Easy, Speedy, Meal-Finishing Side Dishes That Aren't Rice
These seven low-maintenance recipes will perk up any dinner.
Couldn't-Be-Simpler Mashed Potatoes
We love buttermilk, crème fraîche and all the other fantastic mix-ins we've seen added to classic mashed potatoes. But on a busy Tuesday night, this three-ingredient version (five, if you count salt and pepper) is ideal. Potatoes, heavy cream, butter, done.
Get the recipe: Creamy Whole Butter Potatoes with Coarse Salt and Cracked Black Pepper
A Corn Dish That Works in July or January
In summer, you can assemble this zippy, colorful, 15-minute side with corn you've cut off the cob, but any other time of year, frozen kernels are just fine. The other fresh ingredients—green and red bell peppers—are available year round.
Get the recipe: Crazy Corn
A New Use for Your Everyday Salad Dressing
Instead of making the same old leafy greens with vinaigrette, take an additional five minutes to boil a few handfuls of green beans. You can pour that same dressing over the beans; since they'll be warm, they'll soak it up even better than romaine leaves would. If you've got some goat or feta cheese, crumble and sprinkle it over the beans just before serving to add tang.
Get the recipe: Green Beans with Goat Cheese and Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette
Broccoli You'll Actually Crave
Once you've tried this recipe for the potentially humdrum vegetable, you may never go back to the steamed or boiled version. It's so easy that it brings low maintenance to a new low: Broil broccoli for four minutes and toss with garlic, salt and vinegar.
Get the recipe: Roasted Broccoli with Balsamic Vinegar
A Side That's Filling Enough for Tomorrow's Lunch
This is the perfect dish to beef up a lighter main course. The combination of soft and sweet sliced leeks, canned chickpeas, some lemon zest (a few scrapes along a Microplane should suffice), rosemary and garlic makes a delicious and substantial vegetarian accompaniment to poached chicken or fish.
Get the recipe: Chickpeas with Leeks and Lemon
The Any-Occasion Asparagus
Slip a foil-wrapped packet of garlic into the oven just as you start making dinner. Just before you're ready to sit down, all you'll have to do is boil asparagus for five minutes and stir the roasted garlic into an herby mayo for a dish that's a worthy complement to filet mignon, grilled chicken or anything in between.
Get the recipe: Asparagus with Tarragon Aioli
Your New Favorite Way to Cook Squash
Whether you use butternut, acorn, delicata or spaghetti squash, this go-to cooler-weather side is a cinch to make and goes nicely with sausage, pork or roasted chicken. Ginger, honey, butter and salt are the only other ingredients you need.
Get the recipe: Honey-Roasted Squash
Next: What to serve with chicken