Thanksgiving is here and it’s all about the side dish…


Planning a Thanksgiving Dinner menu?  Me too.  We’re traditionalists when it comes to the big Thanksgiving feast, so it’s a given that the centre piece will be a fairly large roast turkey. I will do my best to make it a beautifully golden, well seasoned, juicy bird, but let’s face it – even the nicest turkey isn’t all that exciting.  What’s far more important at Thanksgiving dinner is the assortment of side dishes, and this is where I break from strict tradition.  With a fall harvest theme and my deep love of vegetables in mind, I’m planning on a few seasonal side dishes that have enough personality of their own to steal the Thanksgiving spotlight from the turkey – like this recipe for Maple Butter Roasted Vegetables with Pears.  Featuring a mix of carrots, Brussel sprouts, red onion, Delicata squash and juicy pears, this dish is brushed with a buttery, maple-y, sweet, tart glaze and roasted to perfection.  Serve this healthy vegetable side dish as a show-stealing, memorable addition to Thanksgiving dinner this year and leave them asking – what turkey?


A Thanksgiving side dish of Maple Butter Roasted Vegetables with Pears sits on a wood table, surrounded by fresh herbs

Sweet and savoury fall vegetables

For this picture perfect side dish, look for long, slender, fresh carrots, ideally with the green tops still attached.  An assortment of colourful carrots is pretty if you can find them, but regular orange carrots will also work beautifully.  Until a few years ago, Delicata squash was unheard of as a vegetable where I live, but due to its increasing popularity this type of small, sweet winter squash is now widely available in grocery stores.  Delicata squash gets its name from its delicate flavour and thin, edible skin.  Since you don’t need to peel this type of squash, it is simple and quick to prepare – just wash the skin, cut it in rings and scoop the seeds out with a spoon.

For an eye-pleasing Thanksgiving presentation, serve the roasted vegetables and pears on a large, shallow platter.  Tuck in sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary amongst the vegetables, and sprinkle the top with flaky sea salt.


Maple Butter Roasted Vegetables with Pears are an excellent accompaniment to hearty fall and winter fare.  Serve as a side dish for roast pork or chicken or as a standout vegetarian entré with a protein-rich grain.  This dish is a natural fit for a Thanksgiving menu.  I’ll be serving it at our Thanksgiving dinner alongside Roast Turkey with White Wine Gravy, Caramelized Onion and Rosemary Mashed Potatoes, Sausage Herb and Cornbread Stuffing, and Green Beans with Gremolata (see it really is all about the side dishes!).


If serving these deliciously glazed vegetables as the main entré, consider complementing the buttery, maple flavours with a rich, woody, hint-of-vanilla, oaked California Chardonnay.  Chances are however, this recipe will be made as a side dish, so you’ll likely be looking for a food-friendly wine that can blanket the assortment of flavours on your plate.  For Thanksgiving, if you like Chardonnay stick with that, or consider an off-dry Riesling that can deliver a pleasant contrast to the richness of the overall meal, while still complimenting the sweetness of the pears, sweet vegetables and maple glaze in this dish.

A platter of Maple Butter Roasted Vegetables with Pears is seen from above on a wood table surrounded by fresh rosemary and a grey striped kitchen cloth.

Maple Butter Roasted Vegetables with Pears

Style and Grace
Maple Butter Roasted Vegetables with Pears ia a picture perfect side dish for Thanksgiving or any hearty meal. Made with a medley of fall vegetables accented with sweet pears, this delicious and vibrant side dish will be the star of the table!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine North American


  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 small Delicata squash, cut in 3/4" rings and seeds removed from centres (aim for 1 ring per person)
  • 8 carrots, peeled, green tops cut to 1" and cut in half lengthwise (or cut in quarters if large)
  • 1 red onion, outer papery skin removed and cut in 8 wedges
  • 12 Brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1 Bartlett pear, cored and cut in 8 wedges
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Freshly Ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • additional rosemary and thyme sprigs for garnish (optional)
  • Flaky sea salt for garnish (optional)


  • Arrange oven racks in the top 1/3 and bottom 1/3 of the oven. Preheat to 400F. Line 2 large baking sheets with foil.
  • In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, maple syrup, rosemary, thyme and lemon juice to make the glaze. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the cut vegetables and pear. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and add several cracks of freshly ground black pepper. Toss to coat evenly.
  • Spread the vegetables and pear out on the two prepared pans, dividing equally between the pans and turning the pieces cut side down. Place pans back in the oven and roast the vegetables and pear for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown on the underside. Remove pans from the oven and turn the vegetables and pear browned-side up. Brush the tops of each piece of vegetable and pear with the prepared glaze. Return the pans to the oven, switching the position of the pans in the oven (the pan that had been on the higher rack now goes on the lower rack and vice versa). Roast for another 5-10 minutes until glaze is set and vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork.
  • Transfer the hot vegetables and pear to a serving platter. Garnish with sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme, and sprinkle with sea salt if using. Serve immediately.
Keyword Side Dish, Thanksgiving, Vegetable


  • The sugars in the vegetables combined with the maple syrup can make for a sticky, baked on mess, so be sure to line your pan with foil for easier clean up.  Avoid using  parchment paper for roasting vegetables since it acts like a barrier between the vegetables and the pan, impeding browning.
  • Roast until they toast!  Roast your vegetables until you see a golden brown colour develop on the bottom side.  The roasty-toasty crust that develops contributes delicious caramelized flavour.  To ensure that your vegetables (and pears) roast nicely, be sure to leave space between each piece.  If the vegetables are crowded together, they will steam instead of roast, becoming tender but never developing that nice golden colour.
  • If you have any leftovers, you can reheat them to enjoy alongside another meal, or you can chop them up and mix them into a salad to enjoy at lunch all week long.  To make a roasted vegetable and pear quinoa salad, cook quinoa according to package directions.  Drizzle the cooked quinoa with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Stir in chopped Maple Butter Roasted Vegetables with Pears, some crumbled feta cheese and a generous amount of chopped fresh flat leaf parsley.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
A Thanksgiving side dish  of colourful Maple Butter Roasted Vegetables with Pears garnished with fresh herbs
Little hands hold a bowl of Maple Butter Roasted Vegetables and Pear Quinoa salad made from  leftover Thanksgiving vegetables
A selection of colourful carrots, Brussel sprouts, pears, Delicata squash and red onion sits on a wood harvest table ready to be made into a Thanksgiving side dish.


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