These delicious, easy side dish recipes are tried and true favorites! They pair with just about anything to make it a meal.
Looking for side dish recipes to round out your meal? You’ve come to the right place! Here at A Couple Cooks, we’ve been cooking up side dishes for years. That means, we’ve had years to weed out the bad ones and find the very best. To use, the best side dish recipes:
Are seriously tasty: A side dish has got to taste amazing, from crispy roasted Brussels sprouts to a tangy, crisp chopped salad
Are easy to make: Some of these are quick, some take longer, but all of them use simple methods and are accessible for cooks of all skill levels.
Each one of these side dish recipes has been tested multiple times in our kitchen, and eaten by our friends and family. And every single one of them has been a hit! A few more side resources, before we get started:
This really is the best broccoli side dish: it can be made in 10 minutes and it tastes amazing! Steaming it makes it bright green and crisp tender, and it's served with olive oil, red onion slivers and a sprinkle of feta cheese. It's always a favorite at our table! (Got a pressure cooker? Try Instant Pot Broccoli.)
Next up in our favorite side dish recipes...our favorite chopped salad! This Italian-style side always gets rave reviews, featuring crisp romaine, chopped veggies, Parmesan cheese and our best Italian dressing. The kicker? Jarred pepperoncini, which add just the right tangy note.
These Parmesan potatoes are truly extraordinary. There’s the crunchy exterior, oven roasted to perfection. Of course the interior is velvety and tender. And you know how Parmesan gets all crunchy and savory when you heat it up? Yeah, those little crunchy bits are all over these potatoes, making them all the more irresistible. It's one of the most satisfying side dish recipes we've found. (Here's a vegan version: Baked Potato Wedges.)
Imagine: smoky Homemade Ranch Dressing drizzled over a crisp wedge of iceberg lettuce. Then it's topped with sundried tomatoes, blue cheese crumbles, chives, and the kicker: a few crumbled potato chips! Man, this wedge salad is a stunner! It's a side dish recipe that takes no time to put together, but seems elegant and classy.
Did you know cauliflower can be life changing? This lemon herb steamed cauliflower cooks in minutes and is so tasty, you won’t want to stop eating it! The lemon zest makes it bright, and it's mixed with Italian seasoning, salt and olive oil. Even better: it takes only 10 minutes to cook. (Got a pressure cooker? Try our Instant Pot Cauliflower.)
This Parmesan baked asparagus could not be tastier! 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.
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. They’re healthy, plant based, vegetarian and gluten-free, and even better: beautiful and delicious! Here’s what we think is the best vegetable mix and seasoning blend: and it bakes in just 30 minutes.
This kale salad has the power to transform the minds of kale haters everywhere. After you taste this easy side dish, you’ll agree that kale smothered in a lemony, garlicky Parmesan dressing can only be one thing: over the top delicious. Add homemade croutons for a crunch.
Looking for a healthy and easy side dish that pairs with literally anything? 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! They're crisp tender and the zesty lemon flavor has made them a favorite side dish recipe in our house. (Got a pressure cooker? Try Instant Pot Green Beans with Lemon.)
This side dish is a total treat food! It goes well with pasta and has just the right savory flavor. It’s tender on the inside with a crust of crunchy Parmesan cheese. And, it’s only got less butter than most garlic bread recipes, so it’s a lighter spin on the classic.
This fennel orange salad features vibrant juicy oranges and a famous pairing: sliced raw fennel, which adds a subtle licorice essence. Throw it over greens with a few garnishes, top with a zingy homemade citrus vinaigrette, and wow! There’s so much going on flavor and texture-wise, it’s one of the most unexpectedly delicious salads you'll find.
This Mediterranean-style lentil salad is full of flavor! It's fresh and healthy, mixed with crunchy veggies, feta cheese and pistachios. It’s a delicious way to add plant based protein to a vegetarian meal as a side dish. You won't be able to stop eating it!
What's tastier than potatoes in fry form? This favorite side dish recipe roasts sweet potatoes in a hot oven until they're browned and crisp. Typically roasted sweet potatoes can turn out mushy, but we've used a little secret to help these crisp up!
Yes, these really are the BEST Brussels sprouts! All you have to do for this easy side dish is to roast Brussels in a very hot oven with olive oil and kosher salt. They become crispy and charred -- and some of the leaves fall off onto the pan, like little crunchy chips. And, it only takes 30 minutes: very quick for a roasted veggie! (Got a pressure cooker? Try Instant Pot Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan.)
This blackberry salad is classic and chic: it features baby greens, tangy berries, and soft goat cheese. Crunchy smoked almonds bring a nuance of smoky flavor, and it's topped with our famous creamy Best Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing. You'll hear "wow" murmured around the table if you serve this side dish (we certainly have!).
Here’s a refreshingly simple side dish that’s just begging to jump on your table: citrus salad! It stars all the beautiful, vibrant citrus: tangy grapefruit, navel oranges, and sweet blood oranges. They’re drizzled with a zingy dressing, then topped crushed pistachios and fresh mint.
