32 Simple Green Side Dishes to Add to Your Dinner Table

updated Nov 29, 2023
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(Image credit: Anjali Prasertong)

The question, “What’s for dinner tonight?” is often the easy one to answer. It’s the next question that’s tough: “What goes with it?” Do your answers reveal you’re stuck in side-dish monotony? The side salad rut? Let us help. Here are 32 simple side dishes that will bring some life back into supper matchmaking. Every one of these is green, fresh, and super simple — not counting salt and oil, I don’t think any of them have more than six ingredients to juggle.

We’ve sorted these by the cooking method, which I find is really the way I deal with a dinner side dish. If my main dish is finishing on the stove, well, I want to roast a vegetable. Something’s in the oven? Sauté the side.

Green Vegetable Side Dishes

1 / 31
Roast Brussels Sprouts
How to get the very best Brussels sprouts by oven roasting.
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2 / 31
Garlicky Roasted Broccoli
This broccoli takes just a few minutes to throw into the oven and emerges toasty around the edges and garlicky and a little spicy.
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3 / 31
Cook Asparagus in the Oven

It’s a foolproof, hands-off method that requires just a couple minutes of prep, and rewards you with crispy-tipped, tender asparagus every single time. Grab a rimmed baking sheet, a cutting board, and a sturdy chef’s knife – here’s how to do it.

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4 / 31
Roasted Green Beans with Harissa

While these fresh beans make me feel nostalgic, this quick and easy, subtly spicy side dish is nothing like the plain steamed green beans from my childhood. It’s a good side dish for any meal, from simple chicken to a hearty winter braise.

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5 / 31
Grilled Asparagus with Bacon Vinaigrette

It’s a lightning-fast way to cook asparagus with fire, bringing out the best of this spring vegetable.

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6 / 31
Grilled Cabbage Wedges with Spicy Lime Dressing
Grilled cabbage wedges with a spicy lime vinaigrette.
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7 / 31
Roasted Cabbage with Bacon
Roasted cabbage wedges are one of the easiest, most delicious ways to eat a hunk of vegetables for dinner, and the bacon just helps it along.
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8 / 31
Broiled Zucchini with Yogurt-Dill Sauce

It’s a simple little dish, and one that I expect to make for years to come, always remembering my heartwarming and hilarious encounter with the Wild Bulgarian.

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9 / 31
Kale Chips

They’re the best way to use the in-season leafy green, and the easiest way to eat a full bunch of kale at once, while also satisfying all your salty snack cravings.

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10 / 31
Quick Sesame Snow Peas
Snow peas are cooked in light sesame oil and finished with a squeeze of lemon juice for a super-fast spring side dish.
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11 / 31
Sautéed Zucchini with Chorizo, Cilantro and Lime

This dish is great for lazy summertime cooking — the only kind of cooking I ever feel like come July. The most effort you have to put in is chopping up ingredients. It utilizes the natural fats from the chorizo along with a splash of olive oil for frying the zucchini, which means there’s heaps of flavor.

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12 / 31
Broccolini with Butter Beans
A quick and easy side dish recipe. Vegan, gluten-free, and low-carb. It all comes together in one cast iron skillet!
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13 / 31
Sautéed Cabbage and Roasted Potatoes

The initial inspiration for this recipe was atakilt, a hearty Ethiopian dish of slow-cooked potatoes, cabbage, and carrots.

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14 / 31
Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry in Any Pan
Get the step-by-step guide for this chicken and broccoli stir-fry that doesn't require a wok.
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15 / 31
Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts and Fried Capers

This recipe riffs off that one but sticks to a slightly easier preparation by hashing the sprouts (just chop them up fine, or use a mandoline).

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16 / 31
Asparagus & Radishes with Mint

This quick, easy side dish tosses them together with a handful of mint. If these are the elves, then mint is the good fairy of spring, and deserves to appear as often as possible.

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17 / 31
Thai Stir-Fried Greens

Lots of garlic is essential, as are the two key ingredients for the sauce: oyster sauce and fish sauce. Look for brands without any unfamiliar additives; it really does make a difference in the finished stir-fry.

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18 / 31
Easy Skillet Kale with Lemon & Garlic
A quick recipe for sautéed kale flavored with lots of lemon and garlic.
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19 / 31
Steam Vegetables

Steamed vegetables — this is one of the easiest and quickest ways to get vegetables onto our plates. It’s something we can do without needing to think about it too much or make too much effort. We can just let the veggies steam while finishing the rest of dinner and toss them with a little butter before serving. Vegetables, done!

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20 / 31
Asparagus with Eggs and Parmesan

Taking inspiration from a dish called Truffled Egg Toast at a since-shuttered neighborhood joint called ‘Ino, I was making this side dish (which also works as an appetizer) with truffle salt for years, and then that flavor profile became completely overdone.

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21 / 31
Collard Greens
There are dozens of ways to cook collard greens and this one leans towards the more traditional, using a smoked ham hock and bacon fat to add flavor and richness.
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22 / 31
Snap Peas with Meyer Lemon and Mint

I hesitate to call this a recipe because it’s just something that came together using fresh ingredients I had on hand. But perhaps that is the best kind of recipe for this season, when the new, vibrant flavors call for simple preparations rather than long hours spent over the stove or in the oven.

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23 / 31
Asparagus Ribbons

Think of this recipe as a starting point; you could also play around with ingredients like lemon juice and zest, shallots, capers, different herbs and nuts, or a Dijon mustard vinaigrette. Ricotta, chèvre, and Pecorino cheeses are good additions, too.

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24 / 31
Zucchini Noodles with Tomatoes and Corn

There is nothing wrong with your screen. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. What you see before you are not strands of pasta, but swirls of spiralized zucchini! It’s time to change things up from the usual summer salad and give these vegetable “noodles” a try.

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25 / 31
Green Salad with Orange, Avocado, and Red Onion

What I think makes this a winning combination isn’t just the way the flavors work together, but also how beautiful the orange, purple, and green look on the plate.

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26 / 31
Chopped Kale, Farro & Chickpea Salad

Lunch or dinner, main dish or side dish, this kale salad is a keeper. Make a big batch tonight and look forward to easy meals all week long.

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27 / 31
Arugula & Fennel Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

The salad takes seconds to make, even counting the time to shake together the easy vinaigrette of lemon juice and olive oil. Pair it with grilled salmon or serve it alongside an eggy brunch casserole — this arugula salad will suit whatever is on the table.

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28 / 31
The Perfect Simple Salad
Here are some thoughts, tips, and directions to help you turn your side salad into the most delicious part of the meal.
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29 / 31
Two-Minute Creamy Salad Dressing

Sometimes a basic vinaigrette just won’t do. Sometimes we need a velvety, creamy dressing drizzled on our greens. And yet ranch dressing can sometimes feel a little … salad-bar-at-the-steakhouse? Occasionally, yes, I love it. But this dressing, well, this has a little more ooh-la-la in its favor. And it’s so, so easy.

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30 / 31
5-Ingredient Kale Caesar Salad
An easy, anchovy-free version of classic Caesar salad, made with kale instead of romaine so it keeps for days in the fridge.
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31 / 31
Kale Slaw
An easy slaw using shredded cruciferous vegetables, almonds, and dried cherries in a tangy honey-mustard dressing.
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