MyPlate-Inspired Vegetable Sides

Enjoy our favorite MyPlate-inspired vegetable sides–the perfect accompaniment to a light and healthy main dish.

Nutritious Vegetable Side Dish Recipes

Photo: Randy Mayor

Nutritious Vegetable Side Dish Recipes

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/.

Vegetables provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body and should be consumed on a daily basis. MyPlate recommends buying fresh vegetables that are in season and choosing vegetables that are easy to prepare. To keep meals interesting, vary your veggie choices, and try crunchy vegetables, raw or lightly steamed.

First up are our Aromatic Slow-Roasted Tomatoes. Slow roasting is one of the best uses for winter tomatoes because it intensifies their sweetness.

View Recipe: Aromatic Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

Moroccan-Spiced Baby Carrots

Photo: John Autry

Moroccan-Spiced Baby Carrots

Warm spices like cumin and cinnamon play deliciously off the sweetness of the carrots.

View Recipe: Moroccan-Spiced Baby Carrots

Dijon, Thyme, and Pine Nut Broccoli

Photo: John Autry

Dijon, Thyme, and Pine Nut Broccoli

Tangy dijon mustard, fresh thyme, pine nuts and lemon transform boring broccoli in this recipe that will satisfy even picky eaters.

View Recipe: Dijon, Thyme, and Pine Nut Broccoli

Celery Root-Arugula Salad

Photo: Kang Kim

Celery Root-Arugula Salad

It's a good idea to take a sharp knife to the gnarly celery root (also called celeriac), and cut it as finely as possible. If you have a mandoline, use it to make quick, even matchstick pieces. Although all celery root will be misshapen and scruffy looking, don't buy roots that are shriveled or that give to the touch.

View Recipe: Celery Root-Arugula Salad

Multibean Salad

Photo: Randy Mayor

Multibean Salad

This is an updated take on a traditional three-bean salad. Soybeans are rich in potassium, and matched with other good vegetable sources, this is a side dish that can add 430 milligrams of the mineral to your next meal.

View Recipe: Multibean Salad

Smoky Haricots Verts and Mushrooms

Photo: John Autry

Smoky Haricots Verts and Mushrooms

Haricots verts are slender green beans; look for them trimmed and ready to cook in microwave-safe bags. If you can't find them, use regular green beans and cook a few minutes longer.

View Recipe: Smoky Haricots Verts and Mushrooms

Quinoa Salad with Artichokes and Parsley

Photo: Nina Choi

Quinoa Salad with Artichokes and Parsley

Grain salads make great side dishes. This quinoa salad with artichoke hearts, fresh thyme and parsley, and lemon zest is elegant enough for company, yet quick enough for weeknight dinners.

View Recipe: Quinoa Salad with Artichokes and Parsley

Snap Pea and Radish Sauté

Photo: John Autry

Snap Pea and Radish Sauté

Cutting half of the peas in half gives the dish a lovely look, but you can skip that step and leave them all whole, if you like.

View Recipe: Snap Pea and Radish Sauté

Garlic-Roasted Kale

Photo: Jonny Valiant

Garlic-Roasted Kale

Roasting kale is amazing—the leaves turn from a dusty dark green to dark emerald with brown-tinged curly edges that crunch. This vegetable side is delicious served hot from the oven; the leaves lose their crisp texture as the dish stands.

View Recipe: Garlic-Roasted Kale

Grilled Vegetables with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Grilled Vegetables with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Healthy antioxidant-rich vegetables get a flavorful punch when marinated in balsamic vinaigrette and grilled.

View Recipe: Grilled Vegetables with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Arugula and Mushroom Salad

Photo: Iain Bagwell

Arugula and Mushroom Salad

A lemon vinaigrette lightly coats arugula and mushrooms for an unbeatable combination. Make this side salad to complement your favorite pizza.

View Recipe: Arugula and Mushroom Salad

Spicy Pickled Okra

Photo: Iain Bagwell

Spicy Pickled Okra

It's easier than you think to pickle your own okra, and pickling is a great way to make use of an abundant garden harvest. Serve these spicy and crunchy pods as a side dish or part of a relish tray.

View Recipe: Spicy Pickled Okra

Grilled Zucchini with Sea Salt

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.

View Recipe: Grilled Zucchini with Sea Salt

Artichoke and Pea Sauté

Photo: Brian Woodcock

Artichoke and Pea Sauté

Get a jump on the season with reliable freezer staples—artichokes and english peas—and turn out a supersimple, delicious, spring-inspired dish.

