So, you've got a few chicken breasts in the freezer or a steak ready to throw on the grill. That's the easy part. Deciding what to serve with it usually requires more time and hand-wringing. We've got a dozen side dishes that will round out a meal and take minimal effort. For those of you who need a protein, starch and vegetable on your plate at every meal, not all of these will round out a meal. These are side dishes with presence, though; they are filling (potatoes, beans) or include ingredients that add complexity and flavor (cheese, herbs, multiple vegetables).
And all of them are easy quick to throw together, can be made ahead of time, or take very little prep and then hang out in the oven, so you have ample time to tend to the meat.
• 1. Roasted Mushrooms with Herbs. Super simple. You make them in the oven!
• 2. Greek-Style Lima Beans. An inventive take on a much-maligned vegetable.
• 3. Extra-Crispy Tossed Potatoes. This is a two-part process, but part two (the baking in the oven) is hands off—perfect for searing some meat on the stovetop.
• 4.Sweet Potatoes Braised with Rosemary & Milk. This is at the top of our to-make list right now.
• 5. Kalamata Olive and Parsley Potato Salad. Why is potato salad a summer dish? We love it year-round, and it's got potatoes and green stuff—two categories in one dish.
• 6. Miso Potato Salad with Yellow Wax Beans. It takes a bit of time to cook the potatoes, but this is a dish you can make ahead and let sit at room temperature.
• 7. Cauliflower, Fennel, and White Bean Winter Salad. It's not quiiiite spring yet on the East Coast, so a fresh winter salad is still welcome. This one has a lot of texture and heft to it.
• 8. Kale Salad with Pecorino and Lemon. Heartier than some other salads, so it can stand alone as a side dish.
• 9. Squash and Onions with Brown Sugar. Slightly sweet, great with pork or chicken. This is another one you can make ahead and let sit.
• 10. Crunchy Peanut Slaw. Perfect with a piece of grilled chicken or a pork chop, and the most time-consuming thing is chopping the cabbage. Make it a few hours before and let the flavors mingle in the fridge.
• 11. Hashed Sprouts with Hazelnuts and Fried Capers. Use a food processor; you'll have your sprouts shredded in no time.
• 12. Truffled Asparagus with Parmesan and Eggs. You can leave off the eggs if you want to keep it simple (but the truffle oil kind of negates that anyway).
Related: How to Roast Any Vegetable
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