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15 Fast & Delicious Side Dishes

Mighty in flavor and low in calories—there's nothing better.
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Deciding to stay in and cook your dinner instead of dining out is already a step in the right direction if you're focusing on eating healthier. There's no better way to know exactly what's going into the food you're eating than by making it yourself! Mastering the main dish is only half the battle, though. And once you've perfected your chicken, steak, or fish, it's time to turn your attention to the ever-important side dishes.

A side dish can easily derail your health goals, as sugar, sodium, fat, and calories can all get rather high quickly if you're not careful. But with our healthy side dish recipes, you won't ever run into that problem. Our takes on everything from broccoli, potatoes, corn, and stuffing are all 260 calories and under. Plus, they're super easy to make and don't require many ingredients or steps, so you won't have to devote more time cooking the side dishes than your main course.

Check out these 15 healthy side dish recipes you'll immediately want to add to your dinner recipe rotation. And if you love cooking, sign up for our newsletter to get daily recipes and food news in your inbox!

15-Minute Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli

Vegetarian parmesan roasted broccoli
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald
Per 1 serving: 100 calories, 5 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 220 mg sodium

There is no better vegetable to roast than broccoli. It's low in carbs and high in vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, fiber, and water content (so it will keep you full). It'll also help improve calcium absorption, fight skin damage, and prevent constipation. Broccoli is amazing for your health, so we went ahead and jazzed the veggie up with a simple, four-ingredient recipe that's ready in less than 15 minutes. A truly healthy side dish that takes practically no time at all? The perfect combination.

Get our recipe for 15-Minute Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli.

Roasted Carrots

Vegetarian honey roasted carrots
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald
Per 1 serving: 110 calories, 3.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 285 mg sodium

Raw carrots make for a solid snack, but roasting the veggie elevates it to a perfect dinner side dish. It goes well with so many dishes and is very simple to make, too. There is no reason why you shouldn't roast carrots a few nights a week!

Get our recipe for Roasted Carrots.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Vegan roasted garlic mashed potatoes
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald
Per 1 serving: 180 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 360 mg sodium

Mashed potatoes are never a bad idea. You can customize the creamy side dish however you like, whether you add garlic, freshly chopped chives, bacon, sautéed spinach, roasted onions, or green peppers. The possibilities are endless!

Get our recipe for Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

Crispy Rosemary Potatoes

Gluten-free crispy rosemary potatoes
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald
Per 1 serving: 150 calories, 3.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 330 mg sodium

Roasted potatoes are the perfect pairing for almost anything you decide to whip up for dinner. Plus, roasting is one of the easiest ways to cook up spuds—you just have to chop a few potatoes, toss them with olive oil, rosemary, and a little salt and pepper, and then cook them on a baking sheet. Simple and good for you? You can't beat that.

Get our recipe for Crispy Rosemary Potatoes.

Curry With Cauliflower and Butternut Squash

Vegetarian curry cauliflower with butternut squash
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald
Per 1 serving: 260 calories, 8 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat), 510 mg sodium

This Indian-style vegetable stir fry takes no more than 25 minutes to prepare. The creamy coconut milk, the sweet squash cubes, and the subtle heat of the curry powder work perfectly together, creating a dish that will even make the most devoted meat eater forget they're eating only vegetables.

Get our recipe for Curry With Cauliflower and Butternut Squash.

Grilled Mexican-Style Corn

Vegetarian grilled mexican-style corn
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald
Per 1 serving: 210 calories, 9 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 430 mg sodium

This recipe was inspired by how corn is served on the streets of Mexico. It's covered in a thin layer of mayo (instead of the typical butter) and is topped with a sprinkling of chili powder and cheese. It makes for a great side dish to an outdoor picnic and is an elevated way to eat the vegetable!

Get our recipe for Grilled Mexican-Style Corn.

The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.

Apple-Sausage Stuffing

Healthy apple-sausage stuffing
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald
Per 1 serving: 160 calories, 7 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 290 mg sodium

Stuffing doesn't have to be cooked inside of a bird! In our recipe, we let you have more control, as you can cook this stuffing all on its own, combining the sausage, apples, and fresh sage into a stuffing that's much different than any you might've had before. This dish works well paired with garlic-rosemary roast beef, a bourbon-glazed ham, a roast chicken, or, yes, even a Thanksgiving turkey.

