NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – For some, Thanksgiving is less about the turkey and all about the sides.

New Yorkers sounded off on their favorites: Sweet potatoes, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, to name a few.

“Nobody’s going to like this one: I love Brussels sprouts,” one woman told CBS2’s Alex Denis.

Want to try giving your old favorites new life? Clare Langan, personal chef to stars like Frieda Pinto, says a few simple changes can have a big impact.

“Every year I do something a little bit different and sometimes I don’t tell them, but then they’re like ‘That was really good, what was in there?'” Langan said.

Check out some recipes Langan prepared below.

Crispy Roasted Green Bean Fries

Serves 4 (can easily be multiplied)

  • 1 pound fresh green beans
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ½ lemon, zested and juiced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

Heat oven to 425F. Toss green beans with oil, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Spread out onto a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.

Roast green beans for 25-35 minutes, tossing once halfway through cooking, until browned and a bit crispy. While still hot, toss green beans with garlic, lemon zest and juice. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if using. Serve warm or room temperature.

Twice Baked Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Serves 4, ½ potato per person (can easily be multiplied)

  • 2 Japanese sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, plus more
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or coconut oil), room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons yellow miso paste
  • 1” piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  • 2 scallions, minced, for garnish

Heat oven to 425F. Rub potatoes with oil, salt and pepper. Prick a few times with a fork and place on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 45-50 minutes until tender.

Allow the potatoes to cool before splitting them in half lengthwise. Carefully scoop out the flesh, leaving about a 1/2” layer in the skin. Put the warm potato flesh into a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (alternately, you can mash it by hand). Add the butter (or coconut oil), maple syrup, miso and ginger. Beat until fluffy, seasoning with salt and pepper if you’d like.

Spoon into potato skins and bake for 15 minutes until the tops are browned and a bit crispy. Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions before serving.

Note: Japanese sweet potatoes, or boniato sweet potatoes, have a reddish skin and yellow flesh. They are starchier and less sweet than orange sweet potatoes.

Sheet Tray Stuffing

Serves 6-8

  • 8 cups bread cubes, any type, cut into 1-inch cubes (day old is best)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil, plus more
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced, leafy tops reserved
  • 1 small apple, cored and diced
  • Handful fresh sage leaves, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 ½ cups chicken, turkey or vegetable stock

Heat oven to 400F.

Put the bread onto a 9”x13” rimmed sheet tray (quarter sheet) and bake for about 10 minutes until lightly toasted. Transfer to a large bowl. Reduce oven to 350F.

Melt the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, apple, sage, salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic (if using) and cook for another minute. Add to bowl with bread.

Stir together the egg and stock and add to the bread mixture. Drizzle sheet tray with a little olive oil and stuffing, spreading out into an even layer. Drizzle with a little more olive oil.

Bake for 30 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 450F. Uncover and bake until top is golden brown, about 20 more minutes. Let sit for at least 5 minutes. Garnish with reserved celery leaves and serve.

Note: 8 cups cubed bread is equivalent to about 1 baguette. Use any type of bread you like here – challah, sourdough, cornbread are all good choices. The key is to start with bread that’s dry and lightly toasted.

Coconut Chai Pumpkin Pie Bars

Serves 6

Crust:

  • 1 cup finely ground gingersnaps or graham crackers
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or butter)
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Filling:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree (about 2 cups)
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened canned coconut cream (see note)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Toasted unsweetened coconut flakes, for serving (optional)
  • Whipped coconut cream, for serving (optional)

Heat oven to 350F. In a food processor, pulse gingersnap crumbs, coconut, brown sugar, coconut oil and salt until finely ground. Press into the bottom and sides of a 8”x 8” square baking dish. Bake for about 10 minutes until just set. Let cool.

Increase oven to 425F.

In a blender or the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, blend the eggs, pumpkin, sugar, coconut cream, salt and spices. Pour in top of crust, smoothing out the top.

Bake for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven to 350F and bake for 35-40 minutes longer until set. Garnish with coconut flakes and whipped coconut cream.

Note: This dessert can be made completely gluten and/or dairy free depending on the type of cookie or cracker you use for the crust.

You can buy coconut cream in a can (Trader Joe’s sells it) or chill a can of coconut milk overnight. The coconut cream will solidify. Open the can and drain away the liquid (or use in a smoothie). One 15-ounce can of coconut milk yields about 1 cup of cream.

To make coconut cream, beat cold coconut cream in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until fluffy.

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