15 Easy Vegetable Side Dishes to Serve with Whatever You’re Making for Dinner

updated Nov 11, 2021
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close up of caesar broccoli
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

You might already have plans for dinner tonight. Maybe it’s chicken on the grill, baked salmon, or a simple pasta. What are you serving on the side, though? Or maybe you’re still planning your Thanksgiving menu for this week and stumped about what to add to the spread to round out the meal. If you’re still scratching your head, you’ve come to the right place. While side dishes are often an afterthought, they truly are golden opportunities to get some vegetables on the table.

Rather than stress about what to make, we think the best approach is to have a short but sweet roster of flexible veggie sides that go with just about any main dish. Luckily, we’ve done the work for you. Save this list of 15 recipes and turn to it whenever you’re not sure what to serve with your dinner. Whether you’re having your favorite home-cooked meal or simply just takeout pizza, these side dishes will be a perfect match.

1 / 15
This colorful mix of corn, okra, tomatoes, and lima beans is a classic. It's also extra flexible. Feel free to toss edamame or green peas into the mix, add diced bell peppers, or try different fresh herbs.
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2 / 15
Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad
Nothing against classic Caesar salad, but we think this version with crisp and crunchy shaved Brussels sprouts is even better — especially since you can buy them pre-shredded to save time.
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3 / 15
Blistered Green Beans with Pickled Shallots and Toasted Breadcrumbs
If you think a side of green beans is boring, you haven't met this blistered version. Charring the beans and tossing them with pickled shallots adds tons of intrigue.
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4 / 15
Cinnamon Butter Bath Sweet Potatoes
Cooking cubed sweet potatoes into a bath of milk, butter, and sweet fragrant cinnamon is a super simple way to enhance the veggie.
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5 / 15
Garlicky Roasted Broccoli
This basic recipe for roasted broccoli is one you'll make again and again. If you like things spicy, try adding a pinch of red pepper flakes to the florets before roasting.
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6 / 15
Simple Arugula Salad
Peppery arugula has so much natural flavor that it doesn't really need anything else besides lemon juice and olive oil to make it a great side.
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7 / 15
Garlic Butter Mushrooms
Mushrooms have a tendency to soak up whatever sauce they're in, so drenching them in garlic butter is obviously a great decision.
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8 / 15
Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic and Honey
A drizzle of balsamic vinegar at the end of cooking adds just the right touch of brightness to these crispy roasted sprouts.
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9 / 15
Easy Skillet Kale with Lemon & Garlic
No, kale isn't a trend — it's definitely a vegetable that's here to stay. So learn how to make it as delicious as possible with this no-fuss approach.
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10 / 15
Tangy Carrot Slaw
This French-style slaw is light and tangy, thanks to lots of Dijon mustard in the dressing. It's also one that can be made ahead of time and keeps well.
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11 / 15
Quick Sesame Snow Peas
These sesame snow peas recipe is the kind of quick side dish everyone needs to keep in their back pocket. It’s so simple, and versatile enough to pair with just about any type of main dish.
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12 / 15
Easy Fried Cabbage
Cabbage, bacon, and a couple of spices join forces for a quick and easy, smoky-sweet side dish that will forever change the way you think about cabbage.
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13 / 15
Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes
It only takes a handful of ingredients to turn this funky-looking root vegetable into a bursting-with-flavor side veggie.
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14 / 15
Garlic Butter Smashed Potatoes
These mouthwatering smashed potatoes are tossed in a garlic butter mixture and baked until golden and crispy.
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15 / 15
Caesar Roasted Broccoli
Toss roasted broccoli with Caesar dressing, then shower it with toasted breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese for the ultimate side dish.
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