34 Thanksgiving Vegetables You Can Make in 30 Minutes or Less
Let’s face it: Turkey has always been the leading lady of Thanksgiving dinner. She’s big, she’s bold and she requires every last inch of oven space. But that doesn’t mean it’s OK to serve soggy green beans, mushy sweet potatoes and lumpy gravy to back her up (we’re looking at you, Aunt Mildred—we’ll never forget the Thanksgiving of 1993). This year, up the ante with 34 fabulous Thanksgiving vegetables that are almost as tasty as the turkey, but won’t monopolize the oven and stove. Oh, and did we mention that they’ll be on the table in 30 minutes or less?
1. Broccoli Rabe and Burrata with Lemon (10 Minutes)
What’s the difference between broccoli rabe and plain old broccoli, you ask? Good question. It’s not actually broccoli at all, but a relative of the turnip (#themoreyouknow). It can taste a little bit bitter, so cutting it with lemon juice and adding creamy burrata balances everything out.
2. Harissa and Honey Roasted Carrots (30 Minutes)
Glazed carrots are no match for these sweet and smoky beauties by chef in residence Eden Grinshpan. (It’s all about showing off those carrot tops, so leave them long for presentation.) Place them on a bed of yogurt and don’t forget to take lots of photos for Instagram.
3. Kale and Brussels Sprouts Caesar Slaw (25 Minutes)
The best part of this low-maintenance side dish? The creamy dressing by Anna Jones, author of The Modern Cook’s Year, is totally vegan, thanks to sunflower seeds, blanched almonds, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and a clove of garlic. Even salad haters will be convinced to try a bite.
4. Zesty Chargrilled Broccolini (10 Minutes)
And wait. What’s the difference between broccoli rabe and broccolini? Broccolini is actually a hybrid—a delicious cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli. Chargrilling it keeps it crispy; no soggy stalks in sight.
5. Black Fig and Tomato Salad (10 Minutes)
This simple, six-ingredient salad featured in the cookbook Provençal takes only a couple of minutes to whip up but looks ultra impressive. If you really want to show off, mix up the dressing tableside and drizzle it on top in front of your guests. They’ll be so impressed.
6. Yotam Ottolenghi’s Cauliflower, Pomegranate and Pistachio Salad (30 Minutes)
The Simpsons said it best: You don’t win friends with salad. But all you salad haters have obviously never tried this satisfyingly crunchy beauty by veggie guru Yotam Ottolenghi. It’s a shame there won’t be any leftovers, because it’s also great on the second day.
7. Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Chèvre Ranch (15 Minutes)
Green beans? Yawn. This year, we’re thankful for extra crunchy snap peas slathered with a creamy goat milk ranch dressing. We wouldn’t call it traditional, but we would call it delicious.
8. Zucchini Carbonara with Parsnip ‘Pancetta’ (25 Minutes)
Your biggest critics on Thanksgiving? The kids’ table. It’s a challenge to get them to eat any vegetables at all. Problem solved: Whip up a side that looks like pasta but is secretly a very healthy veggie. You’ll get clean plates…and bonus points from their parents, too.
9. Slow-Cooker Creamed Corn (10 Minutes)
OK, technically this dish sits in the slow cooker for about three hours. But with only ten minutes of prep time, we’re going to consider it a quick side, since you’ll be cooking other stuff during this time anyway. Best of all, using the slow cooker frees up stove space for other dishes, which you’ll be extremely thankful for about an hour before dinner is served.
10. Cacio E Pepe Cauliflower (20 Minutes)
If you’re going to add one new dish to your Thanksgiving table this year, make it this one. It’s cheesy, it’s low-carb and even Grandpa will be asking for seconds. It’s a fun alternative to mac and cheese—kids and adults alike will be begging for seconds (and thirds).
11. Baked Cauliflower with Pomegranate Seeds and Thyme (30 Minutes)
Gluten-free friends, rejoice—this hearty substitute for stuffing is just for you. It’s loaded with rosemary, thyme, sage and parsley, so it’s just as flavorful as the real thing. Bread, who? We don’t know her.
12. Microwave Mashed Potatoes (15 Minutes)
Little known fact: The best way to guarantee you’ll get steamy mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving is to make them in the microwave. Why? Because when you mash up the hot ingredients the old-fashioned way, you’re incorporating pockets of cold air that lower the temperature of the dish before everyone is done eating. By nuking them in the microwave, you’ll keep them hot all the way until the end of dinner. Plus, microwaving frees up the oven for pumpkin pie.
13. Brussels Sprouts Skillet with Crispy Pancetta-Garlic Bread Crumbs (30 Minutes)
Prove to your great aunts and uncles that Brussels sprouts don’t have to taste and smell like feet. It’s all about the preparation—cook them in a skillet and the edges will get all caramelized and crispy. They’ll be begging for the recipe, so keep it handy.
14. Coconut Creamed Spinach (30 Minutes)
Fun fact: This decadent side is dairy-free, so your vegan cousin Suzy can help herself to seconds. The secret ingredient? Coconut milk. Top it off with onion, garlic, ginger and a few spices, and you have a side that’ll have everyone at the table asking, “mmm, what is that delightful flavor?”
15. Green Beans with Browned Butter Almondine (13 Minutes)
Skip the crispy fried onions this year and try topping your green beans with toasted almonds. The dish has the same satisfying crunch, but it’s so much fancier. (But don’t worry, we won’t judge if you decide to sneak a couple of onions on there, too. It’s Thanksgiving, after all.)
16. Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes (30 Minutes)
If you don’t have an Instant Pot in your arsenal yet, it’s about time you did. Sweet potatoes, which famously take ages to cook, are ready in just 30 minutes with this fabulous gadget. Plus, the oven is now free to cook the turkey, which always takes a billion times longer than you think it will.
