I can't wait to see the responses you get because I am SO tired of mine. During the week I try to keep things simple and healthy so I make a lot of:
steamed broccoli (with butter)
roasted zucchini and summer squash
Napa coleslaw with cucumbers and red peppers and an Asian dressing
baked sweet potatoes (DH needs cinnamon and brown sugar on his)
cut up veggies with dip
boring boring boring
This is a yam or sweet potato side I make a lot.
Largely dice up a few yams. Boil for about 7 minutes and drain. In a non-stick skillet add a few tbls. of olive oil, a few cloves minced garlic, about an inch of grated fresh ginger, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. turmeric, 1 tsp. fennel seeds, 1/8 - 1/4 cayenne. Fry that mixture for a minute or so and add the yams, saute for about 15-20 minutes on medium heat, turning occasionally until the yams are a bit brown and crispy.
I make this many times ahead of time as it reheats great! You could also prepare this side with potatoes or cauliflower.
In the summer, to make up for my tomato deprivation for 9 months of the year, most or all of my veggie "sides" consist of tomatoes in some form-- with avocado, with salt, with EVOO and mozarella, tomatoes just as is, tomato w/ dill, bruscetta, etc. etc. I would be a sad sad person if they took away my tomatoes from me. But I'm assuming you're less tomato-obsessed than I am, so you probably need some variety.
-As for other sides, cucumbers with a sesame sauce (I use a store-bought kind, but once I run out of this stuff, I need to figure out how to make it. . ..)
-same cucumber (buy the thin-skinned Japanese kind for this) very thinly sliced (no need to peel), salted to exude water, then squeezed w/ a kitchen towel, then mixed w/ a Japanese vinegar marinade (and wakame if you have it and octopus if you eat that sort of stuff, which I do. :))--lots of sesame seeds, and a dressing w/ a neutral vegetable oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar and maybe some sugar.
-If radicchio counts as a veggie, I like searing it, adding corn, and smoked mozzarella. I think it tastes like what I imagine bacon to taste like, if I actually ate cooked meat. :-P
It's not in season, but brussel sprouts thinly sliced (so it has a slaw-like consistency), sauteed w/ butter and evoo, with cumin seeds and a little bit of sea salt (and toasted pine nuts). Stop when it gets vibrantly green. (Actually, this is just the veggie portion of a super-easy pasta dish I love making in the fall.)
-If I had a grill, grilled zucchini would be on the list of regular veggies, too.
-This is another Japanese side I like-- I take an eggplant (thin long kind), "grill" it till its skin is charred, then soak it in cold water (so the skin peels. You really need to char every surface of the skin, so it peels off easily), peel, pat dry, cool (I typically do this part the day before consuming), and then I like drizzling w/ soy sauce and lots of grated ginger, and bonito flakes (though you can omit the last thing if you don't have access to an Asian food store).
-green beans parboiled, then sauteed in butter, with toasted slivered almonds.
-grilled sweet potato rounds (grill them till they have a crispy, even charred, exterior) are yummy, too.
I've been experimenting with braising all this year. This summer I've been braising veggies with good results. I put a mixture of veggies in the brasier with a little liquid, bring to a boil, back off the heat to med low, and cook till done. I've done potatoes with onion, carrots with green pepper (really good!) and a mixed veggie pot. I usually use no-fat chicken broth for the liquid, adding a little wine. Put a sprig of rosemary in the pot. Or season your way.
And, I've been grilling veggies on my stovetop grill, as well. I've discovered that you can grill button mushrooms whole. Just trim, place on grill then weight them down a bit. Again, it is the seasoning that makes them. Use a little olive oil or lemon juice or whatever appeals. Then grill.
In the last week we got our first sweet corn of the season. We eat this plain--2 ears each, even if I am dieting--every week it is in season.
Broccoli ~~ peel and steam until tender crisp. Saute in olive oil with a few cloves of garlic
Baby carrots -- steam until just cooked then finish in a few TBS of apricot jam
Roasted red bell peppers dressed w/balsamic
Corn and black bean salad ~~ can of black beans rinsed and drained mixed with a can of niblets corn. Dress very lightly w/ranch dressing and sprinkle w/roasted sunflower kernels just before serving
Green beans, cook until tender. Drain and cool. Toss w/sliced black olives and good blue cheese dressing or EVOO and crumbled bleu cheese. Add roasted sunflower kernels just before serving
Direct from The Farm veggiies!!
