Turkey is a classic for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other holiday meals. But what vegetables should you serve with turkey? While there are many options to choose from, vegetables often make the best accompaniments as they add color and flavor to the plate while providing essential nutrients. Here are some of the top vegetable sides that perfectly complement turkey:
What Vegetables Go Well With Turkey?
Many vegetables pair well with turkey, including Brussels sprouts, carrots, green beans, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, corn, peas, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, mushrooms, onions, and red bell peppers. These vegetables can be prepared in various ways, such as roasting, grilling, sautéing, steaming, or serving raw in a salad, to accompany a turkey dish.
1. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts have a bad reputation, however, when cooked and combined with the right ingredients, they are sure to shine!
The slight bitterness of Brussels sprouts pairs perfectly with turkey – whether it be roasted or even stuffed. One of the best combinations is sautéing Brussels sprouts in some garlic and butter, then adding a bit of fresh cranberry sauce for color and sweetness.
This dish can be served as a side for Thanksgiving dinner or prepared ahead for delicious stuffing. For an extra flavorful touch, you can also add some crumbled bacon or crispy fried onions.
However you decide to prepare them, Brussels sprouts are sure to bring big smiles to your Turkey day feast.
Carrots often make an appearance at the dinner table when turkey is served. Their sweet, earthy flavor stands up to the savory richness of turkey, making them a top choice for promoting balance on your plate.
When preparing carrots to pair with your turkey meal, it’s best to not only select organic carrots that are free from chemical pesticides and never sprayed with wax but also pick ones that have a deep orange color as they are typically higher in beta-carotene—a powerful antioxidant.
Roasting carrots is an excellent way to bring out their natural sweetness and make a delicious pairing for any type of cooked turkey. To roast carrots, simply toss them with olive oil and seasonings before baking until fork tender – you’ll find it pairs perfectly with the juicy meat.
3. Green Beans
Green beans are a classic veggie for any turkey meal, and they are especially delicious when roasted. Roasted green beans can be tossed with garlic, olive oil, and herbs for a flavorful side dish that will bring balance to the plate.
Green beans are also great in casseroles or roasted with crunchy almonds for an extra boost of flavor. If you’re trying to lighten up your holiday meal, steamed green beans are a great alternative with their bright green color and tender texture.
No matter how you prepare them, green beans are a great way to add a splash of color and flavor to any turkey meal. They’re also full of heart-healthy fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
4. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a Thanksgiving staple, and they make an excellent accompaniment to any turkey dish. Sweet potatoes have a natural sweetness that pairs deliciously with the savory flavor of turkey.
When preparing sweet potatoes to serve with your turkey, try roasting them until golden brown and caramelized. You can also mash them up and top them with some parmesan cheese for a classic side dish.
For an extra special touch, you can also top your roasted sweet potatoes with marshmallows or make a homemade sweet potato casserole. Sweet potatoes are sure to bring flavor and color to your holiday dinner table.
5. Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is a great addition to any Thanksgiving feast. It’s sweet, nutty flavor pairs perfectly with the savory taste of turkey.
Butternut squash can be roasted, mashed, or even puréed for a creamy side dish that will make your turkey meal complete. You can also combine it with other vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts or carrots, for a delicious side dish that will have everyone asking for seconds.
Butternut squash is a great way to add color, flavor, and nutrition to any turkey meal. It’s also full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals that your body needs. So don’t forget to include this delicious squash at your next Thanksgiving dinner.
Corn is often cited as one of the top vegetables to complement a turkey dinner. Its sweet, earthy flavor beautifully complements the lightness and complexity of a cooked turkey.
Corn has the versatility to be prepared in many different ways while still retaining its signature flavor profile; you can roast it, fry it, or steam it to your own preference, or even simply serve it on the cob.
It’s also incredibly easy to dress up in whatever flavors you have at hand. Try tossing some fresh herbed butter with steamed corn for an irresistible dish, or sneaking in some stir-fried onions if you’re feeling adventurous.
Lastly, adding grated cheese is always an amazing twist! No matter how you decide to prepare your corn for a turkey meal, rest assured that it’ll be sure to become a fast favorite among all your family and friends.
Peas are a great addition to any turkey dinner. They’re sweet, tender and full of flavor, which makes them an excellent side dish for the savory turkey.
Peas can be cooked in a variety of ways, from steaming to roasting to sautéing. For a simple side dish, try steaming them until tender and tossing them with butter and herbs.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can also cook them with some bacon and garlic for a smoky flavor. Or if you’re looking to lighten up your meal, you can try roasting them with olive oil and garlic for a crunchy texture.
Asparagus is a delicious vegetable that pairs extremely well with turkey. It has the perfect combination of colors and flavors to provide an impressive presentation at any holiday dinner table.
To make the most out of your asparagus, try roasting it in the oven with some olive oil, salt, and pepper until it’s tender-crisp. Then remove it from the oven and top it off with some freshly grated parmesan cheese or chopped nuts for added flavor.
