Simple and Surprisingly Unexpected Thanksgiving Side Dishes

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These may look like mozzarella sticks, but they're actually deep-fried sticks of mac and cheese, simply prepared with a little help from Velveeta.

For the mac and cheese fries recipe, click here.

iStock.com/juanmonino

Southern sausage balls

This simple Southern classic only contains three ingredients - sausage, biscuit mix and cheddar cheese - but it's popular enough to deserve a home on every Southern Thanksgiving table.

For the Southern sausage balls recipe, click here.

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Buttercup squash and couscous

A comforting pile of couscous is a perfect side dish, especially when kicked up with some cherry tomatoes, scallions and diced squash.

For the buttercup squash and couscous recipe, click here.

A_Lein/Shutterstock

Potato gratin with onions and sage

Fontina cheese, caramelized onions, thyme and sage make this creamy potato gratin an absolute crowd-pleaser.

For the potato gratin with onions and sage recipe, click here.

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Quinoa with sweet potatoes and kale

If you want to provide your guests with a healthy side dish that's still autumn-appropriate, this melange of ingredients including kale, button mushrooms, quinoa and sweet potatoes is a perfect option.

For the quinoa with sweet potatoes and kale recipe, click here.

iStock.com/haoliang

Cheesy hash brown casserole

Even just hearing the phrase "cheesy hash brown casserole" makes us hungry, and this Midwest-inspired favorite, with cheddar, colby jack and a secret ingredient (it's condensed cream of chicken soup), will keep your guests coming back for seconds and thirds.

For the cheesy hash brown casserole recipe, click here.

iStock.com/D. Homer

Bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits

Why just serve plain old dinner rolls when you can serve buttermilk drop biscuits with cheddar, bacon and scallions?

For the bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits recipe, click here.

iStock.com/Lara Hata

Pumpkin-sage cheese grits

These rich and creamy grits receive a seasonal twist thanks to the addition of sage and pumpkin puree.

For the pumpkin-sage cheese grits recipe, click here.

Yulia-Bogdanova/Shutterstock

Brussels sprouts with pearl onions, mushrooms and crispy prosciutto

Fried prosciutto is a perfect complement for Brussels sprouts, especially when sauteed with pearl onions, and oyster and maitake mushrooms.

For the Brussels sprouts with pearl onions, mushrooms and crispy prosciutto recipe, click here.

Peredniankina/Shutterstock

Welsh rarebit

Welsh rarebit is a classic Welsh comfort food made by dousing thick-cut toast with a rich sauce made with beer and cheese. Cut it into slices, pass it around your Thanksgiving table and watch your guests go nuts.

For the Welsh rarebit recipe, click here.

locrifa/Shutterstock

Asparagus in a blanket

Vegetables do belong on a Thanksgiving table, so why not treat asparagus like mini hot dogs and wrap them in puff pastry?

For the asparagus in a blanket recipe, click here.

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Maple walnut sweet potato casserole

Sweet potatoes and pears are layered and topped with brown sugar, cinnamon, maple syrup and walnuts for a sweet and tasty side.

For the maple walnut sweet potato casserole recipe, click here.

Courtesy of California Walnut Board

Caramelized onion tart

This classic side dish is super easy to make; just top puff pastry with caramelized onions and Gruyere and bake.

For the caramelized onion tart recipe, click here.

iStock.com/DariaZu

Avocado sage cornbread

Replacing the oil with avocado in this cornbread doesn't just make it healthier, it also puts a modern twist on a classic recipe. The sage also makes it perfect for Thanksgiving.

For the avocado sage cornbread recipe, click here.

iStock.com/Lynne Mitchell

Baby beets with orange blossom water, feta and mint

Beets always make for a colorful side dish, and they partner perfectly with feta, mint and orange blossom water, which lends sweet and citrusy notes.

For the baby beets with orange blossom water, feta and mint recipe, click here.

MShev/Shutterstock

Potatoes Savoyarde

Potatoes Savoyarde is a classic potato preparation. It's also super easy to make. Just layer sliced potatoes, Gruyere and garlic in a casserole dish, top with a little chicken stock and bake.

For the Potatoes Savoyarde recipe, click here.

iStock.com/Bartosz Luczak

Pumpkin risotto

You might not think of risotto as a perfect Thanksgiving side dish, but it totally is, especially when loaded with pumpkin and garnished with pumpkin seeds and pecans.

For the pumpkin risotto recipe, click here.

iStock.com/Mariha-kitchen

Bacon and shiitake mushroom bake

This savory, creamy spin on bread pudding is loaded with bacon, cheddar and earthy shiitake mushrooms.

For the bacon and shiitake mushroom bake recipe, click here.

iStock.com/ALLEKO

Green tomato and cheddar pie

If you love tomatoes, then you'll love them baked in a pie with plenty of cheese.

For the green tomato and cheddar pie recipe, click here.

Lapina Maria/Shutterstock

Muffin mix buffet bread

These buttery loaves of bread use a package of corn muffin mix as a base, which means they're super easy to make, and they're super tasty (and super retro) with a can of condensed cheddar cheese soup. You can tell your guests that this recipe actually won the 1967 Pillsbury Bake-Off, and you can see every Pillsbury Bake-Off winner here.

For the muffin mix buffet bread recipe, click here.

More from The Daily Meal:

When Should You Buy Your Turkey? And Other Thanksgiving Questions, Answered

10 Thanksgiving Dishes You Should Just Buy at the Store

How to Choose and Cook the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

15 Vintage Thanksgiving Dishes You Should Cook This Year

10 Things Midwesterners Always Have on Their Thanksgiving Table

Courtesy of Pillsbury
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