Superfast Side-Dish Recipes

Make a side to match any kind of main in 20 minutes or less with these great recipes.

Green Beans and Potatoes in Chunky Tomato Sauce

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Green Beans and Potatoes in Chunky Tomato Sauce

The crisp, fresh green beans and smooth, tender potatoes create nice texture contrast, and the easy sauce is a good match for nearly any main-dish flavor. It would make an especially great side for roasted chicken, whether our five-star homemade version or time-saving rotisserie chicken from the supermarket.

View Recipe: Green Beans and Potatoes in Chunky Tomato Sauce

Spicy Garlic Broccoli Rabe

Randy Mayor

Spicy Garlic Broccoli Rabe

Bitter greens like broccoli rabe make a good counterpoint to rich, creamy cold-weather dishes. This dish has a sort-of-Italian feel, but you can substitute a little chopped canned chipotle pepper for the red pepper and better match Mexican and Southwestern dishes, or use sesame oil and Sriracha for Asian ones.

View Recipe: Spicy Garlic Broccoli Rabe

Brussels Sprouts with Crisp Prosciutto

Randy Mayor

Brussels Sprouts with Crisp Prosciutto

The key to great Brussels sprouts is to cook them a very short time or a very long time―you want to either maintain their fresh crispness or slowly caramelize their natural sugars. This recipe takes the short route, cooking the whole dish in just nine minutes. Crisp, salty, meaty, pan-fried prosciutto balances the sprouts' vegetal character, and a simple lemon-butter dressing brightens the flavor. Try this dish with a quick soup or stew for a great winter dinner.

View Recipe: Brussels Sprouts with Crisp Prosciutto

Orange and Red Onion Salad with Red Pepper Recipes

Photo: Randy Mayor

Orange and Red Onion Salad with Red Pepper

The sweetness and tartness of citrus provides a nice respite from the earthy and hearty flavors of most other winter produce. This simple dish dresses raw orange and red onion with just olive oil for a nice, light flavor whose acidity and pungency make an excellent counterpoint to cold-weather dishes made from fattier cuts of meat, such as beef stew.

View Recipe: Orange and Red Onion Salad with Red Pepper

Creamy Potato Salad Recipe

Photo: Johnny Autry

Creamy Potato Salad

Our basic recipe for Creamy Potato Salad is scrumptious as is. If you're looking to spice things up, try one of our three variations: Sour Cream-Dill, German-Style, and Lemon-Herb.

View Recipe: Creamy Potato Salad

White Beans with Prosciutto Recipe

Photo: Johnny Autry

White Beans with Prosciutto

Our basic recipe can be made into two delicious variations: Escarole and Bean Sauté and Lemony Bean Salad.

View Recipe: White Beans with Prosciutto

Lemon-Parmesan Broccoli Recipe

Photo: John Autry

Lemon-Parmesan Broccoli

Spice this basic recipe up with one of our three variations: Spicy Chile and Garlic; Dijon, Thyme, and Pine Nut; Cheddar-Beer Sauce.

View Recipe: Lemon-Parmesan Broccoli

Grilled Zucchini with Sea Salt Recipe

Photo: John Autry

Grilled Zucchini with Sea Salt

For more tender zucchini, leave slices in the pan an extra 1 minute on each side. When the flesh starts to look translucent, the zucchini is done. To spice up this basic recipe try one of our three variations: Parmigiano-crumbed, Caprese "Salsa", or Mint Gremolata.

View Recipe: Grilled Zucchini with Sea Salt

Green Beans with Toasted Garlic Recipe

Photo: John Autry

Green Beans with Toasted Garlic

Try one of our three variations on this easy recipe: Sesame-Soy, Citrus-Nut, or Peppery Bacon.

View Recipe: Green Beans with Toasted Garlic

Microwave Smashed Potatoes Recipe

Photo: John Autry

Microwave Smashed Potatoes

Try one of our three variations to spice up these smashed potatoes—Southwest, Roasted Garlic, or Bacon and Cheddar.

View Recipe: Microwave Smashed Potatoes

Sesame-Miso Cucumber Salad Recipe

Photo: John Autry

Sesame-Miso Cucumber Salad

Miso is a thick soybean paste with a salty, slightly sweet flavor. Look for it in the refrigerated part of the produce section or with the dairy products, or substitute soy sauce.

