Recipe: Top 3 Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Recipe by Chef Randy Goldberg of the Matthews House in Cary. Part 2 in our Thanksgiving Recipe Series. Photo by Jacqueline.

Cary, NC – Are you tried of green bean casserole that came right out of a can? Bored with instant mashed potatoes as a side dish for your beautiful turkey? These 3 side dishes will please the vegan college kid and the football fan alike. Read on…

A Balanced and Bountiful Meal

At our Thanksgiving table, I like to have a green vegetable, a root vegetable and some form of potatoes. Even if there’s just our four family members dining, it’s nice to have a feast. After all, we love the leftovers! These three give you one of each, plus a squash.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

I recently rediscovered brussel sprouts. You know, those funny little mini- cabbages? They are delightful if sauteed and this recipe brings out the flavor by adding bacon- vegans- alert this one’s not for you! For my small family, I would cut this recipe in half, as the quantity serves a crowd.


  • 4 cups fresh Brussels Sprouts
  • ¼ lb  sliced Bacon
  • ½ cup  small diced Onion
  • Pinch  ground pepper


  1. Wash and cut the sprouts in half lengthwise.
  2. Bring to boil 2 quarts of salted water. Place the cut sprouts into the boiling water and when they are tender remove them from the water and shock them in cold water to prevent them from further cooking.
  3. In a sauté pan cook the bacon. When the bacon is cooked remove from the pan.
  4. Add the onions to the bacon grease and simmer until cooked.
  5. While the onions have been cooking, chop the bacon into crumbs.
  6. When the onions are cooked add the cooked sprouts and bacon crumbs, add pepper and stir.
  7. When all is heated, serve.

 Serves 12

Maple Acorn Squash

Nothing says fall to me like a roasted acorn squash. The color is gorgeous and when the weather turns nippy, the comfort of a roasted vegetable is heaven. A touch of cinnamon, makes this one smell delicious!


  • 2 ea. large Acorn Squash
  • 1 cup Maple Syrup (pure or imitation)
  • 8 oz. Dark Brown Sugar
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Ground Nutmeg
  • 8 oz. butter, melted


Some Notes on prepping the squash:

When working with Acorn squash be very careful, they are very hard to cut when raw. Use a very sharp knife. Cut off the stem by cutting off the top of the squash as well, this will be the base during cooking. On the other end cut off the pointed part, this is the base for that side as well. Then cut the squash across the center to create two “bowls”. Remove the seeds and discard.

  1. In a deep roasting pan place the four “bowls” so that they don’t touch the sides of the pan.
  2. On the edges of the squash drizzle the maple syrup and then the melted butter so that the excess drains to the center.
  3. Sprinkle on the brown sugar and spices to taste. Place in a 375 degree oven and bake until soft. Remove and let cool.
  4. When cooled, pour out the syrup into the roasting pan.
  5. Peel the squash and cut into large pieces.
  6. Place these pieces in your serving dish.
  7. Mix together all the “sauce” from the roasting pan and pour over the squash.
  8. Heat and serve.

Serves 12

Sweet Potato au Gratin

The old stand-by of North Carolina Sweet Potatoes get a bad rap with the typical pairing with marshmallows. For the more sophisticated palate, try this recipe and make everyone happy. Beware, it does contain butter and cream- buy hey, its Thanksgiving- live a little!


  • 5 lbs fresh Sweet Potatoes
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 4 oz. Butter
  • 8 oz. Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 t   Ground Cinnamon
  • Pinch  Ground Cloves
  • Pinch  Salt


  • 2 oz.  softened Butter
  • 1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 4 oz.  Brown Sugar


  1. In a 375 degree oven bake sweet potatoes until cooked through, let cool.
  2. When they are cooled the skin should just peel off easily.
  3.  Slice each potato into ¼ inch slices and shingle them into a 9”x 9” casserole.
  4. Bring to a boil the cream, butter, brown sugar and spices.
  5. Pour this mixture over the sweet potatoes.
  6. Blend together the topping ingredients and spread over the potatoes.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered until the topping is golden brown.
  8.  Serve.

 Serves 12