Here are all the best vegan side dishes to round out a plant based meal! These recipes load on the colorful vegetables and plant based protein.
Looking for vegan side dishes? It’s deceptively difficult to round out a vegan meal. Sure, you can find a plant-based recipe or two: but making it into a healthy meal? That can be trickier. Most importantly: you’ve got to think about plant-based protein to make a vegan meal filling enough to last through the day.
Because of these challenges, we’ve rounded up a bunch of our best vegan side dish recipes! These are all the recipes we turn to on the regular. There’s a mix of recipes that load on the colorful veggies and nutrients, and others that bring in the plant-based protein. Let’s get cooking, shall we?
Looking for a quick and easy vegan side dish? Here’s the fastest way to get colorful veggies to jump onto your plate: the Ultimate Sautéed Vegetables recipe. The good old veggie saute is often done wrong: it’s super soggy, or completely bland in flavor. So why not do a total makeover on the old veggie saute? These sauteed vegetables are beautifully colored, bursting with flavor and crisp tender in texture. They’re the perfect side dish you’ve never had.
Hello, fry lovers. Meet our new favorite healthy vegan fries: the World’s Best Sweet Potato Fries! Ok, we’ll admit: we haven’t performed a scientific survey to validate this claim. However: we’ve made a lot of homemade fries. In fact, you could call us fry experts. This recipe is the culmination of years of research: our quest to find the best crispy baked sweet potato fries you can make at home!
Looking to mix up your vegan side dish routine? Try these Easy Sauteed Peppers! Bell peppers aren’t always a go-to for people: you might first think of broccoli or asparagus when it comes to a side dish. But why not try bell peppers? They’re full of nutrients and especially high in Vitamin C: one serving of this recipe will give you a whopping 126% of your daily need. But even better: they’re full of sweet, tender flavor that makes every bite irresistible.
Why mash potatoes when you can roast them to a golden crisp? We’ve always been partial to a crispy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside potato. These are our favorite oven roasted red potatoes, baked until crispy with garlic powder, then showered with fresh herbs.
Here’s one of the best tricks for the vegan home cook: how to make a can of beans taste incredible in 5 minutes! This is one of our top ways to make a quick and easy lunch, dinner protein or side dish. Pop white beans into a skillet and cook with herbs until warm and perfectly seasoned. It sounds deceptively simple, but the flavor is anything but: it’s salty, rich and nuanced. Beans are some of the healthiest foods on the planet, and an especially important way to add protein in vegan side dishes.
You know love French fries, but have you tried…avocado fries? They’re crispy and crunchy, a little tangy, and full of rich avocado flavor. Ideal for mixing up your side dish routine! These crispy numbers are absolutely irresistible and make a tasty vegan side dish. They’re high in good fats and a healthy alternative to the standard fry.
Here’s a beautifully fresh salad that works for any season: black eyed pea salad! This hearty legume makes a healthy vegan salad full of plant-based protein. Add fresh vegetables like bell pepper and green onion, then finish off with a diced mango or peach for a little sweetness! It’s covered in a tangy vinaigrette that keeps everyone coming back for more.
Perhaps sauteed carrots doesn’t sound like it could be mind blowing. But these really are the perfect sauteed carrots! Turns out they’re very simple. These are the most tender, savory, coins with a hint of herbaceous fresh thyme and chives. They taste like the best carrots you’ve ever had: but they're vegan and have 3 ingredients and take 10 minutes.
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, vegan and gluten-free, and even better: beautiful and delicious!
Here’s our favorite new way to cook mushrooms: baked in the oven! Yes, these roasted mushrooms can convert even mushroom haters into die-hard fans. Tender and meaty, topped with fresh herbs, you might not be able to stop eating them. These make an irresistibly delicious vegan side dish...especially with their beautifully meaty flavor.
Want to know one of our best easy vegan side dishes? Try these Easy Canned Chickpeas, the way to make a bland can of beans taste amazing in 5 minutes! This one is one of our very best secrets to eating healthy plant based dinners on the regular. Because here’s the thing: we don’t cook from recipes every night. Many nights we’ll make improv dinners using what we find in the pantry or fridge. More often than not, you’ll see these easy chickpeas on the menu!
This spinach apple salad is as easy as it is tasty: one of our top vegan side dishes! Start with a bed of greens and add crisp apple and pear. Our best balsamic vinaigrette covers it in tangy sweet goodness, and the best part? Maple-glazed walnuts or pecans! Just a few minutes in a hot skillet with maple syrup makes the nuts come out shiny and lightly sweet.
There’s not much better than a big pan of roasted cauliflower! Baking this vegetable in a hot oven transforms it into something transcendental. The flavor becomes sweet and buttery, and flavored with salt and garlic, it’s about as irresistible as French fries. If you’re new to the roasted cauliflower train: it’s going to blow your mind. If you already know how incredible cauliflower can be: here’s a basic recipe for our favorite way to cook this healthy veggie.
Want a unique vegan side dish? Try these Roasted Onions! Roasting onions in a hot oven mellows their flavor until its deeply caramelized and sweet. Pair that with a hint of balsamic vinegar and herbaceous fresh thyme, and…just wow! Those simple flavors make an effortless side dish that goes with almost anything.
These crispy Brussels sprouts are so crispy, you’ll think they were fried. But they’re baked! Yes, this is our new favorite way to eat Brussels sprouts: and we didn’t need a new one. But you know those crispy Brussels that you can get at a restaurant? These are just as good. They’re baked until impossibly crunchy, then tossed with a balsamic sauce that brings in the tangy and sweet notes.
