It’s All About the Sides!

No main dish is complete without good sides to complement it! To me, the side dishes are the most fun to make….. Main dish proteins can only be made so many different ways….. but the possibilities are endless when it comes to side dishes….. but in all honesty I have a handful of side dishes I make regularly…… But I want to share some of my favorite side dishes…. they are versatile, flavorful and for the most part healthy and simple to prepare…. lets get to it…..

Potatoes:

Cast Iron Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Yukon Gold Potatoes – scrubbed and dried
  • 3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pure ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried parsley or oregano or both
  • 2 tsp or 1 sprig fresh rosemary – chopped

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare potatoes by cutting into fourths. Then, in a large bowl, toss potatoes in 2 tbsp of the olive oil.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and dried herbs. Add to the bowl with the potatoes and toss to coat the potatoes evenly.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. When skillet is heated, add the seasoned potatoes and cook for 2 minutes stirring every few seconds, making sure the potatoes don’t stick to the skillet.
  • After cooking on the stove for a couple minutes, place the skillet in the oven for 25-30 minutes until tender. Stir potatoes every 10 minutes.
  • Once tender, remove from the oven and sprinkle with fresh rosemary. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Roasted Potato Wedges:

Ingredients :

  • 2 lb or 2-3 Russet Potatoes – scrubbed clean and dried
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pure ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • pinch of red cayenne pepper (optional)
  • fresh parsley to garnish (optional)

Directions :

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Fill a large pot with water and heat on the stove until hot to the touch (not boiling)
  • After cleaning and drying the potatoes, peel off some of the skin (this is a personal preference, some people like all the skin, some people like no skin, its up to you!) then slice the potatoes into wedges.
  • Place the sliced potato wedges into the hot water for 15 minutes. (This helps to remove some of the starch from the potatoes. Doing this allows the potatoes to absorb more of the oil and seasoning, resulting in a crispier outside and more flavorful potato!)
  • After 15 in the hot water, remove the potatoes from the water and place in a large baking sheet lined with a towel and pat the wedges dry.
  • Next, Place the potatoes into a large bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cayenne. Toss until the potatoes are evenly coated in the oil and seasonings.
  • Prepare the large baking sheet by lining it with parchment baking paper and placing a wire rack on top (this allows moisture to drip off the potatoes instead of them just sitting in the excess moisture). Place the potatoes in single layers on the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and flip the wedges to the other side. Place back in the oven for another 30 minutes until golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Rice :

Simple Fluffy Brown Rice

This is my foul-proof method for making fluffy brown rice! The secret? I cook it like pasta…. Fluffy brown rice is so versatile…. First let me tell you how to make it….

Directions :

  • Fill a large pot with water and bring to a rolling boil.
  • Place however much rice you want to cook (I usually eyeball about a cup) in a fine mesh strainer and rinse in cold water (Doing this rinses off some of the extra starch and results in a fluffier rice).
  • When water is boiling, place the rice in the water and cook for 25 – 30 minutes until rice is tender. I usually taste it to check.
  • Once tender, turn off the heat and drain the rice in a colander (with small holes so the rice doesn’t go through!) Return to the pot on the stove and let steam, covered, for 5 minutes. Then fluff with a fork and serve any way you like! Here are some of my favorite variations…. I usually eyeball everything but I have listed specific measurements below….

Greek Lemon Brown Rice

  • Steamed Brown Rice
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 small glove garlic – minced
  • 1 tsp greek seasoning
  • fresh parsley to garnish

Asian Orange Brown Rice

  • Steamed Brown Rice
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp seasoned rice wine vinegar (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • seaseme seeds to garnish

Cilantro Lime Brown Rice

  • Steamed Brown Rice
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 small clove garlic minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Summer Pepper + Pineapple Rice

Colorful + Fresh is how I would describe this dish….. This recipe is from my mom and she made it when I was younger…. I was very picky and would only eat the rice haha but now I LOVE the whole dish….. I usually serve brown rice as I like its nutty flavor and nutritional profile, but this dish is just better with white rice…… and white rice is not bad for you anyway…. This is a favorite summertime side dish in my house!

Ingredients :

  • 1 cup cooked Jasmine rice (regular white rice works too)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1/4 sliced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 sliced orange bell pepper
  • 1/4 sliced green bell pepper
  • 1/4 sliced yellow onion
  • 8oz. can pineapple cubes (in 100% Juice) drained OR 1 cup fresh cubbed pineapple
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp pink salt

Directions :

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the sliced bell peppers and onion in the skillet until soft and tender.
  • Fluff the cooked rice and add the sautéed pepper, onion, butter, pineapple and salt. stir until ingredients are evenly distributed. Serve warm and enjoy!

