Bored of the Same Old? 25 Unconventional Side Dishes For Your Thanksgiving Feast

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Tired of trotting out the same old side dishes every Thanksgiving? It’s time to shake things up! Ditch the predictable in favor of the unconventional, with a collection of 25 side dishes that are delicious, but not Thanksgiving classics. And we’re not just adding a new herb to the stuffing here!

Zucchini and summer squash alternated in a dish topped with breadcrumbs.
Zucchini & Squash Casserole. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Some are fun twists on classic favorites and some are completely new flavors that will surprise and delight. Whether you’re looking to add a few new flavors to your menu or completely overhaul the usual lineup, this post is your ticket to a feast that’s as memorable as it is delicious. Make this year’s Thanksgiving anything but ordinary.

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Zucchini & Squash Casserole

Get rid of the heavy, creamy soup based squash casserole and make this layered zucchini dish instead. The alternating layers of green zucchini and yellow squash not only make it visually appealing but also provide a lighter, fresher alternative to the heavier traditional sides. Plus, it’s a breeze with just 5 ingredients!
Get the Recipe: Zucchini & Squash Casserole

Amish Potato Salad

Creamy potato salad with eggs and mayonnaise.
Amish Potato Salad. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Potato salad for Thanksgiving? Why not! This Amish Potato Salad is a creamy, tangy twist on traditional potato salad. Its unique blend of mustard, sugar, and celery seed offers a delightful change of pace from the usual. It’s a perfect choice for those who want to add a classic, summer flavor to their Thanksgiving spread.
Get the Recipe: Amish Potato Salad

Utica Greens

Top view of Utica Greens in a skillet with breadcrumbs and cherry peppers.
Utica Greens. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Utica Greens offer an Italian-American twist to the Thanksgiving greens. With escarole, hot peppers, and garlic, it’s a savory and spicy departure from the usual sides. It’s a bold and flavorful dish that brings some much-needed pizzazz to the traditional Thanksgiving table.
Get the Recipe: Utica Greens

Air Fryer Acorn Squash

Acorn squash after air frying with some of the insides scooped up on a fork.
Air Fryer Acorn Squash. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Put your air fryer to work this year and make Air Fryer Acorn Squash. It is a quick, easy side dish that brings a touch of autumn to your meal. It’s a great option for those seeking a simple yet delicious alternative to classic sides. Plus, its 25-minute cook time in the air fryer makes it a hassle-free addition to your festive menu.
Get the Recipe: Air Fryer Acorn Squash

Ramen Noodle Salad

Three white bowls filled with ramen noodles and vegetables.
Ramen Noodle Salad. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Shake up your salad game with Ramen Noodle Salad. Packed with cabbage and other veggies in an Asian-inspired dressing, it’s a crunchy, refreshing change from your typical Thanksgiving fare. This salad is perfect for adding an unconventional yet delicious flair to your meal.
Get the Recipe: Ramen Noodle Salad

Coconut Green Beans

Green beans in a white bowl on a table.
Coconut Green Beans. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Add an twist to your menu with Sauteed Green Beans with Coconut. The unique combination of coconut and Indian spices transforms this simple vegetable into an extraordinary side. It’s a quick and tasty dish that offers a welcome departure from the usual green bean casserole.
Get the Recipe: Coconut Green Beans

Beet Gratin

A casserole dish filled with beets and spinach.
Beet Gratin. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Beet Gratin is a visually stunning and deliciously earthy addition to your Thanksgiving spread. Beets and beet greens are layered with savory spices, it’s a sophisticated and flavorful alternative to more traditional sides. This dish is perfect for those wanting to add some gourmet flair to their meal.
Get the Recipe: Beet Gratin

Salt Potatoes

Salt Potatoes drizzled with melted butter.
Salt Potatoes. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Salt Potatoes, a staple in upstate New York, bring a buttery, creamy delight to the Thanksgiving table. Their bite-sized simplicity and delicious flavor make them a superb alternative to regular mashed potatoes. Plus, their ease of preparation is a real bonus during the holiday hustle.
Get the Recipe: Salt Potatoes

Chile Relleno Casserole

Casserole dish with chile relleno casserole topped with sliced jalapenos.
Chile Relleno Casserole. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

