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6 Simple sides for your next holiday meal

Sarah Caron is a Connecticut-based freelance writer and editor. She lives with her wonderful husband, two adorable kids and two funny beagles. Check out her food blog at Sarah's Cucina Bella.

Simply delicious sides

Looking for the perfect side dish for your next holiday meal? These recipes prove that simple can be truly delicious. No, they aren't hard to make -- but your guests really don't need to know that.

Parmesan Asparagus

Maple Bacon Butternut Squash

Roasting brings out the natural sugars in squash. And this recipe enhances that with the addition of sweet, rich maple syrup and salty bacon. Yum!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 cups cubed and peeled butternut squash
  • 4 slices bacon, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Boil the butternut squash until fork tender, about 25 minutes.
  2. Drain the squash and set aside. Wipe out the pot, if necessary.
  3. Set the pot over medium heat and warm it. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp.
  4. Add the butternut squash and stir to combine. Use a potato masher to mash the squash. Add the maple syrup, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  5. Serve immediately.

Also try Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup >>

Grilled Herbed Parmesan Asparagus

Dress up asparagus with herbs and cheese for a delicious side dish that's fast and easy to make.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh savory (or 1/4 teaspoon dried savory)
  • 3 tablespoons grated parmesan

Directions:

  1. Combine asparagus, olive oil, pepper, salt, thyme and savory in a sealable bag. Shake until well coated. Let the asparagus sit in the spice bag for 10 to 15 minutes, while you heat up the grill.
  2. Heat grill to medium heat. Lay the asparagus in a single layer across the grates. Cook, turning often, until desired tenderness (10 to 15 minutes on direct heat).
  3. Remove from grill and immediately top with parmesan. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before eating (it will be very hot).

Try these other asparagus side dishes >>

Roasted Herbed Carrots

Love carrots? These flavorful babies are perfect for any dinner party.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sliced carrots, cut on a diagonal
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh marjoram, loosely chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. In a large, deep, oven-safe dish, combine all ingredients.
  3. Cover and cook for one hour.
  4. Serve warm.

Don't miss these creative carrot recipes >>

Up next: 3 More simple side dishes >>

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