Photo: Christopher Testani

Asparagus That Brings a "Wow" Factor to the Table
This unexpected side stars barely blanched asparagus tangled up with baby greens, lightly dressed in lemon and olive oil, rolled up in prosciutto and sliced just like a sushi roll.

Great pairing: Linguine with clams is a natural for any pork-related side (clams with chorizo is a centuries-old dish in Spain and Portugal.

Get the recipe: Prosciutto with Asparagus and Arugula Rolls

Photo: Andrew Zuckerman

The One Cauliflower Recipe You Haven't Tried Before
The longer you let this healthy, savory dish roast, the crunchier it will get. It's simply a mixture of cauliflower florets, cherry tomatoes, dill, lemon juice and olive oil; let them go 40 minutes if you prefer the cruciferous veggie more tender, or an hour if you want it lightly charred.

Great pairing: The refreshing lemon and dill will help cool the heat of spicy sauces such as arrabbiata (which is made with chili peppers).

Get the recipe: Crispy Cauliflower with Tomatoes and Dill
Spinach and mushrooms

Photo: Thinkstock

5-Minute Spinach and Mushrooms
Since spinach cooks down to a fraction of what you started with, adding mushrooms helps bulk up this classic side. Use baby spinach (it's more tender than the regular variety) and squirt some lemon juice on top when it's finished cooking to make the flavors more vibrant.

Great pairings: Red-sauce dishes like Penne alla Vodka or this take on pappardelle Bolognese.

Get the recipe: Sautéed Spinach with Cremini Mushrooms
Roasted vegetables

Photo: Thinkstock

Foolproof Roasted Vegetables
While sautéed or steamed veggies are fine, roasting elevates them to being seriously delicious (it also happens to be one of the easiest ways to cook them). A superhot oven has the power to intensify and caramelize anything from eggplant to zucchini.

Great pairing: Fettuccine Alfredo, which, while delicious, is lacking in the vitamins and fiber departments.

Get the recipe: Zesty Roasted Vegetables
Tomatoes Provencal

Photo: James Baigrie

The Only Reason to Cook Summer Tomatoes
We're all for a simple raw tomato salad, but we can't resist this cooked dish, which entails sprinkling rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper and bread crumbs over sweet cherry tomatoes. After less than 20 minutes in a 350-degree oven, they're gently slumping; another minute under the broiler and the crumbs are golden and crisp.

Great pairing: Pasta with pesto, especially if you've got a bumper crop of basil and tiny tomatoes.

Get the recipe: Tomatoes Provençal
Spicy Parmesan Green Beans and Kale

Photo: Tina Rupp

Wonder Greens
Some sides have it all: quick cooking time, health points and that can't-stop-eating-it factor. This is one of those dishes. It cooks in less than 20 minutes, includes green beans and kale, and gets a jolt from white wine, red pepper flakes, lemon juice and Parmesan.

Great pairings: Lasagna, baked ziti, manicotti and other rich, ricotta-heavy mains.

Get the recipe: Spicy Parmesan Green Beans and Kale
Brussels Sprouts with Turkey Bacon

Photo: Anna Williams

Brussels Sprouts—the Delicious Way
Earthy sprouts and smoky bacon are a winning combo; the crisp, smoky, salty meat is the perfect complement to the vegetable's inherent (really!) sweetness. Together, they make a dish that's comforting and easy but still interesting.

Great pairings: Spaghetti cacio e pepe or another basic pasta-and-cheese preparation.

Get the recipe: Brussels Sprouts with Turkey Bacon
White Bean Salad with Tomatoes and Crisped Sage

Photo: Marcus Nilsson

Nonboring Beans
If you've been searching for a meatless side that still offers protein, try this bean salad that can be made with white, navy or cannellini beans. Fried sage leaves add texture to cooked-till-tender beans and tomatoes.

Great pairing: Spaghetti puttanesca. The sage and beans are the perfect antidote to the pasta's salty anchovies, olives and capers.

Get the recipe: White Bean Salad with Tomatoes and Crisped Sage

Next: 7 new pasta classics: No primavera, no ziti