View Recipe: Sesame-Miso Cucumber Salad  

Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes Recipe

Photo: Joseph De Leo

Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes

This recipe is not only quick, but also versatile. Try one of our three variations to spice things up: raisin and pine nut, sesame-ginger glazed, or lemon-tarragon.

View Recipe: Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Recipe

Photo: John Autry

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Try our basic recipe and you will find a your new favorite side dish. Try one of our variations like Lemon and Pecan; Sesame, Garlic, and Ginger; and Garlic and Pecorino and you will find there are limitless possiblities for this dinnertime standby.

View Recipe: Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Spinach with Garlic Vinaigrette Recipe

Photo: John Autry

Spinach with Garlic Vinaigrette

Try one of our variations on this basic recipe. Mix with cooked farfalle pasta to make Spinach-Pasta Salad. Try increasing the garlic to three thinly sliced cloves, heat the vinaigrette over medium-high heat and saute with onion and garlic for two minutes before tossing in fresh spinach to create Wilted Spinach. Another option, microwave 4 (6-ounce) Yukon gold potatoes for 13 minutes or until tender, prepare wilted spinach before dividing among potatoes. Then top each with 1 1/2 tablespoons crumbled feta for Spinach Baked Potatoes.

View Recipe: Spinach with Garlic Vinaigrette

Yellow Squash Ribbons with Red Onion and Parmesan

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Yellow Squash Ribbons with Red Onion and Parmesan

This impressive-looking dish is easy and fast, and thanks to the pungent onion and meaty Parmesan, it has big flavor. Zucchini works just as well as yellow squash here, but be gentle when stirring so you don't break the ribbons. A grilled meat, especially pork or beef, is the best kind of main dish for this side.

View Recipe: Yellow Squash Ribbons with Red Onion and Parmesan

Chickpea Salad with Provenal Herbs and Olives

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Chickpea Salad with Provençal Herbs and Olives

Take a quick jaunt to the south of France with this fiber-rich, no-cook salad. Fresh herbs and the powerful flavor of olives mellow the earthiness of chickpeas, making a dish that tastes lighter than it looks. Make the salad a few hours ahead if you can; the longer it marinates in the dressing, the more flavorful it will be. This dish completes a vegetarian meal nicely when paired with a quick meatless main like pasta or grilled portobellos.

View Recipe: Chickpea Salad with Provençal Herbs and Olives

Haricots Verts and Grape Tomato Salad with Crme Frache Dressing

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Haricots Verts and Grape Tomato Salad with Crème Fraîche Dressing

This salad tastes fresh, fresh, fresh, with a hint of tangy creaminess from the crème fraîche that also makes it feel indulgent. It's a perfect summertime dish since it relies on the sweetness of fresh green beans and tomatoes, so you should serve a summery entrée alongside it.

View Recipe: Haricots Verts and Grape Tomato Salad with Crème Fraîche Dressing

Cumin Curried Hummus

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Cumin Curried Hummus

If you keep canned chickpeas on hand (and you should), hummus is an easy anytime snack, side, or sandwich spread. This spiced version can stand in for lentil dal on an Indian menu, or it can pair with Mediterranean-flavored lamb.

View Recipe: Cumin Curried Hummus

Fresh English Pea Salad with Mint and Pecorino

Douglas Merriam

Fresh English Pea Salad with Mint and Pecorino

Healthy doses of bitter arugula, fresh mint, and salty pecorino keep these peas interesting. Fresh green peas have amazing flavor, but if you don't feel like shelling, or if they're out of season, you can thaw out some frozen ones. The salad pairs best with an entrée that's meaty but not too heavy, like a sautéed pork dish.

View Recipe: Fresh English Pea Salad with Mint and Pecorino

Couscous Salad Cups

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Couscous Salad Cups

Huge flavor and an edible container make this dish perfect for a casual potluck or picnic, or a workday lunch. But with or without its lettuce-leaf cups, this Mediterranean salad becomes the highlight of whatever meal it's a part. Serve with grilled kebabs of any kind, such as this one, which uses the same pomegranate-orange dressing as the salad.

View Recipe: Couscous Salad Cups

Kale with Garlic and Peppers

Beau Gustafson

Kale with Garlic and Peppers

Protein- and iron-rich kale is unique among greens in that it retains some crispness and crunch even after long cooking. This dish takes just 15 minutes and doesn't need much effort once it gets started, so you can tend to the main course while it cooks. A superfast chicken dish makes a good main, and lets you put a full home-cooked meal on the table in about 20 minutes.

