26 Holiday Side Dishes That Don't Use Potatoes

A couple holiday side dishes
A couple holiday side dishes - Elena Veselova/Shutterstock

There's nothing we look forward to more than the holidays. The lights, the decorations, and of course, the food. You can't have a big get-together without it. While we know that the roast or turkey are the stars of the show, a feast just isn't a feast without a scrumptious side dish or two. And as comforting as many of them are, sometimes the sides are carb-heavy or a little one-note, and you need a holiday side dish without potatoes.

Yams and white potatoes are a must, especially when covered with a thick creamy gravy. But there are so many other choices, from Grandma's green bean casserole to the cranberry sauce that Johnny learned to make in Kindergarten. There are so many different traditions and diverse spreads in every home across the country, your table should be a rainbow of delectable dishes. There could be roasted carrots or a salad full of your favorite autumn produce. The options are endless. There's just one thing that many choices can get pretty overwhelming. That's why we've put together a list of 26 different possibilities to help you create the ultimate holiday feast. And there's not a single spud in the bunch.

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Honey-Glazed Carrots

Glazed carrots on marble counter
Glazed carrots on marble counter - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

A classic side this time of year, carrots are almost always guaranteed to be a hit. They may be sweet when they're raw, but once roasted in butter and honey, carrots turn into a dish that tastes almost like candy. The time spent in the oven makes them reminiscent of having tubers on your table.

But this candy isn't just sweet. Thanks to a few cloves of garlic and a sprinkle of pepper, this side has a healthy kick of spice that will tickle the tongue and make even the pickiest eater go back for seconds.

Recipe: Honey-Glazed Carrots

Veggie Antipasti Italian Pasta Salad

Antipasti pasta salad
Antipasti pasta salad - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Pasta salad makes a great main course for a backyard cookout. But it can also be an awesome side at your holiday table. What makes this pasta salad so special is all the extra stuff in it.

If you're a fan of Mediterranean ingredients like olives, mozzarella, and marinated artichoke hearts, you'll love this spin. Those ingredients, coupled with a tart yet delicate dressing, make for a cool pasta salad that will complement any protein on your table.

Recipe: Veggie Antipasti Italian Pasta Salad

Kale And Roasted Beet Salad With Feta

Kale and roasted beet salad
Kale and roasted beet salad - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Does kale scare you? If so, you're not alone. This brassica often gets a bad rap. But if prepared correctly, it becomes a flavorful side dish.

Kale is often passed over for other greens because it has a bitter flavor and tends to be tougher than other classic salad lettuce. But if you chop and massage the kale, you not only tenderize it, but you take some of the bitterness out of it as well, turning it into a delightful greenery for a great salad.

Recipe: Kale And Roasted Beet Salad With Feta

Easy Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Bowl of roasted Brussels sprouts
Bowl of roasted Brussels sprouts - Alexander Shystman/Tasting Table

Brussels Sprouts have become a popular holiday side in recent years due to their versatility. This roasted version looks elegant but is so easy no one would ever know. Plus, they have a garden freshness that invokes potatoes without being so carb heavy.

Roasting Brussels sprouts brings out their natural sugars, making them nice and sweet. But when you toss them in a tangy mixture of balsamic vinegar and maple syrup before roasting, you not only make them even sweeter, you get a nice tang that hits all the right notes.

Recipe: Easy Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Simple Roasted Asparagus

Roasted asparagus and potatoes
Roasted asparagus and potatoes - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Asparagus is one of those vegetables that's very divisive. Some people love it, and some hate it. But when made correctly, you have a winning dish that will have everyone cheering.

The method to make this dish correctly? Simply toss asparagus with a little olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper, and then roast them in the oven for a short amount of time. Low and slow, and you're guaranteed your asparagus not only tastes delicious but is nice and tender without burning.

Recipe: Simple Roasted Asparagus

Honey Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

Dinner rolls with butter and salad
Dinner rolls with butter and salad - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Rolls may not seem like a side dish, but no dinner is complete without them. Who doesn't love a warm roll with dinner? We certainly do. They're a great start to any meal but can also be enjoyed throughout the dinner itself.

