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Everyday side dishes

Sometimes I get stuck in a side dish rut. Roasted potatoes and asparagus, or brown rice and steamed broccoli and cauliflower. (okay, yes there are more, but this is how I feel right now)

Last night I made patatas bravas for along side my chicken, it was awesome. Now I need more inspirations for my side dishes.

What is your favourite everyday side vegetable and starch?

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  1. Sweet corn and poblanos in lard.

    Plain rice. Differnt types for different mains.

    2 Replies

      Love to know more about the sweet corn and poblanos?

      1. re: cleopatra999

        Tis the season. 10 ears $3. Gently cook poblanos in lard. Cut kernels from the cob into lard. Season with fine salt. Scrap corn milk from the cobs just before serving.

        Yes, you can substitute butter, cream, bacon fat. But then you have a different dish that is not my current go to. As you requested.

    2. It's spring, so I have once more begun buying up big bags of summer squash, onions, red, yellow and orange peppers to coat with EVOO and grill Great hot, cold as side dish or in an omelet with or without cheese or on a sandwich wrap, cold.

      Kind of like a grilled ratatouille, sans tomato, which you could add.

      This salad, beautiful and delicious, I add a bit of cumin: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...

      This is my favorite winter side: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

      I substitute lower carb stuff for the potatoes; works great with rutabaga, turnips or celery root.

      A quick and easy one is to take cauli florets and fill a buttered 8x8 glass dish, add a bit of heavy cream, cover it with 5-8 oz of shredded gruyere or cheddar or both, use some s and p and bake at 400 or 425 until tender, bubbling and a bit browned.

      I love quick saute of sugar snap peas in toasted sesame oil, sprinkled with black sesame seeds and smoked salt.

      6 Replies
      1. re: mcf

        I love celery root but have only had it in soup, do you have a recipe for using it as a side dish?

        1. re: cleopatra999

          Yes, I use it to replace the sweet potatoes and yukon golds in that gratin recipe. :-)

          Alternatively, peel, cut it up, boil then puree it, use butter, cream, s and p.

          1. re: mcf

            Oh duh, I didn't clue in to putting it with the gratin recipe. Have you tried it any other ways?

          2. re: cleopatra999

            Sliced and raw in a remolade sauce is quite a nice side or salad.

            1. re: cleopatra999

              French: Celery Root Remoulade

              Haven't had it but have heard that it's good.

          3. This one is a favorite... I do with green beans also: http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2011/02/...

            Also in the summer I do this one a lot: http://www.chow.com/recipes/29698-sau... I usually just do in half circles instead of match sticks.

            Also in summer, lots of grilled veggies but there's not much about those... just brush with some olive oil, s&p.

            I don't cook a lot of starches... usually just rice or mashed potatoes, depending on what the main is.

            1. Have expanded our starch world to include things like barley, bulgur, couscous, etc. we make vegetable broth regularly and often use it instead of water to cook grains. Love Mexican street corn in the summer. I like the pairing of saffron rice with snow peas stir fried in butter and oyster sauce. Any of the drier starches is good paired with roasted tomatoes. I like to take quartered root vegetables, toss in olive oil, salt and pepper, and herbs d Provence, roast,about fifteen minutes before done tossing in onions or leeks, and about five minutes before done toss in diced tomatoes.

              1. Summer squash cooked in butter with basil.

                1. I will suggest mujadarra, ratatouille, and stir-fried roasted eggplant (from Deborah Madison's Vegeterian Cooking for Everyone) because they are exceptionally versatile. They are good hot, warm, or cool, as sides or mains. The latter two are also good as sauce for pasta, sandwich/bruschetta topping, and for Eggs in Purgatory.

                  1. Microwave (or oven-baked) acorn squash - served with butter, pepper, brown sugar. Oven roasted cubed butternut squash (big Costco tub, already cubed).

                    Hot corn parmesean green chilies dip - dangerously good, high calorie ( Emeril Lagasse has a recipe that uses just cheddar, I combined that with the one taken from Trisha Yearwood's Hot Corn Dip from her newest (2010) cookbook, "Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood." described at http://deepsouthdish.com


                    Mixed fresh-fruit salad. Currently strawberries &..., in the winter most often diced apples (several varieties) with dried cherries.