Get our recipe for Apple-Sausage Stuffing.

Yukon Gold and Sweet Potato Gratin Recipe

Vegetarian yukon gold & sweet potato gratin
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald
Per 1 serving: 210 calories, 7 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat), 180 mg sodium

We make sure the gratin stays as the side dish it was meant to be in this recipe, letting the protein portion of the meal take center stage and keeping the side dish as, well, a side that just enhances the overall meal. We trade in lower-fat milk instead of the traditional cream and add in some nutrient-dense, fiber-loaded sweet potatoes to the mix. Pair this with a roasted chicken or grilled steak, and your family will be nothing short of impressed.

Get our recipe for Yukon Gold and Sweet Potato Gratin Recipe.


Per 1 serving: 130 calories, 8 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 200 mg sodium

In this recipe for homemade coleslaw, you can expect a side dish that's crunchy and cool instead of the usual soupy, mayo-drenched, overly sweet coleslaw you're most likely used to being served at a diner alongside a sandwich or burger. This coleslaw has a vinegar tang and holds back on the mayo and other fatty ingredients, making it low-calorie and (importantly) still so tasty.

Get our recipe for Coleslaw.

Roasted Parmesan Asparagus

Asparagus with cheese and lemon and pine nuts
Per 1 serving: 45 calories, 4 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 330 mg sodium

Asparagus is one vegetable that pairs well with just about anything and can be prepared in many ways, thanks to its mild flavor. You can wrap it in prosciutto and grill it, blanch it briefly in boiling water and then top it with a fried egg, or even just enjoy it shaved raw in a salad. But nothing beats the classic roasted, Parmesan-dusted approach that makes for the perfect, ready-in-minutes side dish.

Get our recipe for Roasted Parmesan Asparagus.

Balsamic Zucchini Sauté

cooked zucchini
Per 1 serving: 80 calories, 4 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 190 mg sodium

It's no secret zucchini is a solid veggie option, as it is known to have many benefits, such as improving energy, lowering your blood sugar and cholesterol, and stopping inflammation. So yes, incorporating it into your diet is crucial. This balsamic zucchini recipe is the easiest way to do that, as we use balsamic vinegar to heighten the sweetness of the zucchini while adding acidity to create a burst of flavor.

Get our recipe for a Balsamic Zucchini Sauté.

Pan-Roasted Mushrooms

pan roasted mushrooms onions
Per 1 serving: 110 calories, 7 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 440 mg sodium

Our pan-roasted mushrooms recipe results in a side dish that is soft and buttery. It has a kick from the garlic, so it'll add a punch to whatever you're serving up for dinner. This recipe freezes well, too, so it's great for meal prep if you want to take some as part of your lunch each day or save it for dinner to pair alongside the dishes you cook up.

Get our recipe for Pan-Roasted Mushrooms.

Quinoa Pilaf

quinoa pilaf
Per 1 serving: 230 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 220 mg sodium

Quinoa is hands-down one of the healthiest foods on the planet—it's rich in complex carbohydrates and healthy fats, and it has a healthy dose of protein. In this vegan-friendly pilaf recipe, salty, sweet, and tangy all join forces in one dish you're going to want to serve with just about anything.

Get our recipe for a Quinoa Pilaf.

Spicy Mashed Sweet Potatoes

mashed sweet potatoes
Per 1 serving: 130 calories, 6 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 360 mg sodium

Here, we turn to the sweet potato instead of the regular kind of spud for another take on the mashed side dish. We cut back on the fat, using just a few ingredients including milk, butter, and some pepper. It's great to serve these as a tasty companion to our grilled pork and peaches recipe, our turkey meatloaf, or any other grilled or roasted meat.

Get our recipe for Spicy Mashed Sweet Potatoes.

Smoky Baked Beans

Baked beans
Per 1 serving: 170 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 570 mg sodium

Beans are extremely healthy, but baked beans are often bombarded with brown sugar, molasses, and honey, causing them to lose their nutritional value. In our recipe, we make sure to add flavor without incorporating unnecessary sugars, adding in cayenne, beer, and bacon. Prepare to dig into the most addictive, healthiest, smoky baked beans.

Get our recipe for Smoky Baked Beans.

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Jennifer Maldonado
Jennifer Maldonado is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and health content. Read more about Jennifer