Turkey or ham usually gets top billing at the holiday table, but side dishes can be just as memorable. We asked our WestCoast friends from different parts of the world to share superstar side dishes that honor their heritage. We received everything from spicy and stuffed to tangy and sweet for our very American Holiday meal. Here are some of the best – and tastiest – suggestions.
When we asked Lisa Kern, originally from England, she knew exactly what secret ingredient she brought every year to the holiday table since she arrived 25 years ago. “My family always used sage all the time back home, and I loved how well it went with roasted onions from Sunday dinner with my family. In the U.S., sage is not as popular, but making it part of the main ingredients means I can have some in every bite.”
Mary Lopez said, “My parents are Ecuadorian, so I find myself adding Latin American ingredients to everything I cook.” She makes a green bean casserole for Christmas dinner, which is a vibrant medley of beans tossed with oranges, dates and almonds, plus a sprinkle of smoked paprika. It adds a rich smoky finish to every dish.
Brussels Sprouts with Asian Vinaigrette
Lynn Parks told us, “All my Korean relatives bring their own fabulous side dishes to our holiday lunch. One of my cousins makes great dumplings, and my aunt braises short ribs. We also serve a classic holiday meal, mixing Korean and American flavors at one big table. I started to contribute my side dish of Brussels Sprouts with Asian Vinaigrette and now it’s one of our family’s favorites!”
- 3 tbsp.Oil
- 2 ½ lbs.Brussels sprouts
- ¼ cupFish sauce
- 2 tbsp.Sugar
- 1 tbsp.Lime juice
- 1 tbsp.Rice wine vinegar
- 1-3 smallfresh chilis thinly sliced
- 1 clovegarlic finely chopped
- ¼ cupfinely chopped cilantro
- stems, plus 1 cup leaves
- 1/3 cupchopped mint
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large oven-safe skillet over medium high heat, heat the oil. Add Brussels sprouts to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally until sprouts start to turn golden and are barely tender – about 10 min. Transfer skillet to oven and roast until all are deep golden brown and tender – about 15 minutes more.
In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together 2 tbsp. water, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, vinegar, chilis, and garlic to make a vinaigrette. Stir in cilantro stems and mint. Set aside.
Add hot Brussels sprouts to vinaigrette, toss well and transfer to large serving platter. Top with cilantro leaves and serve.
Carrot-Cranberry Sauce Spiced with Ginger
“I love the holidays!” said Nicole Thomas, who grew up in Sweden. “When you’re not raised with them, you can make the holidays exactly what you want them to be.” Most years, she invites an international group of friends to share a roasted turkey and makes a carrot-cranberry sauce spiced with ginger, a nod to Swedish lingonberry chutneys. “My friends bring dishes from their homeland,” she said. “Together we celebrate coming to America.”
- 3 tbsp.vegetable oil
- 8 clovesgarlic chopped
- 4 carrotspeeled and cut into ¼ inch cubes
- 3 smallfresh chilis finely chopped
- ½ cuppacked light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp.finely chopped ginger
- 2 tbsp.ground turmeric
- 2 tbsp.mild chili powder
- 2 cupschicken broth
- ½ cupwhite wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp.cumin seeds
- 2 mangospeeled, pitted, and cut
- into ½ inch cubes
- ½ cupdried cranberries
- ½ cuppitted prunes chopped
- ¼ cuplime juice
- 1 tbsp.honey
- 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
In a large pot over medium heat, heat vegetable oil. Add garlic, carrots, chilis, sugar, ginger, turmeric, and chili powder. Cook, stirring often, until spices are fragrant and sugar dissolves – about 5 minutes. Stir in broth and vinegar, bring to a simmer and cook 10 minutes, scraping up any browned bits and stirring occasionally. Add 2 cups water, cumin seeds and mangos, turn to a simmer and cook for 20 more minutes.
Stir in cranberries, prunes, lime juice and honey, return to a simmer, cook until thickened – about 30 minutes more.
Remove from heat, stir in salt and set aside to cool to room temperature and serve.