Thanksgiving Side Dishes with a Twist


Recipes by Preeti Waas, of the Matthews House in Downtown Cary. This is the  first in a series of Thanksgiving menu ideas.

Cary, NC – Thanksgiving is around the corner and its time to start planning that menu!

Thanksgiving Side Dishes with a Twist

We asked Executive Chef Preeti Waas of the Matthews House for some new twists on Thanksgiving side dishes. Whatever the size of your crowd, you can always stretch out the menu with additional side dishes to be sure everyone has enough to eat.

Bored with the standard green bean casserole? Preeti came up with some Thanksgiving side dish that are sure to kick it up a notch for your holiday celebrations.

Green Beans Gremolata

This recipe is so simple, it will become your new standard. With only six ingredients, the result is fresh, not smothered in gravy or canned mushroom soup.

  • 2 pounds green beans
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • Juice of one lemon

To Make:

  1. Cook the beans in a pot of boiling, salted water for 3 – 4 minutes.
  2. Drain and immediately drop into a bowl filled with ice water. Drain after 30 seconds.
  3. Whisk all the remaining ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Add the cooked green beans, toss, and serve.

Serves 8

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Citrus Vinaigrette

Who doesn’t love sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving? And North Carolina is the #1 state for growing this holiday staple. But hold the marshmallows!

This recipe uses the zest and juice of fresh oranges combined with grated ginger to bring out the sweetness of these tubers. These sweet potatoes won’t make you loosen your belt either as the recipe contains no butter or otherwise fattening ingredients.

  • 2 lbs. Sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary


  • 1 tsp ginger (fresh grated, using a microplane)
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/4 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • ground black pepper (freshly)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

To Make:

  1. Roast the sweet potatoes in a 375 degree oven until done.
  2. Peel and chop into 1″ cubes, then sprinkle the rosemary on top.
  3. Drizzle with the vinaigrette while sweet potatoes are still warm and toss.
  4. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 8

 thanksgiving side dishes

Fried Pies

This recipe has a lot in common with an Indian dish called samosas. Try these bite-size delicacies as after dinner sweets. Individual pies filled with dried fruits could even be great for breakfast or on-the-go for Black Friday.

  • 1.5 cups dried apricots and apples (available at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1.25 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 2/3 cup cold buttermilk
  • 6 Tbsp. shortening (it’s the only time I use it)
  • sifted powdered sugar

To Make:

 For the filling:

  1. In a saucepan, combine dried fruit and apple cider. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat.
  2. Simmer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes until the fruit is tender, and the cider is reduced.
  3. Mash slightly, and cool.

For the Pastry

  1. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor (if one is not available, this can be done in a bowl, with a pastry blender or two forks). Pulse in four short bursts.
  2. Add pieces of cold butter and pulse four times, until the butter is pea-sized in the flour mixture.
  3. With the food processor running, pour the buttermilk in a steady drizzle until the dough just comes together. Do not over-process the dough, or the pastry will be tough and dry, instead of buttery and flaky.
  4. Form dough into a ball, and roll out using only light pressure into a 15″ circle.
  5. Using a 4″ round cutter, cut the dough into 12 circles, re-rolling dough as needed.
  6. Place about 1 Tbsp. prepared fruit on half of each circle.
  7. Moisten the edges with water, and fold over into a half moon shape.
  8. Seal edges with the tines of a fork.
  9. In a skillet, heat 2 Tbsps. of shortening at a time to fry the pies, turning them over once, until they are golden brown.
  10. Drain on paper towels
  11. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm.
  12. These can be made and frozen ahead of time. Bake from frozen in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until heated through.


Green beans photo by Megg.


Food coverage on CaryCitizen is sponsored in part by The Matthews House in Cary, now taking reservations for holiday catering.

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