View Recipe: Artichoke and Pea Sauté

Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and Golden Raisins

Photo: John Autry

Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and Golden Raisins

Sweet golden raisins and nutty roasted garlic pair beautifully with broccoli rabe.

View Recipe: Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and Golden Raisins

Spicy Squash Pickles

Photo: Romulo Yanes

Spicy Squash Pickles

These summer squashes offer meatier flavor and texture than traditional cucumber pickles.

View Recipe: Spicy Squash Pickles

Jalapeño-Lime Slaw

Photo: Quentin Bacon

Jalapeño-Lime Slaw

This citrusy take on coleslaw is fresh and pleasantly spicy, making it an ideal side dish or burger or brat topping. Leave the seeds in more peppers for added fire, or seed all of them for a milder dish.

View Recipe: Jalapeño-Lime Slaw

Quick Pickled Dilly Green Beans

Photo: Romulo Yanes

Quick Pickled Dilly Green Beans

A fresh alternative to pickled cukes, these crisp, crunchy treats make a zesty summer snack or condiment in a sandwich or salad. These picked green beans are easy to prepare and will keep up to a week in the refrigerator.

View Recipe: Quick Pickled Dilly Green Beans

Steamed Sugar Snap Peas

Photo: Romulo Yanes

Steamed Sugar Snap Peas

With fresh herbs, butter, and a little salt and pepper, these steamed sugar snap peas turn into a sensational side dish in under 12 minutes.

View Recipe: Steamed Sugar Snap Peas

Sesame-Miso Cucumber Salad

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

Israeli Carrots

Photo: Nina Choi

Israeli Carrots

The vivid garlic-and-herb vinaigrette contrasts with the sweet carrots.

View Recipe: Israeli Carrots

Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes

Photo: Joseph De Leo

Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes

This asparagus recipe is a quick and easy side dish for a weekday night.

View Recipe: Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes

Braised Kale

Photo: José Picayo

Braised Kale

To streamline prep, look for bags of prewashed, prechopped kale.

View Recipe: Braised Kale

Roasted Summer Squashes with Caper Gremolata

Photo: Gentl and Hyers

Roasted Summer Squashes with Caper Gremolata

A traditional gremolata (garnish) features lemon rind, garlic, and parsley. We include briny capers in the mix to add excitement to this side.

View Recipe: Roasted Summer Squashes with Caper Gremolata

Mixed Bean-Cherry Tomato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Mixed Bean-Cherry Tomato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

A bright assemblage of flavors, textures, and colors, this salad can be made early in the day and refrigerated until ready to serve.

View Recipe: Mixed Bean-Cherry Tomato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

Garlic and Red Pepper Asparagus

Photo: John Autry

Garlic and Red Pepper Asparagus

This flavorful vegetable dish is easy to make and tastes great with roasted or grilled meat entrées. 

View Recipe: Garlic and Red Pepper Asparagus

Arugula-Tomato Salad

Photo: John Autry

Arugula-Tomato Salad

Less is more. This simple salad comes together quickly and highlights the fresh flavors of seasonal produce.

View Recipe: Arugula-Tomato Salad

Grilled Eggplant with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Photo: Johnny Miller

Grilled Eggplant with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

If you're working on a charcoal grill set up for indirect heat, mound the coals to one side of the grill.

View Recipe: Grilled Eggplant with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Roasted Beets with Jalapeño Cream

Photo: Johnny Miller

Roasted Beets with Jalapeño Cream

A creamy jalapeño dressing livens up earthy roasted beets. Seed the pepper for less heat.

View Recipe: Roasted Beets with Jalapeño Cream

Cucumber Salad

Photo: Johnny Miller

Cucumber Salad

Ready in just 10 minutes, this simple side salad is the perfect addition to a variety of meat-based main dishes.

View Recipe: Cucumber Salad

Cucumber-Peanut Salad

Photo: Randy Mayor

Cucumber-Peanut Salad

With just 52 calories per serving, this fresh and delicious side dish is perfect alongside burgers, chicken, or any summertime meal.

View Recipe: Cucumber-Peanut Salad

Mardi Gras Slaw

Photo: Iain Bagwell

Mardi Gras Slaw

The traditional colors of Fat Tuesday celebrations are purple, green, and yellow, and this vibrant slaw mimics that combo. Use a mandoline or very sharp knife to cut the cabbage, and you'll avoid the rather strong smell that often comes when you shred it.

