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Ina Garten’s 10 Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes, According to Her Biggest Fan

Trent Pheifer has cooked over a thousand Barefoot Contessa's recipes (and counting). Here are his favorite Thanksgiving side dish recipes.

The editors at Simply Recipes recently chatted about our favorite Thanksgiving recipes, and not surprisingly, many come from Ina Garten. It's her no-fail roasted Brussels sprouts for me—so simple and always delicious. Someone else mentioned her potato fennel gratin, which sounds decadent.

Wouldn't you want to know about all of Ina Garten's best Thanksgiving recipes? I sure did! And I knew exactly whom to ask: Trent Pheifer of @storeboughtisfine.

<p>Simply Recipes / Trent Pheifer / Getty Images</p>

Simply Recipes / Trent Pheifer / Getty Images

Over eight years ago, Trent started cooking through Ina Garten's recipes and has now cooked through nearly 1,300 from her 13 cookbooks and 29 seasons of Barefoot Contessa. It's more than fair to say that Trent is the right person to tell us about Ina Garten's best Thanksgiving recipes—he's made them all.

Since there are hundreds of recipes that qualify for Thanksgiving, I asked him to narrow it down to the 10 best Thanksgiving side dishes.

<p>Simply Recipes / Trent Pheifer</p>

Simply Recipes / Trent Pheifer

1. Mushroom & Leek Bread Pudding

"If I had to pick one side that changed my Thanksgiving repertoire for good, it's this Mushroom & Leek Bread Pudding. Growing up, stuffing was never my favorite side—I loaded up on mashed potatoes and gravy. Too often, I found stuffing to be a little dry and bland. Ina’s savory bread puddings changed all of that and this version is easily one of my favorites for Thanksgiving. It’s crispy on the top, supremely moist throughout, and brimming with so much flavor. It changed my idea of what stuffing could be."

Get Recipe with Title: Mushroom & Leek Bread Pudding

<p>Simply Recipes / Trent Pheifer</p>

Simply Recipes / Trent Pheifer

2. Truffled Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are one of Trent's favorite Thanksgiving sides. Add store-bought truffle butter and Parmesan cheese, and you've got yourself the most decadent mashed potatoes you'll ever have.

Get Recipe with Title: Truffled Mashed Potatoes

Simply Recipes / Trent Pheifer
Simply Recipes / Trent Pheifer

3. Potato Fennel Gratin

This was Trent's reaction after making Ina's Potato Fennel Gratin for the first time: "WHHHHHYY?!? WHY did I wait so long to try the absolute perfection that is Ina's Potato-Fennel Gratin?!" It's a rich potato gratin with caramelized onions, fennel, and Gruyère cheese. Not counting salt, pepper, and oil, it's only five ingredients. Plus, you can assemble it up to 24 hours ahead of time, which makes it an ideal Thanksgiving dish.

Get Recipe with Title: Potato Fennel Gratin

<p>Simply Recipes / Trent Pheifer</p>

Simply Recipes / Trent Pheifer

4. Baked Farro & Butternut Squash

For another great make-ahead side dish, Ina combines crispy bacon, toothsome farro, and sweet butternut squash in a casserole that can go straight from the oven to the Thanksgiving table. Your farro may need a little more liquid to get tender, so add more chicken stock if needed.

Get Recipe with Title: Baked Farro & Butternut Squash

<p>Simply Recipes / Trent Pheifer</p>

Simply Recipes / Trent Pheifer

5. Balsamic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

"Balsamic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts were one of the first recipes I made back in 2015! It began my love affair with Brussels sprouts—my only prior experience being the soggy boiled variety of the 1990s. It’s also the dish that taught me all you need is a few ingredients and a hot oven for a stellar veggie side!"

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<p>Simply Recipes / Trent Pheifer</p>

Simply Recipes / Trent Pheifer

6. Spinach Gratin

"The spinach cancels out the calories from the Gruyère, Parmesan, butter, and heavy cream ... Right?! Can't stop eating this straight from the casserole dish!" Trend admits. The best part is that you don't have to cook down fresh spinach because Ina prefers frozen spinach.

Get Recipe with Title: Spinach Gratin

<p>Simply Recipes / Trent Pheifer</p>

Simply Recipes / Trent Pheifer

7. Charlie Bird’s Farro Salad

This easy grain salad is also on Trent's top 10 best Ina Garten recipes that go beyond Thanksgiving. "This recipe is inspired by the version at the New York City Italian restaurant of the same name and is packed with good things like arugula, cherry tomatoes, radishes, and pistachios." If you're looking for a dish to bring to a Thanksgiving potluck, this one is it.

Get Recipe with Title: Charlie Bird’s Farro Salad

<p>Simply Recipes / Trent Pheifer</p>

Simply Recipes / Trent Pheifer

8. Make-Ahead Cranberry Sauce

Trent has clearly hosted many Thanksgiving meals—here's yet another make-ahead favorite side that will help you get ahead. Plus it only takes 20 minutes to make. Ina's cranberry sauce calls for chopped apples, which adds texture, flavor, and sweetness.

Get Recipe with Title: Make-Ahead Cranberry Sauce

<p>Simply Recipes / Trent Pheifer</p>

Simply Recipes / Trent Pheifer

9. Asparagus Cacio e Pepe

"Very similar to roasted asparagus with Parmesan, which has been my go-to side dish for years, Ina replaces olive oil with butter and adds Pecorino cheese with plenty of ground pepper. The lemon squeeze on at the end is always key for brightening the dish."

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<p>Simply Recipes / Trent Pheifer</p>

Simply Recipes / Trent Pheifer

10. Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

Wait to combine the roasted butternut with the arugula, and toss with the dressing until you are ready to serve Thanksgiving dinner. Otherwise, you'll end up with wilted greens instead of a bright, fresh salad. To get ahead, roast the butternut squash up to a day before Thanksgiving.

Get Recipe with Title: Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

The #1 Thanksgiving Tip Trent Learned From Ina

I asked Trent about the one tip he learned from Ina Garten that best helps him prepare for Thanksgiving. Here's what he said:

"The biggest lesson Ina taught me for Thanksgiving Day success is creating a timeline. Starting from when you want to serve dinner and working your way back, you include times and details of what needs to be done for each dish you are serving. For example, at 9 a.m. boil water for macaroni, and at 12:45 p.m. remove turkey from oven, cover with foil, and rest for 20 minutes.

"It may seem like a lot of work upfront, but it will save you so much stress and confusion on the big day. If I think I’m behind or lost while doing a million things, I refer to my timeline and assure myself everything is fine! 

"It’s also a great way to know if your menu works! I’ve caught that two things need to be baked at different temperatures requiring me to adjust my schedule. I've also realized that I would never get dinner on the table, so I cut one or two from the list."

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.