Vegetarian sides don’t have to be boring or insubstantial – they can appeal to meat eaters and vegetarians alike, and be filling, too. All it takes is a little creativity and the right ingredients. Here are four ways to liven up your veggie side dishes.
Fresh Herbs & Spices
Add flavor just by adding fresh herbs. Fresh basil and thyme brighten up an easy bean spread with Great Northern beans, garlic and a splash of lime juice. It’s fresh tasting and filling, delicious on sandwiches (with roasted carrots for the vegetarians, crispy bacon for the meat eaters) or as an appetizer with pita chips.
It’s a Texture Thing
Meat adds a certain texture to foods, so if you’re going meatless, don’t skimp on ingredients that add texture. Try mixing crunchy cucumbers with hearty kidney beans, fresh dill and classic ranch dressing for a cold bean salad that’s great for picnics, potlucks and leftover for lunch. Feel free to play around with these ingredients: black beans or chickpeas would also be good in this bean salad recipe. Just pick your favorite!
More Wine Please
Cooking with wine adds a depth of flavor that can’t be mimicked. You don’t have to buy expensive wine – cook with the cheap stuff, or just use whatever you’re drinking. A little goes a long way. A couple tablespoons of wine really bring together this bean side dish, a filling mix of fresh thyme, tomatoes, onions, celery and three kinds of beans. It’s great as a side dish or on its own (serve with rice for an even heartier meal).
Whether it’s a grill pan or your backyard barbie, the grill adds a smoky richness to many vegetables, including corn, onions, potatoes and even squash. Top acorn squash with a mixture of Baked Beans, barbecue sauce, maple syrup, butter and dark brown sugar and grill until tender for sweet and savory stuffed squash that transitions perfectly between late summer and fall. Add a salad and you’ve got a light weeknight dinner.
It’s easy to enjoy vegetarian dishes and not feel like you’re missing meat. Whether you’re doing the Meatless Monday thing or are a full-time vegetarian, these vegetarian recipes will add a lot of flavor to your cooking.