View Recipe: Kale with Garlic and Peppers

Edamame Dip

Randy Mayor

Edamame Dip

Eating edamame straight out of the pods is a great snack, but the little bean's culinary possibilities go far beyond that. When pureed, it makes a smooth and flavorful dip that here adds white beans for sophisticated flavor (you can use chickpeas instead for a more hummus-like dip). Try it with sliced fresh veggies before your next entrée―it'll make family dinner feel more like a cocktail party.

View Recipe: Edamame Dip

Asparagus Ribbons with Lemon and Goat Cheese

Randy Mayor

Asparagus Ribbons with Lemon and Goat Cheese

Don't be intimidated by the beautiful curling ribbons of asparagus―all you need to create them is a vegetable peeler. This no-cook recipe highlights the fresh flavor of asparagus with creamy and tangy goat cheese, and is a wonderful springtime dish. Try it with chicken―a great partner for spring flavors.

View Recipe: Asparagus Ribbons with Lemon and Goat Cheese

Melon and Prosciutto Salad with Parmigiano-Reggiano

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Melon and Prosciutto Salad with Parmigiano-Reggiano

Meat isn't exactly the first thing that comes to mind to pair with fruit, but salty, chewy prosciutto and sweet, juicy honeydew and cantaloupe are a magical combination that's a staple of the antipasto platter. This salad works nicely as either an appetizer before or a dessert after a superfast Italian pasta.

View Recipe: Melon and Prosciutto Salad with Parmigiano-Reggiano

Majiggy Fruit Salad

Majiggy Fruit Salad

A simple fruit salad dressed with yogurt and jam, this recipe is a great way to get kids involved in the kitchen―they'll love its sweet flavor, and even a toddler can help stir together the dressing and toss it with the fruit. Even out of season, the salad will remind you of summer, so pair it with a superfast summery or grilled recipe.

View Recipe: Majiggy Fruit Salad

Sauteed Baby Squash with Basil and Feta

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Sautéed Baby Squash with Basil and Feta

This six-minute side is amazingly versatile: Try red onion or shallot in place of leek, and any tender, quick-cooking vegetable―broccoli, bell pepper, green beans, or whatever's on hand―for the squash. The tangy feta makes a good contrast with any light-bodied main course, such as these superfast recipes for halibut and salmon.

View Recipe: Sautéed Baby Squash with Basil and Feta

Carrot-Pineapple Slaw

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Carrot-Pineapple Slaw

The mayonnaise-laden (and usually store-bought) version of this slaw is a popular picnic food. Our healthier version uses a lemon-maple vinaigrette and adds juicy pineapple for extra interest. Make it a day or two ahead for a picnic or tailgate, or pair with grilled anything―pork chops, steaks, burgers, or bratwurst.

View Recipe: Carrot-Pineapple Slaw

Summer Corn and White Bean Soup

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Summer Corn and White Bean Soup

This wonderfully hearty soup takes all of eight minutes to cook, and can make a hearty meal on its own paired with corn bread or a salad. But its best dinnertime partner is a just-as-quick sandwich. Try one of our superfast or 5-ingredient recipes.

View Recipe: Summer Corn and White Bean Soup

Ginger-Garlic Broccolini

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Ginger-Garlic Broccolini

Also known as baby broccoli, Broccolini has a very similar flavor to its close cousin broccoli, but its long, thin stalks make it nice and crunchy. With ginger and mirin, this dish has Asian flavors, but its best partner would be a noodle dish from anywhere in the world.

View Recipe: Ginger-Garlic Broccolini

Broccoli with Red Pepper Flakes and Toasted Garlic

Randy Mayor

Broccoli with Red Pepper Flakes and Toasted Garlic

This four-minute, ridiculously easy recipe yields surprising flavor. And it's adaptable to any menu: Make as-is with Mediterranean dishes, swap in sesame oil for olive with an Asian entrée, or sub finely chopped ancho chile for the red pepper flakes with Mexican mains.

View Recipe: Broccoli with Red Pepper Flakes and Toasted Garlic

Herbed Couscous Pilaf Recipes

Photo: John Autry

Herbed Couscous Pilaf

Chopped shallots and fresh thyme and parsley come together with quick-cooking couscous for a versatile, no-fuss side dish.

