These vegetable side dishes work with just about any meal: and they’re healthy and easy to make. Here’s the BEST way to prepare each of these vegetables!
Let’s be honest: it’s hard to find great vegetable side dishes. Alex and I love to focus on the main event around here, and sometimes we skip over the accompaniments. So here, we’re sharing our top 10 best vegetable side dishes. These sides are pure vegetables: not even whole grains, breads, or salads. (If you’re looking for those, go to our collection of Favorite Side Dish recipes.) Nope, we’ve got the best ways to prepare these 10 vegetables to work in all varieties of meals.
Some of these recipes are very quick: like under 10 minutes (like the best steamed broccoli). Others take a little more time, but are absolutely worth it for the incredible flavor (like our amazing Parmesan wedges). But whatever the case: they’re the very best way to accentuate the flavor of these tasty veggies. Ready to get started?
First up in our vegetable side dishes: the best way to serve potatoes! These potato wedges are out of this world good. They're oven roasted until crisp, and the exterior is covered in salty Parmesan cheese and just enough black pepper. They'll have your friends and family singing your praises.
This vegetable side dish has it all: it’s healthy, delicious, and takes only 5 minutes to cook. Steamed broccoli might sound a little drab, right? But let us assure you: a drizzle of olive oil, a few red onion slivers and salt turn this humble veggie into something stellar. This one literally goes with anything. (Or make it in a pressure cooker: Instant Pot Broccoli.)
These lemony steamed green beans go with almost any meal, from meatloaf to salmon to pasta. Even better: they take only 10 minutes to whip up! While "steamed green beans" might not be the most Instagram drool worthy idea, it's seriously practical and 100% worth adding to your weeknight cooking skills! The zesty lemon flavor with the bright green, crisp tender beans has become a favorite in our house. (Or, make them in a pressure cooker: Instant Pot Lemony Green Beans.)
Here’s an easy way to cook cauliflower: steamed! This herb and lemon steamed cauliflower cooks in minutes and is so tasty, you won’t want to stop eating it! The lemon zest makes it bright, and using Italian seasoning and olive oil gives it a Mediterranean flair. Even better: it takes only 10 minutes to cook. Also try: Instant Pot Cauliflower or Perfect Roasted Cauliflower
Here's a quick and easy side dish: Parmesan Baked Asparagus! Bake it in a hot oven until tender, then spritz with lemon: the way to make this healthy veggie taste over-the-moon good. The finishing touch: gooey melted Parmesan cheese. It’s a side dish that’s easy enough to whip up while you’re in the midst of cooking a main. For plant based, try Roasted Asparagus or Sauteed Asparagus.
Wow, this sauteed spinach really does taste amazing! Unexpected, we know. Scented with garlic, it's wilted until bright green in a bit of olive oil. Then it's finished off with lemon juice to give it a brightness. The flavor is fresh and vibrant, not lifeless and mushy as you might expect! It tastes so good, you'll find yourself sneaking seconds.
Hold on to your hats. This recipe truly makes the best sauteed mushrooms. They're tender, juicy, and meaty with a brightness at the finish. Fresh thyme and oregano give an herby punch. Take one bite and you'll exclaim "Wow!" This side dish recipe is plant based with not a lick of meat or dairy, but it has the feel of taking a satisfying bite of meat. It also takes only 10 minutes to make. Also try: Roasted Mushrooms
The flavor of this kale is so good, it will have you wanting to make it daily! Leafy greens can be a difficult flavor to acquire when they’re served solo. But it takes only 10 minutes to make kale into a side dish you won’t want to stop eating. It’s lightly flavored with garlic and cooked until bright green and tender. Also try: Roasted Kale
Did you know frozen peas can taste incredible in 5 minutes? Yes, you can transform a bag of these frozen green spheres into an easy side dish that everyone around the table will love. The secret? A little olive oil, butter, garlic and lemon. That’s it! The Italian-style flavors transform a boring bag of peas into something beautifully delicious and fresh.
Cabbage might not be the sexiest of all vegetables, but we’re pretty smitten with it over here. Here’s our newest favorite: this perfect sauteed cabbage! It takes just 10 minutes to saute into a tender, savory mess of flavor. Lemon, garlic and black pepper take it to rockstar veggie status. You’ll love this tasty way to prepare cabbage: it makes an vegetable side dish for any meal.
Yes, this is the very best way to serve Brussels sprouts as a side dish! Hands down. The Brussels sprouts are roasted in a very hot oven until they're perfectly crisp and salty. Roasting brings out their inner sweetness. Even better: try Crispy Brussels Sprouts with honey balsamic sauce, or Spicy Brussels Sprouts.