View Recipe: Mardi Gras Slaw

Watermelon-Cucumber Salad

Photo: Squire Fox

Watermelon-Cucumber Salad

Basil adds a fresh kick to this summery fruit and veggie salad. Watermelon and cucumber are both fluid-rich and will aid in hydration.

View Recipe: Watermelon-Cucumber Salad

Almond Green Beans

Photo: Randy Mayor

Almond Green Beans

If you're looking for a fresh, fast side dish that requires only a few ingredients, look no further!

View Recipe: Almond Green Beans

Marinated English Cucumber and Onions

Photo: Iain Bagwell

Marinated English Cucumber and Onions

If marinating overnight, slice the cucumber a bit thicker so it retains some crunch.

View Recipe: Marinated English Cucumber and Onions

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

Apricot, Cucumber, Pluot, and Lime Basil Salad

Photo: John Autry

Apricot, Cucumber, Pluot, and Lime Basil Salad

If you don't have lime basil, substitute any fresh basil plus 1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind. Plums will also work in place of pluots.

View Recipe: Apricot, Cucumber, Pluot, and Lime Basil Salad

Greek Salad Cucumbers

Photo: Iain Bagwell

Greek Salad Cucumbers

The vinegar is quite pumped-up because there's not much time for the cukes to pick up much flavor otherwise. Serve with grilled steak or chicken or beef kebabs.

View Recipe: Greek Salad Cucumbers

Sautéed Snap Peas with Ricotta Salata and Mint

Photo: Iain Bagwell

Sautéed Snap Peas with Ricotta Salata and Mint

Floral lemon zest (but no tart juice) allows the sweet pea flavor to shine. Chop mint, grate lemon rind, and crumble cheese while the peas cook. Serve with panini or other sandwiches, grilled chicken, or pork chops.

View Recipe: Sautéed Snap Peas with Ricotta Salata and Mint

Roasted Broccoli and Red Bell Pepper

Photo: Brian Woodcock

Roasted Broccoli and Red Bell Pepper

This veggie-licious dish is a cinch to make and pairs perfectly with many favorite dishes.

View Recipe: Roasted Broccoli and Red Bell Pepper

Wilted Kale with Bacon and Vinegar

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Wilted Kale with Bacon and Vinegar

Lacinato kale is also called Tuscan, dinosaur, or black kale. You can also use regular curly kale.

View Recipe: Wilted Kale with Bacon and Vinegar

Wilted Kale with Coconut, Ginger, and Lime

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Wilted Kale with Coconut, Ginger, and Lime

This sweet and nutty dish is ready to go in just 10 minutes.

View Recipe: Wilted Kale with Coconut, Ginger, and Lime

Wilted Kale with Golden Shallots

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Wilted Kale with Golden Shallots

Make sure to stir the shallots frequently for even cooking.

View Recipe: Wilted Kale with Golden Shallots

Roasted Red Onions and Delicata Squash

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Roasted Red Onions and Delicata Squash

Thin-skinned delicata squash has an edible peel, helping this side come together quickly.

View Recipe: Roasted Red Onions and Delicata Squash

Sautéed Lemony Broccolini

Photo: Jason Wallis

Sautéed Lemony Broccolini

Regular broccoli works just as well as broccolini for this simple side dish.

View Recipe: Sautéed Lemony Broccolini

Slow-Roasted Grape Tomatoes

Photo: Raymond Hom

Slow-Roasted Grape Tomatoes

Though we adore the recipe these are based on (David Bonom's Aromatic Slow-Roasted Tomatoes from December 2009), we wanted a faster update. So in place of plum tomatoes went little grape tomatoes, which roast to concentrated sweetness in less than half the time. Serve as they are for a side dish, on crostini with ricotta for an appetizer, or tossed with pasta and oil for a main dish.

View Recipe: Slow-Roasted Grape Tomatoes

Garlic-Roasted Broccoli

Photo: Brian Woodcock

Garlic-Roasted Broccoli

Fresh garlic amps up the flavor of a classic vegetable side dish.

View Photo: Garlic-Roasted Broccoli

Snap Pea Sauté

Photo: Brian Woodcock

Snap Pea Sauté

Once your pan is hot, this simple side takes less than 5 minutes to cook.

View Photo: Snap Pea Sauté

Roasted Broccoli with Garlic and Anchovy

Photo: Brian Woodcock

Roasted Broccoli with Garlic and Anchovy

Broccoli retains all of its flavor and even gains deliciously crisp bits when roasted.

