pineapple cranberry sauce

Photo: Lennart Weibull

Berry Fresh

Cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving essential, and this homemade version by Miss Robbie Montgomery, star of OWN's Welcome to Sweetie Pie's and author of the new Sweetie Pie's Cookbook, is the stuff of tradition. "My friend Mrs. Strauss told me how to make it, and it's so good," Miss Robbie says. "For almost 20 years I've been giving my Thanksgiving guests jars of it to take home."

Get the recipe: Pineapple-Cranberry Sauce
sweet potato and pumpkin gratin

Photo: Lennart Weibull

Hot Potatoes

For a more sophisticated take on mashed potatoes, try a gratin of sweet and russet potato slices layered in Gruyère, cream and pumpkin puree; it's a favorite of Adam and Jackie Sappington, chefs and owners of the Country Cat in Portland, Oregon, and authors of the new cookbook Heartlandia. "I always make it a day ahead so I have more time with everyone on Thanksgiving," says Adam. "Plus, when you give the dried herbs time to bloom overnight, the flavors get even better."

Get the recipe: Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Gratin
carrot soup

Photo: Lennart Weibull

Give It a Swirl

"A soup is a nice first course to get festivities under way, and it doesn't have to be super filling," says chef and O columnist Curtis Stone, whose velvety carrot soup garnished with rich celery root cream and crispy prosciutto showcases fall's earthy vegetables. "We often overlook the appetizer and go straight to the turkey and the gravy and the stuffing. A soup is the perfect add-on people don't often think to make, and this one works hot or cold."

Get the recipe: Carrot Soup with Celery Root Cream and Prosciutto Chips
turkey wings

Photo: Lennart Weibull

Wings of Victory

"What I enjoy most about turkey is the super-crispy skin," says Brandon Kida, executive chef at L.A's Hinoki & the Bird, who created these succulent turkey wings. "This way, everyone gets a helping. Plus, it's Thanksgiving and football is on, right?" Coat them with spicy cranberry-habanero sauce or drizzle with sweet maple-sage sauce, and dip in cooling walnut crème fraîche.

Get the recipe: Slow-Roasted Turkey Wings
kale salad

Photo: Lennart Weibull

Green Light

Next to all the decadent sides, everyone will appreciate something refreshing, like this sweet-tart salad from Andrew Weil, MD, author of the new cookbook Fast Food, Good Food. "The different colors and textures make it a real eye-catcher," he says. The dressing, which pairs orange juice and zest with a dash of cinnamon, softens the raw Tuscan kale without wilting it—so you can toss it ahead of time.

Get the recipe: Kale Salad with Oranges, Cranberries and Maple-Toasted Walnuts
pineapple casserole

Photo: Lennart Weibull

Pineapple Express

This pimento cheese and pineapple casserole from chef Sarah Simmons's New York City restaurant Birds & Bubbles is a fancier version of her Aunt Edna's famous dish. "It's got all the things you want—a little salt, a little sweet, a little texture, creaminess," Simmons says. "It's fantastic hot, but I actually prefer it at room temperature. Which is great, because then you don't have to fight for oven space."

Get the recipe: Pineapple Casserole
roasted squash

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Spice of Life

Squash doesn't need to be creamy or sweetened to have crowd appeal. Anita Lo, executive chef and owner of the New York City restaurant Annisa, drizzles chunks of kabocha with a sauce inspired by a traditional Mexican mole—a mix of extra-dark chocolate, shallots and garlic, plus warming spices like cumin, cinnamon and star anise. Kabocha makes for easy cooking and eating since its peel is edible, Lo says, and the unexpected topping gives it an addictive twist: "A little bitterness balances the squash's sweet flavor."

Get the recipe: Roasted Squash with Mole Sauce
mint chocolate chip ice cream bars

Photo: Lennart Weibull

Northern Exposure

Instead of bringing yet another pie, pack a cooler with Amanda Cohen's modern spin on Nanaimo bars, a layered dessert popular in her native Canada. When the chef and owner of the New York City restaurant Dirt Candy first moved to the States, she made this her signature contribution to Thanksgiving gatherings. "Everybody likes the person who brings ice cream," says Cohen.

Get the recipe: Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Nanaimo Bars
walnut sauce

Photo: Lennart Weibull

Special Sauces

Score major points this Thanksgiving—or any game day—with these three accompaniments to chef Brandon Kida's crispy beer-roasted turkey wings, his seasonal take on the Buffalo wing. You might also try dipping sweet-potato or barbecue chips in the Cranberry-Habanero Sauce or Walnut Cream, or mixing the Sage Maple Syrup Drizzle into a batch of popcorn.

Get the recipes: Walnut Cream
Sage Maple Syrup Drizzle
Cranberry-Habanero Sauce