Here's a favorite way to make sweet potatoes as a side: roasted! These potato wedges come out perfectly caramelized in a hot oven. Mix with olive oil, salt and a bit of garlic powdered, and the savory seasoning makes the sweetness pop. Use them as a side or a component of a larger dish: in tacos, grain bowls, and more!
Want the best roasted vegetables ever? This master recipe for how to roast vegetables results in the most colorful sheet pans that will please even the most veggie-wary eaters. Make it for a crowd as a side, or roast up a few pans and eat off of them all week long. They’re healthy, plant based, vegetarian and gluten-free, and even better: beautiful and delicious! Here’s our best vegetable mix and seasoning blend.
Ever tried eating squash as fries? Delicata squash is a variety of squash that's extraordinarily sweet and cooks quickly. It's an oblong shape that makes it perfect for cutting into half moon-shaped "fries". Roast them in a hot oven, and they come out sweet and tender.
Beets can be hard to love, but hear us out. This beet side dish is an absolute treat. Roasted beet rounds are dolloped with creamy, tangy goat cheese, then topped with olive oil and fresh chives. Sounds almost too simple, but it tastes like a symphony. Just a few basic ingredients can turn beets into the ultimate taste treat. (Cut the roasting time in half with Instant Pot Beets.)
If zucchini doesn’t sound like a vegetable to sing praises about…you haven’t met this zucchini recipe. Yes, this really is the perfect sauteed zucchini. Just 10 minutes in a hot pan and this vegetable goes from tasteless to tender! Oregano and garlic make a pop of savory flavor, and grated Parmesan cheese takes it over the top. It’s beyond easy, and the best zucchini side dish we’ve had.
Here's another vegetable side dish starring everyone's favorite squash: butternut! Here's a basic way to roast it: cut it into cubes, mix with olive oil and salt and pepper, and bake it in a very hot oven. It comes out perfectly tender and sweet.
Another lightening fast vegetable side dish? This 5 minute shelled edamame! It’s flavor packed and savory, flash sauteed in a hot pan with garlic and soy sauce. You will not believe the flavor. We took one bite…and then couldn’t stop eating it. Also try: Easy Edamame (in pods) or Spicy Edamame
You barely have to do anything to rainbow chard to make it taste good! Just throw it in a hot pan with olive oil and garlic, then salt it to taste. It turns into an easy side dish in just 10 minutes. You don’t even need to mince the garlic: you’ll throw in the whole cloves to the pan. To take it over the top, add Parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts.
Did you know the easiest way to cook is corn on the cob is in the oven? This one is a game changer. There’s literally no prep time: you don’t even need to husk it! Throw it on the oven grates to roast and it comes out beautifully moist. It's a fantastic vegetable side dish for when corn is in season.
If you haven’t tried the taste treat that is roasted fennel, stop right now and make yourself a pan! Raw fennel has a black licorice flavor, making it perfect for salads (like this one). But its roasted self is something different altogether. Its flavor becomes sweet and caramelized: almost like roasted onions but even more irresistible! Baked fennel makes easy and elegant side dish, especially for a Mediterranean or Italian-style meal.
The best way to make carrots into a side dish? Sauteed! These are the most tender, buttery, savory, coins of carrots, with a hint of herbaceous fresh thyme and chives. They taste like the best carrots you’ve ever had: but they only have 3 ingredients and take 10 minutes. Give that raw carrot a glamorous makeover! You’ll be glad you did. Also try: Roasted Carrots, Steamed Carrots or Simple Carrot Salad
Chopped flat-leaf parsley, as a garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cut the potatoes into wedges (see the video below!). Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix until fully coated.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the wedges onto the sheet in a single layer, using your fingers to place some of the Parmesan cheese that falls off onto the top of the wedges (it doesn’t have to be perfect, just take a minute or so to do this).
Bake the potatoes for 18 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and flip the potatoes.
Reverse the baking sheet in the oven, and bake another 10 minutes until browned and crispy. Enjoy immediately!
*You can 1.5 or double the recipe if you have very hungry eaters. Just keep in mind that when you put two baking trays into the oven, the baking time will be affected because there is more surface area of food and more steam released. We’d recommend increasing the temperature to 450 degrees, and you’ll likely need a few more minutes in the oven to make sure the potatoes get crispy.
Keywords: Vegetable Side Dishes, Baked Potato Wedges, Potato Wedges
Looking for more side dishes starring vegetables?
We’ve got a few more resources on fantastic side dishes! Make sure to check out:
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.