You know that feeling when you’re having friends over, you’ve already cooked your main dish, but you have no idea what side dishes to make? This is where I come in handy. Just a weekend ago, my fiancé and I had a couple of friends over, and even though I made a banging quiche as the main dish (and man did everyone love it), the true star of the evening was the veggie side dish my fiancé made: a fantastic Mediterranean salad that went perfectly with a bottle of fruity chardonnay. Our friends loved it and asked for seconds. And yes, the moral of this story is: always have a few veggie side dishes, because everyone will love them.
And this is exactly why I curated this special list for you: 3 healthy, fresh, and delicious veggie side dishes.
Parmesan Garlic Herb Zoodles
- 3 long, thin zucchini
- freshly grated parmesan cheese
- big pinch steak seasoning (store-bought or homemade)
- 1 stick salted butter (1/2 cup,) softened to room temperature
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh thyme
- 1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
- squeezed fresh lemon juice
- Spiralize zucchini using the fattest noodle blade to create zoodles then add to a colander set atop a bowl. Lightly salt then toss with your fingers to coat and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour to drain excess liquid. Remove zoodles from the refrigerator then pat dry with kitchen or paper towels.
- Meanwhile, add ingredients for Garlic-Herb Butter in a small bowl then stir to combine and set aside. It can be done several days ahead of time, or even several weeks as the butter freezes well.
- Once zoodles are drained and pressed dry, heat a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 Tablespoons Garlic-Herb butter then, once melted, add zoodles and saute until crisp-tender, 2-3 minutes, adding more Garlic-Herb Butter if desired. Turn off heat then grate in parmesan cheese to taste. Serve immediately.
Smoky Roasted Cauliflower
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 tsp smoked paprika
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easier cleanup, if desired. Pull the leaves off of the cauliflower base. Cut off the lower part of the stem.
- Cut the head of cauliflower into four quarters.
- Slice each quarter into 6-8 pieces. You want as many flat surfaces as possible on each floret– the flat surfaces caramelize best. Caramelization is the key to giving the roasted cauliflower flavor. Give all the florets a thorough rinse in a colander. Shake them dry. Spread out the cauliflower on your baking sheet or pan. Reserve any small bits of cauliflower that have fallen away from the florets in a small bowl.
- Drizzle the florets evenly with 1 tbsp olive oil. Toss the florets to coat them fully with oil.
- Sprinkle the cauliflower evenly with smoked paprika and salt to taste. Be generous with the salt– smoked paprika really sings when it’s combined with salt.
- Place the baking sheet into the preheated oven and let the cauliflower roast for 10 minutes. While cauliflower is cooking, drizzle 1/4 tsp of olive oil into the small bowl of reserved cauliflower bits that have fallen away from the florets and toss to coat. Sprinkle them with smoked paprika and salt. You will add these to the sheet a little later so they won’t burn.
- After 10 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Sprinkle the reserved cauliflower bits onto the baking sheet.
- Return the baking sheet to the oven. Let the cauliflower roast for 10-20 minutes longer till tender. When it’s ready, you will be able to pierce it easily with a fork.
- Serve hot.
Grilled Vegetable Salad
- 4 medium ears sweet corn, husk, and silk removed
- 4 small to medium yellow squash, ends trimmed, quartered lengthwise
- 2 medium zucchini, ends trimmed, quartered lengthwise
- 2 large red bell peppers, stems, seeds, and any large ribs removed, and cut into 3 to 4 pieces each
- 1 large red onion, ends and skin removed, sliced into 3 to 4 large intact-rings
- 1 lb. asparagus, tough ends snapped off
- olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb. cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
- herby lemon vinaigrette
- 4 oz. your favorite blue cheese, crumbled – if you don’t like blue cheese, use parmesan
- Preheat grill to 400° F. Make sure grates are scrubbed clean and then oiled.
- Place prepared/cut corn, yellow squash, zucchini, bell pepper, onion, and asparagus on a large rimmed pan. The pan will be very full. Drizzle olive oil over all vegetables. Keep sliced rings of the red onion intact, brushing the olive oil evenly over the cut surfaces. With your hands, gently fold the rest of the vegetables until they are all nicely coated with olive oil. Sprinkle vegetables fairly generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, and fold again using your hands. Sprinkle one more time with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, and you’re ready to grill.
- Depending on the size of your grill, you may need to grill in batches. Cooking times will vary with each of the vegetables, so it’s just a matter of checking on them regularly and removing them when they’re done to your liking – you’ll want tongs for flipping the vegetables. Once the vegetables have charred and are cooked/softened to your liking, remove them back to the rimmed pan.
- Once the vegetables have cooled enough to handle, cut the kernels from the corn and chop the rest of the vegetables into bite-size pieces, about an inch or so in size. Place everything into a large-ish serving vessel. Add the tomatoes and fold everything together. Drizzle with a bit of the herby lemon vinaigrette, and then fold. Add more vinaigrette if needed. Sprinkle with blue cheese or parmesan. Serve just slightly warm or at room temperature.