Serve this side dish alongside your turkey to experience classic flavors that are sure to liven up the table. The stalks’ subtle sweetness also pairs very nicely with cranberry sauces and nut-based bread stuffing for a complete holiday meal experience.
Broccoli is a great vegetable side dish to serve alongside turkey. It’s full of nutrition, flavor, and texture, making it an ideal accompaniment for a roasted bird.
There are many ways to prepare broccoli for Thanksgiving, ranging from steaming to roasting and stir-frying. For a simple, classic side dish, try steaming the florets until just tender, then tossing them with some butter, garlic, and herbs.
For something a bit more creative and flavorful, try roasting the broccoli with some olive oil and garlic for a crunchy texture. You can also add some Parmesan cheese for an extra kick of flavor.
Cauliflower can be a delicious accompaniment to your next turkey dinner. Roasting the cauliflower with olive oil, garlic, lemon slices, and herbs creates an easy yet flavorful side dish loaded with nutrition.
You can also use cauliflower as a base for mashed potatoes, resulting in a much lighter version of traditional mashed potatoes. This is great for satisfying everyone at the table without compromising on taste or texture.
Alternatively, consider whipping up a healthy and nutritious cauliflower “rice” dish as an alternative to regular rice or couscous. Simply pulse the florets in a food processor until they resemble grains of rice and then stir fry with your favorite spices and vegetables like garlic, ginger, onion, carrots and celery.
Spinach is one of the most oft-recommended vegetables to pair with turkey. This is understandable, as it is such a simple and tasty addition to any meal through its lightly sweet flavor and crisp texture.
Many people forget that spinach can be cooked in a variety of ways, adding different levels of flavor and texture as you mix things up. When it comes to serving spinach alongside turkey, a simple stir-fry with garlic and olive oil does the trick.
Additionally, for a more indulgent accompaniment try incorporating some cream or cheese into your sautéed spinach – delicious with any form of turkey.
Kale is a nutritional powerhouse that can easily be incorporated into many of your holiday dishes. It has a wide range of health benefits, including high levels of fiber and vitamins A and K.
As with any green vegetable, kale cooks down quickly and can be easily prepared in a variety of ways. Roasting the leaves with olive oil and garlic creates a crunchy, slightly bitter snack or side dish.
Or, for a quick, easy side dish, try steaming the kale and then adding a bit of lemon juice, salt, and pepper for flavor. Whichever way you choose to prepare it, kale pairs excellently with turkey for a nutrient-rich and delicious meal.
Mushrooms are a great addition to any holiday meal, especially when served with turkey. They provide an earthy flavor profile that pairs nicely with the subtle sweetness of the bird.
For a tasty side dish, try roasting mushrooms with garlic and olive oil until golden brown. The mushrooms can also be cooked in a sauce with herbs and then spooned over the bird.
Another great way to use mushrooms is to add them to the stuffing – they add a wonderfully savory flavor and act as an excellent source of umami. With so many delicious options, mushrooms are a great addition to any turkey dinner.
Onions are an essential ingredient to bringing out the flavor in any turkey dish. Their presence enhances the flavor of other vegetables, providing contrast and complexity to the dish. When paired with carrots, for instance, onions add a subtle sweetness to the mix that will make your tasting experience more enjoyable.
Onions can be diced into smaller pieces when used on their own or larger pieces when included with other vegetables. In addition, they can be cooked beforehand to make them softer and sweeter when served.
Finally, don’t be afraid to get creative when combining onions with other vegetables – try roasting them together or creating an innovative stuffing mixture. All in all, onions are an easy way to make any turkey dish come alive with flavor and appeal.
15. Red Bell Peppers
Red bell peppers are a great complement to turkey dishes for several reasons. First of all, their sweet yet tart taste goes well with the savory nature of the turkey. Red bell peppers also have a mild spiciness and crunch that brings out the natural flavors of the protein while contrasting and balancing other elements on your plate.
Additionally, they are rich in antioxidants, vitamin A, and Vitamin C — adding vital nutrients to whatever dish you’re creating. If you want to add red bell peppers, they’re tasty raw or roasted (the latter takes as little as 20 minutes in an oven).
Once cooked and softened, mix them into stuffing or sprinkle them into your mashed potatoes for some sweetness and texture. You can also use roasted red bell peppers to make flavorful gravy or shake up your next turkey sandwich by adding sliced red bell pepper for a hint of color.
When it comes to serving vegetables with turkey, there are so many delicious options that you won’t be stuck for choice. From Brussels sprouts and carrots to sweet potatoes and butternut squash, these sides provide a great balance of flavors, textures, colors—and essential nutrients.
Whether served roasted or steamed; mashed or stir-fried; whole or in pieces…you can create an unforgettable meal by pairing your favorite turkey dish with any number of the above-mentioned vegetable side dishes.
So don’t hesitate to get creative in the kitchen this holiday season and experiment with different veggie pairings to discover which ones go best together! Enjoy your culinary adventure!