25 Easy, Fancy Sides to Make Any Dinner Feel Special

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

The main dish often gets all the attention, but smart cooks know that a successful meal relies mostly on what the side dishes are bringing to the table. Start with roasted cabbage slaw with hazelnuts and lemon or smashed potatoes with Gouda and horseradish and you can already sense the beautiful, well-balanced meal to come. Those plain ol’ pork chops never had it so good!


Potatoes are a classic side dish, but they sometimes come up a little plain. Here we scallop, Hasselback, and smash them, bringing on pizzazz without a lot of effort.

Zereshk Polow (Persian Barberry Rice)(Image credit: Diana Yen)

Rice & Grains

Adding a little (or a lot!) of flavor and texture to your usual scoop of white rice or instant couscous doesn’t take a lot of extra effort and the payoff is enormous.


Be careful! Sometimes your vegetable sides will steal the show — especially if you use one of these flavorful and innovative recipes.

Kimchi and Radish Salad(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

Salads & Slaws

Gone are the days of the puny, limp side salad with its lone cherry tomato and dried-up carrot curl. These salads and slaws are fresh and full of color and flavor.