Here are a few of my favorite ways to bring budget vegetables to the table. Nine times out of ten, I lightly steam vegetable sides, but now and then a little something special is called for. For other sides, rice, pasta, grains and potatoes, check my category of heartier sides.
Applesauce, Rustic and Chunky: Not just for kids anymore. This is a thick, dense applesauce with substance and great flavor. A great side with pork, latkes or breakfast.
Asparagus Standing in the Microwave: Perhaps not news to some, but when my sis-in-law showed me this while I was visiting, I couldn’t wait to get home and try it myself. Perfection!
Asparagus, Marinated: This simple little Marinade does so much to enhance the Asparagus. Perfect for a brunch or hot summer day, this recipe is a perfect use for left over asparagus.
Grilled Asparagus with Lemon & Parmesan: A short precook is the way to have beautiful grilled asparagus and the simple finish of a squirt of lemon & sprinkle of Parm works so well.
Pickled Asparagus for the Refrigerator: Easy, minutes to make, this recipe is simple, healthy and delicious. Customize to your own taste, but I think you’ll like the bit of spice.
Pesto: There is really nothing complicated about Pesto, andt here is one secret, only. Make Pesto the way YOU like it. That and grow your own herbs in the yard or in a pot.
Green Beans with Pecans and Gorgonzola or Bleu Cheese: A beautiful fresh green bean doesn’t need much to be great all on its own. These beans, though, are a nice change, quick & easy.
Beets, Oven Roasted: Hardly a recipe, here they are shown in this gorgeous salad. A little foil, a little time in the oven and you’ll have absolutely the best beets, ever, sweet and tender.
Beets, Pickled: One Jar Refrigerator: Based on a recipe handed down by my Grandma, this is a simple way to make one jar or to use up a few left over beets. No need to “can” if refrigerated.
Bok Choy with Sesame: Baby Bok Choy cooked simply with just a hint of sesame to keep things interesting. Make extra and you’ll find yourself nibbling on this healthy dish!
Broccoli, Almost Alton’s Oven Roasted: This rework of the old oven roasted Broccoli is quite amazing – sure to please those who already love broccoli as well as those who don’t.
Shaved Broccoli Salad with Apple & Tarragon: Salad or Slaw? Either way you think of it, you’ll be coming back for more of this slightly different and absolutely delish concoction. Cool, Crisp and tasty!
Broccoli, Simple Steamed: Prep fresh broccoli right and cook correctly – it will be so good you won’t want to add anything! The secret is peeling the stems & using them as a “raft” to steam.
Bacon Brussels Sprouts: Such a lovely dish for a special occasion, it’s hard to go wrong when bacon is combined with almost anything! Brussels are no exception. Week night dinner seem plain? Add these!
Brussels Sprouts with Fennel Spice Rub: These little beauties are addictive, and you’ll want to make extra because you may very well find people snacking on them before they hit the table.
Apple Braised Green Cabbage: Bright, fresh and tangy with the slightest hint of sweetness, this braised cabbage is a gentler cousin to the harsher Red Braised Cabbages out there.
Red Cabbage Slaw, Mexican: A bit of red cabbage can freshen up a dish and Red Cabbage Slaw takes this it to a new level. A little spicy, a little sweet and just a hint of fire. Easily modified to many cuisines.
Vinegar Based Cole-Slaw, Red or Green: One of my favorite slaws for a side or on top of pulled pork sandwiches is this simple Slaw. Sweet & tangy, refreshing! Great for picnics or outdoor with no mayo worries.
Glazed Carrots with variations: A simple way to dress up a simple vegetable, these flavors bring out the best in carrots. Often overlooked, a carrot is a beautiful thing – especially cooked like this!
Oven Roasted Carrots: This recipe is on my post for Stuffed Chicken Breasts – never discount how fabulous carrots are simply roasted, sprinkled with a bit of salt and olive oil.
Essential Oven Roasted Cauliflower: At it’s most basic, it’s still absolutely delicious. Just a little salt and pepper, a little time in the oven transforms this veggie! A great recipe to serve as is or dress up.
Oven Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas: Embedded in the recipe for this gorgeous salad is my go to method for roasting cauliflower. Keep it simple with salt and pepper or go fancy with herbs and spices.
Roasted Cauliflower with Dates & Pine Nuts: This is one very different, but very delish dish; a combo of sweet and savory that goes well with deep, rich spicy, saucy foods.
Cucumber Yogurt Sauce: Call it what you will, Cacik, Tzatziki, this little condiment is outstanding. Whether thick or thin, whether the cucumber is diced or grated, it’s wonderful. Serve chunky as a side.
Braised Turnip Greens: A basic recipe that keeps greens at their healthiest, these gently cooked are braised just enough to soften them retain their lovely color and healthiness, too.
