30+ Perfectly Paired Side Dishes for Ham
Lemon-Feta Green Beans
Searing lemons is one of our favorite tricks for upping the ante on any dish. The tart juice mellows out, providing the perfect balance for the briny capers and feta in this skillet side. If you have any leftovers, try adding halved cherry tomatoes and enjoying as a cold salad; some cooked chicken or shrimp would turn it into a lovely main dish.
Glazed Carrots Almondine
Traditional versions of glazed carrots can include up to 2/3 cup sugar. Our re-imagined version delivers all the classic flavor with just a tablespoon of honey and a dash brandy. If you’d like to keep this dish kid-friendly, substitute apple cider vinegar for the brandy. Be sure to stir frequently during the last few minutes of cooking to ensure maximum glazed goodness.
Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
Chef Jonathan Waxman taught Cooking Light Editor Hunter Lewis how to make this fall salad many years ago. Riff with the ingredients to find the flavor balance you prefer. With a zing of fresh citrus to cut through the acidity, this crunchy winter salad is the perfect light addition to your holiday spread.
Roasted Cabbage Wedges With Blue Cheese Breadcrumbs
This recipe offers a delicious change of pace from boiled or braised cabbage. Hefty wedges roast at moderately high heat until lightly caramelized on the outside and tender within. And they’re embellished with the most delicious, deeply flavorful crispy breadcrumbs. You’ll want to go with a bold blue cheese here—something like Roquefort or Maytag. And if you can find good rye bread, you'll notice the difference.
Arugula, Egg, and Charred Asparagus Salad
Just a hint of char on the asparagus adds fantastic complexity to this simple 5-ingredient spring salad. Look for medium stalks rather than pencil-thin ones—those would char and dry out too quickly. A soft-boiled egg adds protein and richness; let the slightly runny yolks mingle with the rest of the salad before enjoying. Whole-milk Greek yogurt has a lusciousness and milder tang than lower-fat yogurt. It's the perfect binder for the lemony dressing. Serve with a slice of multigrain bread spread with goat cheese and a dash of cracked black pepper.
Parmesan Carrots With Lemon-Parsley Dressing
Steaming and sautéing the carrots in the same pan is the time-saving trick to making them tender and beautifully glazed.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes With Chile-Paprika Butter
These potatoes are bright with garlic, and the chile butter adds a hint of spice. Leaving the skins on the Yukon Golds adds a slightly rustic texture. Aleppo is a flaky smoked chile pepper you’ll find at specialty stores; it’s a great spice to keep on hand, but you can omit it here if you don’t have it.
Savory Sweet Potato Mash
Get your daily dose of vitamin A with this nutritious side. In addition to providing you with 400% of your daily vitamin A requirement, you'll receive a boost of vitamin C and fiber. So grab your thyme, butter, milk, salt, and pepper, and start mashing.
Crunchy Greens with Radish
Letting the raw shallot stand with the salt and vinegar pickles it slightly and mellows the harshness. Long spears of romaine make for a dramatic presentation. Once it’s brought to the table, you can coarsely chop the lettuce for easier serving.
Sweet and Sour Cipollini Onions
First cultivated in Italy, cipollini are most often served there as agrodolce (the Italian word for "sweet and sour"), a condiment that pairs beautifully with cheese or roasted meat. Try our version of this vinegar and sugar–braised dish. It's ready in only 20 minutes and makes for a complex condiment that dresses up simple roast chicken or pork. To add a floral note, replace the brown sugar with clover honey. (And here's a quick tip on how to peel them more easily.)
Roasted Cauliflower With Red Onions and Oranges
Switch up your roasted cauliflower recipe game by adding a bit of citrus to the mix: Sweet orange is accented by savory red onion and a sprinkle of red pepper, for a simple dish that comes together in minutes.
Smoky Black-Eyed Peas
Peas, beans, and lentils symbolize money (many even look like little coins!). Black-eyed peas are traditional in the Southern US. Start with dried peas that have bean soaked overnight—they will become starchy and creamy with slow simmering, and absorb all the salty, meaty notes from the ham hock. Chop the meat and stir back into the cooked peas, then save the bone for stock or give to your (very lucky) pup.
Orzo and Herb Pilaf
If you'd like to sub whole-grain, unpearled farro for the orzo, reverse the cooking method: Simmer the farro until done, drain, then sauté for a couple minutes in the onion mixture before serving.
Sweet Potato-and-Mushroom Risotto
Southern Green Beans And Potatoes
Green beans, a holiday staple, are only improved with the addition of tender red and golden potatoes. Only peeling a single strip from the spuds makes for a great presentation and also helps them release more starch.
