18 Easy Vegetable Side Dishes That Make Any Meal Healthier

These quick vegetable-based sides are the best way to amplify any main course.

Side dishes might not be the stars of your meal, but they're just as important as your main course. You want to ultimately whip up something that perfectly pairs with the main dish, and luckily, many veggie-based side dishes fit the bill. And whether you follow a vegetarian diet or simply looking for more ways to incorporate vegetables into your diet, making a vegetable side dish is always a solid option. Adding one (or two!) to your plate helps you get essential fiber and nutrients in tasty, filling ways. Vegetables don't have to be boring!

Here, we rounded up the 18 best vegetable side dishes that you can serve alongside any dinner.

1

Roasted Parmesan Asparagus

Asparagus with cheese and lemon and pine nuts
Shutterstock

Per 1 serving: 45 calories, 4 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 330 mg sodium

Asparagus is a staple vegetable that truly pairs well with just about anything. When in doubt, there is nothing better than going the classic roasted route, and this Parmesan-dusted variety lets you create a tasty, ready-in-minutes side dish.

Get our recipe for Roasted Parmesan Asparagus.

2

Stuffed Tomatoes

Vegetarian stuffed tomatoes
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Per 1 serving: 160 calories, 8 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 360 mg sodium

Want to jazz up a basic tomato? This is the recipe for you. This side dish is equal parts cheesy, creamy, and crunchy, and with garlic and fresh basil in the mix, it brings about tons of fresh flavor to your meal.

Get our recipe for Stuffed Tomatoes.

3

Spicy Mashed Sweet Potatoes

mashed sweet potatoes
Shutterstock

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

Your typical serving of masked potatoes gets a makeover with sweet potatoes in this recipe. We cut back on the fat, too, by making sure to only use a handful of whole ingredients—think milk, butter, and some pepper. This root vegetable is going to be a huge hit at your table, and it'll become a quick go-to when you're pressed for time.

Get our recipe for Spicy Mashed Sweet Potatoes.

4

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

Inspired by how corn is served on the streets of Mexico, this side dish is anything but basic as it's covered in a thin layer of mayo, instead of butter. It's topped with a sprinkling of chili powder and cheese for a savory accompaniment to any main course.

Get our recipe for Grilled Mexican-Style Corn.

5

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

Short on time? This side dish is the one for you, as it only takes 25 minutes to prepare. The combination of the coconut milk, the sweet squash cubes, and curry powder work perfectly together for a side that will easily brighten up everything from chicken to pasta to fish.

Get our recipe for Curry With Cauliflower and Butternut Squash.

RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.

6

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

When it doubt, simple roasted potatoes are a staple side dish that complements any main course. Plus, it's one of the easiest dishes to cook too—just chop a few potatoes, toss them with olive oil, rosemary, and a little salt and pepper, and then cook them on a baking sheet. The starchy vegetable is the perfect companion to all your chicken, beef, and turkey dishes.

Get our recipe for Crispy Rosemary Potatoes.

7

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

It's no secret that we could all benefit from eating more broccoli. Thanks to its high water content and being rich in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate, it's a superfood that's packed with nutrients. It's one vegetable everyone should be eating more of, so why not dress it up a bit with this four-ingredient recipe that is ready in less than 15 minutes?

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

8

Caprese Tomato Tower Salad

Vegetarian caprese tomato towers
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Per 1 serving: 170 calories, 13 g fat (6 g saturated), 290 mg sodium

This side salad might be simple, but there really is nothing better than tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and fresh basil combining forces for a side dish that truly tastes like you're on an Italian vacation. Find yourself with leftover tomatoes after making this side?

Get our recipe for a Caprese Tomato Tower Salad.

9

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

Roasted carrots are another staple side dish that easily makes for a great addition to any meal. Think steak, chicken, or seafood—roasted carrots not only add a pop of color to your plate, but also plenty of delicious flavors.

Get our recipe for Roasted Carrots.