View Recipe: Herbed Couscous Pilaf

Lemony Snap Peas Recipe

Photo: Johnny Autry

Lemony Snap Peas

Start with our basic recipe and then try one of our tasty variations: Radish and Feta, Israeli Couscous and Dill, or Toasted Almond and Pecorino.

View Recipe: Lemony Snap Peas

Parsley-Farro Salad Recipe

Photo: Johnny Autry

Parsley-Farro Salad

If you can't find precooked farro, substitute precooked or boil-in-bag brown rice. Start with our basic recipe and then try one of our tasty variations: Tomato and Cucumber; Basil and Corn; or Onion, Feta, and Bell Pepper.

View Recipe: Parsley-Farro Salad

Wild Rice and Carrots Recipe

Photo: Johnny Autry

Wild Rice and Carrots

If you can't find precooked wild rice, substitute boil-in-bag or precooked brown rice. Start with our basic recipe and then mix it up with one of our tasty variations: Bell Pepper and Fennel, Cucumber and Feta, or Tomatoes and Pine Nuts.

View Recipe: Wild Rice and Carrots

Lemony Kale Salad

Photo: Johnny Autry

Lemony Kale Salad

This fast kale salad can be transported into three different variations: Spicy Soy, Greek-Style, and Apple-Walnut.

View Recipe: Lemony Kale Salad

Butter-Pecan Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Photo: Mary Britton Senseney/Wonderful Machine

Butter-Pecan Mashed Sweet Potatoes

We have 4 speedy sweet potato sides to complete your meals. Start with our Butter-Pecan Mashed Sweet Potatoes, then try one of these variations: Maple Bacon, Chipotle-Lime, or Parmesan-Sage.

View Recipe: Butter-Pecan Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and Golden Raisins

Photo: Johnny Autry, Recipe By Laraine Perri

Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and Golden Raisins

Sweet golden raisins and nutty roasted garlic pair beautifully with broccoli rabe. Try one of our variations: Broccoli Rabe with Polenta Croutons, Broccoli Rabe with Sesame and Soy, or Broccoli Rabe with White Beans and Parmesan.

View Recipe: Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and Golden Raisins

Lemon-Garlic Swiss Chard

Photo: Johnny Autry

Lemon-Garlic Swiss Chard

This dish pairs nicely with steak or seared scallops. Try one of our variations: Quick Caramelized Onions, Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts, or Warm Bacon Vinaigrette.

View Recipe: Lemon-Garlic Swiss Chard

Beets with Shallot Vinaigrette

Photo: Brian Woodcock

Beets with Shallot Vinaigrette

You can use red or golden beets. Try one of our variations: Beet and Blood Orange Salad; Beets with Couscous, Mint, and Almond; or Beets with Toasted Spices.

View Recipe: Beets with Shallot Vinaigrette

Orzo with Pecorino and Mushrooms

Photo: Johnny Autry

Orzo with Pecorino and Mushrooms

Ready in just two simple steps, this orzo side is a great additional to a variety of meat-based main dishes. Try one of our variations: Orzo with Garlicky Spinach, Orzo with Tarragon and Peas, or Orzo with Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil.

View Recipe: Orzo with Pecorino and Mushrooms

Baby Potatoes with Tomato-Corn Sauté

Photo: Johnny Autry

Baby Potatoes with Tomato-Corn Sauté

Enjoy this easy and delicious side of baby potatoes mixed with fresh and flavorful veggies. Try one of our variations: Baby Potatoes with Arugula Pesto, Baby Potatoes with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette, or Baby Potatoes with Kale and Garlic.

View Recipe: Baby Potatoes with Tomato-Corn Sauté

Steamed Green Beans with Lemon-Mint Dressing

Photo: Johnny Autry

Steamed Green Beans with Lemon-Mint Dressing

Instead of mint, tarragon or basil would be equally delicious. If desired, top with fresh lemon rind for a little extra zing. Try one of our variations: Red Pepper and Pesto Green Beans, Ginger-Sesame Green Beans, or Green Beans with Stewed Tomatoes and Spices.

