Turnip puree

Photo: William Abranowicz

A Vegetable Puree No One Ever Expected
Sweet-savory is a classic combination on Thanksgiving tables, with all those apples and cranberries showing up in stuffing and other sides. But here's one take on the pairing we hadn't seen before: turnip and pear. Cooked and pureed, the vegetable and fall fruit are rich and satisfying, yet with a bright, sugary pop. Along with ginger, cinnamon, a touch of orange marmalade and some black pepper, the dish makes for a terrific alternative to a traditional sweet-potato casserole.

Get the recipe: Turnip and Pear Puree
Browned Brussels with Maple Butter

Photo: Ben Pieper Photography

Brussels Sprouts Everyone (Even Vegetarians!) Will Love
Although it's easy enough to have a filling meal without turkey, if you're avoiding meat altogether, many side dishes are off-limits, even if they are vegetable-based. This recipe uses maple butter, instead of the usual bacon or pancetta; they give Brussels sprouts a toasty, caramel-like flavor that's irresistible to everyone.

Get the recipe: Browned Brussels with Maple Butter
Garlic bread

Photo: © Kathleen Finlay

Old-School Bread with the Year's Trendiest Oil
Garlic bread is warm, savory and has a familiar flavor that goes with almost everything. Instead of using the usual butter, though, try this recipe; it uses coconut oil, which has been getting lots of recent attention, to give the toast a faintly honey-like flavor and keep it from feeling too heavy. A smattering of chili flakes adds just a touch of heat.

Get the recipe: Garlic Bread

Photo: Katie Farrell

A Lighter Green Bean Casserole That Helps You Save Room for Pie
This expected Thanksgiving side is often laden with a heavy sauce made from canned cream of mushroom soup and topped with deep-fried onions. But Dashing Dish blogger Katie Farrell lightens things up in her version, using plain, low-fat Greek yogurt in place of the creamy soup, and panko bread crumbs for crunch.

Get the recipe: Skinny Green Bean Casserole
Mashed potatoes

Photo: Craig Cutler

Potatoes with a French Touch
A few spoonfuls of fresh goat cheese add creaminess and tang to regular mashed potatoes, as chef Eric Ripert demonstrates in this easy recipe. It's a French twist on a classic American dish—and the flavors will pair wonderfully with everything else on the Thanksgiving table.

Get the recipe: Goat Cheese and Chive Mashed Potatoes

Photo: Sarah Shatz

Ciabatta Stuffing with Chorizo, Sweet Potato, and Mushrooms
Melissa Villaveces's favorite lazy Sunday morning breakfast is a hash made from sautéed chorizo, sweet potato, red onion, shiitake mushrooms and rosemary, topped with a fried egg or two. She incorporated those flavors into this dazzling stuffing. Try it for breakfast the next morning topped with an egg.

Get the recipe: Ciabatta Stuffing with Chorizo, Sweet Potato, and Mushrooms

Photo: Quentin Bacon

Apple, Celery, and Sourdough Bread Stuffing
The sweet-tart character of Granny Smith apples combines with the tang of sourdough bread in this moist, flavorful side. The crusts add a nice chewiness, but if you prefer a slightly more refined dish, you can cut them off.

Get the recipe: Apple, Celery, and Sourdough Bread Stuffing

Photo: Brian Hagiwara

Wild Rice and Mushroom Stuffing
This recipe makes an elegant alternative to ordinary bread stuffing. It's richly flavored with two kinds of mushrooms (shiitake and white), cranberries, carrots, celery, onion and thyme.

Get the recipe: Wild Rice and Mushroom Stuffing

Photo: Mark Bittman

Bacon Nut Stuffing
Simple yet irresistible, this savory side is perfect for a minimalist Thanksgiving. You fry some bacon; crumble it; add onion, wine, garlic, bread crumbs, pine nuts, thyme and bay leaves; then bake.

Get the recipe: Bacon Nut Stuffing

Photo: Craig Cutler

Emeril's Spicy Sausage Dressing
Emeril Lagasse's mother cooked her family's Portuguese specialties year-round, but her Thanksgiving dressing--filled with spicy sausage, lots of parsley, and milk-soaked bread--is his favorite. After years of trying to replicate it, he finally asked for the recipe. "It might be the best thing I've ever eaten. I make it all the time," Lagasse says.

Get the recipe: Emeril's Spicy Sausage Dressing

Photo: Mark Bittman

Turkey Gravy
Mark Bittman's quick, ultrasilky gravy is absolutely essential for your roast turkey. You can make it with turkey stock, though since that entails boiling a turkey carcass prior to Thanksgiving dinner, Bittman says it's fine to use chicken stock, which is easier for most cooks to come by, too.

Get the recipe: Turkey Gravy

Photo: Jennifer May © 2011

Potato Dinner Rolls
These smooth, airy biscuits get their lift from mashed potatoes. They're on the menu at the Montreal restaurant Joe Beef, where they accompany rabbit rillettes.

Get the recipe: Potato Dinner Rolls

Photo: Quentin Bacon

The World's Best Biscuits—End of Story
New York chef Andrew Carmellini (his restaurants The Dutch and Locanda Verde are some of the city's hottest tables) finds there isn't any more to say about these buttermilk wonders aside from, "Best. In the world. Period. Eat 'em while they're hot." He tops them with honey-butter, though turkey gravy would not be a disappointing substitute.

Get the recipe: The World's Best Biscuits—End of Story

Next: 10 totally unexpected ways to cook with pumpkin