10

Balsamic Zucchini Sauté

cooked zucchini
Shutterstock

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

Adding more zucchini to your diet is never a bad idea. It's a veggie that can do a lot to improve your overall health, including improving your energy, lowering your blood sugar and cholesterol, and stopping inflammation. This balsamic zucchini recipe is a truly easy side dish to make, especially when it's in season and you've got lots of leftovers.

Get our recipe for a Balsamic Zucchini Sauté.

11

Green Bean Casserole

Vegetarian green bean casserole
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Per 1 serving: 110 calories, 2.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 310 mg sodium

There really is nothing more classic than a green bean casserole from the back of the soup can, but this recipe is hands-down a much healthier version of the side dish. There are still plenty of onions, mushrooms, and green beans but there are tons of fresh ingredients included here too such as garlic, red onion, and chicken stock for a rich taste minus the sodium bomb of the traditional recipe.

Get our recipe for a Green Bean Casserole.

12

Garlic Lemon Spinach

Vegan garlic lemon spinach in a bowl
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Per 1 serving: 80 calories, 4 g fat (0.5 g saturated), 280 mg sodium

We're going to say it: while spinach is a beloved leafy green with many health benefits, its flavor can get a bit, well, dull when eaten by itself. That's where this recipe comes in, as it dresses up the veggie with garlic and red pepper-infused olive oil.

Get our recipe for Garlic Lemon Spinach.

13

Creamy Split Pea Soup

Healthy split pea soup
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Per 1 serving: 300 calories, 3.5 g fat (1 g saturated), 780 mg sodium

Pair peas with other veggies and some smoky ham that's been brought to a long, slow simmer, and you're in for a thick, creamy, delicious broth that makes for the ultimate comfort side dish.

Get our recipe for Creamy Split Pea Soup.

14

Roasted Butternut Squash

Vegetarian roasted squash
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Per 1 serving: 130 calories, 3.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated), 290 mg sodium

Butternut squash, especially when roasted, is a truly tasty vegetable that has plenty of good-for-you nutrients, too. Plus, anytime you do the roasting route, it highlights its natural sweetness, and this recipe really brings out that flavoring. Here, we add maple syrup and chopped fresh sage leaves for a side dish that brings the sweet with a little kick.

Get our recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash.

15

Grilled Ratatouille Salad

Healthy grilled ratatouille salad
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Per 1 serving: 270 calories, 19 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 385 mg sodium

While this doesn't look like a traditional ratatouille dish, it still takes inspiration from the classic French food. You can add any veggies you like here, as this side dish is one you can endlessly customize.

Get our recipe for Grilled Ratatouille Salad.

16

Succotash

Succotash
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Per 1 serving: 190 calories, 5 g fat (2 g saturated), 270 mg sodium

Succotash is one of those light side dishes that easily accompanies so many main courses. You can use frozen vegetables if you happen to make this during the winter when the zucchini might not be at its peak, and that's OK! What makes this veggie side dish stand out though is the bacon. Although there is a very tiny amount of it in here, it's just the right portion to bring a touch of smokiness to these vegetables.

Get our recipe for Succotash.

17

Roasted Beet Salad With Barley

Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Per 1 serving: 302 calories, 16 g fat (5 g saturated), 454 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 15 g sugar, 14 g protein

Beets really should be a part of everyone's go-to salad. It's a superfood that happens to have a lovely hue to it so it will truly brighten up any side salad you whip up for dinner. This beet salad features goat cheese, barley, eggs, and a homemade dressing for a vegetarian-friendly recipe that packs in 14 grams of protein and five grams of fiber. No wimpy salad here!

Get our recipe for a Roasted Beet Salad With Barley.

18

Butternut Squash Soup

Healthy butternut squash soup
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Per 1 serving: 150 calories, 3.5 g fat (1 g saturated), 490 mg sodium

There really is nothing quite like a vegetable soup to bring some warm flavor to dinner, and this butternut squash soup is proof. Plus, it contains vitamin A, fiber, and omega-3s, so you'll be getting tons of nutrients in one comforting bowl.

Get our recipe for Butternut Squash Soup.

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