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7 Cheesy Thanksgiving Sides to Make This Year


Like most other 2020 holidays, Thanksgiving will probably be smaller, quieter, and less exciting this year. COVID-19 safety restrictions are keeping us from the big gatherings we’re used to, and many families are planning virtual dinners in place of their traditional get-togethers. But look on the bright side: We can still relish the joy of Thanksgiving dishes and drinks from the comfort of our homes (and our sweatpants)—without the stress of entertaining! So don’t skimp out on the Thanksgiving menu this year just because your dining room table is emptier; add some holiday cheer with cheesy and indulgent recipes that are easy to pull off for a small crowd. 

Smoked Gouda Twists

A tasty appetizer is a must-have during the holidays to keep your guests (or, ahem, kids) satisfied while the turkey’s still in the oven. And these smoked gouda twists are almost as easy to make as they are delicious: Feel free to use store-bought puff pastry and assemble them a couple of weeks in advance. Just pop them in the oven for twenty minutes on the big day and enjoy as an hors d’oeuvre with a holiday cocktail. 

Comté, Cranberry, and Apple Stuffing

Ditch the bags of pre-made stuffing this year and indulge in this recipe with your small circle. Made with Italian bread (leftovers are fine), shredded Comté (or any Alpine cheese), and seasonal fruit, this stuffing is bursting with flavor and pairs perfectly with all the classic Thanksgiving staples.

Smokey Blue Mashed Potatoes

We all deserve some extra excitement this time of year, so venture beyond butter and milk when mashing this year’s potatoes. This recipe elevates the iconic side dish with vibrant yams, earthy blue cheese, and buttery cheddar. The result is a colorful, creamy side dish with layers of texture and flavor that you didn’t even know you needed.

Crème Fraîche Baked Sweet Potatoes

If you prefer your spuds served with more of a bite, turn to these twice-baked sweet potatoes with crème fraîche and crispy bacon. Add maple syrup and cinnamon for peak autumn indulgence, and enjoy the marriage of contrasting sweet and smoky flavors. Serve them alongside your turkey or as a hearty appetizer. 

Crispy Brussel Sprouts with Burrata

Who said burrata doesn’t belong on a Thanksgiving table? (Certainly not us.) This brussel sprout dish refuses to be under-acknowledged on a holiday spread—and rightly so. Quickly fry the sprouts to achieve a crispy exterior, then offset that umami richness with a fresh burrata ball, tart lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. 

Arugula and Radicchio Salad with Taleggio and Toasted Walnuts

Some hosts always include a fresh and light salad to offset all the hearty dishes on a Thanksgiving spread. If that sounds like you, we recommend turning to this arugula and radicchio salad recipe, with a delightfully simple dressing, crunchy walnuts, and slices of fruity Taleggio. It comes together in a flash while still upholding that elegant holiday vibe. 

Apple-Pear Hand Pies with Cheddar Crust

Okay, we couldn’t leave out dessert. Swap out the store-bought pumpkin pie this year and opt for these individual apple-pear hand pies, with cheddar-filled crusts and sweet fruity fillings. These treats can conveniently be frozen for months in advance, and they’re perfect for socially distant gatherings—or post-meal midnight snacks. 

Monica Petrucci

Monica is Culture's former Social Media Editor. Coming from a formaggio-obsessed Italian family, she was very excited to combine her passions for cheese and writing at Culture. She loves experimenting in the kitchen and pairing wine and cheese in her spare time.

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