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Side Dishes

Vegetables

Sautéed Mushrooms

Leo loves mushrooms, but I am not a fan, so I had no idea how to cook them. He has so few favorite foods and I don’t want to turn him off of anything by cooking it badly, so I had to learn. According to Fine Cooking, sautéing mushrooms over high heat evaporates their moisture quickly so they brown nicely and are flavorful. These mushrooms are easy to make alongside dinner and have, so far, been a hit.

Total time: 15 minutes
Vegetables

Guy’s Fried Green Tomatoes

A neighbor gave us some fresh jalapeños and green Roma tomatoes from his garden, with instructions on letting them ripen on the counter (he picks them while green to beat the squirrels). Guy couldn’t resist the opportunity to make fried green tomatoes, which were easier and more delicious than we expected!

Yield: 4 serving Total time: 20 minutes
Beans

Red Wine Pinto Beans With Bacon

Dried beans are budget- and pantry-friendly, and we probably all have stashed more of them this year than usual. This dish based on onions, celery, carrots, rosemary, and red wine, amazingly reminds us a lot of our favorite beef stew. Though it does contain bacon, it’s still more plant-foward and planet-friendly, making it a great alternative when you need a bowl of comfort food on a cold evening.

Yield: 4 to 5 servings Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Vegetables

Southern Collard Greens

While trying to learn how to make collard greens I found a vegan recipe from Divas Can Cook. I had every intention of making the recipe vegan, until I realized I didn’t have any smoked salt. After looking for a good substitute (liquid smoke, Bragg’s liquid aminos, etc.) and coming up short, I realized that the best substitute I had was…bacon.

The collard greens were delicious, and someday I plan to make the vegan version, as well.

Yield: 4 servings Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Vegetables

Chinese Fried Cabbage

We’ve been trying to widen our range of green vegetables as well as looking for any excuse to use Sichuan peppercorns, so this recipe has become a favorite. It’s really fast and easy, and cabbage keeps in the refrigerator forever, making it a good recipe to have on hand.

Yield: 3 servings Total time: 20 minutes
Vegetables

Sautéed Yellow Squash

My family has roots in the South and dinner at my grandmother’s house always included platters of butter beans, fried okra, and yellow squash. As a kid I wasn’t very adventurous when it came to veggies, and squash was no exception, partially due to the amount of liquid the cooked squash gave off.

While making squash recently I started with Tanya’s recipe and then added butter and blasted the squash with heat, resulting in a thicker dish that was really delicious. I’m now looking forward to making squash again!

Yield: 3 servings Total time: 30 minutes
Vegetables

Baby Bok Choy with Oyster Sauce

This super-fast side is delicious alongside most Asian dishes.

Yield: 4 servings Total time: 15 minutes
Vegetables

Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted cauliflower, with or without Parmesan cheese, is a great quick veggie for a weeknight meal. For a fancier version with garlicky breadcrumbs, try Dianna’s Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower.

Yield: 3 servings Total time: 45 minutes
Grains

Pressure Cooker Brown Rice

Cooking rice in the pressure cooker has consistently good results and lets you focus on preparing other dishes. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can easily cook brown rice on the stove.

Yield: 4 servings Total time: 45 minutes
Starches

Oven Roasted Steak Fries

These steak fries are easy, delicious, and the perfect side for Garlic Chicken Thighs on a busy weeknight.

Yield: 20 minutes Total time: 1 hour