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16 Traditional and Easy Thanksgiving Sides with a Special Twist

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I'm sure you've already planned your menu to include a bounty of the traditional sides that represent this feast. After all, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without stuffing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, and mashed potatoes. But just because it's tradition doesn't mean it can't get a little makeover. Sprucing up your favorites with a yummy twist, we rounded up some of the tastiest takes on the traditional and easy Thanksgiving sides.

We're talking bourbon mashed sweet potatoes, loaded pumpkin cornbread, and chorizo stuffing. While you could simply just add bacon or cheese to everything and call it a twist, it's Thanksgiving. Up your game and whip up these 16 traditional side dish recipes that take on a show-stopping twist. Look out turkey, because here they come.

1. Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole with Sweet N' Savory Bacon Pecans

Ok, so before we begin, I'll admit it. There had to be a bacon recipe so let's go ahead with it. This Southern classic is made even better with this mouthwatering Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole with Sweet n' Savory Bacon Pecan topping.

Thick strips of bacon are added to a sweet and spicy brown sugar, cayenne, sage and rosemary herb pecan mix, then layered on top of a bourbon-infused, mashed and roasted sweet potatoes in casserole form.

Chef's Note: Prepare this dish in advance and pop in the oven when you lay out the Thanksgiving appetizers to save time for holiday memories.

Get the recipe here. 

2. Cranberry Pecan Green Bean Casserole

While the idea of the traditional green bean casserole made up of green beans, cream of mushroom soup and french fried onions has always slightly terrified me, this Cranberry Pecan Green Bean Casserole most certainly does not.

Maybe it's the addition of cranberry or maybe it's the crunchy pecans, either way, the subtle twist makes a world of difference you need to try for yourself for a delicious Thanksgiving table. This dish can also be prepped in advanced - don't you just love casseroles made from easy recipes?

Find the recipe here. 

3. Dijon Maple Green Beans

Alright, alright, so there's two on the list, but you know you can't resist bacon and cheese. Satisfying your bacon and cheese cravings all in one because Carlsbad Cravings gives us this Dijon Green Beans with Caramelized Pecans, Bacon and Feta. After all, there's no easy side dish more traditional than green beans, and this is one of the healthy recipes for a vegetable side that can sneak by next to your best Thanksgiving turkey ever.

Fresh green beans are infused with Dijon, pure maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar. They're then made sinfully good with a mound of crunchy sweet pecans, chunks of feta, and bits of salty bacon. While you do need to eat your veggies, it's Thanksgiving and time to indulge a bit.

Get the recipe here. 

4. Maple Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Mashed potatoes don't always need a boat of gravy added in the mix. We give you these Maple Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes by the Roasted Root. Boozed up - because let's face it, it's a holiday - with an entire shot of bourbon, these sweet potatoes are drunk with flavor. A dash of orange zest and some sweet maple syrup added to the mix, you haven't had mashed potatoes until you've had these sweet mashed potatoes.

And for all your sweet potato and yam casserole lovers out there, you can top this with your beloved marshmallows for the full effect. Who knows, this might even make it into your special dinner recipes for when you're feeling fancy.

Find the recipe here. 

5. Melting Sweet Potatoes

Roasted potatoes are good, but Melting Sweet Potatoes are better. Sweet potatoes rounds are perfectly cooked to be golden browned on the outside, yet tender on the inside. It's then doused with a maple pecan dressing.

Sweet, buttery, and hard to deny seconds, did we mention this recipe only requires five ingredients? This is one Thanksgiving side dish that is almost too simple to make, and how many sweet potato recipes can you say that for?

Find the recipe here. 

6. Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce

It's tempting to skimp on the cranberry sauce and opt for the dreaded can-molded mound of jiggly cranberry. If you want legit cranberry sauce, however, you'll have to put a touch more work into it, but not much. Taking the ordinary and turning it into the extraordinary is this Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce recipe.

Spiked with Grand Marnier, this sauce gets an orange twist that compliments the tart cranberries. And with only six ingredients and a few easy steps, you'll impress your guests with your culinary skills.

Get the recipe here.

7. Buttermilk Biscuits with Maple and Sea Salt

Thanksgiving simply wouldn't be complete without the bread factor. That doesn't mean you have to succumb to store-bought rolls. Make the holiday fancy and whip up a batch of these Buttermilk Biscuits with Maple and Sea Salt.

Fluffy, buttery, sweet, and salty, you'll be surprised how a dash of sea salt and a hint of maple can transform your biscuits.