While making rolls from scratch takes a little more time than some sides, the finished product is always worth it. And because there's a quarter cup of honey in these rolls, they've got a sweetness that will complement just about anything on your table.

Recipe: Honey Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

Classic Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole in a ramekin
Green bean casserole in a ramekin - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

There are few holiday sides as recognizable as green bean casserole. It's a classic, and for good reason. It's easy, it's creamy, and those fried onions add a great crunch that can't be beaten.

This version takes the classic and makes it even easier by using frozen green beans, canned mushroom soup, and store-bought fried onions. Using pre-made ingredients also saves a ton of time, and that's something all of us home chefs can use during the holidays.

Recipe: Classic Green Bean Casserole

Classic Creamed Spinach

Two bowls of creamed spinach
Two bowls of creamed spinach - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Looking for a recipe that's a little outside the box this holiday season? This creamed spinach is the answer. Rich and flavorful, it's a fancy side that's both decadent and delicious.

The dish may be a heavier side than some, but the combination of cream, butter, and cream cheese makes it a winner every time. Since the recipe includes cream cheese, lemon zest, and lemon juice, there is a delightful tang that will encourage your guests to come back for more.

Recipe: Classic Creamed Spinach

Bacon-Wrapped Green Beans

Bacon-wrapped green beans
Bacon-wrapped green beans - Jamie Shelbert/Tasting Table

Heading to a potluck holiday dinner and looking for something that will have people smiling? These green beans are the answer. This dish looks more complicated than it is. But it's really simple. Salty bacon is the sort of comfort food that can easy replace having to make potatoes.

Wrapping those green beans in a nice piece of salty bacon is what makes this dish the photo-worthy side it is. Even better, you don't have to fry the bacon ahead of time. Simply wrap it around the green beans, throw them all in the oven, and presto, a winning side that will have guests lining up.

Recipe: Bacon-Wrapped Green Beans

Moist Corn Casserole

Corn Casserole with spoon
Corn Casserole with spoon - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Cornbread is one of those versatile dishes that can be enjoyed in several different ways. It can be a roll or muffin, it can be the base of your stuffing, or it can be a casserole all to itself.

Not as dense as cornbread but not as rich as creamed corn, this corn casserole will satisfy the most intense corn craving. The secret ingredient that makes it so moist? Mayonnaise. Not only does it add an extra dose of creaminess, but there's a tang that compliments the sweet corn, elevating the whole casserole.

Recipe: Moist Corn Casserole

Cauliflower Au Gratin

Bowl of cauliflower au gratin
Bowl of cauliflower au gratin - Christina Musgrave/Tasting Table

Potatoes au gratin are a classic holiday side that's a great cheesy alternative to mashed potatoes. But by substituting cauliflower for the potatoes, you get a more nutritious version without losing any of the cheesy decadence.

The added benefit of using cauliflower instead of potatoes is that this recipe takes no time at all to turn into an indulgent side. Instead of cutting potato after potato into paper-thin slices, you simply have to chop one head into small florets, thereby saving time and allowing you to focus on the rest of your holiday dishes.

Recipe: Cauliflower Au Gratin

Easy Baked Acorn Squash

Sliced baked squash
Sliced baked squash - Christina Musgrave/Tasting Table

Potatoes are often used as a side during the holidays. But if you're not in the mood for that particular starch, squash makes a great alternative.

Squash tends to be one of the sweeter autumn vegetables available this time of year. You could serve it as is with a little butter, but this recipe turns it into a savory dish thanks to a few teaspoons of chili, garlic, and onion powders, along with a healthy sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Recipe: Easy Baked Acorn Squash

Simple Mac And Cheese (With Crunchy Topping)

Scoop of mac & cheese on plate
Scoop of mac & cheese on plate - Christina Musgrave/Tasting Table

Mac & cheese is a popular holiday side across America. In fact, it may be one of the most quintessential holiday sides there are. Everyone has their own recipe, but sometimes, you can find new favorites inspired by others.