Mushrooms Dianne: Also known as Steakhouse Mushrooms, these are fresh, bright and flavorful – it doesn’t hurt that they’re easy, too! Don’t save them for a special occasion.
Pan Roasted Mushrooms & Onions: A rather unique method of coaxing out all the flavors in this easy stove-top method! The mushrooms turn out beautifully every time in this simple recipe.
Steakhouse Mushrooms: You will think you’re at a steakhouse when you serve these up – break all the “rules” with this method and turn out a stunning, golden brown mushrooms.
Red Onion Marmalade: Red onion jam, Red Onion Confit, Caramelized Red Onions – all different names for the same thing: Rich, silky and tart, this should be in everyone’s fridge.
Butternut Squash & Wilted Kale: Although this is put together as a salad bowl, if you love Butternut Squash, try the recipe for it imbedded in this post. It is my favorite way to eat this vegetable.
Summer Squashes with Herbed Yogurt Sauce: A simply wonderful dish of sautéed Zucchini and Yellow Squash. Add if you wish, herbed bread crumbs, a touch of cheese & a yogurt sauce.
Baked Tomatoes: The baking intensifies the tomato flavor and the crispy, garlicky breadcrumb crust (with just a little cheese) just takes these over the top. A must make with summer tomatoes!
Cheesy Tomato & Vidalia Pie: This masterpiece can be a first course, a main meal or a side – Simply superb, it is a bit of a project, but well worth it. Will induce cravings; I dare you to make it just once!
Pan Roasted Cherry Tomatoes: These are an easy, five-minute side for any simple dish, but are amazingly versatile. You’ll find a zillion uses for them – sides, a pasta sauce or as an element to other dishes.
Slow Roasted Tomatoes: Not necessarily a side but a method to transform you tomatoes with slow-roasting. And I do mean slow. Hours in an oven produce a tomato to use so many ways.
Aji Salsa: I’ve fallen in love with this simple salsa – although not married to it for life, this sweet/sour salsa will always have a place in my heart and my fridge! Serve it diced small as a salsa, larger as a vegetable.
Bell Pepper and Tomato Salad: This beautiful dish is a side and a salad all in one and is often used as a condiment. The slightly sweet, tangy sauce brings out the best in tomatoes.
Corn, Tomato & Feta Salad: A lovely mixture with an herby note, this gets better as it sits. Perfect for hot summer days and a great change up for fresh sweet corn.
Cowboy Caviar: A blend of black-eyed peas, peppers, corn in a gorgeous lightly pickled sauce. With a hint of tart, sweet and a touch of spice, this make ahead will be a hit at home or a potluck.
Grilled Vegetables: While this little recipe is embedded inside my recipe for Pesto Pasta Salad, the grilled vegetables, all by themselves are really so darned good and make a great side with or without pasta.
Grilled Vegetables with Tonkatsu Sauce: Heavenly, smokey grilled vegetables with a little Asian flair. The Tonkatsu sauce lends an incredible flavor and I have you covered with a quickie home-made version.
Oven Roasted Root Vegetables: Roasted with herbs and then doused with a mixture of balsamic and more herbs, these veggies area crowd pleaser & so easy to do. You’ll find yourself making the over & over.
Roasted Corn & Black Bean Salsa: Serve with Southwestern or Mexican meals, or in a salad as shown, or as a side or why not as a dip. You can’t go wrong with these roasted flavors and lime!
Southwestern Protein Mix: If you’ve tried the line of frozen veggies, this will blow you away. A fraction of the cost but the flavor is so much better – cook up batches of grains and toss this together in minutes.
Sweet Potato, Bell Pepper and Corn Sauté: With wild rice or without, this is the vegetable portion of my Wild Rice and Smoked Turkey Chowder. As you can see, it makes a lovely side dish.
Citrus Vanilla Fruit Salad: I made this one summer and couldn’t stop! So simple, so easy to vary, I think you’ll fall in love, too. Perfect for a potluck or make the dressing and drizzle at will over any fruits you have.
Compote, Winter Fruits in Spiced Wine: A marvelous blend of your favorite fruits macerated overnight in a spiced wine mixture, baked until plump and gorgeous. A great side for many meats.
Lemon Poppy Seed Fruit Salad: So simple its barely a recipe, this little salad is versatile, too. Vary the fruits, vary the flavors. Minutes to make, healthy and a bit unexpected.
Mango or Papaya Salsa: These types of fruit/vegetable salsas are a beautiful thing. I tend to loosely use recipes as a guide and make them from whatever I have on hand. Simple and clean.
Pina Colada Fruit Salad: A handful of ingredients transforms fruit in minutes to a lovely salad. You’ll literally want to eat it and lap up any remaining juices. Leftovers make great smoothies.
Watermelon Yogurt Salad: So easy, it’s hardly a recipe but so good I thought I just HAD to post it. Watermelon and yogurt form the base, delish as it, but it can be dressed up.