easy, healthy side dishes

Running out of ideas for new side dishes? Check out these recipes and tweak them to your taste. Easy, healthy and delicious, these will freshen up any weeknight dinner.

Italian-style Vegetables
This is an easy use-up-what-you-have-in-the-fridge type of side dish. Swap out any of the veggies for what you have, but these are especially tasty together.

  • Zucchini, halved lenthwise and then sliced crosswise
  • Onion, sliced into 1-inch long strips
  • Mushrooms, quartered
  • Italian dressing (homemade is better)
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Toss the zucchini, onion and mushrooms together in a pan with a swirl of prepared Italian dressing so that all of the pieces are evenly coated. Turn the heat up to medium and saute until they are starting to brown and the zucchini and onion are soft.
  2. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Garlic and Sun-dried Tomato Corn Muffins (shown above)
  • 1 package corn-muffin mix, such as Jiffy
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • Cornmeal
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tin with nine papers. 
  2. In a large bowl combine the muffin mix, corn, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. Stir to combine. In a small bowl whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream and eggs until well blended. Add the buttermilk mixture to the muffin mix. Stir to combine.
  3. Spoon the mix into the muffin tins, filling up the cups about halfway. Dust with a sprinkle of cornmeal. Bake until golden brown on top, about 15 minutes.

Pan-grilled Corn
The next time you sear chicken in a pan, consider this yummy and flavorful corn side dish. When the chicken is done cooking, wrap it in foil and start the corn. The flavors can be easily modified to suit any style dish.

  • 4 c corn
  • 1 fresh chile, like serrano or jalapeno, diced (and seeded if you can't take the heat)
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1-2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar or the juice of one lime
  • 1/2 c chopped cilantro (or basil)
  •  Salt/pepper
  1. Add a little oil to the pan with the bits from the chicken still in it; set it over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the corn, chile and garlic; let it cook for a minute. As the corn browns, begin to turn it with a spatula. Do this until all the corn is browned on at least one side.
  2. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper, the water and stir in the vinegar or lime juice and the herbs. Serve immediately with the chicken.

Roasted Red Potatoes
There is nothing more satisying that a pile of crispy-on-the-edges and soft-in-the-middle red potatoes. Great for summery dinners and even better in the winter. Mix it up with whatever fresh herb you have, but I like rosemary and garlic – and dipping the quartered potatoes in ketchup when they're done.
  • Red potatoes – about 4 small to medium ones per person, quartered
  • 1 clove garlic per person
  • Handful of rosemary, coarsely chopped
  • Salt/pepper
  • Olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a shallow baking pan, toss the quartered potatoes with olive oil, garlic and rosemary. Season very generously with salt and pepper. (If you like it spicy, add a little cayenne pepper).
  2. Roast for ~45 minutes, until the edges are crispy and browned. Stir once or twice during the cooking process and adjust the salt and pepper before serving.

Roasted Asparagus
  • Asparagus, woody stems removed
  • Fresh-shaved parmesan
  • Salt/pepper
  • Olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle asparagus with olive oil in a jelly-roll pan. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Roast for 18 minutes. Remove from oven, stir around, and top with Parmesan. Roast for two more minutes. Taste, season if needed and serve.
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