Sure, the main dish may get all of the glory, but your holiday feast is only as good as its sidekicks. Here are 20 of our favourite festive side dishes to round out your special meals.
Stovetop space is often limited when preparing big meals, so avoid the crunch and make this classic creamy side in your slow cooker, instead! Bacon makes this dish extra-indulgent, but you can easily omit it if you prefer to keep it vegetarian.
The combination of a creamy potato filling and cheesy breadcrumb crust makes this recipe one of our favourites. Gruyère cheese is notoriously strong-smelling, but it mellows nicely as it melts.
While it may look similar to broccoli, rapini has a distinct and assertive taste that many find bitter. Here, we’ve tossed the green with a sweet and savoury dressing, sweet yellow beans and nutty toasted almonds for a perfectly balanced blend of flavours.
Roasting the garlic takes some time, but it’s well worth the reward. The tender, golden cloves give a deep caramelized flavour to the dish, which pairs nicely with the sweet and peppery turnips that are mixed into the mash.
Sweet potato casserole is a must on holiday tables in the United States, but the traditional marshmallow-topped side doesn’t always have the same appeal here in Canada. For our Canadian twist on this dish, we’ve swapped out the marshmallows for a crunchy pecan and brown sugar streusel that’s the perfect balance of sweet and savoury.
A mix of fresh and frozen peas gives this bright dish the best texture. If fresh sugar snaps aren’t available, simply double the frozen peas or substitute with broccoli or green beans, instead. The three-ingredient garlic butter is a great condiment to have on hand—simply toss with hot pasta or gnocchi and steamed veggies and you’ve got a meal in minutes!
This creamy dish is a cross between decadent creamed spinach and lighter slaw, making it a crowd-pleasing side to satisfy many palates. To make this vegetarian-friendly, simply use vegetable broth.
Toasted walnuts, tangy blue cheese and crisp kohlrabi converge in this simple autumn salad. A slightly spicy, creamy dressing is the perfect balance to the peppery arugula.
Adding Parmesan cheese to stuffing might seem unconventional, but it helps to keep this dish moist and gives it a nice crisp crust. Oyster mushrooms are an elegant addition, but you can easily use inexpensive cremini mushrooms if you prefer.
This rice-based dish is a great gluten-free alternative to traditional bread stuffing. Tossing sliced shallots with cornstarch before frying makes them extra-crispy, making for a delightfully crunchy topping.
Artichokes may seem intimidating, but they’re actually quite simple to prepare. To prep them, first cut off the sharp tips of the leaves, then slice off the top of the artichoke to remove the fuzzy centre. Simmering in water loosens the remaining tough leaves, making them a cinch to pull off. It’s best to do this work a day ahead so that all you have to do the day of the meal is make the topping and roast the artichokes until crispy. The show-stopping end result is well worth the effort.
Goat cheese lends extra creaminess and a hint of tangy flavour to classic garlicky mashed potatoes. Heating the drained potatoes for a minute cooks off any excess liquid, which yields the fluffiest mash.
The trick to giving this simple side dish a company-worthy look is all in the way you slice the carrots. Rather than cutting them in standard coins or sticks, we’ve sliced them on the diagonal to add a hint of drama to your holiday spread.
Delicate oyster mushrooms add easy elegance to this simple sautéed spinach dish, which takes only 20 minutes to make!
The secret to these crispy roasted potatoes is a dual cooking method—you simmer them first, then finish them off in the oven with goose, duck or beef fat. Look for the fat in the gourmet section of major supermarkets or in specialty markets, or simply reserve the drippings from cooking duck, goose or beef.
No holiday meal would be complete without a heaping dish of mashed potatoes, and this one, with its delicious blend of fluffy russets and colourful sweet potatoes, is sure to fit the bill.
Endive can be bitter when eaten raw, but roasting the leafy vegetable mellows the flavour and brings out its sweetness. An herbaceous and zesty dressing adds a welcome hit of freshness. Be sure to rinse the leeks well after halving them, as sand and grit can hide within its layers.
Flavour-packed capers are an effortless way to punch up the flavour of any side, and they work especially well with mild roasted cauliflower. If you find capers to be overly salty, simply give them a rinse before using.
Tender, sweet acorn squash and crisp bacon add extra appeal to Brussels sprouts. For even cooking, trim the thick bottom end of the sprouts, remove the outer leaves and halve them lengthwise so they’re about the same size as the squash cubes.