Here’s a salad that’s beautifully fresh and saves well for meals throughout the week: kale quinoa salad! This is one of our top vegan side dishes, full of healthy ingredients like quinoa, kale, peppers, carrots, then covered in a delicious, ultra tangy dressing! It’s so flavorful and keeps that flavor 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
When it comes to vegan side dishes, we’re always looking to mix things up. Here's a new idea: try Roasted Broccoli and Carrots! The bright green florets border on savory-sweet, and mixed with the sweet orange carrot rounds, the contrast is just perfect. The variation of flavor, texture and shape is just enough to make these roasted vegetables seem like a new innovation. Use them as a healthy vegan side dish or part of a grain bowl or main dish salad.
Good news, fry lovers: there’s a new fry in town. Carrot fries! This healthy vegan fry recipe is full of all the nutrients of this popular vegetable: but tastes like your favorite greasy comfort food. Even better: they’re coated in ranch seasoning! This play on the standard pairing of carrots and ranch gives a savory zing to each bite. Of course, you can dip them in ranch too for double the fun. They’re baked, and there’s a little trick to give them a lightly crispy exterior. Everyone will love them!
Need a vegan side dish on the table fast? Here’s our go-to method we use all the time: roasted asparagus! It’s so simple that you should be able to memorize it. Who needs to follow a recipe? This one you can cook from the gut. It’s so simple: the asparagus is tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon zest. The secret ingredient? Grated garlic, which infuses a delightful savory flavor. Throw that lemony garlic asparagus in the oven and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, until it’s tender. It’s a fast and healthy side dish ready to jump on your table!
Did you know cornbread can be life changing? This vegan cornbread is the moistest, fluffiest, thickest recipe we’ve made, with the best sweet-savory tang. This vegan side dish favorite is brought to you by the magic of cornmeal and coconut oil. It’s all the nostalgia of sneaking licks of the Jiffy corn muffin mix spoon, without the processed part. It’s a short list of ingredients—and 100% plant-based too.
Need an extra quick vegan side dish? Enter: 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. There aren't many 5-minute recipes, so this one is extra special: plus, it's loaded with plant-based protein.
The flavor of this kale is so good, it will have you wanting to make it daily. Which is a big feat! Leafy greens can be a difficult flavor to acquire when they’re served solo (versus stuffed into spinach artichoke dip). But it takes only 10 minutes to make kale into a vegan side dish you won’t want to stop eating. It’s lightly flavored with garlic and cooked until bright green and tender.
These vegetables taste like they’ve been roasting under a chicken all day long...but they're a vegan side dish! While they’re plant based and healthy, they’re bursting with flavor that takes cozy to the next level. These braised veggies are the perfect side dish to any main, with the jewel toned purple onion and orange carrot.
Here's a fantastic vegan side dish: think of it as a short-cut garlic bread! It’s pairs fresh garlic, dried garlic and olive oil for a huge burst of garlicky flavor on a crunchy toasted baguette. It’s also a vegan garlic bread that’s full of flavor: great for if you eat plant-based or simply don’t have cheese in your fridge. And the flavor is so good, you’ll never miss it.
Here’s a green salad idea that’s flavorful and versatile: arugula beet salad! It features jewel-toned roasted beets with baby arugula, all covered in a zingy citrus vinaigrette. Add thin-sliced shallots and toasted walnuts, and it tastes sophisticated with minimal effort. Make it with precooked beets you can find in many stores these days as a time saver. This salad needs to be part of your side dish repertoire!
Fluffy, dreamy vegan mashed potatoes are…deceptively difficult to achieve. After all, French fries are vegan: just olive oil and salt, and they taste like a dream. But turns out, perfectly creamy mashed potatoes are pretty darn hard without the help of cream, butter and cheese. But don’t worry: we’ve managed to master them for you! These vegan mashed potatoes are light, fluffy, and satisfying and at the same time 100% plant based.
Wild rice is a tasty whole grain, and guess what? It actually has some nutritional advantages over brown rice! But more than that, it’s a unique healthy vegan side dish to work into your dinnertime repertoire. Around here we often make this vegan wild rice soup, but we didn’t often eat it as a side dish…until now! We’ve perfected a version of my mom’s favorite wild rice recipe.
Wow, is this roasted eggplant full of flavor! Roasting until it’s tender makes for unreal savory flavor. Take one bite and you’ll be singing it’s praises too (promise!). It’s simply seasoned, with salt, pepper, garlic, and basil. Serve it as a side dish, or toss it with pasta for a tasty dinner. This vegan side dish is sure to impress.
All hail the sweet potato! This tender orange vegetable is super versatile, baked into crispy fries, with Mexican toppings, or as part of a Moroccan stew. But our favorite way to make them? As roasted sweet potatoes, a basic side dish that goes with just about anything.
Want to change up your coleslaw routine? Try this Easy Cabbage Salad instead! For many slaws or cabbage salads, you’ll be endlessly chopping and prepping the long ingredient list. Not so with this one! This effortless salad calls for only 6 ingredients, and the only fresh ingredients are green cabbage and mint. It comes out fresh and tangy, with a lemon mint flavor that keeps eaters coming back for more.
Last up in our vegan side dishes: refried beans! This vegan spin has a creamy texture and buttery flavor that tastes loads better than canned beans.Garlic, olive oil, and a few spices make these vegan beans taste incredible. You can use canned beans or beans that were cooked from dry. Either way: it's a vegan side dish bursting with flavor.
Toss the vegetables in a bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil and the oregano, kosher salt and plenty of fresh ground black pepper.
In large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes until tender and lightly charred, stirring occasionally. Taste and add a few pinches of additional salt to taste. Serve immediately.
Keywords: Vegan side dishes, vegan side dish recipes, vegan sides, plant based side dishes, plant based sides
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.