                    Salad made from (cooked) frozen mixed vegetables , canned kidney beans, sliced black olives, with a cooked sweet/sour dressing, then chilled. This is a summertime standard at our house.

                    1. It's SO EASY and my favorite way to cook asparagus: break off hard bottom then cut all that length. Preheat to 400 degrees, put asparagus on sheet pan, drizzle olive oil,
                      S & P and use your hands to get oil all around. After 4 minutes, use tongs to turn over and then back in oven another 2-3 minutes (I like a little crunch).

                      I also love roasted carrots with Aleppo pepper (can use cayenne or nothing) olive oil S & P. Later drizzle with pom molasses, balsamic vinegar and tiny bit of honey.

                      Both of these vegetables look so pretty and bright on the dinner plate and taste really delicious.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: walker

                        My favorite way to do asparagus too!! I actually roast higher (at 450) for about 6 minutes and they come out exactly the way I like!
                        Sorry, Cleopatra, this does nothing to help you - I'm here because I love your question - in a bit of a side "rut" myself recently!

                      2. Well since summer is here I rotate the following:
                        Coleslaw made from scratch
                        Oven roasted ears of corn
                        Sliced tomatoes with salt and pepper
                        Salad with either Greek vinaigrette or Ginger miso dressing
                        Three bean salad
                        Collard greens
                        Some combinations of beans and rice (red beans, black beans, pigeon peas)

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Crockett67

                          I've never roasted corn in the oven (or anywhere else for that matter). Care to share your technique or recipe?


                          1. re: alwayshungrygal

                            Sure! Via Alton Brown.
                            Do not soak or shuck ears. Place ears of corn directly on preheated oven rack, in the middle of the oven. (I usually do at least 6+ ears at a time.) 1 hour.

                            Let cool ~15-20 minutes and shuck. You can shuck it earlier, but I'm usually elbows deep in other sides or the entree that I let them sit unattended without harm.

                            1. re: alwayshungrygal

                              I slice off the kernels, put on a baking sheet, add a little olive oil and salt, and roast

                          2. I'm in sweet corn heaven again lately. Most often I'll cut the kernels from the ear, steam for a minute or two until just hot (or just nuke them for one minute if I'm rushed or feeling especially lazy), toss with a little good sweet butter and a sprinkle of Herbamare or a squirt of Maggi, and gobble. Or dress with a dash of sesame oil and a splash of good soya sauce. If you're grilling, it's so easy to oil a couple of ears, grill for a couple of minutes and then roll 'em in a little parmesan.

                            Another lasting favorite of mine is kale. If you're roasting or baking you can tear it into bite sized pieces (leaving out the tough central spine from each leaf), toss with a little oil and bake flat on a pan 'til crispy, then lightly salt the kale chips. Works well at almost any temp, just keep an eye out for the color change. Or simply shred it and steam, top with a little butter or garlic & oil. Tasty, easy, goes well with most anything. And a good way to get some more dark leafy greens into your diet.

                            I also especially love combining green peas with any kind of rice- white, brown, wild, whatever. Super flexible, I'll have it straight with butter and salt or point it in any direction I choose with some rosemary or tarragon, or a pinch of thyme and a few dashes of Louisiana sauce, or some fried onion & a little bit of curry, or a spoonful of chipotle adobo, or lemon zest and a breath of cumin, or...

                            Now I've gone and made myself hungry.

                            1. 1) Frozen spinach, cooked and drained and mixed while hot with 1 T grated Parmesan, 1 tsp each garlic powder and curry powder, and salt to taste. Everything melts together to make a sauce. 2) Sliced zucchini sauteed in olive oil, with lemon wedge. 3) Someone mentioned rutabaga, unappreciated in the US. In the UK it's so common that it's sold frozen already peeled and cubed, wonderful as it's hard to cut. We had to cross the Atlantic to find out that we loved rutabaga. 4) Onions and golden raisins sauteed in butter with curry powder then mixed with hot rice. 5) Cooked rice mixed 50-50 with cooked frozen peas and served with a lot of grated Parmesan. 6) Spanakorizo: cooked rice and cooked spinach mixed 50-50 and seasoned generously with lemon juice and cinnamon.

                              1. I hit upon a weird combination that works. When I fix pretty-spicy tandoori-style chicken, we like it with baked sweet potatoes busted open and filled with butter and brown sugar.

