Some Easy Thanksgiving Sides
Isn’t Thanksgiving the best food holiday, ever? I love everything about it – the cooking, the baking; the table setting – even the leftovers!
I always plan my Thanksgiving around tried-and-true family favorites, plus a few new dishes thrown in. This year, I’m adding Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Pecans to our traditional menu.
The new recipe was created because I opted in to receive a free package of Diamond of California shelled pecans as a Klout perk. There’s no obligation to promote your perk, but of course, once you have a product in your hands, it ends up top-of-mind in your thinking.
In perusing the recipes that accompanied the package, I encountered a way of preparing Brussels sprouts that I’d never thought of before. The pecans, the bacon and the sprouts are all cooked on the same rimmed baking sheet (at different times) in the oven. I liked the economy of using one pan, which saves on dishwashing.
However, I was interested in a different flavor profile, so I used the method to create my own recipe.
Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Pecans
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
3 strips thickly cut bacon, cut crosswise in ¼-inch pieces
1 ½ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
3 tablespoons maple syrup
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Position rack in lower third of oven. Heat oven to 450°F.
- On heavy rimmed baking sheet, spread pecans. Bake until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes, stirring once. Transfer to a small plate.
- Arrange bacon on same baking sheet, spreading out in single layer. Cook until lightly browned and crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes. Use slotted spoon to remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
- Add Brussels sprouts to baking sheet with bacon drippings and toss to coat well in the drippings. Arrange sprouts cut-side down, in a single layer. Roast until browned on the bottom, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add maple syrup, pecans and bacon, stir and continue roasting until Brussels sprouts are tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 to 4 minutes longer.
- Remove from oven and season with salt (about ¼ teaspoon) and pepper.
Makes 6 servings.
Recipe adapted from Diamond of California.
- Brussels sprouts come in different sizes; look for ones of uniform size so they will cook evenly. Mine were 1 ½ inches in diameter; if yours are smaller, they may cook faster.
- Add ½ to 1 teaspoon chopped thyme or sage, if desired, when you add the maple syrup to the sprouts.
- If you want the pecans to maintain their crunch, you can save them to sprinkle on the sprouts just before serving.
If you’re looking to incorporate a few new dishes to your Thanksgiving menu, here are some other easy choices from the Special Fork recipe database. I searched under “Special Occasion,” and then, “Thanksgiving.”
- Pan-Roasted Potatoes, Pears, Apples & Chestnuts is a delicious sweet and savory side dish to accompany your turkey. A recipe by Andrew Hunter.
- California Harvest Stuffing is prepared in a skillet and can be completed in a half hour, start to finish. While it’s effortless to make, your guests will think you’ve slaved for hours in the kitchen.
- Escarole Salad with Grapefruit, Pistachios and Ricotta Salata will hold up well on a buffet and provide a refreshing counterpoint to the typical heavy, Thanksgiving feast. Recipe by Katie Barreira.
- Pumpkin and Maple Syrup Mini-Tarts are made using purchased unbaked mini tart shells. You can whip these up in about a half hour for a classic, sweet ending to your dinner.
Happy Thanksgiving from Special Fork!
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