8 Cold Thanksgiving Side Dishes That Are Perfect for a Small Outdoor Gathering

Photo: Jessica Gavin
Like many people, this year my immediate family and I are celebrating Thanksgiving with a small gathering outside. Normally, everything on our holiday table is served hot, except for the heavenly hash and cranberry sauce. But this year we want to minimize the number of people going in and out of the house, so everyone is bringing sides best served cold. There goes that mashed cauliflower tart I was originally planning on making...

For cold Thanksgiving side dishes recipe inspiration, I turned to a group that I knew would help: Well+Good's Cook With Us Facebook group. A place where thousands of people come to be inspired and share recipe ideas, I had a hunch they were the perfect people to ask what the heck to make. And wow did they deliver. People from all over the country chimed in, sharing the cold Thanksgiving side dishes they planned on making this year, linking to recipes they've followed in the past and loved.

I decided to pay it forward, sharing their ideas here with anyone else in need. All the Thanksgiving recipes included below can be served cold—no reheating required.

8 cold Thanksgiving side dishes

1. Anti-inflammatory salad with roasted veggies

Salad is the Thanksgiving side most people *think* they don't want, until they sit down and realize they need something to balance out all the hearty dishes on their plate. The trick to making a salad seasonal for fall: roast the veggies, which is exactly what's done in this recipe. The dressing is made with turmeric and ginger, which is where those powerful anti-inflammatory benefits come in.

Get the recipe: Anti-inflammatory salad with roasted veggies

deviled eggs
Photo: Live Eat Learn

2. Deviled eggs 

Turkey doesn't have to be the only major source of protein on the table. These deviled eggs are made with Greek yogurt, which packs two protein sources into every bite. Besides the eggs and yogurt, all your need is Dijon mustard and lemon juice to whip 'em up.

Get the recipe: Deviled eggs

sweet potato and black eyed peas salad
Photo: Sweet Savant

3. Black-eyed peas sweet potato salad

Sweet potatoes are one of the tried-and-true stars of Thanksgiving dinner, but they don't have to be served piping out or covered in marshmallows to be enjoyed. Here, they're combined with black-eyed peas and seasoned with scallions and spiced herbs. The end result is a savory dish with the perfect whisper of sweetness.

Get the recipe: Black-eyed peas sweet potato salad

green beans
Photo: Inspired Taste

4. Green bean salad with crispy shallots

Looking for a way to serve up green bean casserole for your outdoor celebration? This salad incorporates the core ingredients but preps it in a way that doesn't require being served hot. The key is to swap out the cream of mushroom soup base for a lighter Dijon mustard-based sauce.

Get the recipe: Green bean salad with crispy shallots

carrot dip
Photo: Crowded Kitchen

5. Smoky roasted carrot dip

Carrots are another seasonal veg that's right at home on the Thanksgiving table, and this dip showcases a smart way to serve it up. Here, they're roasted and then blended with chickpeas to make a creamy hummus. Even the chickpea juice (aquafaba) is put to use so nothing goes to waste. Paprika and chili powder give the dip its smokiness.

Get the recipe: Smoky roasted carrot dip

cranberry quinoa salad
Photo: Peas and Crayons

6. Cranberry quinoa salad with walnuts

Sure, you can serve cranberry sauce right out of the can. Or you can use fresh cranberries and use them to make this fiber-filled quinoa salad. It pairs perfectly with potatoes, turkey, and everything else on the table, too.

Get the recipe: Cranberry quinoa salad with walnuts

cold Thanksgiving side dishes
Photo: Jessica Gavin

7. Fingerling potatoes with lemon herb dressing

No one will even miss the mashed potatoes with this dish on the table. Made with thyme, rosemary, and Dijon mustard, they pair perfectly with turkey. While summer potato salad is mayonnaise-based, the herbs used in this dish give it more of an autumnal flavor profile.

Get the recipe: Fingerling potatoes with lemon herb dressing 

8. Gluten-free sweet potato tart

What's great about pie is that it can be enjoyed hot or cold. Switch things up from a classic pumpkin or pecan with this gorgeous purple sweet potato pie. It's the perfect way to end your holiday meal on a sweet note everyone will be thankful for.

Get the recipe: Gluten-free sweet potato tart

Join in on the recipe-sharing fun in Well+Good's Cook With Us Facebook group.

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