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 10 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?
PS Our 10 Best Green Salad Recipes are also perfect pairings for meals!
The best vegetable side dishes
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. (Got a pressure cooker? Try our Instant Pot Cauliflower.)
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.
There are so many great ways to eat sweet potatoes as a vegetable side dish. But here's a favorite: mashed sweet potatoes! The sweet potatoes are mashed with Yukon gold potatoes to get just the right fluffy texture and savory sweet flavor. (Or make them in a pressure cooker: Instant Pot Mashed Sweet Potatoes.)
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. (Or try them in the pressure cooker: Instant Pot Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan.)
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.)
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.
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.
And make sure to try our Elote (Mexican Street Corn) -- it's magical.
The best way to make carrots into a side dish? Roasted with cumin seeds! The tender, sweet carrots are perfect against the savory bite of the cumin. It’s perfect for entertaining as a healthy side dish (here they're served over a bed of hummus that works as a sort of sauce). For especially brilliant colors, use rainbow carrots, which makes it look even more stunning.
The best side dish ever? These crispy Parmesan baked potato wedges recipe will have your friends and family singing your praises.
- 1 pound yellow or red waxy potatoes, 2 to 3 inches long (about 6 to 7 potatoes)*
- 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 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.
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
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:
- 25 Best Salad Recipes: our best salads…ever
- 10 Summer Salads You Need Now: a seasonal compilation
- 53 Roasted Vegetable Recipes
- 20 Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes
- 10 Best Sides to Go with Pizza
- 10 Best Sides to Go with Chili
About the Authors
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.