If you're curious to add it to your table this holiday season, this simple recipe is a great way to get your feet wet. Not only does it have the rich creaminess of the classic, but it also has a delightfully crunchy crust that adds another interesting texture to the dish.

Recipe: Simple Mac and Cheese (With Crunchy Topping)

Baked Mac And Cheese Casserole

Spoon of mac & cheese
Spoon of mac & cheese - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

With so many different kinds of mac and cheese recipes, it can be overwhelming to pick which one to serve. But if you're looking for one that's extra gooey, this baked version is the way to go.

Baking the mac in a beautiful casserole dish guarantees pasta that's thicker than the box you whip up on the stove. Sure, this option may take a little longer, but once you take a bite of that rich, creamy mac, you'll know you made the right decision.

Recipe: Baked Mac and Cheese Casserole

Savory Cranberry Sauce

Bowl of cranberry sauce
Bowl of cranberry sauce - Christina Musgrave/Tasting Table

No holiday table is complete without a big bowl of cranberries. Cranberry relish is always a popular choice, and nothing beats a classic thick sauce.

Not only is there less sugar in this recipe, but there's a slight savoriness from chicken stock and unsweetened cranberry juice that are used instead of water. If you're concerned that these cranberries will be salty because of those ingredients, you needn't be. They'll still taste like a classic cranberry sauce. Only this time, slightly less cloying.

Recipe: Savory Cranberry Sauce

Roasted Veggie Pesto Quinoa Salad

Roasted veggie pesto quinoa salad
Roasted veggie pesto quinoa salad - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Salads are usually made up of a variety of raw vegetables. But by roasting your veggies first, you're changing the flavors while creating something unexpected. Roasting vegetables brings out their natural sweetness while softening them up at the same time.

Even though there won't be the same crunch you usually get with a fresh salad, this warm alternative will complement the rest of the meal. Finishing it off with a bright pesto dressing gives the salad a delightful piquancy to compliment the caramelized produce.

Recipe: Roasted Veggie Pesto Quinoa Salad

Cranberry And Sage Pearl Couscous

Platter of cranberry couscous
Platter of cranberry couscous - Tanika Douglas/Tasting Table

For a dish that's full of autumn flavors and colors, this couscous recipe is just the ticket. Combining roasted pumpkin with chopped cranberries gives you a hearty dish that's both sweet and tart at the same time.

Toss in some toasted couscous, fried sage leaves, and walnuts, and you have a holiday side dish that doesn't have potatoes — and doesn't need them. This will hit every flavor on your palate and have your guests lining up for seconds.

Recipe: Cranberry And Sage Pearl Couscous

Cranberry-Pecan Thanksgiving Slaw

Cranberry-pecan Thanksgiving slaw
Cranberry-pecan Thanksgiving slaw - Alexander Roberts/Tasting Table

We've all enjoyed coleslaw at summer picnics and on corned beef sandwiches. But just because it's the quintessential summer dish doesn't mean it won't work in the winter as well. So, how do you turn a summer coleslaw into a winter side dish?

Change the ingredients. Of course, we're still using carrots and cabbage but apples, pecans, and cranberries are added as well. Those few ingredients tossed together with a little apple cider vinegar and maple syrup take this cool summer recipe and turn it into a side that just screams fall.

Recipe: Cranberry-Pecan Thanksgiving Slaw Recipe

Creamy Corn Pudding

Creamy Corn Pudding
Creamy Corn Pudding - Kate Shungu/Tasting Table

Even though corn pudding and casserole are often considered the same thing, this recipe sets itself apart thanks to a couple of savory ingredients. A lot of people use creamed corn to make their puddings nice and moist; this pudding replaces that can with a cup of ricotta cheese.

The ricotta makes the pudding even creamier without adding any distinct flavor. Instead, you have a decadent pudding that's a blank canvas to which you can add whatever herbs, spices, or cheeses your heart desires.

Recipe: Creamy Corn Pudding

Autumn Country Bread Stuffing

Autumn stuffing in a casserole dish
Autumn stuffing in a casserole dish - Kate Shungu/Tasting Table

A classic stuffing is comprised of bread crumbs, herbs, spices, and an aromatic or two. But adding dried cranberries gives it a distinct autumnal flavor while lending a hint of sweetness at the same time. It's got the carby-feel of a spud stacked side, but a lighter texture.