17. Buttery Herb Sautéed Mushrooms (15 Minutes)
Eat these babies on top of mashed potatoes and prepare to swoon. Best of all, they’re ready in just 15 minutes. And if you’ve got a vegetarian in your midst, this hearty side can double as a main course—just be sure to make an extra batch, because even meat eaters will be dying to try it.
18. Whole30 Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes with Garlic and Herbs
We strongly suggest you forget all about Whole30 on Thanksgiving. But if you must diet on the best holiday of the year, this piping hot bowl fits the bill. The secret ingredient? Coconut milk. It’s all about balance, people.
19. Millet Brussels Sprouts (30 Minutes)
You’ve gotta try millet, quinoa’s tasty cousin. It’s gluten-free, rich in fiber, low in glucose and cooks quickly. It pairs fabulously with tart dried cranberries and our favorite veggie (Brussels sprouts, of course).
20. Squash, Arugula, Pomegranate Salad with Tahini Dressing (30 Minutes)
This hearty winter salad from Aida Mollenkamp holds its own beside sweet potato casserole and cranberry sauce. (And look at those festive colors.) Oh, and did we mention you can make everything ahead of time, then assemble it right before you’re ready to eat? We love a tasty dish that’s also a time-saver.
21. Broiled Green Beans with Roasted Lemon Gremolata (30 Minutes)
Eat your heart out, green bean casserole. For the uninitiated, gremolata is a tangy, herby sauce made with garlic, parsley and lemon zest, and you need it in your life. Cooking green beans on the broiler keeps them crispy and charred—no wilted, mushy green beans here.
22. Black Fig, Mozzarella and Basil Salad
This salad is a fabulous ode to fig season, in all its glory. (Even if you’re not a fig fan, whip it up for the presentation alone.) Serve it alongside some hearty, rustic bread as a first course. You can find figs at the farmers market or at health food stores like Whole Foods.
23. Sautéed Asparagus with Garlic and Parmesan (10 Minutes)
Technically, asparagus is a spring veggie, but we’re big fans of enjoying it year round…especially when you can make a whole darn skillet of it in ten minutes. The best way to get rid of the tough ends? Snap them off before cooking. (So put Cousin Jimmy to work when he starts hanging around the kitchen.)
24. Roasted Brown Butter Honey Garlic Carrots (25 Minutes)
We’re obsessed with this sweet (but not too sweet) sauce. Oh, and do you want to know a secret? You don’t even have to peel the carrots. Just scrub them, cut them into 2-inch pieces and you’re good to go. (You can even skip the cutting step if you use baby carrots instead of full-size.)
25. Simple Skillet Green Beans (15 Minutes)
Thanks to the addition of red pepper flakes, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice, this recipe is elevated enough for a special occasion (like, you guessed it, Thanksgiving). But thanks to the five-minute prep time and ten-minute cook time, something tells us it’s going to become a part of your weekday rotation, too.
26. Brussels Sprout Sliders (25 Minutes)
Prep these little cuties in advance and have them ready to go when your guests arrive. They’ll be relieved to have a little snack after the long drive, and they’ll stay occupied, so you can sneak away to get the rest of the feast prepared.
27. Quick Pickled Cucumber Radish Herb Salad (10 Minutes)
Nothing says “I’m fancy and I know it” like quick pickled veggies, and Thanksgiving is a great time to show off your skills. But secretly, pickling is really simple. Just toss the veggies in a brine of white vinegar, salt, mint, dill and a sprinkle of sugar, and ta-da—you’re all done.
28. Roasted Zucchini with Parmesan (10 Minutes)
When in doubt, keep things simple (especially when Grandpa has eaten all of his vegetables boiled with no salt for the last 45 years). When you roast zucchini, you avoid that slimy texture that sometimes happens when you cook it on the stove—dust it with a coating of Parmesan cheese and you’re good to go.
29. Mashed Sweet Potatoes (20 Minutes)
Sure, mashed russets are a total classic. But don’t snooze on mashed sweet potatoes, which are incredible with a dollop of butter and a big helping of cranberry sauce. You might want to make a triple batch of these guys, because they’re about to go fast.
30. Skillet Roasted Fingerling Potatoes (30 Minutes)
Baked potatoes are for boring old Mondays. Fingerlings roasted in a skillet just feel inherently classy, especially when you add a few sprigs of fresh rosemary. The turkey won’t know what hit it.
31. Easy Fennel Salad (10 Minutes)
Believe it or not, fennel is actually a member of the carrot family. It’s an acquired taste, and you might not be able to convince Uncle Randy to take a bite, but its licorice-y flavor will be a welcome change of pace for most of your guests at the Thanksgiving table. (Maybe next year, Uncle Randy.)
32. Charred Broccoli with Sriracha Almond Butter Sauce (25 Minutes)
We never met a cruciferous vegetable we didn’t like. Add a sweet and spicy sauce (warning: it’s so tasty, you’ll want to drink it), and it’s quickly become one of our favorite dishes of all time. The Thai flavors bring a little bit of fusion to your feast.
33. Mashed Cauliflower (11 Minutes)
Mashed potatoes are so “been there, done that.” This year, spring for mashed cauliflower, which has the same creamy, decadent taste but fewer carbs. And when you make the dish in the Instant Pot, you can cut the cooking time down to 11 minutes total.
34. Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
Sure, you could chop each individual Brussels sprout by hand with a knife. But to save time—and time is of the essence on Thanksgiving—run these babies through a mandolin. Psst: If the idea of slicing a finger freaks you out, you can also use a food processor. Better yet, buy a pre-sliced bag at Trader Joe’s.