Looking to liven up your Thanksgiving? We asked our readers to submit their most crowd-pleasing side dishes and the Editorial Board narrowed down the entries. Please vote for your favorite below, the top 3 winners will win a Team Sweatpants and Coffee mug!

Rae’s Curried Fingerling Potatoes

1 1/2 pounds of fingerling potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons sweet curry powder (Penzeys)
Pinch of sea salt
2 – 3 grinds of black pepper
1-2 tablespoons of fresh chopped cilantro

1. Boil potatoes in water 20-30 minutes until tender.
2. Drain.
3. On a cutting board cut the potatoes in half.
4. In a frying pan, on medium-high heat the olive oil. Add the cumin and curry powder, stir and saute for approximately 1 minute.
5. Add the potatoes to the frying pan with the spice mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Saute until golden.
7. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and serve.

Shauna’s Loaded Sweet Potato Casserole


This gorgeous sweet potato dish replaces the cinnamon and marshmallows in your traditional sweet potato casserole with all the flavors of a loaded baked potato. Sweet potatoes are mashed and infused with butter, cayenne pepper, cream, and spices, and are topped with sharp cheddar, crispy bacon, and scallion curls. It’s a savory spin on an old classic that will bring a whole new taste to your Thanksgiving table. Best of all, it’s a cinch to make!

2 40 ounce cans sweet potatoes in light syrup
6 Tablespoons salted butter
1 tsp seasoning salt
1/2 sea salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 Cup heavy cream
1 1/4 Cup sharp cheddar, grated
8 scallions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Dice the bacon and fry until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Reserve 2 Tablespoons of the bacon grease.
3. Drain the sweet potatoes. Place them in a large pot that has been heated to medium high heat. Use a potato masher to smash the potatoes well.
4. Add the reserved bacon grease, the butter, seasoning salt, salt and pepper, the cayenne, and the nutmeg. Smash the potatoes again to combine the ingredients.
5. Turn the heat to medium-low. Add the cream and 3/4 cup of the cheddar. Stir until the cheese is melted.
6. Pour the sweet potatoes into a small casserole pan. Top with the remaining cheese and bake for 20 minutes.
7. To curl the scallions, remove the green tops from the white parts. Slice each green top into four long strips with a paring knife.
8. Submerge the scallions in a bowl of iced water and let sit for twenty minutes to curl.
9. Remove the casserole from the oven and top with the bacon and the curled scallions.

Tony’s Corn Pudding

1 Spanish or Yellow Onion, medium, thinly sliced
1/4 C butter (1/2 stick or so)
1 1/2 C Corn Muffin Mix (1 box jiffy brand, usually)
1 Egg, beaten
1/3 C Milk
1 can creamed corn
5-6 drops Tabasco
1 C Sour Cream
1/4 t Salt (to taste)
1/4 t Dill (to taste)
1 or 2 C (to taste) Sharp or Very Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated

1. Saute Onion slowly in butter until light brown in 12″ or bigger frying or saucepan.
2. Combine dry items and egg, mix well and pour into 8×8 baking pan.
3. Add wet mixture to sauteed onions in pan until warm. Reserve 1/2 of the cheese for topping.
4. Spread mixture in thin layer over batter in pan.
5. Top with remaining cheese. Add more cheese if it looks too sparse.
6. Bake at 425 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until batter is dry and top is set.
7. Eat.
8. Make appreciative noises.

Katherine’s Apple Cinnamon Butternut Squash


2 lbs Butternut Squash, peeled and diced
2 apples, peeled, seeded, diced (optional: leave peel on)
½ cup dried cranberries
1 Tbl cinnamon
1-2 Tbl olive oil or butter
2 Tbl brown sugar (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400*.
2.Spray a lidded baking dish with non-stick spray. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, toss together the ingredients. Pour mixture into baking dish. Cover and bake for 40 minutes, or until squash is tender. Serve warm as a side dish.

Kellie’s Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes


1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
5.2-ounce package Boursin cheese with garlic & fine herbs (or similar)
3 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (3 cups)
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, for topping

1. For the sauce cook shallot and garlic in butter until tender.
2. Stir in flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon white pepper. Add milk all at once.
3. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly.  Add the Boursin cheese.
4. Turn off the heat; continue to stir until cheese is completely melted.  Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.
5. Place half the sliced potatoes in a greased 1-quart casserole.
6. Cover with half of the sauce.  Repeat layers.
7. Bake, covered, in a 350-degree oven for 35 minutes.
8. Uncover and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.  Cook for another 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and top is browned.  Let stand 5 minutes.

Kathy’s Polenta Stuffed Green Peppers


6-8 green peppers, cut lengthwise and seeded
1 C polenta (we use Bob’s Red Mill)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can fire roasted tomatoes, drained
2 tsp ground cumin
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 package chorizo seitan (we use Upton’s Naturals Brand)
Vegan cheese shreds (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Bring large saucepan of water to a boil, add salt, and blanch the cut peppers for 3 minutes; remove and lay peppers cut side down to drain.
3. Cook polenta according to package instructions (we cooked 1 C Bob’s Red Mill polenta in 3 C boiling water for 5 minutes.)
4. Off heat – add cumin, black beans, tomatoes, seitan to cooked polenta and mix.
5. Scoop polenta mixture into the halved peppers and place in baking dish.
6. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until hot and cheese has melted.

We served our Polenta Stuffed Green Peppers on a bed of white rice. Perfect combination! This quick and easy meal would be perfect for a dinner party; it is hearty enough to be a main dish and suitable to make ahead.  It is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Kathleen’s Crock Pot Corn and Potato Chowder

6 red potatoes, diced.
1 (16 oz) package of frozen corn
3 tbsp all purpose flour
6 cups of chicken stock
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
1/2 tsp of onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup of heavy cream

1. Place the potatoes and corn into the crock pot.
2. Stir in flour and gently toss to combine.
3. Stir in chicken stock, thyme, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and the salt and pepper.
4. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours.
5. Stir in the butter and heavy cream, and then serve.

Lyndsay’s Greek Style Roasted Potatoes


These are literally the best roast potatoes ever. Crispy and lemony on the outside, fluffy on the inside just like what you get at a Greek restaurant.

8 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp pepper

1. In large pot of boiling salted water, cook potatoes until slightly tender, about 6-8 minutes. Drain.
2. In large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt, oregano and pepper; add potatoes and toss gently to coat. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.)
3. Arrange potatoes on parchment paper-lined or greased cookie sheet.
4. Roast in 400°F (200°C) oven, turning once, until tender-crisp and most liquid is evaporated, about 40 minutes.
5. During last five minutes of cooking, turn the broiler on and broil potatoes until crispy and golden brown.

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