                                1. I can get into a rut on my sides, as well. Here are a few of the ideas I’ve picked up over the years:
                                  • Canned chick peas – dressed simply with olive oil, lemon juice, a little onion or garlic, and lots of parsley and mint; or, Madhur Jaffrey’s lime and tomato dish http://www.indiadivine.org/audarya/ve...
                                  • Lentils cook quickly, and can be dressed with vinaigrette, with added herbs and diced veg.
                                  • Purchased gnocchi makes an easy gratin – lightly cook them, drizzle with cream or half-and-half, top with grated cheese and finish them in a hot oven.
                                  • Roast wedges or slabs of sweet potatoes, butternut or acorn squash
                                  • If I’m roasting a bigger cut of meat, like a whole chicken or leg of lamb, I like to put potatoes and onions underneath the roasting rack to add flavor to the veg. Adding lemon and artichokes to the potatoes is even better.
                                  • When my cherry/grape tomatoes no longer look salad worthy, I roast them or sauté them with garlic and herbs. They add a lot to a plate as a side, and are nice to add to other dishes.
                                  • My mother does a half of a home grown tomato under the broiler with shredded cheddar and topped with seasoned Italian breadcrumbs. I’ve tweaked mine to use panko, garlic, herbs, olive oil and parmesan.
                                  • Zucchini or eggplant cut in individual serving sized portions brushed with either tapenade or pesto, then grilled or roasted.
                                  • Vegetable kabobs – make extras to use in a couscous or orzo salad for the lunchbox
                                  • In the summer, I keep a tomato, cucumber and red onion salad going, dressed only with rice wine vinegar.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Terrie H.

                                    Love the cherry/grape tomatoes idea! I will definitely be using that. So simple, but glad you mentioned it.

                                    Chickpeas and lentils are a favorite of mine - but get forgotten about too easily - your idea has helped me think of some great different sides for this week!

                                  2. For a starchy side, I often make couscous pilaf. Saute garlic and/or onions, other veggies on hand, add some nuts and the couscous til golden, then water or broth. Israeli couscous preferred but I sometimes use regular if that is what we have on hand.

                                    For veggies, steamed green beans or broccoli are frequent fliers. Dressed in various ways, depending on flavors of the main. Green salads are a regular in the spring and fall.

                                    1. Another really quick side I make sometimes that counts as both carb and veggie is to saute garlic and sweet onion until almost brown, then add corn (frozen or cut off the cob) and a diced green chile. A little butter, S&P and you have a tasty dish.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: tcamp

                                        All veggies count as carbs, that's what they mostly are. Healthy ones. :-)

                                        1. re: mcf

                                          What nutrition manual are you using mcf -- most veggies alone do NOT count as carbs (look at the back of a bag of frozen ones..) for WW, low-carb diets or American Diabetes Association.

                                          1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                            If you're strictly counting calories, fat, protein, etc, all veggies do technically count as carbs. For example, 1 cup of raw chopped broccoli has 4.6 carbs. However, vegetables are complex carbs, whereas stuff like bread is simple carbs. That's why WW etc do not count them as carbs, and why they are acceptable for low-carb diets.

                                            I consider corn to be a starch though... in terms of figuring out veggie vs starch.

                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                              I count corn as my starch, I would never have corn and potato on the same plate with the corn counting as my veg compontent, same with winter squashes, and legumes.

                                              1. re: juliejulez

                                                There is no metabolic/diabetic difference between the effects of simple table sugar and complex carbs. That's a molecular distinction with no place in diet discussion, metabolically.

                                                Bread and potatoes are both complex carbs, Julie, and about equal to table sugar metabolically. They are completely unacceptable on low carb diets. Grains in general are.

                                                I think you're confusing "processed" carbs for "simple."

                                              2. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                Macronutrients are fat, protein and carbohydrate. No matter how someone tells you to eat, vegetables are carboydrates.

                                                I'm a diet controlled diabetic. I avoid ADA cookbooks and all ADA advice scrupulously.

                                                I take no meds, rarely see post meal readings above 120. Been diabetic decades.

                                          2. I some times make quick-cooking polenta, s & p, add a little butter and some shredded Italian style cheese right from the bag.

                                            1. Quinoa is a new favorite here... I make a risotto of sorts, using onion, chopped baby bella mushrooms, some dried cranberries and fresh chopped parsley.