Here's a whole grain side dish recipe that's perfect for entertaining! This farro with mushrooms is bursting with flavor from the savory mushrooms, garlic, and fresh thyme and oregano. Add a spritz of fresh lemon juice and some grated Parmesan cheese and well, it's pretty heavenly.
Sure, you could go with simple roasted cauliflower as a side dish. But how about CRISPY breaded cauliflower? This cauliflower is baked and turns out totally crispy and crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. It's so many things at once: savory, tangy, sweet, and spicy. Your palate is simply overwhelmed by the complexity.
Delicata squash is a variety of squash that's extraordinarily sweet and cooks quickly. The skin is edible, so you don't even need to peel! 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.
These braised vegetables taste like they’ve been roasting under a chicken all day long! But they’re fully plant based and healthy, bursting with flavor that takes cozy to the next level. They're the perfect side dish for any special occasion, with the jewel toned purple onion and orange carrot.
These roasted smashed potatoes are a perfect side dish for entertaining: they take about 1 hour to prepare, but it's 100% worth it! The potatoes are boiled until tender, then smashed, painted with olive oil and baked. What tomes out is a beautifully crispy potato! Garnish with chopped chives and if you'd like, balsamic reduction.
These biscuits are the most tender, flaky, comforting homemade biscuits you’ll find. (We think, at least!) Eat them as a side dish for soup or chili, or drizzled with hot honey. They’re always a huge hit with guests. Are you looking for a go-to biscuits recipe? Because we think this one is it.
Why not mash your sweet potatoes, instead of roast them? This one is a perfect side dish recipe starring nutritious sweet potatoes combined with Yukon gold potatoes. It makes for the perfect fluffy texture and savory sweet flavor! (Try them in the Instant Pot: Instant Pot Mashed Sweet Potatoes.)
Looking for a summery side? This is really the best potato salad out there. And, it's got no mayo! (Want our secrets? Head to the recipe.) It's got perfectly tender potatoes, crunchy celery, and of course: dill pickles.
Yes, this really is the best coleslaw. It's totally balanced in sweet and savory flavors, and it has a healthy spin. There’s no refined sugar and less mayo than most coleslaw recipes. You'll find yourself going back for seconds and thirds!
What's better than a classic crispy fry as a side dish? This recipe tastes just like your favorite restaurant fries, except they're baked: not fried! Then they're drizzled with earthy, aromatic truffle oil. They're seriously satisfying. You'll never need takeout fries again! (Don't want truffle? Try them straight up with Restaurant-Style Baked Fries.)
These refried black beans are seriously simple. They take just 15 minutes and use only a few ingredients: beans, olive oil, and garlic. The amount of flavor that comes in the quick cook time is unbelievable! (Also try our Instant Pot Refried Beans.)
If it's corn season, this elote is one perfect side dish! The sweet corn is charred to smoky perfection on the grill. Then it's slathered in mayo and sour cream, seasoned with chili powder, and topped with feta or queso fresco cheese. The sweet crunch of the corn against the creamy, savory sauce is to die for.
This salad features raw shaved Brussels sprouts, which taste a bit like a sweeter version of cabbage. They have a feathery texture and are so seriously delicious, we had to include it in our favorite side dish recipes! Here it's served with tart pomegranate seeds, crisp apple and a tangy vinaigrette.
Here's a super easy dish trick: pesto quinoa! Whip up a batch of quinoa (we have two methods: Stovetop Quinoa or Pressure Cooker Quinoa). Then swirl it with a bit of basil pesto for a quick flavoring. It makes a tasty side dish in about 20 minutes. Score!
Is mac and cheese a side dish? It's a classic conundrum. If you're making a meal for a crowd, this big pan of mac and cheese is pretty darn perfect. Gouda cheese makes the perfect melty sauce, and it's topped with crunchy herbed bread crumbs. Simply: WOW.
If using, thinly slice the onion. Place it in a bowl of water while you’re making the rest of the recipe, then drain. (This helps to reduce onion breath and remove some of the spicy bite. If you use green onion, skip this step!)
Place 1 1/2 cups water into a saucepan or pot and bring it to a boil.
Once boiling, add the broccoli in the steamer basket. Steam with the lid on 3 to 4 minutes until just tender (test with a fork). We like our broccoli on the crisp side: if you’d like it more tender, cook 1 minute more. Just be careful not to cook much longer or the color will immediately fade and it will be overcooked!
Carefully remove the broccoli to a bowl. Toss with the olive oil, kosher salt, feta cheese (optional), and drained red onions. Top with freshly ground black pepper.
Keywords: Side Dish Recipes, Best Side Dishes
Runner up side dishes
There are so many great side dish recipes, we didn’t even scratch the surface! Here are some more of our runner up favorites:
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.