Make-Ahead Holiday Side Dishes

Savory Galette with 
Radicchio and Endive

When she’s serving a big group, apron guru Ellen Bennett loves making savory galettes with seasonal ingredients. At Christmas, she opts to use radicchio, which she sautes with a touch of honey and vinegar before scattering on top of the creamy ricotta filling.

Parker House Rolls Topped with Cheddar and Old Bay

These are the ultimate parker house rolls: fluffy and buttery with an irresistible topping of melted cheddar and spicy Old Bay seasoning. These rolls are so full of flavor, they don’t even need any butter or margarine–serve as an appetizer or alongside your holiday dinner for an easy, delicious side dish. 

Farro Salad with Turnips and Greens

To get the most out of turnips, Tamar Adler buys them with their greens attached and then uses both parts in this hearty grain salad. If the turnip greens aren’t sufficient, or if they’re unavailable, she supplements them with any combination of other leafy greens.

Cranberry-Pecan Bread Pudding with Bacon

A good loaf of cranberry-nut bread from a bakery has so much flavor that there’s no need to trick it up with lots of ingredients. As the pudding bakes, the bread becomes almost custardlike, with a crispy brown top.

Roasted Cabbage with Warm Walnut-Rosemary Dressing

These hearty cabbage wedges, roasted until golden brown and topped with a fragrant, buttery dressing with rosemary and walnuts, can be made well in advance and served to a crowd.

Broccolini with Crispy Lemon Crumbs

Gail Simmons reinvents the recipe by blanching Broccolini quickly, then sautéing it on the stove with a shallot and adding spicy, lemony, homemade bread crumbs at the very end.

Canadian Bacon, Potato, and Swiss-Chard Gratin

Grated Gruyère cheese melts among ribbons of leafy Swiss chard and slices of Canadian bacon and potato. The dish bakes until the cheese on top is a crusty golden brown.

Chipotle-Roasted Baby Carrots

When he makes this stunning salad, Alex Stupak roasts baby carrots with mole poblano, a complex sauce that includes dried chiles, raisins and chocolate. Here, the carrots are roasted simply with smoky chipotles in adobo.

Watercress Salad with Prosciutto, Tangerines and Hazelnuts

This salad is an intriguing mix of strong flavors—sweet, peppery, earthy. The hazelnuts add richness, chef Govind Armstrong says, plus they “do their job as the texture police.” He uses duck prosciutto here; it’s easy to find in specialty-food stores, or you can substitute regular prosciutto.

Creamy Semolina with Roasted Mushrooms

It takes about only three minutes to make this thick, creamy semolina on the stove; the mushrooms cook in the oven, unattended, for 25 minutes. “This is the ultimate lazy man’s side dish,” says Jason Travi.

Butternut Squash with Homemade Harissa

Harissa, a garlicky North African chile sauce, is usually served with couscous and stews. The homemade harissa featured here is supersimple to prepare, and any extra will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, but jarred versions available at specialty markets make a fine substitute.

Leek Salad with Walnuts and Tomme de Brebis

Leeks turn sweet and luscious simmered in salted water and dressed with a simple red wine vinaigrette. Chef Armand Arnal heightens the flavor with fresh toasted walnuts and shavings of the firm farmstead sheep’s-milk cheese Tomme de Brebis.

Ginger-Roasted Parsnips

Parsnips contain antioxidants and vitamins A and C. “They’re our favorite root vegetable,” according to Clark Frasier.

Squash Gratin with Poblanos & Cream

Chef Julie Robles makes this vegetarian gratin in individual dishes with a topping of candied pepitas (pumpkin seeds). This version is for one big gratin garnished with plain toasted pumpkin seeds.

Spinach-Shiitake Bread Puddings

Jean-Georges Vongerichten took the American stuffing basics and reconfigured them. This dressing, which he prefers to cook outside the bird, takes an unexpected form. It can be made ahead and rewarmed as the turkey rests.

Pickled Beet Salad

Pickled Chioggia beets are perfect in this salad with parsley and fennel fronds.

Peppered Corn Bread

John Currence ingeniously uses both naturally low-fat buttermilk and fat-free sour cream to make his tender corn bread.

Roasted Squash with Maple Syrup and Sage Cream

Barbara Lynch isn’t choosy about which squash to include in this deeply flavored dish, which gets finished with a sage-infused cream sauce—she goes with whichever varieties look best at the farmers’ market—but butternut and delicata are among her favorites.

Creamy Swiss Chard with Crisp Bread Crumbs

Maria Helm Sinskey claims that a rich gratin topped with cheesy bread crumbs is the only way her children will eat Swiss chard. “I’ve learned that a little cream and cheese gets my kids to finish their vegetables,” she says.

Whole-Grain Stuffing with Apples, Sausage and Pecans

After tossing the ingredients and spreading them in a pan, Melissa Rubel Jacobson chills the stuffing for at least an hour before baking. This ensures that the bread soaks up the liquid—key to a stuffing that’s crisp on top and moist within.

Warm Farro Salad with Braised Radishes

Green Beans with Mustard-Seed Butter

The mustard-seed butter can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month. Let the butter return to room temperature before using. The cooked green beans can be refrigerated overnight; blanch in boiling water or steam until heated through.

Red Skin Potato Mash

The mashed potatoes can be made early in the day. Cover and keep warm, then reheat gently, adding more warm milk if the potatoes seem stiff.

Maple-Ginger-Roasted Vegetables with Pecans

When roasting winter vegetables, Melissa Rubel Jacobson says be sure to chop them about the same size, so they cook at the same rate. And toss them at least once while they’re in the oven, so they brown evenly.

Escarole and Roasted Broccoli Salad with Anchovy Dressing

This salad offers an amazing array of flavors: sweet roasted broccoli, bitter escarole, salty anchovies, sharp cheese.

Aunt Elsie’s Texas Potatoes

Modern Family actor Eric Stonestreet got this fantastic potato casserole recipe from his great-aunt Elsie Ball. Stonestreet calls them “Kansas potatoes” because he’s from Kansas. “I don’t think Texas will mind,” he says. The original recipe calls for canned cream of chicken soup, but taking a few extra minutes to prepare a homemade sauce makes this already delicious casserole even better.

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