MyPlate-Inspired Sides: Starchy Veggies and Whole Grains

Enjoy our favorite MyPlate-inspired starchy side dishes that are the ideal compliment to a delicious main dish.

Healthy Starchy Side Dishes

Photo: Oxmoor House

Nutritious Starchy Side Dishes

Cooking Light is working with the Partnership for a Healthier America and USDA’s MyPlate to give anyone looking for healthier options access to thousands of recipes that will help them create healthy, tasty plates. For more information about creating a healthy plate, visit www.choosemyplate.gov. Find recipes at http://pinterest.com/MyPlateRecipes/.

Starchy vegetables include potatoes, corn, and peas, while whole grains include brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat pastas. 

First up is our recipe for Classic Mashed Potatoes. These creamy, fluffy, kid-friendly mashed potatoes get their texture from butter, milk, and a touch of sour cream. If you're looking to try something just a little different, replace a few potatoes with celeriac (also known as celery root). Most kids love the sweet flavor, and celeriac is full of vitamins.

View Recipe: Classic Mashed Potatoes

Brown Rice with Sesame

Photo: Levi Brown

Brown Rice with Sesame

Lime adds a pleasant splash of tartness to this quick side dish of brown rice.

View Recipe: Brown Rice with Sesame

Lemon-Herb Potato Salad

Photo: John Autry

Lemon-Herb Potato Salad

Made with peppery arugula, kalamata olives, fresh herbs, and lemon, this potato salad will stand out among the other side dishes at your next gathering.

View Recipe: Lemon-Herb Potato Salad

Quinoa with Toasted Pine Nuts

Photo: Johnny Autry

Quinoa with Toasted Pine Nuts

The perfect side-dish companion to a variety of meat-based main dishes, including fish, chicken, and steak, this quinoa recipe is simple and delicious.

View Recipe: Quinoa with Toasted Pine Nuts

Fresh Corn Salad

Photo: Randy Mayor

Fresh Corn Salad

Fresh, sweet summer corn requires no cooking, which makes this corn salad a particularly appealing warm-weather side dish for grilled fish, poultry, or meat.

View Recipe: Fresh Corn Salad

Microwave Sweet Potato Chips

Photo: Romulo Yanes

Microwave Sweet Potato Chips

You won't want to miss these sweet potato chips. You'll need a mandoline to slice the potato thin enough to crisp. The results are delicious and easy, sans the hassle of the oven.

View Recipe: Microwave Sweet Potato Chips

Smoked Potato Salad

Photo: Charles Masters

Smoked Potato Salad

The mesquite wood chips bring a strong smoky flavor to the potatoes, but the vinaigrette balances it out, especially when the kalamata olives are added to the mixture. To bring more heat to the potato salad, you can add cayenne or red chili flakes.

View Recipe: Smoked Potato Salad

Quinoa, Corn, and Tomato Salad with Chive-Infused Oil

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Quinoa, Corn, and Tomato Salad with Chive-Infused Oil

Brightly colored flavored oil coats the quinoa grains and lends the salad fresh chive flavor. Refrigerate leftover oil to use as a dressing to drizzle over grilled fish or summer vegetables. Garnish with whole fresh chives, if desired.

View Recipe: Quinoa, Corn, and Tomato Salad with Chive-Infused Oil

Rosemary Potatoes

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Rosemary Potatoes

These rosemary potatoes taste as if they were roasted in the oven–but take only half the time making them a versatile and easy side dish.

View Recipe: Rosemary Potatoes

Creamy Potato Salad

Photo: John Autry

Creamy Potato Salad

Light mayonnaise and nonfat Greek yogurt add creaminess without excess fat to this fingerling potato salad.

View Recipe: Creamy Potato Salad

Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges

These peppery-sweet potatoes are delicious with roasted meats. Cooking them at a high heat makes their interior tender just as the sugar-and-spice coating begins to caramelize and brown the outside.

View Recipe: Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges

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.

View Recipe: Wild Rice and Carrots

Lemon-Arugula Potato Salad

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Lemon-Arugula Potato Salad

If you want to make this potato salad ahead, prepare the recipe through step two. Once the potato mixture is completely cooled, cover and refrigerate. Toss with fresh arugula just before serving so the greens don't wilt or get bruised.