It's not just the dried cranberries that make this stuffing stand out. The country bread adds a delightful texture that truly sets it apart from other stuffings. Because country bread has a crunchy crust, you won't end up with a soggy stuffing once it's been doused in chicken broth like you might with other bread.

Recipe: Autumn Country Bread Stuffing

Roasted Garlic And Butternut Squash Risotto

Two bowls of squash risotto
Two bowls of squash risotto - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Risotto is a hearty food that takes a little extra time and effort to make as compared to some other sides. But if you have the time, it's a great holiday side dish that will impress all your guests.

The key to making a perfectly creamy risotto is to constantly stir it once the broth is added. Stirring melds all the flavors together while releasing the starch from the rice into the broth, thereby producing a luxurious texture that will coat the tongue and throat, creating a coziness that's perfect for chilly weather.

Recipe: Roasted Garlic And Butternut Squash Risotto

Caramelized Butternut Squash With Pearl Couscous

Two bowls of squash couscous
Two bowls of squash couscous - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

When it comes to autumn, nothing beats the flavors and colors of cranberries and squash. Combined with the unique mouthfeel of pearl couscous, you end up with a side that will fit any holiday table.

Couscous comes in a variety of different shapes and sizes; pearl couscous has a fluffier, more chewy texture. That chewiness makes it heartier than some of the smaller varieties. Heartier usually means more comforting, and there's nothing better on a chilly evening than a big bowl of comfort.

Recipe: Caramelized Butternut Squash With Pearl Couscous

Tuscan Kale And Cranberry Salad

Platter of salad with bowl of cranberries
Platter of salad with bowl of cranberries - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

There's always a ton of heavy food at the holidays, and it can be a smart move to lighten it up with a salad or two. Now, we know that kale can be a divisive green due to its texture and flavor. But with so many different types, you might find one that's perfect for you.

This salad uses Tuscan kale which is a less bitter, more tender kale than some of the others out there. Make sure to massage it, and you'll have the perfect choice for a light salad like this leaf.

Recipe: Tuscan Kale And Cranberry Salad

Apple Harvest Salad

Salad with apples and blue cheese
Salad with apples and blue cheese - Susan Olayinka/Tasting Table

Fruit and cheese have long been companions on appetizer cheese boards. So, since they work so well together on a board, who's to say they wouldn't work just as well in a salad?

Red apples, pecans, and blue cheese are tossed together with a mix of lettuce for a light yet earthy salad that has a sweet, nutty flavor. The blue cheese adds a nice pungent kick that ties the whole dish together for an unctuous, lighter side to match the holiday feels without weighing you down as those heavier holiday dishes do.

Recipe: Apple Harvest Salad

Roasted Acorn Squash Wedge Salad

roasted squash and wedge salad
roasted squash and wedge salad - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Wedge salads have been around for decades, often served up at steakhouses nationwide. But you can make them at home, too. Normally, the wedge in question is a simple piece of iceberg lettuce with various toppings.

In this recipe, the wedge salad gets tipped on its head, joining the lettuce with a wedge of a different kind: acorn squash. Both wedges are covered with the same toppings, and the combination of two very different wedges on the plate makes for a show-stopping dish.

Recipe: Roasted Acorn Squash Wedge Salad

Wheat Berry And Pomegranate Salad

Platter of salad next to plate
Platter of salad next to plate - Taylor Murray/Tasting Table

Salads are usually comprised of lettuce and various other fruits and vegetables. But this salad puts the wheatberry grain at its center for tasty results. As a whole grain, the wheatberry is chock full of fiber while being a great source of protein and iron at the same time.

The key to enjoying these little kernels of wheat is to let them simmer in a pot of water for about an hour. That will ensure a grain that's tender and chewy with a subtle nutty flavor. Pomegranates add a juicy pop, and the piquancy of black pepper grounds the two together.

Recipe: Wheat Berry And Pomegranate Salad

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