Most of us — myself included — tend to focus all their energy on the main dish when planning dinners for the week. That usually means I am scrambling at the last minute to figure out a fast and easy side to pair with it that’s also healthy. So I’ve made it a point to have a small roster of simple side dishes that are versatile enough to go with whatever I am serving so I can pull from my collection whenever I need one. My favorite sides are vegetable-centric, as it’s never a bad idea to squeeze more of them onto the plate. Sides are also an opportunity to reap the nutritional benefits that come from whole grains. Either way, the name of the game is always quick when it comes to sides. Here are 10 I reach for often when I am figuring out a way to round out the meal:
This colorful salad might just steal attention away from your main course, especially if you add the optional chunks of feta or sliced mozzarella cheese.
A generous drizzle of honey helps coax out the natural sweetness of carrots and make them even more caramelized and delicious.
This fun twist on Mexican street corn takes the kernels off the cob and into a bowl with cheese, cilantro, and jalapeños for much easier eating.
Know how to make a great green salad and you hold the secret to the best, most versatile side around. This recipe is a great one to memorize.
Feel free to give this simple roasted broccoli recipe your own twist. Try adding a spice blend like curry powder along with the salt and pepper or sprinkle grated Parmesan on top after roasting.
Couscous is one of the quickest side dishes on the planet since it simply needs to be steamed in hot water rather than simmered. That means you should always keep a box on hand.
To make this Asian-inspired slaw make it to the dinner table even faster, go ahead and swap in a bag of store-bought coleslaw mix instead of shredding the vegetables yourself.
Simply adding chopped tomatoes and Parmesan cheese to a pot of simmering quinoa is an easy way to turn this well-loved grain into something special.
Spinach cooks down immensely so don’t be alarmed when you go to buy the giant tub of it at the grocery store. For a spicy kick, feel free to add a generous pinch of red pepper flakes.
Definitely make a double batch of these mushrooms. That way you can toss what’s left with pasta the following night for a quick and simple dinner.