Spicy, aromatic infused oil adds unforgettable flavour to pepper (a.k.a. acorn) squash, especially when finished with a squeeze of lime juice. Make the oil up to five days ahead so you can prepare this dish in just 30 minutes.
Photography by T. Merriman Image by: Photography by T. Merriman
Cold temperatures and harsh winds can take a toll on your lips—and there is nothing sexy about a chapped mouth. The good news? Our favourite lip balms can help eliminate dry, sore and chapped lips. These affordable picks range from $4 to $32.
Blistex helps to relieve sore lips & restore moisture balance.
Blistex Deep Moisture Renewal with SPF 15, $4, walmart.ca
A 100% organic and 95% natural lip balm that's packed with antioxidant-rich vitamin E, soothing shea butter and jojoba oil.
EOS Sweet Mint Lip Balm, $4.50, walmart.ca
Chapped lips are rescued instantly, thanks to a hint of eucalyptus—plus cooled by a touch of icy menthol.
Maybelline New York, Baby Lips Dr Rescue Medicated Lip Balm, $5, maybelline.ca
This natural lip balm is loaded with coconut- and sunflower oils and rich in vitamins.
Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm Tube, $5, burtsbees.ca
This hydrating balm contains shea butter, beeswax, grapeseed oil, vitamin E and meadowfoam seed oil to keep your lips soft, comfortable and looking great.
Sephora Collection Super Nourishing Lip Balm, $8, sephora.ca
Formulated with soothing emollientsl ike Squalanea, Lanolin, Wheat Germ Oil and Vitamin E this pick helps to protect lips from the drying effects of cold weather.
Kiehl's Lip Balm #1, $12, kiehls.ca
This balm leaves lips soft, repaired, and protected through antioxidants like grape polyphenols and repairing apricot oil.
Caudalie Lip Conditioner, $14, sephora.ca
This 99% all natural lip balm helps to smooth dry and chapped lips.
Yes to Coconut Naturally Smooth Lip Balm, Coconut, $15.30, amazon.ca
A concentrated lip treatment that will keep dry lips smooth and soft. This formula includes honey, beeswax and propolis extract that helps to soothe skin and provides instant relief to dry lips.
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm, $25, sephora.ca
This product acts as an ultra-hydrating lip treatment that conditions lips. Plus it also enhances volume and improvies the overall definition of the lip area.
Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Treatment, $32, sephora.ca
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Image by: Jeff Coulson
Be the star of the show with our 11 ultimate potluck dishes.
These brownies are Food Director Annabelle Waugh's secret recipe and are sure to be a hit at any potluck! We now use it as our classic brownie recipe at Canadian Living. You'll see that they live up to their name.
Creamy and comforting? Check. Rich and delicious? Check. This simple, classic side has everything you could ever ask for in a potato gratin. We guarantee you'll make it again and again – and again!
We gave our classic caesar salad a nutrient boost by adding tender baby kale. Crunchy pumpernickel croutons and Parmesan crisps really put this salad above the rest.
Serve this saucy pulled pork as sandwiches piled high on buns, with bowls of garnishes, such as pickled jalapeños, sour cream, shredded cheese and thinly shredded red cabbage (or better yet, red cabbage slaw), and let guests build their own sandwiches.
This recipe can easily be left to simmer away in a slow cooker for eight hours before adding the chicken. It yields a large quantity of sauce that freezes well if you're feeding a smaller group. Serve over hot steamed basmati rice.
This version of potato salad has all the comfort of a fully loaded baked potato and can be made ahead of time so it's ready when you need it.
No one will be able to resist these flaky savoury sausage rolls. Make them in advance of any party and reheat in the oven before serving.
Vegetarians won't feel left out of the pot luck with these delicious bites and your meat-eating guests will appreciate them too.
Our foolproof 5-ingredient roasted garlic dip couldn't be simpler to make. Serve it with your favourite vegetables, or alongside festive Christmas Tree Veggie Tray.
I know what you're thinking: Who brings biscuits to a potluck? One bite of Mile-High Bacon Cheese Biscuits and the answer will be you! They combine easy-to-work-with dough and the layering technique of puff pastry. They're great at brunch with poached eggs, with soup or – my favourite – warm from the oven with a slice of tomato and shredded iceberg lettuce tucked inside. Instant BLT.
This twist on an Italian classic combines lightly spiced layers of creamy mascarpone cheese and citrus-flavoured ladyfinger cookies in an everyday baking dish that's perfect for a large crowd. Top with praline dust just before serving so that it keeps its crunch.