For a touch of Mexican flavor, try the Chile Relleno Casserole. With layers of fresh chiles and gooey cheese, it’s a low-effort dish that packs a punch. It’s an excellent choice for those seeking a spicy, cheesy alternative to traditional Thanksgiving casseroles.
Get the Recipe: Chile Relleno Casserole

Instant Pot Applesauce

Mason jar with instant pot applesauce next to a green napkin.
Instant Pot Applesauce. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Who needs canned cranberry sauce when you have Instant Pot Applesauce? It’s a fresh, tasty alternative that’s incredibly easy to make. With only two ingredients and no added sugar, it’s a healthy, homemade option that is kid-friendly too.
Get the Recipe: Instant Pot Applesauce

Twice Baked Potatoes

Twice baked potatoes topped with cheese, bacon bits and chives.
Twice Baked Potatoes. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Elevate your potato game with Twice Baked Potatoes, filled with all the good stuff like sour cream and cheese, and topped with bacon and chives. Cooked in the air fryer, they offer a crispier, more flavorful alternative to the usual potato dishes. It’s comfort food with a gourmet twist for your feast.
Get the Recipe: Twice Baked Potatoes

Honey Glazed Air Fryer Carrots

Multicolored carrots with a honey glaze one a plate with a green napkin at the side.
Honey Glazed Air Fryer Carrots. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Honey Glazed Air Fryer Carrots are a sweet and savory side that’s as delicious as it is easy. The air fryer gives them a perfect texture, with crisp edges and tender insides, while the honey glaze adds a caramelized touch. It’s a simple yet elegant way to upgrade your veggie sides.
Get the Recipe: Honey Glazed Air Fryer Carrots

Sauteed Mushrooms with Jalapenos

A bowl of vegetables and mushrooms on a wooden cutting board.
Sauteed Mushrooms with Jalapenos. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Spice up your meal with Sauteed Mushrooms with Jalapenos. It’s an easy-to-make dish that brings a zesty twist to the traditional mushroom sides. These spicy mushrooms are perfect for adding a bit of heat and excitement to your Thanksgiving spread.
Get the Recipe: Sauteed Mushrooms with Jalapenos

Roast Delicata Squash

Roasted delicata squash with sage leaves on a white plate.
Roast Delicata Squash. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Delight in the simplicity of Roasted Delicata Squash with Fennel and Maple Syrup. This dish is not only easy to prepare but also brings a sweet and aromatic flavor to your table. It’s a terrific fall side that offers a unique and tasty alternative to classic Thanksgiving dishes.
Get the Recipe: Roast Delicata Squash

Chickpea Salad

Healthy chickpea salad in a blue bowl.
Chickpea Salad. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

This vibrant Chickpea Salad is a refreshing addition to any Thanksgiving meal. Loaded with fresh veggies, it’s not only gorgeous and vegan but also gluten-free and super easy to make. It’s a perfect choice for a light, healthy, and colorful side dish that’s sure to be a hit at any gathering.
Get the Recipe: Chickpea Salad

Bacon Wrapped Air Fryer Cabbage

Bacon wrapped air fryer cabbage on white plate.
Bacon Wrapped Air Fryer Cabbage. Photo credit: Little Bit Recipes.

Elevate your veggie sides with Bacon-Wrapped Air Fryer Cabbage wedges. This dish offers a delightful mix of sweet and salty flavors, making it an irresistible and unconventional addition to your Thanksgiving menu. It’s a simple yet flavorful way to enjoy cabbage in a whole new light.
Get the Recipe: Bacon Wrapped Air Fryer Cabbage

Harvest Quinoa Salad

Image shows a closeup head on shot of Harvest Quinoa Salad in a glass bowl.
Harvest Quinoa Salad. Photo credit: Honest and Truly.

