cheesy, gooey broccoli casserole just fits with Turkey Day. Nobody expected we would rank this one so high, but no one took issue when we did.
9) Squash Casserole
Everyone has their different twist on this dish. Squash, apples, raisins, brown sugar, and butter are especially good together.
8) Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Who doesn’t like a little bit of dessert with their dinner? Bake the potatoes until they are soft, add in maple syrup, brown sugar or toasted marshmallows (or maybe even all three) and you’ve got a Thanksgiving winner.
If it is Thanksgiving, you need these. Make no exceptions.
7) Glazed Carrots
A strongly underrated Thanksgiving side. Carrots cooked with brown sugar are delicious. Is it the flashiest dish? No. Is it the first item we put on our plates? Never. But we all kept coming back to our orange friends.
6) Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is the comfort food of the South. If you are doing it right, it also takes a while to put together, making it the perfect dish to whip out on special occasions like Thanksgiving.
5) Cranberry Relish/Sauce
Welcome to our first point of debate. Some of us are relish folks. Some of us are sauce aficionados. And while we never came to a consensus on the best cranberry dish (hint… it’s relish), we all agreed we needed that bit of tart to help round out our Thanksgiving meal.
The Big Four
Sure, you’ve got to have your staples. But not everyone loves carrots or relish. When it comes to The Big Four, you will find these sides at every Thanksgiving – they’ll be on everyone’s plate too.
4) Green Bean Casserole
We admit it. The best thing about a green bean casserole is probably the crunchy onions on top. In fact, you could put a plate full of onion rings on the table and watch them disappear. But then, someone would ask, “Where’s the green bean casserole these should go on?”
3) Mashed Potatoes
We love mashed potatoes. Nearly all of us had stories of mashed potato eating contests at our Thanksgiving dinner tables, with people going back for seconds, and thirds, and fourths. We need these. Now.
2) Dressing (Don’t Call it Stuffing)
Here was our second big “conversation.” Sometimes, people use words which don’t make sense. Like “stuffing.” It is not called “stuffing.” It is called “dressing.” And if you were born in the South, chances are you will argue that point until the sun goes down. That said, regardless of what you call it, DRESSING is delicious and needs to be on the table.
Thanksgiving = Gravy. Pour it on your potatoes, rice, turkey, and then sop it up with bread. Versatile and delicious. Yum.
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