Food

19 Thanksgiving sides that will make you say, 'What turkey?'

What would the turkey be without its side dishes? What is a movie star without its supporting actors? Just a lonesome bird without anyone to interact with, quite frankly bland without stuffing, gravy and the plethora of vegetable-based dishes to enhance its flavor.

So can we please find a better word for side dishes on Thanksgiving? Can't we do any better for golden brown dressing and refreshing shaved Brussels sprouts salads? Maybe "guide" dishes since they really steer the direction of the entire meal. Maybe they're just referred to as the main dishes and turkey is just, well, turkey.

RELATED: Skip the turkey: Why side dishes win Thanksgiving

Anyway, here are the dishes to stuff your face with (to avoid talking politics with your relatives) this Thanksgiving:

Chestnut and Sausage Stuffing
Beau Macmillan and Al Roker show How to make sausage stuffing for Thanksgiving.November 11, 2016.
Nathan R. Congleton / TODAY
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10
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Chef Beau Macmillan uses brioche bread, breakfast sausage, chestnuts, and apples to add depth to his Thanksgiving stuffing.

Shannon Emery / Pass Me Some Tasty / TODAY Food Club

Sweet & Savory Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

A quick and easy dish containing sweet potatoes, shallots, Honeycrisp apples, pecans and Italian sausage, these are definitely not the Brussels sprouts you pretended to eat when you were growing up.

Maple-Sweet Potato Mash with Toasted Marshmallow Cream
Sweet potato mash with a marshmallow cream
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
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4 to 6
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Chef Michael Lomonaco upgrades your average Thanksgiving sweet potato dish by topping those velvety potatoes with an airy layer of marshmallow cream.

Creamed Spinach with Fried Cheese Curds
Creamed Spinach with Fried Cheese Curds
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
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6-8
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Fried cheese curds are added to creamed spinach for a decadent spin on a popular Thanksgiving side.

Green Bean Casserole with Bacon and Brussels Sprouts Leaves
Green Bean Casserole with Bacon and Brussels Sprouts Leaves
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
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8-10
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Green bean casserole is a great way to bring green vegetables to the sea of mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and macaroni gratins that lovingly litter our holiday table — especially one with a twist, like this one. Plus, it's all stove-top so the oven can cook the turkey in peace.

RELATED: 21 casserole recipes that'll keep the whole family full and happy

Ruth Ward / TODAY Food Club

Stuffed Sweet Potato and Spinach

For a two-in-one special, sweet potato and spinach are a perfect marriage and pop of color for your table.

Acorn Squash with Brown Butter and Honey
Squash extravaganza: Thanksgiving recipes for summer and winter squash.Camila Alves-Acorn Squash with Brown Butter and HoneyTODAY, November 14th 2016.
Nathan R. Congleton / TODAY
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Take a break from butternut and try mashed acorn squash with garlic and sweet potatoes this Thanksgiving. Don't you want to just take a dive straight into that?

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Bring some complexity and depth of flavor to the classic comfort dish with mushrooms, Dijon mustard, thyme and two types of cheese: Fontina and Parmesan.

Quinoa, Cornbread and Cranberry Stuffing
Quinoa stuffing
Frances Largeman-Roth / TODAY
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10
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Surprise! Healthy and satisfying stuffing does exist. This vegan version gets body from the cornbread, depth from the mushrooms and celery, texture from the pecans and quinoa, and sweetness from the dried cranberries.

RELATED: Perk up your Thanksgiving feast with one of these 5 unusual sides

Roasted Carrots with Carrot-Top Chimichurri and Granola
Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Chimichurri
Ed Anderson /  Ed Anderson
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10
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This crowd-pleasing side dish utilizes the whole carrot, including the tops, which are made into a chimichurri sauce that would also be wonderful with roasted or grilled meats. A dish in which nothing goes to waste is perfect for Thanksgiving.

Holl G / TODAY Food Club

Potato Stuffing

Combine your two favorite mushy Thanksgiving foods — stuffing and mashed potatoes — into one, comforting super-dish.<

Kale Salad with Crispy Bread Crumbs
Siri Dali's Kale Salad with Crispy Bread Crumbs.TODAY, November 15th 2016.
Samantha Okazaki / TODAY
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10
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Full of unique flavors and textures, this kale salad would be a refreshing addition to your Thanksgiving table.

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Chef Michael White has perfected potato gratin using two types of cheese, thyme, and nutmeg. Ooey-gooey, bubbly and decadent, it's way more than just a side dish.

RELATED: Add this 1 ingredient to make fluffier mashed potatoes, plus more hacks to try

Oyster Dressing Grandmère
Oyster Dressing Grandm?re
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
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12
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Go old-school with this famous dressing from Louisiana chef John Besh: lots of butter, chunks of bacon, a heavy sprinkling of cayenne and paprika, and, of course, a heaping portion of fresh oysters.

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Katie Lee's green bean casserole recipe is a classic version of the Thanksgiving fave, made with fresh ingredients in place of canned soup.

Bacon Maple Pecan Sweet Potato Chips
Bacon Maple Pecan Sweet Potato Chips
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
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4
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What could possibly make crispy sweet potatoes better? How about a topping of candied bacon (AKA "pig candy")?

Shereen Pavlides / Bucks County Courier Times / TODAY Food Club

Roasted Beet Salad

This salad is gorgeous, bright, fresh, tender, crunchy, earthy and healthy with a tangy creamy finish from the goat cheese.

RELATED: How to shop for and prep beets, plus 7 outstanding recipes to use them up

Sunny's Easy Holiday Brussels Sprout Salad
Turkey Trot: Sunny Anderson's brussels sprout saladTODAY, November 16, 2016.
Rebekah Lowin / TODAY
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4
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Sunny Anderson's Brussels sprout salad has the big flavors of the holidays — cranberries, pecans, rosemary, nutmeg — while still being fresh and light. It's a refreshing reprieve from all the heavy eating of the rest of the meal.

Wild Mushroom Cornbread Dressing
Wild Mushroom Cornbread Dressing
Alessandra Bulow / TODAY
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Bobby Flay cooks his mushroom-cornbread stuffing in a cast iron pan to give it a wonderful golden-brown crust.

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