It’s really not my best personality trait, but I am tightly wound. Like, to the extreme. So when it comes to holiday entertaining, I need a plan that keeps chaos and unexpected snags to a minimum. Having company over stresses me out and having to juggle making eleventy-billion different dishes while guests are mingling a few feet away is pretty much my worst nightmare.
However! I’ve found a strategy that works for me. It involves carefully planning a combination of recipes that can be made in advance and recipes that come together in minutes—which allows me to choose one or two show-stopper recipes that take a little more time and attention. If those recipes are healthy, even better. While I definitely believe it’s just one day and you shouldn’t be afraid to indulge, you do still need to leave some room for pie, right?
These effortless Thanksgiving sides are the perfect way to utilize this strategy. Cranberry sauce that’s made in the Instant Pot frees up real estate on the stovetop, where you can sauté green beans; fresh fall salads are in the fridge ready to go while carrots are roasting to caramelized perfection in the oven alongside your turkey.
Can’t you just feel your stress melting away? You got this!
We all love green bean casserole, but if you don’t have a double oven, coordinating the stuffing, turkey, and casseroles can be stress-inducing. So save yourself the headache and make green beans on the stovetop. This keto-friendly recipe cooks in less than 10 minutes.
Easy Sautéed Fresh Green Beans with Crispy Prosciutto from Food Faith Fitness
Gratins are great for entertaining because they never fail to impress, but you can easily assemble them ahead of time so all you have to do is pop them in the oven on Thanksgiving day. And this sweet potato gratin is so delish, you won’t miss the marshmallows.
Healthy Sweet Potato Gratin from Hello Glow
If you don’t count kitchen staples like olive oil, salt, and pepper, all you need are 3 ingredients for this sweet-and-savory vegetable side.
Honey Roasted Carrots with Cumin from Hello Glow
Sure, you could just buy a can of cranberry sauce, but your guests will be impressed that you took the time to make your own. What they won’t know is that it only took 5 minutes in your Instant Pot. (PS – If you don’t have an Instant Pot, there are instructions here for making it in a slow cooker too!)
Instant Pot Whole30 Cranberry Sauce with Apples and Rosemary from 40 Aprons
If you prepare this mashed cauliflower the day before Thanksgiving, all you need to do before serving is heat it up and garnish with fresh thyme leaves. Who needs potatoes?!
Garlic Brown Butter Mashed Cauliflower from The Endless Meal
Make the simple dressing in advance and this 4-ingredient salad is a breeze to toss together right before dinner.
Apple and Pomegranate Frisee Salad from Bakers Royale
Here’s your strategy for this show-stopping side: prep all the veggies the night before Thanksgiving and refrigerate them on a sheet pan covered with foil, then whip up the gremolata. On Thanksgiving all you’ll need to do is drizzle the veggies with olive oil and toss them with za’atar before baking them in the oven.
Roasted Veggies with Dried Cranberry Gremolata from Hello Glow
Bean salads are a summertime staple, but this recipe adds some fall-inspired flavors to make it perfect for Thanksgiving. Even better? You can make it a few days ahead of time.
Thyme Vinaigrette Infused Apple White Bean Salad from Heartbeet Kitchen
Because this broccoli only takes 15 minutes to roast, you can pop it in the oven while you’re carving the turkey. Assemble it the night before and this side couldn’t be any easier.
Lemon Parmesan Herb Broccoli from Hello Glow