View Recipe: Steamed Green Beans with Lemon-Mint Dressing

Bulgur with Peaches and Mint

Photo: Iain Bagwell

Bulgur with Peaches and Mint

Our Peaches and Mint version is oh-so-tasty, but you can also try Grits-Style Bulgur with Corn-Basil Relish, Tabbouleh-Style Bulgur, or Grilled Zucchini Bulgur Pilaf.

View Recipe: Bulgur with Peaches and Mint

Cauliflower and Fennel with Dijon-Cider Vinaigrette

Photo: Jason Wallis

Cauliflower and Fennel with Dijon-Cider Vinaigrette

This simple side may be just the ticket to get you past your childhood aversion to cauliflower. The dijon-cider vinaigrette is what really seals the deal.

View Photo: Cauliflower and Fennel with Dijon-Cider Vinaigrette

Cauliflower with Warm Garlic-Anchovy Dressing

Photo: Jason Wallis

Cauliflower with Warm Garlic-Anchovy Dressing

You'll be amazed at the amount of flavor we packed into this veggie side dish.

View Photo: Cauliflower with Warm Garlic-Anchovy Dressing

Cauliflower with Lemon-Caper Vinaigrette

Photo: Jason Wallis

Cauliflower with Lemon-Caper Vinaigrette

Use the freshest lemons available to you for this dish.

View Photo: Cauliflower with Lemon-Caper Vinaigrette

Cauliflower with Warm Curry Dressing

Photo: Jason Wallis

Cauliflower with Warm Curry Dressing

There's a pleasant warmth to this Indian-inspired side dish, thanks to a gentle blend of spices.

View Photo: Cauliflower with Warm Curry Dressing

Fried Brown Rice with Red Pepper and Almonds

Photo: Justin Walker

Fried Brown Rice with Red Pepper and Almonds

Thinly slice the pepper and onion so they cook quickly. Cashews make an easy sub for the almonds.

View Recipe: Fried Brown Rice with Red Pepper and Almonds

Mushroom and Pine Nut Fried Brown Rice

Photo: Justin Walker

Mushroom and Pine Nut Fried Brown Rice

This simple side lends a hearty, down-home feel to dinner.

View Recipe: Mushroom and Pine Nut Fried Brown Rice

Fried Brown Rice with Snow Peas and Peanuts

Photo: Justin Walker

Fried Brown Rice with Snow Peas and Peanuts

Make sure the wok has reached the proper temperature before you add any ingredients.

View Recipe: Fried Brown Rice with Snow Peas and Peanuts

Zucchini and Walnut Fried Brown Rice

Photo: Justin Walker

Zucchini and Walnut Fried Brown Rice

The walnuts add a unique crunch to this quick and easy side dish.

View Recipe: Zucchini and Walnut Fried Brown Rice

Sautéed Cabbage and Apples

Photo: Brian Woodcock; Styling: Cindy Barr 

Sautéed Cabbage and Apples

A quick sauté keeps the cabbage slightly crisp as the apples begin to soften. Serve with sautéed chicken or pork cutlets.

View Recipe: Sautéed Cabbage and Apples

Chile-Garlic Cabbage

Photo: Brian Woodcock; Styling: Cindy Barr 

Chile-Garlic Cabbage

Substitute Sriracha sauce or another chili paste if you can't find sambal oelek.

View Recipe: Chile-Garlic Cabbage

Cabbage with Mango Slaw Vinaigrette

Photo: Brian Woodcock; Styling: Cindy Barr

Cabbage with Mango Slaw Vinaigrette

Use the slicing blade of your food processor to shorten cabbage prep time.

View Recipe: Cabbage with Mango Slaw Vinaigrette

Cider-Braised Cabbage

Photo: Brian Woodcock; Styling: Cindy Barr 

Cider-Braised Cabbage

A little sautéed onion, cider vinegar, and whole-grain mustard make this cabbage a fast and delicious side to add to your weeknight meals. 

View Recipe: Cider-Braised Cabbage

Nutty Almond-Sesame Red Quinoa

Photo: Jason Wallis

Nutty Almond-Sesame Red Quinoa

Quinoa makes a wonderfully protein-packed, gluten-free side option. We love the color and texture of red quinoa, but regualr quinoa also works well. Feel free to switch it up with one of our variations: Balsamic and Grape, Lemon-Snap Pea and Bean Salad.

View Recipe: Nutty Almond-Sesame Red Quinoa

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