15 Easy Vegetable Side Dishes That Go With Everything

Refresh your rotation of go-to veggie sides.

Often, vegetable sides are afterthoughts—last minute additions to the dinner table that aren’t quite up to par with the main dish. It makes sense; it can be tricky to summon creativity for more than one element of a meal while also keeping things easy for yourself. And yet, vegetables have so much potential to steal the show, with their vibrant colors and fresh, varied flavors. To help solve this problem, we gathered recipes for 15 easy vegetable side dishes from the Real Simple archive. Within this list, you’re sure to find a veggie recipe to go with whatever you’re making for dinner. 

01 of 15

Crispy Roasted Mushrooms

Crispy Roasted Mushrooms
Danny Kim

The title of this dish speaks for itself! In this recipe, mushrooms get roasted with olive oil and thyme until golden brown, crispy, and utterly irresistible. To ensure that the mushrooms crisp up well, make sure they’re nice and dry, space them out on the sheet trays, and crank up the oven.

02 of 15

Coconut-Creamed Greens

Coconut-Creamed Greens Recipe
Caitlin Bensel

We all know creamed spinach, but did you know that you can use all different types of greens for a similar dish? And did you know you can make it creamy with something other than, well, cream? This recipe is a modernized, plant-based version of the classic dish, with kale, chard, spinach, and coconut milk to lend that luscious creaminess we know and crave.

03 of 15

Carrot-Apple Slaw

Carrot-Apple Slaw Recipe
Antonis Achilleos

This slaw is the perfect accompaniment for hearty mains, like sausages or steak, cutting through the richness with bright, punchy acidity. Pre-fermented sauerkraut pumps up the slaw with salty, sour notes.

04 of 15

Green Beans With Bacon Vinaigrette

Green Beans With Bacon Vinaigrette
Gentl & Hyers

Earthy green beans and salty, fatty bacon are a match made in heaven. Here, the green beans get blanched and sautéed with a shallot dressing and crispy bacon, and can be served at any temperature.

05 of 15

Beet-Radicchio Salad

beet radicchio salad

Christopher Testani

This salad couldn’t be more visually pleasing, with a rainbow of oranges, beets, radicchio, and arugula. And it’s delicious, too, adorned with an umami-rich dressing, shaved Parmesan, and chopped pistachios. When you’re craving color during colder months, this salad is the answer.

06 of 15

Charred Broccolini With Tahini Caesar and Crispy Chickpeas

Charred Broccolini With Tahini Caesar And Crispy Chickpeas

Jennifer Causey

A creative take on a Caesar salad, this rendition includes crispy broccolini and chickpeas, as well as a plant-based dressing instead of the typical one with egg yolks and anchovies. This salad would be a great, hearty side for Italian-inspired mains, and would also work well as a vegetarian main dish unto itself.

07 of 15

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Pancetta

Top View of Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Pancetta Served in a White Bowl on Top of Blue Fabric, with Metal Spoon and Small Metal Bowl of Peppered Oil to the Left
Anna Williams

Say goodbye to sad boiled Brussels sprouts, and say hello to their charred, crispy cousin with pancetta and lemon zest. Preheat the baking sheets to ensure that all sides of the sprouts crisp up, and feel free to prep the dish in advance, as you can always reheat the veggies with a flash in the oven.

08 of 15

Spicy Street Corn Salad

Spicy Street Corn Salad in a serving dish with a spoon.
Jen Causey

This recipe takes its cue from Mexican street corn, which gets grilled, topped with a creamy, limey sauce, and rubbed with spices and cheese. Best made in the summer with fresh corn, this salad can be prepared in advance and brought to barbecues and potlucks. Just prepare to see it disappear!

09 of 15

Caramelized Veggies With Poppy Seed Dressing

Caramelized Veggies With Poppy Seed Dressing on a pink linen

When roasted in a hot oven, vegetables like carrots and parsnips take on a whole new flavor profile—caramelized, charred, sweet, and downright delicious. In this recipe, roasted vegetables get another layer with a smooth, lemony tahini sauce speckled with poppy seeds. The creamy dressing takes the roasted veggies to another level.

10 of 15

Spring Green Salad

Greg DuPree

Craving bright, fresh, green things? This salad hits every note with abundant herbs and a whole range of crunchy vegetables, including cucumber and sugar snap peas.

11 of 15

Miso-Roasted Radishes

Miso-Roasted Radishes
Greg DuPree

When raw, radishes taste peppery and intense, but when roasted, they become sweet (while still maintaining a bit of heat). In this recipe, roasted radishes meet their match with jammy shallots and an umami-rich miso dressing.

12 of 15

Summer Squash With Scallions, Chile, and Parsley

Summer Squash With Scallions, Chile, and Parsley Recipe
Greg DuPree

For a summer side that doesn’t require turning on the oven, or much effort at all, try this salad with raw, thinly sliced summer squash. Crunchy, refreshing, and colorful, the squash coins get flavored with herbs, chile, and vinegar. Serve at room temperature along with any grilled protein for a perfect summer meal.

13 of 15

Garlic-Butter Broccoli

Garlic-Butter Broccoli
David Prince

Broccoli doesn’t have to be boring! Two of our favorite ingredients—garlic and butter—make eating broccoli a delight rather than a chore.

14 of 15

Every-Citrus Salad With Almonds and Manchego

Every-Citrus Salad with Almonds and Manchego Recipe
Caitlin Bensel

Use whatever citrus you have available to you in this salad, and it’s sure to turn out well. This is thanks to a dressing with Dijon and maple syrup that you’ll want to eat on its own. A topping of shaved Manchego cheese and roasted almonds is the cherry on top.

15 of 15

Little Gems and Radishes With Ricotta Salata and Seeds

Little Gems and Radishes With Ricotta Salata and Seeds Recipe
Greg DuPree

Little gems are beautiful, snappy greens that receive a simple dressing treatment of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in this recipe. Add some sliced radishes and shower some cheese and seeds on top, and you’ve got a lovely, springy salad in no time.

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