                                              1. Great ideas here, thanks everyone, I am feeling more inspired! Tonight I am making a succotash with corn, peppers, zucchini, onion and broad beans :)

                                                1. Risotto Milanese
                                                  Mushroom Risotto
                                                  Orzo Pilaf
                                                  Chicken Salad
                                                  Summer Corn Salad
                                                  German Potato Salad
                                                  Confetti Pasta Salad
                                                  Italian Pasta Salad
                                                  Potatoes Au Gratin
                                                  BBQ Red Potatoes
                                                  Twice Baked Potatoes
                                                  Spaghetti Squash w/butter/s&p
                                                  Grilled red/green/yellow peppers, zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms, pineapple and cherry tomatoes

                                                  1. Poblano fries- dip pieces in egg and breadcrumbs. Bake

                                                    Herbed mini peppers- toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh or frozen herbs. Roast or grill till soft

                                                    Miso eggplant- cube and marinate in miso, soy, garlic, sriracha, sesame oil, sesame seeds. Thread onto skewers and grill

                                                    Stuffed baked potatoes- scoop out cooked flesh and mix with lemon, dill, olive oil, carmelized onions, salt, pepper. Bake till heated thru

                                                    Fried rice- leftover brown rice stir fried with ginger, garlic, scallions, shredded broccoli or coleslaw, hoisin, soy, eggs (toddler eats this like its her last meal!)

                                                    Roasted string beans- toss green beans with sliced shallot, garlic cloves, salt, pepper, olive oil. Roast till tender (I use frozen from Costco)

                                                    Corn/asparagus- cut asparagus into 1" lengths. Slice corn off cob. Combine on a baking sheet, spray with Pam and add salt and pepper. Roast till tender and slightly browned. Sometimes I add breadcrumbs.

                                                    1. I hope "everyday" was not meant to be literal. I like variety.
                                                      Potato salad
                                                      Sweet potato fries
                                                      Stir fry with Chinese Cabbage, and other garden veggies
                                                      Curried veggies over rice/quinoa
                                                      Garden peas
                                                      Beet and onion
                                                      Rattlesnake beans
                                                      Boston baked beans
                                                      ...and many others.

                                                      1. Roasted Corn on the Cob - i steam it lightly first, mist with a little spray oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. roast til browned in a few spots. sometimes dot with a little butter/earth balance and lime juice; sometimes nothing extra.

                                                        Grain salads - bulgur/farina/barley/quinoa blend/etc, diced roasted red peppers, chopped marinated artichokes, sprinkle of diced sundried tomatoes (not in oil), some halved olives (kalamata or manzanita), a dash of onion powder, a little cheese crumbled of choice (fresh mozzarella bits or goat cheese or feta, etc), and a little lemon white wine vinaigrette just to moisten

                                                        Sweet Potato Chips - sliced on mandoline, seasoned with S&P, and crisped in the microwave...

                                                        Watermelon Salad - chopped watermelon, chopped cucumber, a little bit of chopped tomatoe, feta, mint, a dash of balsamic, olive oil, S&P

                                                        Caramelized onions with sliced wild mushroom medley, and whatever herbs are on hand (thyme or sage etc)

                                                        Seared Polenta Slices - polenta made with water/chicken broth, mixed with a little earth balance/butter, a little parmesan, salt and pepper. spread in a pan to cool and harden. slice (sometimes sprinkle the exterior with more cornmeal) then sear

                                                        Roasted Beets - lightly steamed (or nuked in micro), then several slits cut in each (not all the way through). i will wedge in a sprig of fresh rosemary or piece of chive or scallion (the green part), spritz with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then roast in foil, partially covered. serve sprinkled with feta or goat cheese

                                                        Roasted Spaghetti Squash (generally i nuke it...) - tossed with a little salt and pepper, maybe some roasted garlic, maybe some onion powder

                                                        Steamed Artichokes

                                                        Balsamic Roasted Radicchio

                                                        Some cucumber slices with smokey hummus

                                                        1. I love Thai rice or a vegetable brown rice together. Twice baked potatoes or cauliflower done with curry spices roasted in the oven.

                                                          1. The hard boring plastic-type tomatoes are just fine for baking. Dig out a little hole around the stem and fill it with a crushed cracker or anything you feel like and put tomatoes in the oven for the last 40 minutes or so with whatever else you are baking or roasting.