The editors at Simply Recipes recently chatted about our favorite Thanksgiving recipes, and not surprisingly, many come from Ina Garten. It’s her no-fail roasted Brussels sprouts for me—so simple and always delicious. Someone else mentioned her potato fennel gratin, which sounds decadent.
Wouldn’t you want to know about all of Ina Garten’s best Thanksgiving recipes? I sure did! And I knew exactly whom to ask: Trent Pheifer of @storeboughtisfine.
Over eight years ago, Trent started cooking through Ina Garten’s recipes and has now cooked through nearly 1,300 from her 13 cookbooks and 29 seasons of Barefoot Contessa. It’s more than fair to say that Trent is the right person to tell us about Ina Garten’s best Thanksgiving recipes—he’s made them all.
Since there are hundreds of recipes that qualify for Thanksgiving, I asked him to narrow it down to the 10 best Thanksgiving side dishes.
1. Mushroom & Leek Bread Pudding
“If I had to pick one side that changed my Thanksgiving repertoire for good, it’s this Mushroom & Leek Bread Pudding. Growing up, stuffing was never my favorite side—I loaded up on mashed potatoes and gravy. Too often, I found stuffing to be a little dry and bland. Ina’s savory bread puddings changed all of that and this version is easily one of my favorites for Thanksgiving. It’s crispy on the top, supremely moist throughout, and brimming with so much flavor. It changed my idea of what stuffing could be.”
2. Truffled Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are one of Trent’s favorite Thanksgiving sides. Add store-bought truffle butter and Parmesan cheese, and you’ve got yourself the most decadent mashed potatoes you’ll ever have.
3. Potato Fennel Gratin
This was Trent’s reaction after making Ina’s Potato Fennel Gratin for the first time: “WHHHHHYY?!? WHY did I wait so long to try the absolute perfection that is Ina’s Potato-Fennel Gratin?!” It’s a rich potato gratin with caramelized onions, fennel, and Gruyère cheese. Not counting salt, pepper, and oil, it’s only five ingredients. Plus, you can assemble it up to 24 hours ahead of time, which makes it an ideal Thanksgiving dish.
4. Baked Farro & Butternut Squash
For another great make-ahead side dish, Ina combines crispy bacon, toothsome farro, and sweet butternut squash in a casserole that can go straight from the oven to the Thanksgiving table. Your farro may need a little more liquid to get tender, so add more chicken stock if needed.
5. Balsamic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
“Balsamic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts were one of the first recipes I made back in 2015! It began my love affair with Brussels sprouts—my only prior experience being the soggy boiled variety of the 1990s. It’s also the dish that taught me all you need is a few ingredients and a hot oven for a stellar veggie side!”
6. Spinach Gratin
“The spinach cancels out the calories from the Gruyère, Parmesan, butter, and heavy cream … Right?! Can’t stop eating this straight from the casserole dish!” Trend admits. The best part is that you don’t have to cook down fresh spinach because Ina prefers frozen spinach.
7. Charlie Bird’s Farro Salad
This easy grain salad is also on Trent’s top 10 best Ina Garten recipes that go beyond Thanksgiving. “This recipe is inspired by the version at the New York City Italian restaurant of the same name and is packed with good things like arugula, cherry tomatoes, radishes, and pistachios.” If you’re looking for a dish to bring to a Thanksgiving potluck, this one is it.
8. Make-Ahead Cranberry Sauce
Trent has clearly hosted many Thanksgiving meals—here’s yet another make-ahead favorite side that will help you get ahead. Plus it only takes 20 minutes to make. Ina’s cranberry sauce calls for chopped apples, which adds texture, flavor, and sweetness.
9. Asparagus Cacio e Pepe
“Very similar to roasted asparagus with Parmesan, which has been my go-to side dish for years, Ina replaces olive oil with butter and adds Pecorino cheese with plenty of ground pepper. The lemon squeeze on at the end is always key for brightening the dish.”
10. Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette
Wait to combine the roasted butternut with the arugula, and toss with the dressing until you are ready to serve Thanksgiving dinner. Otherwise, you’ll end up with wilted greens instead of a bright, fresh salad. To get ahead, roast the butternut squash up to a day before Thanksgiving.