Vegetables

Garlic Green Beans with Toasted Almonds :

Ingredients :

  • 1/2 lb fresh green beans – washed and ends trimmed
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 clove garlic – minced
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp sliced almonds – lightly toasted
  • thin sliced radishes to garnish

Directions :

  • Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. While the water is boiling, wash and trim the ends off the green beans.
  • Blanch green beans in the boiling water for about 3 minutes until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain the green beans in a colander and let sit.
  • In the same pot, over low heat, sautéed the olive oil, butter and garlic until fragrant (careful not to burn the garlic! Garlic burns quickly!) Add the green beans back to the pot and turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  • When ready to serve, plate the green beans and garnish with the radishes and toasted almond! Serve warm and enjoy!

Simple Balsamic Salad : (Pictures with Homemade Veggie Pizza)

Ingredients :

  • Bowl of washed mixed greens (I use a spinach spring mix blend)
  • 1/4 cup cucumber slices
  • 1/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 – 3 radishes – thinly sliced
  • 1/2 large avocado – sliced
  • 3 tbsp homemade honey balsamic vinaigrette
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Simple Greek Salad (Pictured with Lemon Chicken Thighs and Greek Lemon Brown Rice)

Ingredients :

  • Bowl of washed green leaf lettuce or mixed greens
  • 1/4 cup cucumber slices
  • 1/4 red bell pepper – chopped
  • 6 oz. jar quartered artichoke hearts
  • 1 – 2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tbsp homemade greek vinaigrette
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 small clove garlic minced
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dash of garlic powder
  • dash of basil
  • dash of oregano

Pasta

Penne Pasta with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto and Spinach

Ingredients :

  • 4 oz. Whole Grain Penne Pasta
  • 4 oz. (1/2 a jar) sun-dried tomatoes on olive oil – chopped
  • 2 – 3 tbsp olive oil from the sun-dried tomato jar
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • fresh basil leaves
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • a few handfuls of fresh spinach – washed, stems removed
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions :

  • Fill a large pot with water and bring to a rolling boil. Once boiling cook the pasta according to the package. Drain and set aside in the colander.
  • Meanwhile make the pesto : In a small chopper or food processor, blend the sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil leaves, salt, and pepper until smooth.
  • Add the pasta back to the pot on the stove and mix in the pesto. Add the spinach and grated parmesan cheese. Serve warm and enjoy!

Linguini with Asparagus and Toasted Pine Nuts (Pictured with Lemon Roasted Shrimp)

Ingredients :

  • 1/2 box Whole Grain Linguini
  • 1/2 cup pasta water
  • 1 bunch of asparagus – washed, ends snapped, cut in half
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 clove garlic – minced
  • 1/2 cup parmesan + more for topping
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts – lightly toasted

Directions :

  • Fill a large pot with water and bring to a rolling boil. Once boiling cook the pasta according to the package. Before pasta is finished cooking save some of the starchy water and set aside. Drain and set aside in the colander.
  • In the same pot over medium heat add 1 tbsp olive oil and sauté the asparagus until almost tender when pierced with a fork. Turn the heat to low and add the other tbsp of olive oil, 2 tbsp butter, and the garlic. Sauté until fragrant.
  • Stir in the cooked linguini adding a little bit of the saved pasta water to create a sauce. stir in 1/2 cup parmesan and the pine nuts. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Those are just a few of my favorite side dishes….. I am also a big fan of a sheet pan in the kitchen!! Whenever I am serving a main dish that takes a little more attention, I like for my side dish to be almost effortless! It doesn’t get much easier than roasted sheet pan veggies. Very versatile. I use whatever veggies I have in my fridge, are in season, or that go best with the main dish… here’s how I do it….

Preheat oven to 425 degrees (It says 450 on the chart but I prefer my veggies to have a little more crunch)…. Line a large baking pan with foil or parchment baking paper…. Wash and chop veggies of choice…. pat dry and toss on the prepared pan with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder (this is optional, but I put garlic powder in almost everything because I love it!!) For baking times I use this handy chart…..

Green beans and summer squash take about 10 – 15 minutes….. parsnips take 20 -25 minutes…. If preparing a variety of veggies, place the veggies on the pan to bake in stages, according to their baking time….. Yay for veggies!!

xoxo Katherine Grace

**Disclaimer – This post contains affiliate links. All products are ones I love. If you choose to purchase one of these products through the URL provided, I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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