Yesterday I bought a beautiful assortment of colorful beets ranging from golden to very dark purple. Roast them. Or grate them and make a salad. Or slice thinly/blanch/dress with a vinaigrette. Last night I made a beet salad.
Purple string beans. Tonight I'll steam them, and serve with a spicy hot tapanade a la COTM Deborah Madison's book, Vegetarian for Everyone.
Bright Lights Swiss chard. Absolutely gorgeous. These will get a very simple stir fry with maybe some thinly slicd white onion and minced garlic & ginger. Most recipes say to use only the leaves, but the stems are so pretty I'll chop them and add into the mix. Last night I used one bunch to make the COTM omelet.... veddy veddy good!
Fresh peas. Simmered in EVOO and diced pancetta then added either to tiny new potatoes or steamed rice. Garnish with minced parsley or chives.
The most gorgeous radishes ever. Again - very deep purple and a few white ones in the bunch. And another bunch of huge bright red ones....as big around as apricots!
These are just too lovely to cook/braise so I'll just make a salad with them.
fara... Radish sandwiches!
Cut the bread with a large cookie cutter (maybe...), slice the radishes as thin as you can. Butter (you can make an anchovy butter spread) the bread, overlap a few radish slices on the bottom slice, grind some pepper, add a slice of cucumber....butter the top slice of bread and there you have it.
You can add any other vegetable or herb you can think of. But - I like just radish slices.
My favorites... (admittedly, most of these are not so seasonal. In the summer I eat lots of tomatoes, corn and salad in various combinations.)
Green beans tossed with mustard, walnut or olive oil, diced red onion and chopped nuts.
"Mushy Peas' - not really - just a bag of frozen peas, warmed through, with some sauteed onion/shallot, pureed with a bit of milk/cream/broth. Makes a nice crostini, although we've been eating it straight.
Peasotto - lots of sauteed shallots or caramelized onions, add a bag of frozen peas, some broth and heat until the peas are just cooked. Add a generous helping of parmesan.
Grilled raddiccio (which I can't spell) with some good balsamic
Mashed sweet potatoes with chipotle (Alton Brown recipe)
Sliced apples, endive or radiccio, a bit of goat cheese, honey and a nice vinegar - I created this to use a pomegranate vinegar, but it works with anything that isn't too harsh. You can add a little yogurt if you like it creamy.
Fresh corn off the cob, sauteed briefly, then combined with fresh tomatoes, diced avocado, lime juice and whatever other seasonings sound good. Is it a side dish or salsa? No one knows!
6 ears fresh corn
1 T. butter
2 T, cream
2 T. minced fresh basil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup real Italian Parmesan cheese
Put a box grater into a shallow rectangular dish and scrape the ears off of one ear of corn using the largest holes. Scrape the cob, as well, to get all of the lovely "milk." Use a knife or Kuhn Rikon corn zipper to remove the kernels from the remaining ears. Grate the cobs on the box grater. Sautee the corn and liquid in the butter for 2-3 minutes. Add cream and season to taste. Off heat, add the basil and Parm.
Most any roasted vegetable. Works particularly well w broccoli, cauliflower, red bell peppers, green beans, asparagus, carrots. Just toss in EVOO, S & P and roast in 450 oven for 10- 25 minutes depending on the vegetable. Put on parchment so you don't lose any of the browned bits to the baking sheet. Yum.
Sautéed baby spinach (or escarole, or chard) with garlic, olive oil, lemon, salt. Sautéed broccoli rabe with garlic, olive oil, salt (lots of).
Carrot spears with a light vinaigrette and oregano, served at room temperature.
Then there's fritto misto, but that's more of a course than a side ... yum.
I like to made a vegetable ragout. Saute 1 medium onion and 2 cloves of garlic for a few minutes. Add 1 can of stewed tomatoes, s&p, dried oregano and thyme and let stew for 10 minutes or so. Add 1/2 lbs. of trimmed grean beans and 1- 2 sliced carrots. Let that cook until the carrots are soft, and then add 1 small sliced zucchini. This is good as a side or as a main course over a baked potato.