Several years ago, our SAPi founder Brandon Gantthad an epiphany over Mac and Cheese. Ok, it was arguably about more than one of the best Thanksgiving sides ever introduced to the family table; it was about where to find it.
This happened in COVID times when grocers were understocked and understaffed, and many restaurants were closed or reduced to takeaway (let’s never go back!). So on a hunt to put together a proper Thanksgiving dinner, the kind with all the choices and traditional fixings, he started calling around to friends and family.
Southern Fixings (Courtesy of Eat This, Not That)
Who could bring the Mac and Cheese? Who’s on top of mashed potatoes? Whose secret recipe for sweet potatoes pie was poised and ready?
Although this wasn’t the whole story, it played a big part in Save A Plate’s (SAPi) inspiration. How can we connect local plates with local people? Everyone knows that the special touch that real people give to their signature dishes is what makes them unique. So how can we support local foodpreneurs and local bellies at the same time? And thus, SAPi’s seed was planted.
Today the SAPi APPconnects a diverse group of local foodies with plates as diverse as they are delicious. And you might tjust be able to find your favorite holiday sides covered as well.
In honor of the upcoming holidays and all the side dishes that get our stomachs growling, we’re covering the Best Of Southern Thanksgiving sides – look for local plates in your area on the SAPi APP!
Top Five Best Southern Holiday Side Dishes
Southern Living Fried Pecan Okra (Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas)
Fried Pecan Okra
Fried okra is an institution in the south year-round – but for the holidays, you can level up this classic dish with pecan infused breading. Giving the pecans a quick toasting session in the oven makes all the difference.
Everyone should have a corn casserole in their holiday arsenal of go-to recipes. This dish gives it all; creamy, savory, and filling. Bacon, rainbow confetti of chopped peppers, and cream cheese round out this party pleaser.
Historically black-eyed peas have been associated with a “mystical and mythical power to bring good luck.” So you’re not only coming through with a delicious dish but good vibes for the whole family, nice one! Traditionally Southern Black-Eyed Peas dishes have a good dose of pork belly, ham hock, or both.
Controversial for the traditionalists, but not for Southern tables who say that coleslaw absolutely belongs next to the turkey. When done right, it’s a Southern delicacy, and the secret is always in the sauce – a maker’s mix of mayo, vinegar, sugar, and spices.
Cornbread in its fried form, no Southern holiday celebration is complete without a side of sharp cheddar and jalapeno-infused Hushpuppies. As the story goes, fishermen in the 1800s would toss their dogs some fried batter from fish fries to stop the puppies from begging, hence the “hushpuppy” moniker. This is a delicious ode to those who just can’t wait to eat!
Fusion Mac and Cheese Recipes That Will Level Up Your Holidays
SAPi’s Best Fusion Mac and Cheese Recipes For The Holidays
It’s that time of year, are you prepared to shine like the bright diamond you are at your family holiday potluck? You’ll need to go beyond the traditional sides to be able to humblebrag that you brought the best dish to the table. Your Mac and Cheese dish deserves to be more than just a co-star; done right, it deserves top billing.
Mac & Cheese is the holiday classic with an immeasurable contribution to the holiday feast. Feeds kids? Check. Feeds your picky Uncle who isn’t into fancy holiday dishes? 100%. Can fulfill your sister’s current gluten-free, vegan, keto diet? With some swaps, absolutely!
Why not go the extra mile this year and put a spin on the classic? It’s time you take the unspoken holiday win for the best dish, the one that people will request for years to come.
Below we’ve rounded up some fusion Mac & Cheese inspiration from across the web.
(One last note – if you’re not looking for the glory of full credit, there is always someone who is on the Save A Plate APP (SAPi APP) that can do the heavy lifting for you! Connect with a local chef and tag them in a social media post for extra credit! )
Delish’s recipe for Best Ever Keto Mac & Cheese is a game changer that will make you rethink cauliflower. It also pulls double duty in the cheese department with the controversial, but well played, cream cheese. No need to label this one; everyone will like it!
Let’s go with this spicy take on the classic; Taste Two Eggs doesn’t miss a step with their KimChi Mac And Cheese. Perfectly creamy and umami-packed with the at Korean favortie, kimchi. Red Chili paste, chicken broth, and onion crunchies will take you across the globe and back again before Thanksgiving is over.
Honey, What’s Cooking nails it with its Masala Mac and Cheese recipe. We know, this feels like we’re crossing a line when we’re tossing Indian Masala spices into the mix, but trust us, it works! Masala is a mixture of ginger, garlic, onions, and tomatoes sauteed with Indian spices, and the roux that is made as a base for this fusion creation is enough to convince any doubter.
You’ve heard of the loaded potato, and let us introduce, The Toasty Kitchen’sLoaded Mac And Cheese. This is creamy, stomach-warming comfort food at its finest. Scallions, bacon, and a five-cheese blend feature in this masterpiece.
Jalapeno Popper Inspired – Why Didn’t We Think Of This Sooner
Seriously. Why didn’t we think of The Chunky Chef’s Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese sooner? We fill like we’ve been robbed of so many holiday side opportunities until this came along. You know this one has all the jalapeno, cream cheese, and panko crumb goodness of your dreams plus a kick of cumin spice to round out the flavors.
We recognize greatness when we see it, and The Chunky Chef really has too many fusion Mac and Cheese recipes to mention, but the Butternut Squash, Gruyere, and White Cheddar Mac and Cheese was too good not to make our list. For one thing, if you’re working with Gruyere, we already know you aren’t messing around. Garlic roasted butternut squash means you aren’t coming to play at the next family get together; you’re coming to win.
Frank’s Red Hot : Classic Buffalo Mac and Cheese
Mac & Cheese That Clearly Wants To Be Chicken Wings
I mean, we all have that friend who carries hot sauce in their purse (thanks, Beyonce), so why not cut to the chase with Frank’s Red Hot Classic Buffalo Mac and Cheese? That’s a mouthful to say, and also to eat. Bleu cheese, hot sauce, and celery make a Mac & Cheese that clearly aspires to be chicken wings. And we like it.
It might be chilly out during the holidays, but Scrummy Lane’sGreek Mac And Cheese will transport your potluck to tropical places. There is no sauce to this one, which some might say disqualifies it, but the secret ingredient, feta, will make you forget all about cheese sauce. Spinach, panko crumbs, and nutmeg take this Mac & Cheese to fusion town.