21 Easy Vegetable Side Dishes to Make All Year Long

From creamy corn pudding with a kick to absurdly addictive asparagus, we love these veggie sides any time of year.

July 25, 2019

Everyone like to make a big fuss about meat: a crispy-skinned roast chicken at the center of the table, that perfect filet cooked until just medium-rare, and—during Thanksgiving especially—a grand, glistening turkey.

But a single main dish, no matter how showstopping, does not a dinner make. A few side dishes have got to show up to the party, too.

When it comes to side dishes, vegetables are always a good choice. They keep things light and bright, while also bringing some different textural components into the mix (think: crunchy cabbage, tender beets, roasty-toasty Brussels sprouts).

From creamy corn pudding with a kick to absurdly addictive asparagus, here are 21 of our best, most delicious, all-around easiest vegetable side dishes for the holiday season and beyond.

(And in case you were wondering, yes, they're all vegetarian-friendly.)

Our Best Vegetable Side Dish Recipes

1. Tahini Roasted Broccoli

This toasty, tahini-soaked spin on basic roasted broccoli is so unreasonably tasty, it just might steal the main dish's thunder. (Don't forget the lemon juice and garlic either.)

2. Dilled, Crunchy Sweet-Corn Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

This totally no-cook salad hits all the right texture and flavor notes—crunchy corn and cucumbers, soft feta, and a creamy dressing—without those rough, bitter edges you often find in a raw salad.

3. Beets & Herbs Salad

"Isn't it time to take a break from roasted beets with goat cheese?" our co-founder Amanda Hesser asks herself. The answer is no—it turns out—if you're tossing the warm beets with sherry vinegar, Dijon, and olive oil. Oh, and skipping the goat cheese altogether.

4. Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Pears & Pistachios

Brussels sprouts are a fall and winter classic, and a bit of sweet seasonal fruit and crunchy pistachios complement their lightly bitter tang in just the right way.

5. New-Fashioned Corn Pudding

Not that there was anything wrong with old-fashioned corn pudding to begin with, but this riff on the Southern staple has just a bit more oomph thanks to hot sauce and ground mustard.

6. Caramelized Butternut Squash Wedges with Sage Hazelnut Pesto

If you're worried about getting sick of butternut squash during Thanksgiving and the winter holidays, try mixing things up by cutting it into wedges and topping it with a fragrant, earthy pesto and fresh ricotta salata.

7. One-Pan Lentil Gratin With Sweet Potatoes & Mustard-Chèvre Crumbs

"The definition of vegetarian comfort food," according to one of many happy reviewers.

8. Absurdly Addictive Asparagus

There's a reason this asparagus recipe is one of our all-time most popular, but to find out what that reason is means you're going to have to make it yourself. (And if you want to keep it vegetarian-friendly, you can skip the pancetta and use a bit of olive oil.)

9. Autumn Root Vegetable Gratin with Herbs & Cheese

This fall-ready gratin stars garlic-infused milk (instead of heavy cream), thinly sliced root vegetables, and lots and lots of yummy cheese—what's not to love?

10. Marcy Ragan's Grilled Panzanella Caprese

This easy side dish takes three of our favorite things—ripe, juicy tomatoes, grilled sourdough bread, and so much mozzarella—and turns them into an impossibly delicious panzanella, aka a bread salad.

11. Warm Eggplant & Mint Salad

The eggplant Eric Kim grew up eating was boring and bitter. So he decided to make an eggplant dish that was everything but: an earthy, roasted eggplant salad with bright pops of fresh mint and lemon juice.

12. Carrots with Brown Butter & Hazelnuts

Kick those plain boiled carrots off the table and swap in this dressed-up version with toasted hazelnuts, chopped parsley, and a big squeeze of lemon.

13. Kevin Gillespie's Creamless Creamed Corn with Mushrooms & Lemon

We've got nothing against heavy cream, but there's something to be said for using the sweet starch hidden inside corn kernels to make this holiday-ready—and hey, vegan!—side dish luxuriously thick and glossy.

14. Mom's Famous Zucchini Gratin

Everyone knows that mother knows best, but it's especially true for this zuchhini gratin, which calls on a mix of squashes, grated cheese, and—the key ingredient—tangy crème fraîche.

15. Stovetop Green Bean "Casserole"

We'll never say no to a tried-and-true green bean casserole on Thanksgiving, but did you know it's even easier (and dare we say tastier?) when you make it with just five ingredients on the stovetop?

16. The Best Pan-Roasted Potatoes

For the all-time best pan-roasted potatoes, all you need are potatoes, olive oil, and salt. Seriously. Let that sink in for a second (and then go bookmark the recipe).

17. Joy the Baker's Olive Oil-Braised Chickpeas

Canned chickpeas take a warm, cozy bath in olive oil, onion, capers, herbs, chile flakes, tangy olives, and thinly sliced lemon wheels and honestly we'd jump right in there with them if we could.

18. Fresh Raw Pea, Asparagus & Fava Bean Salad with Herbs & Pecorino

This crunchy, fresh salad brings those summery flavors to the table all year round thanks to a bit of blanching, good-quality olive oil and a tangle of mixed herbs.

19. Baked Beans

These baked beans are always welcome at the table thanks to their versatility (feel free to riff on the spices, or make the dish vegetarian-friendly by swapping bacon fat for olive oil) and creamy deliciousness.

20. One-Pot Kale & Quinoa Pilaf

This one-pot kale and quinoa pilaf might not seem like much, but somehow takes seven simple ingredients and transforms them into something light, savory, and impossible not scarf down in three minutes flat.

21. Roasted Mushroom Salad

This umami-rich roasted mushroom salad is here to change your mind about mushroom salads.

Do you make a stellar side dish where vegetables are the star of the show? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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Erin Alexander

Written by: Erin Alexander

Erin Alexander is the Managing Editor of Food52.