6 Irresistible Holiday Dishes You Can Make in Under 45 Minutes

The holidays are looming on the not-so-far horizon, and odds are high that you’re still finalizing your menu. Side dishes can be an especially daunting task at this time of year, as no entrée is complete without several of these satisfying accompaniments being served alongside it. Our handy holiday guide for side dishes is a great place to start as you search for quick and comforting foods that the whole family will enjoy.

Make your side dishes shine this holiday with these six superb recipes, all requiring fewer than 45 minutes to complete.

Source: iStock

1. Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts With Toasted Almonds and Balsamic

Pan-searing your Brussels sprouts will help bring out the veggie’s natural sweetness. Simply cook the sprouts in a cast-iron skillet to achieve optimal flavor and coloration in minutes. The addition of fragrant toasted almonds and tart balsamic vinegar results in an elegant side dish for the holiday table. These low-maintenance Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts With Toasted Almonds and Balsamic take just 20 minutes to make and yield 2 generous portions. The recipe can easily be multiplied for large parties during the holiday season. Keep in mind that if you don’t have any grape seed oil on hand, you can substitute any other neutrally flavored oil for searing.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons whole almonds
  • 1 teaspoon grape seed oil
  • 11 ounces (about 16) Brussels sprouts, cut in half
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • A good pinch of Maldon, or other flaky sea salt

Directions: Heat a pan on medium-high heat. Add almonds and toast, shaking the pan occasionally, until they start to brown and are fragrant. Remove them from the pan. When they are cool enough to handle, coarsely chop them.

Add the grape seed oil to the same pan. Place the Brussels sprouts in the pan, facedown and in a single layer. Cook them for about 5 minutes, or until they are dark brown on the bottom. Add a few tablespoons of water to the pan and cover it with a lid; this will ensure they are cooked through. Remove the Brussels sprouts from the pan.

Add the balsamic vinegar to the same pan. It will start to bubble up immediately. Wait about 15 seconds, then pour the reduced balsamic over the Brussels sprouts. Top with the chopped almonds and a good pinch of flaky sea salt.

Source: iStock

2. Brown Butter and Sage Mashed Sweet Potatoes

These eye-catching Brown Butter and Sage Mashed Sweet Potatoes will be gobbled up by your guests in a snap. If you’d like to retain the brilliant orange hue of your sweet potatoes, be sure to boil them instead of baking or microwaving. But color isn’t the only thing that makes this dish stand out: It’s also smooth, flavored with aromatic, nutty brown butter and hearty sage. For exceptionally creamy results, press your sweet potatoes through a ricer — no milk or cream needed! The recipe takes 30 minutes to make and yields 4 to 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2½ pounds sweet potatoes
  • ¼ cup salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, packed (plus extra for serving, if desired)
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper, to taste

Directions: Peel the potatoes and cut into medium (1-inch) chunks. Place potatoes in a medium sauce pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium to maintain a slow boil.

Cook until potatoes break apart easily with a fork — they should be very tender! The time will vary greatly by how large your pieces are.

While your potatoes cook, heat your butter in a small skillet over medium heat, swirling occasionally until the butter turns a golden brown and takes on a nutty aroma.

Remove the butter from the heat and stir in sage; it will boil. Gently swirl the sage in the butter until it stops bubbling, and set aside until your potatoes are ready. If you wait too long and your butter starts to re-harden, heat it gently over low heat until it is liquid again.

Drain the potatoes and either mash with the back of a wooden spoon or press through a ricer. Give the potatoes a good stir with the wooden spoon before pouring in about half of your sage butter. Make sure that you get sage with the butter. Add a large pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Beat well, taste, and add more sage butter and salt as needed. Drizzle a little extra brown butter on the top to finish. Spoon into a decorative bowl and serve hot.