View Photo: Roasted Broccoli with Garlic and Anchovy

Snap Pea and Bell Pepper Sauté

Photo: Jason Wallis

Snap Pea and Bell Pepper Sauté

You can easily sub in green beans or haricots verts for the snap peas.

View Recipe: Snap Pea and Bell Pepper Sauté

Fresh Orange Salad

Photo: Jason Wallis; Styling: Missie Neville Crawford 

Fresh Orange Salad

Pair this citrus salad featuring oranges, red onions, and a Dijon mustard vinaigrette with any main coarse to brighten and balance your meal.

View Recipe: Fresh Orange Salad

Spinach and Parmesan Salad

Photo: Jason Wallis; Styling: Cindy Barr 

Spinach and Parmesan Salad

A combination of lemon juice, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, and a dash of fresh ground pepper give this spinach salad a kick.

View Recipe: Spinach and Parmesan Salad

Bacon Green Beans

Photo: Jason Wallis; Styling: Cindy Barr 

Bacon Green Beans

To get the desired flavor, cook center-cut bacon slices on a large skillet over medium high-heat then crumble and cover your finished green beans with the cooked bacon to complete your side.

View Recipe: Bacon Green Beans

Baked Pickle Chips

Photo: Jason Wallis; Styling: Missie Neville Crawford 

Baked Pickle Chips

We lightened up this favored side dish starting with an ingredient swap using low-sodium pickles and egg whites. We then baked the chips instead of frying, cutting 300mg sodium and 120 calories.

View Recipe: Baked Pickle Chips

 

Browned Butter Peas and Carrots

Photo: Jason Wallis; Styling: Missie Neville Crawford 

Browned Butter Peas and Carrots

Ready in just five minutes, these snap peas and carrots are a perfect punch of fiber to add to any meal.

View Recipe: Browned Butter Peas and Carrots

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

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

Sautéed Broccoli Rabe

Photo: Jason Wallis; Styling: Missie Neville Crawford 

Sautéed Broccoli Rabe

Packed with potassium, iron, and calcium, fiber as well as vitamins A, C, and K, broccoli rabe is one of the most nutritious leafy greens to add to your diet.

View Recipe: Sautéed Broccoli Rabe

Stewed Collards

Photo: Jason Wallis; Styling: Missie Neville Crawford 

Stewed Collards

Our stewed greens contain no bacon fat (or even oil)— just tender greens in a small amount of unsalted chicken stock for a healthy side.

View Recipe: Stewed Collards

Stir-Fried Vegetables

Photo: Jason Wallis; Styling: Missie Neville Crawford 

Stir-Fried Vegetables

Sesame oil, minced ginger, and garlic make these stir-fried vegetables burst with flavor and an excellent side dish to fish curries.

View Recipe: Stir-Fried Vegetables

Sesame-Carrot Salad

Photo: Stephen Devries

Sesame-Carrot Salad

We love the combination of Asian flavors in this quick and simple side salad.

View Recipe: Sesame-Carrot Salad  

Skillet-Blistered Green Beans

Photo: Stephen Devries

Skillet-Blistered Green Beans

Just a dash of red pepper, drop of white wine, and sprinkle of salt give a quick boost of flavor to these skillet-blistered green beans.

View Recipe: Skillet-Blistered Green Beans  

Warm Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad

Photo: Stephen Devries

Warm Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad

Serve this Mexican-themed salad on any taco night for a healthy side, and save the leftovers for a quick and easy lunch the next day.

View Recipe: Warm Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad

Garlic Broccolini

Photo: Stephen Devries

Garlic Broccolini

The sweet taste and tender texture of broccolini makes this green a fast side that needs little to create big flavor.

View Recipe: Garlic Broccolini  

Asparagus with Red Pepper and Manchego

Photo: Randy Mayor

Asparagus with Red Pepper and Manchego

Sautéed asparagus and red peppers, sprinkled with paprika and shaved manchego cheese, create a delicious side in just a few quick steps.

View Recipe: Asparagus with Red Pepper and Manchego  

Asparagus with Chanterelles and Hazelnuts

Photo: Randy Mayor

Asparagus with Chanterelles and Hazelnuts

Start with a pound of trimmed asparagus; top with sautéed chanterelle mushrooms, toasted hazelnuts, and freshly chopped thyme. If you can’t find chanterelle mushrooms, substitute white mushrooms instead.

View Recipe: Asparagus with Chanterelles and Hazelnuts  

Wilted Spinach

Photo: Stephen Devries

Wilted Spinach

Spinach cooked in unsalted chicken stock rather than oil creates a deeper flavor with fewer calories.

