Get the Scoop on Thanksgiving Sides from Chefs

Chefs dish on their favorite sides, and whether you can even have Thanksgiving without a turkey on the table. You may be surprised at how traditional their choices of favorite sides are… and some of the alternatives they eat instead of turkey.

What do you think? Do you serve a non-turkey Thanksgiving meal?

What’s your favorite side dish at Thanksgiving?

Because it’s all about the sides.

Sweet potatoes with bourbon and maple.

– Chef Patti Jackson of Delaware and Hudson, Brooklyn

My favorite side dish is green beans sautéed in garlic with white wine and almonds. It’s very classic, and an old-school combination that we have seen before. But honestly, it’s one of the first dishes I ever learned to make, and I have made it every year since.

– Chef Peter McGough, Mida, Boston

Our Lemony Green Beans with Bacon & Shallots recipe.

Sweet potato mashed with a hint of banana.

– Chef Pierre Calmels, Bibou, Philadelphia

That’s a tough one, I like so many of them. Even just really good homemade mashed potatoes are so great with gravy made from all of the turkey juices and cooking liquid. But honestly, I am always a sucker for the candied sweet potatoes my wife makes, super simple. Sliced and roasted with a little brown sugar and topped with pecans. I also always make roasted applesauce with Honeycrisp apples and some brown butter that is really great when you combine it with the sliced turkey.

– Chef Adam Siegel, Bartolotta Restaurants, Milwaukee

I love gravy … so any side that I can dump gravy over is my favorite.

– Matt Kern, Heirloom, Lewes, DE

Do you have a preferred alternative to turkey?

Does there have to be a turkey on the table to make it Thanksgiving?

A baked ham with honey mustard.

– Chef Jason Hua, The Dutch, NYC

We have a lot of vegetarian friends, so we like to stuff a big squash or make a turnpumpkin (vegetables, turducken style).

– Chef Patti Jackson of Delaware and Hudson, Brooklyn

Prime rib or quail. Being Texan you can’t go wrong with beef, however, quail is a great alternative without the commitment and stress of dealing with a giant bird. With quail, you have options of a traditional preparation (stuffed with dressing) or you could simply grill them.

– Chef Jon Buchanan, Third Coast, Houston

Grilled Quail Closeup

My wife is American and we happened to be in France one year for Thanksgiving, so we decided to make a Thanksgiving dinner for the family! Besides the challenge of finding cranberries in France, turkey is for Christmas, so there were none available in November. Luckily, being near the Bresse region, we had access to capon and this is by far the best substitute for turkey. In any case, I always prefer a small bird than those monster turkeys we find in the U.S. Even most home ovens in France are not big enough to fit an American turkey!

– Chef Jean-Pierre Vuillermet, Union League Café in New Haven, CT

Braised beef for pot roast is our go-to for the holidays. It grandma’s favorite.

– Chef Christopher Nye, Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis


Alternative to turkey? I don’t condone such a thing. Dark meat forever.

– Matt Kern, Heirloom, Lewes, DE

Thanks, chefs, for sharing your Thanksgiving tips and traditions!

Since 1985, D’Artagnan has been at the forefront of the farm-to-table movement, producing superior tasting products by partnering with small ranches and farms. We are committed to free-range, natural production, sustainable and humane farming practices and no use of antibiotics or hormones. That’s why D’Artagnan products have been revered by America’s most renowned chefs for over 30 years. We offer the same high-quality products to home cooks at, along with recipes and guides to help you live the tasty life.

Are you a business looking to serve or sell D’Artagnan? We invite both chefs and food retailers to reach out and become D’Artagnan customers.

Connect with us on social media to share your cooking adventures. Tag @dartagnanfoods on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.