3 Fresh Ideas for Thanksgiving Side Dishes

During this Autumn time of year, we at California Olive Ranch craft a special, limited edition extra virgin olive oil. Called our Limited Reserve, this oil is different each year, and is made of the oil from a certain block or row that produced a special or unique oil.

What makes this oil the most special, however, is the fact that it is bottled fresh from the mill. While our other extra virgin olives oil go through a process that helps remove some of the larger olive particles still suspended in the oil, this oil is bottled before this step. The result is an oil with a more pungent flavor, a more opaque appearance, and a shorter shelf life.

Our Limited Reserve is perfect to use during the holidays, for special-occasion dishes. Plus, cooking a full menu with a stand-out olive oil will help tie a meal together, and ensure you’ll enjoy this oil before it’s expiration date!

While many traditional Thanksgiving sides are heavy and brown (we still love ’em!), here are a few ideas to bring some freshness to the table. Plenty of olive oil and a variety of fresh herbs are sometimes just what we want to complement the turkey and stuffing.

recipe adapted from 18 reasons

Delicata Squash with Fresh Mint & Cilantro

serves 8-10 as a side

While there are many types of squash that we love, delicata is a favorite, especially when making large quantities. The tender skin can be left on, making the prep about a million times easier than that of larger squashes. After roasting to a golden brown, the squash is topped with toasted seeds, warm shallots, a simple vinaigrette, and fresh herbs.

Ingredients:

  • 4 small–medium delicata squash
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp. each. toasted white sesame seeds and cumin seeds
  • 1 small bunch each mint and cilantro
  • 2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • sea salt

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Cut each squash in half length-wise. Scoop out the seeds, then slice into half moons, about 1/2 inch thick. Toss with enough extra virgin olive oil to coat, plus a pinch of salt. Spread into a single layer on a sheet pan and roast for 20-30 minutes, turning once, until both sides are golden brown and caramelized.
  3. While the squash is cooking, toast the seeds and separate the herbs from stems. Set aside.
  4. When the squash is done cooking, leave the oven on but set squash aside, seasoning with extra virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, and another pinch of salt to taste.
  5. Add the shallots to the pan, and roast for about 8 minutes, until they begin to brown.
  6. Toss together the seeds, fresh herbs, shallots, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
  7. To serve, layer the squash on large plate or platter and top with herb and seed mixture (you may have extra).

Best served immediately. Squash can be roasted ahead of time and reheated, but the shallot and herb mixture is best made fresh.

recipe adapted from Food & Wine

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Lemon & Fresh Thyme

serves 8 as a side

If you haven’t yet won over your family and friends on Brussels sprouts, this recipe may do the trick. In addition to being roasted at high heat for that irresistible crunch, the sprouts are dressed in a fresh lemon & thyme vinaigrette that we can not get enough of. This recipe yields enough for a large group, but can easily be halved for smaller tables.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for roasting
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 lbs. Brussels sprouts, halved

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 °F.
  2. Toss the halved Brussels sprouts toss with enough extra virgin olive oil to coat (about 2 tbsp) and a sprinkle of salt. Roast until crisp-tender and charred in spots, tossing once, about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mustard and vinegar. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of the olive oil until emulsified. Add the thyme and lemon zest and season with salt and pepper.
  4. To serve, add roasted sprouts to a large bowl and stir in half the dressing. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnishing with more fresh thyme, and passing extra dressing at the table.

recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes with Fresh & Fried Sage

serves 8 as a side

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a Thanksgiving meal that doesn’t have some sort of mashed potato dish. It is a forever staple, a perfect canvas for the other flavors on your plate. This version is made with extra virgin olive oil instead of butter, and has sage, two ways, making it a dish that can stand on its own. Crispy sage is one of our favorite discoveries as of late – so easy and such a welcomed crunch atop mashed potatoes.

Ingredients:

  • 6 large baking potatoes (about 4 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut crosswise into thirds
  • 8 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • about 1/2 cup fresh sage leaves, divided

Method:

  1. Place potatoes in a large, heavy pot and cover with cold water. Boil over medium-high heat until potatoes are tender when pierced with fork, about 40 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prep the fried sage. Line a plate with paper towels. Heat 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add about 1/3 cup of the fresh sage leaves and fry until dark green and crispy, 4-5 minutes. Transfer leaves to paper towel and let cool. Thinly chop the remaining sage leaves.
  3. Drain the potatoes, reserving 1 1/2 cups potato cooking liquid. Return potatoes to dry pot. Stir over medium heat until any excess liquid evaporates.
  4. Add 6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil and mash until almost smooth. Mix in enough potato cooking liquid as needed to moisten. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (The potatoes can be prepared, up to this step, 2 hours before serving. Let stand at room temperature, then rewarm over medium heat, adding more reserved cooking water as needed to moisten.)
  5. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Drizzle with remaining extra virgin olive oil and top with fresh and fried sage to serve.


We hope some of these recipes find a place at your table this Thanksgiving! Stay tuned for the release of our 2018 Limited Reserve, perfect for the holidays! By signing up for our VIP Newsletter, you’ll be the first to hear when it goes on sale.