Buttered Beet and Carrot Sauté
If you love the sweet, earthy flavor of beets but think you don't have time to cook them on a weeknight, you'll appreciate this fast microwave method. Wrapping peeled beet wedges in parchment paper allows them to steam to tender perfection in less than half the time it would take to roast them.
Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad
Not your grandmother’s mayo-laden broccoli salad, this healthier take incorporates both broccoli and cauliflower for double the crucifer power. And instead of drowning in mayonnaise, we kept it lighter, and add some sweet tang with the addition of apple cider vinegar and Greek yogurt. Definitely let this sit so the flavors can marinate, but be sure to hold the bacon until right before you serve the salad so it doesn’t turn soggy.
Sautéed Green Beans with Miso Butter
Super savory miso elevates crisp beans beyond their humble goodness.
Asparagus With Avocado-Herb Dressing
Baby Carrots with Herb Dressing and Olives
Look for baby carrots with some of the green tops attached; reserve and chop for tossing with the steamed carrots. Carrots should be about the width of your thumb; halve larger ones so they cook evenly. Steaming is gentler than boiling and faster than roasting. And, because the carrots are less caramelized, the fresh herbs stand out more.
Beet, Farro, and Watercress Salad with Fig Vinaigrette
This salad is simply chock-full of all kinds of good stuff–sweet, tender beets; the crisp snap of zucchini; fennel's anise crunch; and chewy-tender farro. You can make it up to two days ahead; just leave out the watercress until shortly before serving.
Sweet Potato Stacks with Sage Browned Butter
A dose of salty, nutty Parmesan balances the flavor in these adorable, delicious stacks. Get the kids to help by having them stack the slices and cheese in muffin cups as you follow behind with the browned butter. Use small potatoes so the slices will fit into the muffin cups. Make sure to slice the potatoes on the thin side, about 1⁄4-inch thick, so they’ll cook through (insert a toothpick in the center of each stack to test for doneness). You can also alternate with slices of baking potato or parsnip for pretty white and orange layers.
Spring Beet and Pea Salad
Use your best olive oil to indulge both your veggies and your palate.
Maple-Roasted Root Vegetables
Maple syrup is the perfect addition to slightly bitter turnips, carrots, and beets, which become sweet and tender when roasted. The earthy sweetness helps char the outside, and results in a delicious (and fast!) weeknight side. Choose Grade B (or dark) maple syrup for richer flavor.
This spring carrot recipe is great for entertaining: Simply roast the carrots ahead of time and broil just before serving.
Snap Peas With Feta
Be sure to pat the snap peas thoroughly dry before tossing with the creamy yogurt-feta dressing so the dressing coats the peas instead of slipping off. Fresh mint gives this dish a decidedly Greek flavor, but dill would also taste great. The peas are a perfect side for grilled lamb chops or oregano-garlic seasoned chicken.
Roasted Parsnips with Lemon and Herbs
If you’re not familiar with parsnips, try these quick recipes to acquaint yourself with them. The root veggies look like white carrots and have a decidedly sweet, earthy flavor. Shop for medium to small parsnips, as larger ones tend to have tough, woody cores. In the main recipe here, a hit of fresh lemon juice and sprinkling of fresh herbs make the whole dish taste fresh and bright. If you don’t have parsley on hand, you can leave it out, but do seek out the dill.
Chermoula Smashed Potatoes With Pickled Onions
Tangy pickled onions balance crispy potatoes in this delicious spiced side dish, which would be a perfect complement to turkey or ham.
Fingerling Potato Salad With Mustard Vinaigrette
Little fingerling potatoes are fantastic in potato salads, in part because their skin-to-flesh ratio is much smaller than big potatoes, so there’s more interesting textural difference in every bite. Like with any potato salad, one key to success is dressing the potatoes while they’re still hot so they fully absorb flavorings.
Collard Greens Panzanella Salad With Hot Sauce Vinaigrette
Collard greens are wonderful in salads; just massage them first (as you would kale) to make them a little more tender. You can prep all of the components a day ahead, store separately, and then toss together shortly before serving.
Roasted Carrots, Radishes, and Chickpeas
This seasonal side pairs with pretty much any protein, but it’s especially good with roast chicken.
Green Beans with Mustard-Tarragon Sauce
Substitute fresh thyme or dill for the tarragon, if you prefer. To blanch haricots verts, cook them in boiling water 2 minutes, and immediately transfer to an ice bath to cool.
Creamy Potato Salad
Here's an extra-creamy potato salad you can feel good about eating at your next cookout or picnic. We slash the fat (but not the flavor) by making a creamy base with Greek yogurt and olive oil mayo. Fresh herbs and multicolored mini bell peppers lend color, while fresh lemon juice gives just the right amount of brightness.