The turkey might be the star of the show, but it’s the ensemble cast of sides that really makes an award-winning production. Can a Thanksgiving spread be complete without veggies of all kinds and starches galore?

We think not. Scroll on for a selection of our favorite side dish superstars.

Sweet Potato Salad With Orange-Maple Dressing, above. Bright, fresh and only slightly sweet with contrasting textures, this recipe might become your new favorite way to eat sweet potatoes. It will provide a great contrast to all those heavier dishes, too.

Sweet, orange and tasty: Bruce’s Yam Mallow Casserole With Pineapple and Cinnamon (an updated classic), Makeover Sweet Potato Casserole (slightly more healthful), Winter Squash Gratin (if you’re not one for sweet potatoes).



(Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post)

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Apple and Sunflower SeedsRoasted Brussels sprouts get tossed with crunchy apples, toasty sunflower seeds and a tart-sweet dressing. Nobody could hate these sprouts!

Other sprouts: Best Brussels Sprouts Ever (they have bacon!); Shredded Sprouts Slaw With Gorgonzola + Hazelnuts (it’s raw!).



(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post; props by Limonata Creative for The Washington Post)

French’s Green Bean Casserole With From-Scratch Mushroom Sauce. A classic dish gets a major upgrade. We said no to the can of cream of mushroom soup and made our own mushroom sauce. This recipe proves why you should, too.

More ways to get your green beans: Vegan Green Bean Casserole; Chopped String Beans With Basil and Pine NutsBrown Butter Green Beans.



(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Soul Food Macaroni and Cheese. This baked dish is nice and creamy, thanks to cream cheese, whole milk, evaporated milk, two types of cheddar and a helping of Velveeta, for good measure. It serves 12, but with a table full of other sides, we would up the serving number substantially.

More mac and cheese: Green Chile Mac (spicy and vegan), Tim’s Macaroni and Cheese (garlicky), No-Stir Mac and Cheese (low effort).



(Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post)

Collard Greens. Bacon, onion, garlic, salt and pepper are all these greens need to be super flavorful. A bonus: They don’t require a long cook time. Another bonus: The recipe is from Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza, so you can use that tidbit to start a constructive dialogue around the table.



(Photo by Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Garlicky Roast Mashed Potatoes. Roast your potatoes with a mix of garlic, celery seed, sweet paprika and more, then mash them up. You get all the roasty flavors, but in the best form for soaking up gravy and all those other turkey trimmings.

Other potatoes for your table: Potato Roasties (crispy and herbaceous), Saucy Roasted Potatoes (complete with a flavorful aioli).



(Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post; food styling by Amanda Soto/The Washington Post)

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Root Vegetables. Simple yet elegant, with a mix of cumin, coriander, ginger, cinnamon and cayenne. If we were the planning types, we would keep an eye on these for compiling a leftover Thanksgiving hash for breakfast.

More from Voraciously:

How to make a no-stress, showstopping Thanksgiving gravy

10 of our favorite ways to get that Thanksgiving turkey on the table

‘We can create our own identities’: A new cookbook celebrates the breadth of African American foodways