Source: iStock

3. Harissa, Broccoli, Spinach, and Wild Rice Casserole With Crispy Prosciutto

Half Baked Harvest brings a bit of Middle Eastern flavoring to the table with this Harissa, Broccoli, Spinach, and Wild Rice Casserole With Crispy Prosciutto. The dish weds several unusual ingredient pairings — tangy harissa, earthy Gruyere and Gouda, and dill, to name a few — culminating in a distinctive holiday casserole. The crispy prosciutto ties together the disparate flavors and textures in one final savory finish. This casserole takes 45 minutes to make and yields 6 to 8 side servings.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 cups cooked wild rice
  • ¼ to ⅓ cup homemade or store-bought harissa
  • 1½ cups frozen broccoli
  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen spinach (thaw and squeeze dry if using frozen)
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (plus more for garnish)
  • Pinch salt and pepper
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 2 ounces Gouda cheese, shredded
  • 5 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 2 tablespoons pistachos, chopped

Directions: Grease a 2- to 3-quart casserole dish. Set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, along with the onions and garlic. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft and lightly caramelized. Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked wild rice, harissa, frozen broccoli, spinach, dill, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and mix well to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.

Sprinkle the cheeses over the casserole and then add the prosciutto. Bake the casserole for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the prosciutto is crispy.

Sprinkle the casserole with fresh cilantro and chopped pistachios. Serve!

Source: iStock

4. Turnip Gratin

Prepare yourself for one of the most decadent holiday sides you’ll encounter this season: the Pioneer Woman’s Turnip Gratin. One of the nice things about this dish is its incorporation of turnip. This veggie somewhat resembles potato in color, texture, and size, but somehow seems to get less attention than potatoes when it comes to holiday side dishes. This cheesy dish does a wonderful job of incorporating turnip into the seasonal festivities, and is delicious to boot! The recipe takes 40 minutes to make and yields 6 hearty servings.

Ingredients:

  • 4 whole turnips
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups Gruyere cheese
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons butter
  • Chicken broth
  • Heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh herbs, to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Start by peeling and thinly slicing the turnips and mincing the cloves of garlic. Grate about 2 cups of Gruyere cheese. In a large oven-proof skillet, melt 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Place a single layer of turnips on top of the butter.

Next, sprinkle a little of the garlic on top and drizzle a healthy splash of chicken broth over the turnips. Then, do the same with the cream.

Add a layer (about ½ cup) of Gruyere. Sprinkle on a pinch of salt. Repeat these layers twice more. Sprinkle on some freshly ground black pepper. Pop the whole thing into the over and bake for about 20 minutes or until the top is hot, brown, and bubbly.

Source: iStock

5. Broccoli-Corn Casserole

Warm your guests up this season with a home-cooked Broccoli-Corn Casserole, offering homestyle flavor and an out-of-this-world creamy texture. Butter crackers, such as Ritz, and melted butter combine for a wonderfully crisped top layer, while corn, broccoli, and cream mingle in the dish’s smooth and soothing interior. The recipe takes 45 minutes to make and yields 9 servings. If you’re making a double batch, bake for 40 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces frozen broccoli cuts
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 10 to 12 butter crackers, crumbled
  • 1 thin slice bread, toasted and crumbled

Directions: Cook broccoli and drain well.

In a 9-by-9-inch baking dish, beat eggs. Add crumbled toast, ⅛ cup butter, creamed corn, and broccoli to the baking dish and mix together.

Combine the remaining butter and crumbled crackers in a separate dish. Spread over the top of the casserole. Bake for 30 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Source: iStock

6. Cardamom and Orange Glazed Carrots

For a taste of sweet, simple, and sensational veggies this season, opt for Taste of Home’s Cardamom and Orange Glazed Carrots. The dish is a breeze to prepare, consisting of just six ingredients, and is sure to be a hit among children and adults alike. The carrots are enlivened with the addition of orange zest and spicy, citrusy cardamom. The dish takes 20 minutes to complete and yields 8 servings of rich, tender carrots.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds carrots, cut into 2-inch julienned strips
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup butter, cubed
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel

Directions: In a large saucepan, bring 1 inch of water, carrots, and salt to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 7 to 9 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain.

In a large skillet, combine the butter, brown sugar, cardamom, and orange peel. Cook and stir over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Add carrots; toss to coat.

More from Life Cheat Sheet: