Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or just cooking for yourself, a great main dish often needs the perfect side to complete the meal. Think of it like a supporting actor that makes the main star shine even brighter. From crispy to creamy, tangy to sweet, our list covers a variety of 35 side dishes that cater to different tastes and occasions.
1. Garlic Roasted Asparagus
A Classic Veggie Favorite
You can’t go wrong with garlic roasted asparagus. This side dish is both savory and flavorful, making it a perfect companion for various main courses. The roasted garlic enhances the natural flavors of the asparagus, giving you a delightful gastronomic experience.
Quick and Effortless
In a matter of minutes, you can prepare and roast this dish, making it an excellent choice for those last-minute meal preparations. Plus, the minimalist ingredients list ensures you likely have everything you need on hand.
Perfect for Every Occasion
Whether you’re hosting a fancy dinner party or having a simple family meal, this side dish fits the bill. Its elegant presentation combined with its rich flavors can impress any guest or satisfy any palate.
2. Creamy Mashed Potatoes
The Ultimate Comfort Food
Mashed potatoes have always been a staple at many dinner tables. Creamy, buttery, and delicious, they offer a comforting taste and texture that many people adore. Paired with a hint of garlic or some fresh herbs, and you’ve elevated this dish to gourmet levels.
A Dish Loved by All
Kids and adults alike find mashed potatoes irresistible. It’s versatile enough to serve with steaks, chicken, or even fish, ensuring everyone’s plates are cleaned.
Depending on your preference, you can make these potatoes as creamy or as chunky as you like. Don’t be afraid to add your twist with cheese, bacon bits, or chives.
3. Honey Glazed Carrots
Sweet and Savory Delight
Honey glazed carrots strike a balance between sweetness and the earthy flavors of the carrots. The honey caramelizes when cooked, giving the carrots a delightful glaze and a boost of flavor.
Carrots are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, and by adding honey, you not only enhance their flavor but also their nutritional value. A dish that’s both delicious and good for you!
Versatility at Its Best
Serve these alongside any meat dish, or even with vegetarian or vegan mains. Their vibrant color adds a pop to any plate, ensuring a feast for the eyes and the palate.
4. Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
Elevate Your Greens
Give broccoli a gourmet touch with some grated Parmesan. The cheese melts and crisps up during roasting, offering a delightful texture and flavor contrast to the broccoli’s green earthiness.
Quick and Easy Preparation
This dish is as straightforward as it gets. With a few simple ingredients and a hot oven, you’ll have a side that’s sure to impress in no time.
Perfect for Cheese Lovers
If you’re a cheese aficionado, this side dish will quickly become one of your go-tos. Feel free to add more cheese varieties to suit your taste!
5. Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
A Flavorful Combination
Brussels sprouts and bacon is a match made in heaven. The savory bacon complements the slightly bitter taste of the Brussels sprouts, making it an instant favorite for many.
A Modern Twist on a Classic
Brussels sprouts have been a traditional side for decades, but adding bacon gives them a modern and tasty twist. This dish is both familiar and exciting.
Great for Festive Seasons
This side dish is especially popular during the holiday season, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying it year-round. It pairs beautifully with a variety of meats and other sides.
6. Cilantro Lime Rice
Zesty and Refreshing
This rice dish is infused with the bright flavors of cilantro and lime. It’s not just a side dish, but a taste experience, bringing a burst of freshness to any meal.
Complements Various Mains
The light and zesty flavors of this rice pair beautifully with grilled meats, fish, and even vegetarian dishes. It’s especially great with Mexican or Tex-Mex entrees.
Quick and Easy to Prepare
A simple dish that requires only a few ingredients and can be whipped up in no time, making it perfect for weeknight dinners.
7. Classic Caesar Salad
A Timeless Choice
The Caesar salad, with its creamy dressing, crunchy croutons, and crisp romaine lettuce, is a favorite for many. It’s a classic that never goes out of style.
Pairs With Everything
Whether it’s grilled chicken, steak, or seafood, a Caesar salad is versatile and complements almost any main dish.
Make it Your Own
Customize your Caesar by adding grilled chicken, bacon, or even anchovies to enhance its flavor profile.
8. Garlic Knots
A Savory Treat
Soft, buttery, and loaded with garlic flavor, garlic knots are the perfect accompaniment to many dishes, especially Italian meals.
Perfect for Sharing
These little bread treats are great for communal dining. Place them in the center of the table and watch them disappear in no time.
Versatile in Flavor
While garlic is the primary flavor, you can sprinkle these knots with cheese, herbs, or seeds to add an extra layer of deliciousness.
9. Creamed Spinach
Lush and Savory
Transform simple spinach into a creamy, luxurious side dish that’s rich in flavor and velvety in texture.
Pairs Beautifully with Meat
This dish is a favorite alongside steaks or roast chicken, offering a balance of flavors and a contrast in textures.
Even with its creamy texture, this dish is packed with the goodness of spinach, ensuring you get your dose of essential nutrients.
10. Roasted Beet Salad
Colorful and Nutritious
This salad doesn’t just look beautiful; it’s also loaded with essential nutrients. Roasted beets offer a sweet and earthy flavor, making it a unique side dish.
While beets are the star, you can top this salad with goat cheese, walnuts, or even citrus segments to enhance its taste and texture.
A Salad for All Seasons
Whether it’s summer or winter, this salad can be adjusted with seasonal ingredients to keep it fresh and relevant all year round.
There’s nothing like the comfort of freshly baked cornbread. Its slightly sweet taste and crumbly texture make it a favorite.
Perfect for Soups and Stews
This side is ideal for dunking into rich soups and stews, ensuring you savor every last drop.
Add Your Flavor Touch
Mix in jalapenos, cheese, or herbs to create different flavors of cornbread that will excite your palate.
12. Sweet Potato Fries
A Healthier Indulgence
Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, sweet potato fries are a delightful side dish that offers a healthier twist to traditional fries.
Perfect for Dipping
Serve these with a variety of dips, from classic ketchup to aioli or even a spicy mayo. Each dip can offer a different taste experience.
Season as You Like
Whether you like them spicy, herbed, or just salted, you can season these fries to fit your taste buds.
13. Mashed Cauliflower
A Low-Carb Delight
Swap out traditional mashed potatoes for this creamy and delicious mashed cauliflower. It offers a lighter, yet equally satisfying, alternative.
Pairs with Various Mains
Its neutral flavor profile ensures it complements a wide range of dishes, from grilled meats to sautéed vegetables.
Enhance as You Wish
Add in cheese, herbs, or even roasted garlic to level up the flavor profile of this side dish.
14. Parmesan Truffle Fries
An Elevated Classic
Take regular fries up a notch by adding the decadent flavors of parmesan and truffle.
Ideal for Special Occasions
While perfect for any time, these fries feel particularly special and can elevate any dining experience.
Achieve the ideal crispiness by ensuring you fry them just right. Serve immediately to savor their perfection.
A Crunchy Delight
This classic side dish, made from shredded cabbage and carrots, is both refreshing and versatile.
Great for Picnics
Coleslaw is a favorite for outdoor gatherings and picnics, given its easy portability.
Make it Creamy or Tangy
Depending on your preference, you can make this dish creamy with mayo or tangy with vinegar.
16. Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Smooth and Flavorful
A delightful twist on classic hummus, the roasted red pepper variant offers a sweet and smoky flavor.
Dip or Spread
Use it as a dip for veggies and chips, or spread it on sandwiches and wraps.
Healthy and Nutritious
Packed with protein and fiber, it’s not just tasty but also good for you.
17. Quinoa Salad
Light and Nutrient-Dense
Quinoa salad is a protein-packed dish that’s both refreshing and satisfying.
Versatile Ingredient Mix
Add in veggies like bell peppers, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes. Or, for a fruity twist, mix in pomegranate seeds or mango chunks.
A Global Favorite
Adjust the dressing to give it a Mediterranean, Asian, or even Mexican twist.
18. Garlic Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
A Veggie Favorite
Turn broccoli into an irresistible side dish by roasting it with garlic and parmesan.
Crispy and Flavorful
Roasting ensures the broccoli gets crispy, while garlic and parmesan lend their rich flavors.
Quick and Easy
This side dish is straightforward to prepare, making it perfect for busy weeknights.
19. Sautéed Green Beans with Almonds
Crunchy and Nutty
Fresh green beans sautéed to perfection, topped with crunchy almonds, make for a delightful side.
Rich in Nutrients
Both green beans and almonds are packed with essential nutrients, making this dish a healthy choice.
Easy to Cook
This dish requires minimal ingredients and can be prepared in a short time, making it a go-to for many.
20. Stuffed Mushrooms
Savory and Delicious
Mushrooms stuffed with a mix of cheese, breadcrumbs, and herbs are a treat for the taste buds.
Depending on your preference, you can stuff these mushrooms with a variety of ingredients, from sausage to spinach.
Perfect for Gatherings
These bite-sized delights are ideal for parties and gatherings, serving as a tasty appetizer or side.
21. Zucchini Fritters
Crispy and Golden
Turn zucchini into crispy, golden fritters that are hard to resist.
A New Way to Enjoy Zucchini
This dish offers a unique way to enjoy zucchini, especially for those who might not be keen on the vegetable.
Serve with Dips
These fritters taste even better when served with dips like tzatziki or spicy mayo.
22. Tomato Mozzarella Salad
Fresh and Simple
This salad, often called a Caprese, is the epitome of simplicity and freshness.
Summer in a Dish
Best enjoyed during the summer months when tomatoes are at their peak.
Rich in Flavor
The combination of juicy tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, and a drizzle of olive oil is both refreshing and rich.
23. Creamy Polenta
Smooth and Buttery
Polenta is a comforting side dish, offering a creamy texture that’s both rich and satisfying.
Read also: 26 Traditional German Desserts
Pairs with Many Dishes
Serve it with grilled meats, stews, or even roasted vegetables.
Customize to Your Liking
Add in cheese, herbs, or spices to elevate its flavor profile further.
24. Herb Roasted Potatoes
Crispy and Flavorful
These potatoes, roasted with herbs, are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
A Universal Favorite
They’re a hit at any table and can complement a wide range of dishes.
Choose Your Herbs
Whether it’s rosemary, thyme, or parsley, choose herbs that you love to make this dish your own.
25. Cucumber Dill Salad
Cool and Refreshing
This salad is the perfect palate cleanser, offering a refreshing bite with every forkful.
Ideal for Summer
It’s especially great for warm summer days when you crave something light and fresh.
Easy to Whip Up
With just a few ingredients, this dish can be prepared in minutes, making it an ideal last-minute side.
26. Buttery Corn on the Cob
Enjoy the sweetness of summer corn with a generous spread of butter, making it irresistibly delicious.
Grill or Boil
Whether you choose to grill it for a smoky flavor or boil it for a classic taste, corn on the cob never disappoints.
Sprinkle with Flavor
Top with some salt, pepper, or even chili powder and lime for a zesty kick.
27. Sweet Potato Casserole
Comfort in a Dish
This casserole combines the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes with a delightful crunchy topping, usually made of pecans or marshmallows.
Often found on Thanksgiving tables, this dish can be enjoyed any time of the year.
The creamy inside contrasts perfectly with its crispy topping, providing a balanced mouthfeel with every bite.
28. Garlic Spinach Saute
Quick and Nutrient-Packed
Spinach sautéed in garlic is not only fast to prepare but also rich in essential nutrients.
It pairs well with nearly any main, from fish to poultry to beef.
Boost of Iron
Spinach is a great source of iron and vitamins, making this a healthy side option.
29. Lemon Herb Rice
Zesty and Fragrant
Give plain rice a twist by adding lemon zest and a mix of your favorite herbs.
This rice pairs beautifully with seafood, chicken, or any Mediterranean-inspired dish.
Fluffy and Flavorful
Ensure the rice is cooked to perfection for a fluffy texture that’s bursting with flavor.
30. Apple and Walnut Salad
Crunchy and Sweet
A refreshing salad that combines the crispness of apples with the crunch of walnuts.
Usually paired with a creamy dressing, like a blue cheese or honey mustard, to balance out the flavors.
Walnuts are packed with Omega-3s, and apples provide dietary fiber, making this a healthy side choice.
31. Roasted Beet Hummus
Colorful and Unique
This hummus variation is as delightful in taste as it is in appearance with its vibrant purple hue.
Earthy and Creamy
The earthy flavor of beets blends beautifully with the creamy texture of traditional hummus.
Perfect for Dipping
Serve with vegetable sticks, pita chips, or as a spread on wraps.
32. Baked Parmesan Zucchini Sticks
Crispy and Cheesy
Turn zucchini into a treat by coating them in parmesan and baking until they’re golden.
Great Alternative to Fries
These zucchini sticks are a healthier alternative to traditional fries, offering both nutrition and flavor.
Dip and Enjoy
Serve with marinara sauce or a creamy garlic dip for the ultimate experience.
33. Cauliflower Rice
A great substitute for traditional rice, cauliflower rice is both low in carbs and delicious.
Use it as a base for bowls, stir-fries, or even sushi rolls.
Quick to Prepare
With just a food processor and a skillet, this dish can be ready in minutes.
34. Classic Egg Salad
Creamy and Satisfying
A blend of hard-boiled eggs, mayo, and seasonings, this salad is a classic favorite.
Serve it on a bed of lettuce, in sandwiches, or as a dip.
Eggs provide a good amount of protein, making this salad both filling and nutritious.
A French Classic
This vegetable medley, simmered in a rich tomato sauce, is both hearty and flavorful.
Made with zucchini, eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes, it’s a nutrient-dense option.
Versatile Serving Options
Enjoy it as a main, side, or even over pasta or rice.
Exploring different side dishes not only adds variety to your meals but also elevates the entire dining experience. With these 35 options, you’re equipped with a plethora of choices to complement your main course, ensuring every meal feels complete and satisfying. Enjoy your culinary journey!