Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Salad With Pistachios
Quinoa, an ancient grain with origins in the Andes, has had a renaissance in recent years as a gluten-free superfood. And, with a hefty helping of protein, magnesium, iron, and lots of other beneficial minerals and nutrients, it's not hard to figure out why. Simple and super-fast to prepare, it cooks up in minutes. Here, paired with fresh thyme, earthy roasted mushrooms, and sweet carrots, and tossed with bright handfuls of baby spinach, it makes a delicious foundation for a satisfying grain salad. To finish the dish off, scatter on some chopped pistachios for a pretty pop of green and some pleasing crunch. Short on time? Give your fingers a break and look for pre-shelled pistachios at your local market.
Despite its name, most of the wild rice stocked on supermarket shelves is neither wild nor rice: it’s a cultivated species of long-grain marsh grass. But either way, it’s still delicious—and happily for anyone with food restrictions, it's entirely gluten free. Wild rice’s gently nutty flavor is a natural match for autumn ingredients and needs little adornment to make it shine. Toss in some fresh parsley, anise-scented tarragon, and a handful of pine nuts and you’ve got the fixins for an appealing holiday side dish. Best of all? Because the dish is best served at room temperature, you can avoid a last minute scramble by prepping the components ahead of time and assembling them just before serving.
Ever walked by a bundle of watercress in the produce section and wondered what to do with it? This simple salad starring the underrated green couldn't be any easier to make or more delicious. Watercress is full of nutrients and antioxidants and, like arugula, has a naturally peppery bite that is set off beautifully by the sweetness of roasted beets and the creamy salinity of feta cheese. Combine the elements in a large platter and drizzle them with a homemade vinaigrette or a store-bought Italian dressing, and in less than 5 minutes you'll have a colorful, gluten-free side dish guaranteed to win raves.
This satisfying side dish is packed with stick-to-you-ribs savory flavor, but is entirely gluten free. The secret weapons? A quick-cooking blend of wild and long grain rice, and sautéed mushrooms. Using a mix of mushrooms adds layers of flavor and texture; choose whatever varieties you like. A splash of wine added to the mushrooms offers a bit of tang which, along with the cranberries, balances the umami flavors of the rice and mushrooms. Not only does this make a delicious side but tossed with some arugula and leftover turkey and you've got a great gluten-free alternative to the old turkey sandwich.
Giving up gluten doesn’t have to mean being doomed to deprivation: there are plenty of decadent dinner party side dishes that don’t include an ounce of grain. Case in point: this twist on a classic potato gratin, a rich layered casserole of thinly sliced potatoes baked in butter and cream until molten at the center and golden brown on top. Spicy prepared horseradish is stirred in to give the final dish a pleasant jot of heat, and a fine sprinkling of grated nutmeg rounds out the complex flavors. If you have ground nutmeg in your spice rack, feel free to use it—but, remember, freshly grated nutmeg always yields a warmer, brighter flavor.
Love risotto, but don’t love the work of stirring that goes into making the traditional variety? This lighter version takes a lot of the labor out of the process, replacing conventional arborio rice with “riced” cauliflower instead. Adding a splash of stock gives the dish its creamy texture—chicken stock works, as does vegetable stock, if you’re serving vegetarians. Then, all that’s left to do is stir in a hefty pile of Parmesan, crunchy nuts, and some sweet, roasted beets. But remember: regular red beets will turn the whole mixture a deep shade of pink, so if you’d prefer a more neutral color scheme, it’s worth the effort to seek out yellow golden beets.
Hash is truly a magical dish—simple, but stick-to-your-ribs satisfying; always better than the sum of its parts; and a delicious way to use up all kinds of leftovers. This version combines three contrasting fall flavors that complement each other beautifully: sweet, anise-scented fennel, creamy potatoes, and silky kale. The key to getting perfectly crispy hash every time? Don’t stir it too much: you need to let the the components cook undisturbed so they can develop that nice, crunchy golden crust. Serve as a dinner side dish with roast chicken or turkey—or with poached or fried eggs at brunch. Want to add a little extra kick? A few dashes of hot sauce is a great way to finish it off.
The only effort that goes into this lovely fall roasted veggie side dish is peeling and slicing the butternut squash—from that point on, your oven does almost all of the work. If you can’t get your hands on a butternut, or just feel like branching out, you can also use acorn or kabocha squash instead. When you’re spreading the squash slices on a baking sheet before roasting, make sure to give them plenty of breathing room. Why? If they’re too close together on the sheet, they will steam rather than crisp up with nice, golden, roasted edges. A drizzle of an easy warm vinaigrette of apple cider, cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, and olive oil is a seasonally appropriate—and simply delicious—way to bring the whole dish together.
Warm, creamy (and gluten free!) polenta is a chronically underappreciated side dishes that deserves a turn in the spotlight. It cooks up super fast (less than 5 minutes!) and is a great partner with everything from roasted chicken (or turkey), stewed winter greens, roasted mushrooms, or even, at brunchtime, soft-cooked eggs. Finishing it off with a fat pat of butter and a generous sprinkling of grated cheese takes it into seriously luxurious territory. Trust us, you won’t be able to keep yourself from going back for more. Just one note to remember: if time is a concern, make sure that when you’re at the store, you buy “quick-cooking” polenta—while delicious, many other varieties of cornmeal grits take much longer to prepare.
A masterpiece of beautiful fall colors and textures, this pretty gluten-free side dish combines crescents of roasted squash, fresh herbs, and ruby red pomegranate seeds. For the best results, make sure to spread the squash out on your baking sheet when prepping it for roasting—this will let air circulate evenly during cooking, and help develop the nice crunchy golden edges that everyone loves. Serving the mixture on a bed of tart plain yogurt adds a lovely creamy note to the dish and finishing it off with a simple sherry vinaigrette ties all of the wonderful sweet and tart flavors together.