View Recipe: Wilted Spinach  

Refrigerator Scallion Pickles

Photo: Stephen Devries

Refrigerator Scallion Pickles

These delicious pickles make great stirrers for Bloody Marys, add bright flavor to a crudité platter, or become a tangy garnish for fish or grilled meats.

View Recipe: Refrigerator Scallion Pickles

Radish Salad with Avocado Dressing

Photo: Brian Woodcock

Radish Salad with Avocado Dressing

If you like guacamole, you’ll love our avocado dressing. The fresh flavors of cilantro, avocado, hot sauce, and lime juice are blended together to deliver a creamy, Mexican-inspired dressing.

View Recipe: Radish Salad with Avocado Dressing

Radish Salad with Buttermilk-Herb Dressing

Photo: Brian Woodcock

Radish Salad with Buttermilk-Herb Dressing

A play on ranch, this buttermilk-herb dressing yields fresh, classic flavor for a light salad dressing. Radishes, sugar snap peas, and toasted sliced almonds bring a delightful crunch to a simple bed of greens.

View Recipe: Radish Salad with Buttermilk-Herb Dressing

Radish Salad with Sesame-Honey Vinaigrette

Photo: Brian Woodcock

Radish Salad with Sesame-Honey Vinaigrette

You’ll love this spring salad with an Asian flair. Featuring radishes and cashews, this side salad delivers balanced flavors with a delicious crunch. 

View Recipe: Radish Salad with Sesame-Honey Vinaigrette

Radish Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Photo: Brian Woodcock

Radish Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Fresh radishes add peppery heat and crunch, while a splash of orange juice lends a refreshing, citrus zing in this spring salad.

View Recipe: Radish Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Shaved Cucumber and Red Onion Salad

Photo: Jason Wallis

Shaved Cucumber and Red Onion Salad

Vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar make a bright and balanced vinaigrette for this refreshing side salad. 

View Recipe: Shaved Cucumber and Red Onion Salad

Pan-Charred Asparagus

Photo: Randy Mayor

Pan-Charred Asparagus

Toasted walnuts give a delightful, nutty crunch to this pan-charred green. For a flavor swap, try parsley instead of tarragon.

View Recipe: Pan-Charred Asparagus

Pan-Charred Green Beans with Tarragon

Photo: Randy Mayor

Pan-Charred Green Beans with Tarragon

This will become your new favorite way to do green beans. We love the light anise flavor of tarragon, but you could use parsley, chives, or thyme as well.

View Recipe: Pan-Charred Green Beans with Tarragon

Sesame Broccolini

Photo: Jason Wallis

Sesame Broccolini

This side of Broccolini gets a double hit of sesame flavor from the seeds and oil. Only a couple minutes, and this delicious side is ready, making it a quick and easy green to whip up while your main course is cooking.

View Recipe: Sesame Broccolini

Arugula Salad with Parmesan Vinaigrette

Photo: Jason Wallis

Arugula Salad with Parmesan Vinaigrette

The milder tasting green onion pairs perfectly with the sweet anise taste of fennel. 

View Recipe: Arugula Salad with Parmesan Vinaigrette  

Corn with Chile-Cheese Mayo

Photo: Randy Mayor

Corn with Chile-Cheese Mayo

Give your average corn on the cob a flavorful kick with fresh cilantro, grated Parmesan cheese, and a touch of chili powder.

View Recipe: Corn with Chile-Cheese Mayo

Toasty Tomatoes

Photo: Randy Mayor

Toasty Tomatoes

These Toasty Tomatoes are broiled with a panko-parmesan mixture sprinkled on top for a warm, flavorful, staff-favorite side that’s ready in less than five minutes.

View Recipe: Toasty Tomatoes  

Wilted Kale with Toasted Shallots

Photo: Randy Mayor

Wilted Kale with Toasted Shallots

Eating healthy doesn't have to take long. This nutritious side is simple, easy, and ready in just a few short minutes.

View Recipe: Wilted Kale with Toasted Shallots   

Zucchini Ribbons with Lemon and Pecorino

Photo: Randy Mayor

Zucchini Ribbons with Lemon and Pecorino

Just a squeeze of lemon, dash of salt and pepper, and sprinkle of shaved Romano cheese is all you need to dress up this light and refreshing side of zucchini ribbons.

View Recipe: Zucchini Ribbons with Lemon and Pecorino  

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