Sideshow: 8 Super (Super-Easy) Vegetable Side Dishes
We all know that we could stand to eat more vegetables — but let’s face it, vegetable side dishes can be a pain in the you-know-what.
Don’t get us wrong: the idea of that tidy, pretty pile of veggies balancing out the plate is nice and all, but like spotless kitchen floors and wrinkle-free beds, not necessarily realistic. On busy weeknights, it’s all we can do to get the main course on the table, let alone fish out another recipe that takes half an hour or more to make.
But wait! Before you open yet another can of limp green beans and dutifully heat them on the stove, we’ve got eight easy vegetable side dish recipes that taste as good as they look, and all can be prepped in 15 minutes or less (in some cases, a little as 5).
The key here is to take advantage of frozen veggies or pre-prepped ones (like baby carrots). That means you don’t have much more to do than, say, steam them up or pop them in the oven and let them cook while you busy yourself with the main course. A handful of simple on-hand ingredients add fresh flavor at the end, and voila! — you’ve got a bright, healthy vegetable side dish that just might steal the show.
Keep a bag of baby carrots on hand, and you’ll always have what you need for this colorful, versatile side. Just 6 minutes on the stove!
Bright green peas are steamed along apple slices and infused with sweet flavor. This one takes less than 15 minutes (and only, really, about 3 minutes of active prep), but the results are exceptional. It’s perfect with pork or chicken.
Nothing beats the crisp-tender crunch of well-cooked fresh green beans. Save even more time here by buying fresh green beans at the store that are already trimmed. If you don’t want to splurge for fresh dill, use dried instead (or dried parsley for that matter). (Click here for more on getting the most out of your dried herbs.)
Roasting does something wonderful to vegetables, concentrating their natural sweetness. While broccoli can be a hard sell, paired with bright roasted tomatoes and salty olives, it makes a lovely dish.
Rice pilaf is nice, but you get far more protein (not to mention a powerful dose of vitamins) when you combine garbanzo beans and spinach. The key to perfectly cooked spinach is to take it off the heat as soon as it starts to wilt.
Use this as a template for all sorts of roasted vegetable sides (e.g., you could always toss some cubed squash in here, too). Yes, it takes 40 minutes to cook, but if you get the veggies in the oven when you start dinner, they’ll be perfect by the time you pull the main course off the stove.
Jazz up ordinary mixed greens with a drizzle of this warm walnut dressing, which is made in the microwave in just 3 minutes!
Just a bit of honey and lemon juice, then a dash of dried parsley, is all it takes to catapult ho-hum buttered corn to whole new heights of flavor.
Veg out! Explore all our vegetable recipes!