Get the recipe here. 

8. Loaded Pumpkin Cornbread

While it's hard to pass up a jalapeño cheddar cornbread, or any cornbread for that matter, make Thanksgiving a little more special with this Loaded Pumpkin Cornbread.

Pumpkin puree infuses the cornbread with its seasonal goodness while gluten-free yellow cornmeal and rich buttermilk are added to the mix. Topped with red onion, Cojita cheese, and pepitas, this cornbread was meant for Thanksgiving dinner.

Find the recipe here. 

9. Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing

If you're missing your cheesy jalapeño cornbread, turn it into a phenomenal stuffing with this Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing. Not your average sausage stuffing, this one requires the salty, fatty goodness of Spanish chorizo.

Mixed with your homemade jalapeño cheddar cornbread - or store bought if short on time - fresh cilantro, diced garlic, celery, and carrot, your cornbread stuffing may have just stolen the show.

Find the recipe here. 

10. Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad with Cranberries and Baked Goat Cheese

Dress up your roasted brussels sprouts with this Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad with Cranberries and Baked Goat Cheese. This recipe is two-fold, you get your roasted brussels sprouts and you meat your salad quota. Shredded roasted Brussels sprouts serve as the base while fresh cranberries, walnuts, and shallots are added to the mix.

Oh, wait, and goat cheese. Slices of creamy goat cheese rounds are breaded and baked, just waiting to be sliced into. Brussels, you never sounded so good.

Find the recipe here. 

11. Collard Green & Turnip Slaw

Dressing up the collards, this Collard Green & Turnip Slaw puts a twist on the classic collards. Rather than sautéing with ham hocks, keep it fresh and slaw your greens instead. Massaged with a sesame ginger dressing and topped with a seedy-crumble mixture, greens just took on a whole new meaning.

Get the recipe here. 

12. Nutty Wild Rice and Shredded Brussels Sprouts Mini Pumpkins

Thanksgiving is not just about flavor, it's also about presentation. Meeting the quota of both, this Nutty Wild Rice and Shredded Brussels Sprouts Stuffed Mini Pumpkins recipes takes the cake.

Nutty wild rice, shaved brussels sprouts, dried cranberries, and some manchego cheese are all stuffed inside the perfect sized mini pumpkins for a side dish no one will forget. It may sound fancy, but really, it's easier to make than you may think.

Chef's Note: This recipe can be prepped up to four days in advance to suit your crazy holiday needs.

Get the recipe here. 

13. Brown Sugar and Pineapple Roasted Acorn Squash with Spice Brown Butter

There are so many ways to cook acorn squash, but this Thanksgiving, do it right with this Brown Sugar and Pineapple Roasted Acorn Squash with Spiced Brown Butter recipe. Squash is rubbed with a cinnamon-spiced rub, topped with pineapple, roasted, and then topped with pomegranate and toasted acorn squash seeds.

Sweet, spicy, and full of tropical Thanksgiving flavors, your guests will go crazy over this simple recipe.

Find the recipe here. 

14. Maple Roasted Carrots in Tahini Sauce

Carrots don't have to be roasted in that same old boring way. Putting a twist on this root vegetable, seasonal pomegranates, and a nutty tahini sauce is drizzled over maple roasted pomegranates. It's all then topped with some pistachios for an extra crunch.

Get the recipe here.

15. Easy Rosemary Maple Balsamic Roasted Root Vegetables

Easy and elegant are what Thanksgiving sides should be, like this Easy Rosemary Maple Balsamic Roasted Root Vegetables recipe. While your traditional roasted root veggies are great with a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of salt, it's a holiday.

Dress them up with a sprig of rosemary and a maple balsamic reduction glaze. Carrots, parsnips, potatoes, beets, whatever root veggies you have on hand will taste smashing with this flavor combo.

Find the recipe here.

16. Three-Cheese Brown Butter Mac and Cheese

A decadent mac n' cheese is a must for the Thanksgiving table. Set the boxed stuff aside, and whip up this Three-Cheese Brown Butter Mac n' Cheese. A roux of brown butter and flour is made to thicken the three-cheese sauce of smoked gouda, cheddar, and parmesan cheese.

It's then added to truffle oil drench macaroni pasta and topped with a crunchy, cheesy breadcrumb topping. Baked until golden brown, this mac n' cheese is a gooey, savory dish that does Thanksgiving justice. What will be on your table this holiday?

Find the recipe here.

Watch: How to Make Cinnamon Whiskey Pecan Pie