I consider myself a master meal planner, but there’s one thing that gets even me: veggie side dishes.
That’s right, even I–the self-proclaimed Queen of Meals–am often stumped for creative vegetable dishes to serve to the family with my pretzel chicken or one-pan pasta. Thanks to these veggie side recipes that can easily be whipped up at the last minute, I can ditch dinnertime cucumber wheels and carrot sticks for good. -Stacie
Nearly every vegetable tastes great simply roasted with oil and salt. But just a tiiiiiiny bit more effort can turn out a spectacular side dish in the same amount of time. These Honey Ginger Roasted Carrots (above) from Let’s Dish are a great example of how a few extra ingredients make a big, tasty difference.
I also love this Parmesan Roasted Broccoli from Salu Salo for the same reason. Roasted broccoli: delicious. Roasted broccoli tossed with Parmesan and lemon juice: heavenly, and the kids think so too. And just as easy to make.
Frozen edamame are a lifesaver, but can be a little boring simply boiled. Just a little garlic changes all that. This recipe for Garlic Edamame from Pinch of Yum is a delightful surprise that completely transforms run-of-the-mill edamame. (Of course picky kids can just enjoy them with sea salt too.)
Frozen peas are a must-have-at-all-times ingredient for us, and this recipe for Peas with Prosciutto and Mint from The Kitchen is one of my favorite ways to eat them. If you don’t have prosciutto, use whatever ham you have on hand–or skip the meat all together. Either way, it’ll still be way more delicious than plain, mushy peas.
Potatoes aren’t the only vegetable that make a mean mash. We’re heading into pumpkin season, and this Butternut Squash with Honey, Lemon and Parmesan from my own site, One Hungry Mama, was inspired by a dish at a local restaurant. It’s so easy to perfect at home, though, that we never need to order it out anymore. That’s saying something.
I know, spinach is not always the most popular veggie with little ones. But thanks to its nutritional profile and the fact that it cooks in mere minutes, spinach is a friend to home cooks everywhere. One way I’ve found to make spinach more appealing to our kids is to toss it with sweet raisins like in this Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts recipe by Joyce Goldstein, spied on Leite’s Culinaria. It’s a classic Southern European combo that has become a standby in my house. What kid doesn’t like sweet stuff after all?
Actually, don’t answer that, moms of picky eaters. I know, I know.