View Recipe: Lemon-Arugula Potato Salad

Roasted Rosemary Fingerling Potatoes

Photo: Charles Masters

Roasted Rosemary Fingerling Potatoes

These roasted fingerling potatoes are perfect for a weeknight meal with company: quick and convenient, but still dressy. Bake the potatoes in their jackets so the outsides get nice and browned while the buttery interiors gently cook through.

View Recipe: Roasted Rosemary Fingerling Potatoes

Garlic-Lime Grilled Corn

Photo: Randy Mayor

Garlic-Lime Grilled Corn

A garlic and lime sauce adds delicious flavor to grilled corn, making for a perfect barbecue side.

View Recipe: Garlic-Lime Grilled Corn

Grilled Zucchini Bulgur Pilaf

Photo: Iain Bagwell

Grilled Zucchini Bulgur Pilaf

This quick and easy dish makes good use of summer's bumper zucchini crop.

View Recipe: Grilled Zucchini Bulgur Pilaf

Tabbouleh-Style Bulgur

Photo: Iain Bagwell

Tabbouleh-Style Bulgur

Bulgur provides an excellent base for the vibrant colors and crisp flavors of the tomatoes and cucumbers.

View Recipe: Tabbouleh-Style Bulgur

Bell Pepper and Corn Sauté

Photo: Jason Wallis

Bell Pepper and Corn Sauté

Want to add a bit of heat to dinner? Substitute 1 tablespoon of mined jalapeño for the bell pepper.

View Recipe: Bell Pepper and Corn Sauté

Roasted Potato Wedges

Photo: Jason Wallis

Roasted Potato Wedges

Cut the potato wedges roughly the same size to ensure even roasting.

View Recipe: Roasted Potato Wedges

Easy, Cheesy Potato Gratin

Photo: Johnny Miller

Easy, Cheesy Potato Gratin

Refrigerated presliced potatoes slash tons of prep and cook time. The combo of Gruyère and Parm-Regg cheeses is delicious, but you can use all one type if you prefer.

View Photo: Easy, Cheesy Potato Gratin

Sweet Potato Wedges

Photo: Brian Woodcock

Sweet Potato Wedges

Your kids will adore the flavors of these homemade sweet potato steak fries, and you'll love how simple they are to prepare!

View Photo: Sweet Potato Wedges

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

Mint and Pistachio Tabbouleh

Photo: Jason Wallis

Mint and Pistachio Tabbouleh

If you don't want to use pistachios, sub in almonds instead.

View Recipe: Mint and Pistachio Tabbouleh

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

Brown Rice Pilaf with Pecans

Photo: Jason Wallis; Styling: Cindy Barr 

Brown Rice Pilaf with Pecans

Toasted pecans bring a nutty and sweet crunch to this rice pilaf.

View Recipe: Brown Rice Pilaf with Pecans

 

Creamed Corn

Photo: Jason Wallis; Styling: Missie Neville Crawford 

Creamed Corn

To get the creamy consistency of the corn without the unnecessary calories, we added flour to thicken up the milk.

View Recipe: Creamed Corn

Balsamic and Grape Quinoa

Photo: Jason Wallis

Balsamic and Grape Quinoa

The sweetness of red grapes tones the acidity of white balsamic vinegar to create a balanced side.

View Recipe: Balsamic and Grape Quinoa

Nutty Almond-Sesame Red Quinoa

Photo: Jason Wallis

Nutty Almond-Sesame Red Quinoa

Sliced, toasted almonds balance the thinly sliced green onions in this beautiful red quinoa. If you can’t find red quinoa, regular works just as well. 

View Recipe: Nutty Almond-Sesame Red Quinoa

Lemon-Snap Pea Quinoa

Photo: Jason Wallis

Lemon-Snap Pea Quinoa

To know when the quinoa is done, look to see if the liquid is absorbed and tiny curly tails are emerging from the seeds.

View Recipe: Lemon-Snap Pea Quinoa

Greek Orzo Salad

Photo: Jason Wallis

Greek Orzo Salad

We used briny, meaty Castelvetrano olives for a flavor boost in our Greek Orzo Salad. They are lower in sodium and available at the olive bar in your grocery store.

View Recipe: Greek Orzo Salad

Smashed Yukon Gold Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Sage

Photo: Randy Mayor

Smashed Yukon Gold Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Sage

Gorgonzola cheese makes these smashed Yukon potatoes a cheesy treat to complete your meal. For a milder flavor swap, use goat cheese or feta cheese instead. 

View Recipe: Smashed Yukon Gold Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Sage  

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