You’ve probably been to enough Thanksgiving dinners to know that all that glitters is not golden brown turkey it’s the side dish co-stars that really shine and make the holiday meal’s storyline remarkable. Of course, there are recurring cast members that you don’t want to cut, but that doesn’t mean you can’t rewrite the script to advance your Thanksgiving story. With that in mind, we put together some side dish recipe options so you can create a choose-your-own-adventure Thanksgiving meal with a Hollywood ending.

Mashed Potatoes

Spinach Mashed Potatoes

No dish is safe on the Thanksgiving table not even the mashed potatoes. To avoid a civil war, they can’t be taken off the table, but they can be elevated with fresh green streaks of spinach. To thicken the plot, the greens marry harmoniously with Parmesan cheese to keep your guests coming back for more.

Spinach Mashed Potatoes

Spinach Mashed Potatoes by Chef In Training

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Garlic sneaks its way onto the Thanksgiving table one dish at a time… and where it starts taking over the plot is with the potatoes. The tuber and the herb wrestle and tumble into butter for a trifecta of flavors that set off an unexpected explosion of delight. Spoiler alert: these creamy mashed potatoes are killed off in the end.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Garlic Mashed Potatoes by Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Stuffing

Tomato Pancetta Cornbread Stuffing

Stuffing is the hero we all cheer for, but even the best heroes are entitled to subplots to give them deeper dimensions. With Tomato Pancetta Cornbread Stuffing, the sundried tomatoes join pancetta and cornbread to update the predictable tale with a new story and a nostalgic nod to a Thanksgiving staple.

Sundried Tomato Pancetta Cornbread Stuffing

Sundried Tomato Pancetta Cornbread Stuffing by Foodie Girl Chicago

Cranberry Pecan Wild Rice Stuffing

Cranberry Pecan Wild Rice Stuffing is Thanksgiving’s antihero. It’s unexpected and, perhaps, unwelcome. But when the pecan texture tangos with the earthy flavor of the wild rice while contrasting with the sweetness of the cranberries, the result is so devilishly divine it’s hard not to root for this holiday side.

Cranberry Pecan Wild Rice Stuffing

Cranberry Pecan Wild Rice Stuffing by Onion Rings and Things

Sweet Potatoes

Drunken Sweet Potatoes

Every story needs a Hagrid a loveable half-giant who’s had a few too many rough nights but is always entertaining. At Thanksgiving, that’s the role of this Drunken Sweet Potato casserole a joyous addition to the table that doesn't take away from the main course. It’s predictable in its rich, sweet synthesis of brown sugar and sweet potatoes of Southern tradition, yet simultaneously unpredictable with each boozy bite.

Drunken Sweet Potatoes

Drunken Sweet Potatoes by CDKitchen

Crispy Sweet Potato Roast

Some of the simplest subplots are the most complex. So it goes for Thanksgiving side dishes like this Crispy Sweet Potato Roast with the aesthetic charm of Hasselback potatoes. With just olive oil, butter, and shallots, these roasted sweet potatoes subtly seduce diners without any grand gestures or stunts to move them on to the next scene.

Crispy Sweet Potato Roast

Crispy Sweet Potato Roast by Smitten Kitchen

Brussels Sprouts

Bacon Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Cranberries And Apples

Brussels sprouts are Thanksgiving’s natural antagonist these roasted vegetables are revered by few and reviled by flocks more. But every villain has, at the very least, frenemies to support them in this case, it’s the blithe bacon, amiable apples, and cordial cranberries. Together, they make Brussels sprouts palatable to even the most dubious diners without alienating their biggest fans.

Bacon Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Apples

Bacon Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Apples by Sweet Somethings

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

Reality bites with Brussels sprouts, but they don’t sting when they’re bathed in a warm bath of cream to soften the texture and flavor. Topped with a mixture of breadcrumbs and Gruyere, its evolution is the result of both compromise and comfort food. It’s a supporting role worthy of an award when kids give this dish a ‘G’ for 'good' rating.

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

Brussels Sprouts Gratin by Once Upon A Chef

Green Bean Casserole

Tater Green Bean Casserole

On the list of usual suspects: green bean casserole. With the addition of potatoes and cheese, guests may think they’ve lost track of the plot, but that’s just part of the buildup. When they get to the tender green beans under the crunch of fried onions, it will all come together just before dinner’s grand finale.

Tater Green Bean Casserole

Tater Green Bean Casserole by The Country Cook

Carmelized Onion And Bacon Green Bean Casserole

Bacon is a ringer for green bean casserole that will keep your audience wanting more. This Carmelized Onion and Bacon Green Bean Casserole doubles down on rich ingredients for maximum flavor impact. The plot reveals the sweetness of carmelized onions united with bacon for a happily-ever-after ending on Thanksgiving Day.

Carmelized Onion and Bacon Green Bean Casserole