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Balancing Fall Colors and Bright Dishes on the Thanksgiving Table

What's Gaby Cooking Thanksgiving Inspiration Board

When planning the same holiday year after year, how do you keep your celebration fresh and interesting while maintaining a sense of tradition? We asked our favorite bloggers and food people to share what’s inspiring their Thanksgiving planning this year. From ancestor’s recipes and falling leaves, to beautiful piles of ingredients and thoughtful home decor, there was no shortage of imagination. See what motivates some of the most creative minds we know, and then start planning your annual feast.

Thanksgiving is one of my all-time favorite holidays. Not only is it a celebration that includes quite a bit of decadent and delicious food, but it’s also a time that you get to spend with your friends and family, and really slow down and enjoy each other’s company. The last few Thanksgivings, we’ve asked our extended family members to bring over the mixings for cocktails or their favorite pies and then we take care of the rest.

This year’s Thanksgiving celebration is all about the side dishes and sweets. It’s a given in my house that we will have a beautiful turkey with gravy and all that jazz, but what really gets me excited is being able to pick and choose what kind of side dishes we should pair with the turkey to really wow our guests.

In my opinion you can never have enough carbs, so I’ve opted for not one, not two, but three potato dishes. There will be a Roasted Parmesan Potato dish, crisp Sweet Potato Fries and a Goat Cheese Potato Gratin. I guarantee that all of these will fly off the table and leave your guests begging for more.  And if you do happen to have a spoonful or two left over, it makes for the best lunch the following day.

To brighten things up a bit, I like to make Garlic Charred Lemon Brussels Sprouts and a Spicy Green Bean Salad. This Brussels sprout dish will wow even a serious Brussels sprout skeptic. And to finish things off, not only will there be pies and apple crisps from our friends and family, but I also like to put out some of my mom’s famous molasses cookies and chocolate chip pumpkin muffins. (These make an excellent late night snack too.)

This collection of recipes is a perfect balance of fall colors and a few bright dishes that will pop against your table. Having any or all of these on your table will make your guests feel right at home and ready to chow down on some amazing Thanksgiving grub.

For more Thanksgiving ideas, visit our Thanksgiving Inspiration Board Gallery.

Gaby Dalkin is a chef, amateur photographer/food stylist, enthusiastic traveler and guacamole fanatic. She is the founder of What’s Gaby Cooking, where she showcases her simple and sassy recipes that feature whichever ingredients she is currently obsessing over. She lives in Los Angeles with her fiancé, Thomas, and her cat, Stella.

Thanksgiving Side Dish and Dessert Ideas from Cooking Channel

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Comments (2699)

  1. Emily posted 11/08/2011

    This meal looks delicious! I completely agree you can never have too many potatoes. And I love the dessert twist. Can't wait to try the parmesan roasted potato recipe!

  2. Tara posted 11/08/2011

    Love Brussels sprouts, can't wait to share this recipe with my mom so that we can have this on our Thanksgiving table. Thanks for the wonderful idea!

  3. allisonmn posted 11/08/2011

    I agree with Tara. I love the Brussels sprouts. Thanks for the inspiration board, Gaby!

  4. monika posted 11/08/2011

    You turned me on to brussels sprouts a few months ago! I never considered them for Thanksgiving but now I think 'why not'? So a new green will be on my table this year thanks to you! I will also be adding the sweet potato fries. Love them any time!

  5. Deliciously Organic posted 11/08/2011

    What a great collection of Thanksgiving ideas and recipes. Thanks!

  6. Katie posted 11/08/2011

    Of course everything sounds fantastic, but I was especially intrigued by your spicy green bean salad and the molasses cookies. What great ideas, I can't wait to try them!

  7. jenjenk posted 11/08/2011

    Mmmmm…these recipes sounds fantastic!

  8. Sandy posted 11/08/2011

    Wish I could be at your Thanksgiving dinner. Everything sounds so delicious! AND the photos were enough to make your mouth water.

  9. Erin posted 11/08/2011

    This all looks incredible. Am definitely going to include brussel sprouts in our Thanksgiving this year. Thanks for featuring this!

  10. marla posted 11/08/2011

    I am such a BIG fan of Gaby's recipes. I must try her fabulous line up for Thanksgiving!

  11. Lucy Lean posted 11/09/2011

    I love molasses cookies – especially the ones from Joans on Third – will have to dig out the recipe – thanks for the inspiration board – wondering what recipes/books inspire, teach and guide you?

  12. Marie posted 11/09/2011

    Gaby, your recipes look amazing! I can not wait to try them over the holidays!

  13. Brooke posted 11/09/2011

    Gaby is the best with great tasting recipes. I always trust her recommendations!

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    I'm going to take on this idea about color combinations for recipes on my blog about Caviar Recipes belugacaviar.org
    Your photo's are also amazing quality!

  15. Anya posted 11/12/2011

    I can't wait to try these ideas on my thanksgiving table! They all look amazing!

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