Venture into a world of flavors with the Harvest Quinoa Salad. Packed with quinoa, butternut squash, feta, cranberries, and roasted red peppers, it’s a symphony of tastes and textures. This salad is perfect for adding a wholesome and colorful touch to your Thanksgiving feast.
Get the Recipe: Harvest Quinoa Salad

Creamy Cauliflower Pumpkin Mash

Creamy pumpkin cauliflower mash topped with savory granola and sage leaves in a white baking dish.
Creamy Cauliflower Pumpkin Mash. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

For a healthier twist on sweet potato casserole, try this Creamy Cauliflower Pumpkin Mash. Made with mascarpone and topped with vanilla granola and pecans, it’s a delightful alternative that’s both tasty and nutritious. A great way to enjoy the flavors of fall without the heaviness of traditional dishes.
Get the Recipe: Creamy Cauliflower Pumpkin Mash

Braised Cabbage

Braised cabbage in bowl with spoon.
Braised Cabbage. Photo credit: Primal Edge Health.

Move over, green beans! Braised Cabbage is here to mix up your Thanksgiving spread. Imagine tender cabbage, slow-cooked to perfection with savory herbs and a hint of sweetness. It’s the unexpected star that adds a pop of color and flavor to your plate. A perfect blend of tradition and innovation, this dish is a beautiful departure from the usual Thanksgiving suspects.
Get the Recipe: Braised Cabbage

Baked Sweet Potatoes With Apples & Cranberries

A spoonful of sweet potato slices with apples and cranberries in a white dish.
Baked Sweet Potatoes With Apples & Cranberries. Photo credit: One Hot Oven.

Combine sweet potatoes, apples, and cranberries for a simple yet flavorful side dish. Baked Sweet Potato Slices offer a healthy, tasty, and easy-to-make alternative to more complex Thanksgiving sides. It’s a great way to enjoy the classic flavors of the season in a new and exciting way.
Get the Recipe: Baked Sweet Potatoes With Apples & Cranberries

Sweet Potato Salad

Scalloped white plate topped with sweet potato salad containing fresh apples, onion and pomegrante seeds. Background shows same salad in a blue casserole dish. Gold fork to the right of salald plate.
Sweet Potato Salad. Photo credit: Midlife Healthy Living.

Sweet Potato Salad offers a sweet and savory side that’s a delightful departure from the usual. With roasted sweet potatoes, fresh fruits, and a mix of flavors and textures, it’s a delicious way to enjoy sweet potatoes in a new, exciting form. Perfect for those looking for something different this Thanksgiving.
Get the Recipe: Sweet Potato Salad

Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole

Masshed potato casserole in a baking dish with a cracker crumb topping.
Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole. Photo credit: All Ways Delicious.

Forget the same old spuds. Meet the mashed potato casserole that’s so loaded with cheese, it could be the talk of your dinner table. You won’t look at mashed potatoes the same way again.
Get the Recipe: Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole

Broccoli Apple Salad

 Broccoli and shredded carrots on a mixing spoon.
Broccoli Apple Salad. Photo credit: Call Me PMc.

Broccoli Apple Salad is a creamy, crunchy, and refreshing side that’s perfect for balancing out heavier dishes. Brimming with broccoli, apples, carrots, cranberries, and walnuts, it’s dressed in a creamy yogurt mayo that brings everything together. A great way to add some freshness to your Thanksgiving table.
Get the Recipe: Broccoli Apple Salad

Squash Mashed Potatoes

Image of a bowl of squash mashed potatoes with a pat of butter and a sprig of thyme on top.
Squash Mashed Potatoes. Photo credit: Texanerin Baking.

Mix up your mashed potatoes with this Squash Mashed Potatoes recipe. Blending butternut squash with traditional potatoes creates a creamy, rich dish that’s perfect for Thanksgiving. With options for various dietary preferences, it’s a versatile side that offers a twist on the classic mashed potatoes.
Get the Recipe: Squash Mashed Potatoes

Sauerkraut & Apples

Sauerkraut in a serving dish with a spoon.
Sauerkraut & Apples. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Combine the unexpected flavors of apples and sauerkraut for a sweet, tangy, and smoky side. This dish is a unique and delicious way to bring a different kind of zest to your Thanksgiving table. It’s a perfect choice for those looking to add an unconventional yet tasty dish to their holiday spread.
Get the Recipe: Sauerkraut & Apples

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Unconventional sides to make for thanksgiving.

Hi, I’m Anne!

I love to cook and I want to share my recipes with you. I believe cooking should be approachable and fun, not a chore. I want to make simple recipes using everyday ingredients that you can make again and again, whether it is for a busy weeknight, a summer cookout or a special dessert. Read more...

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