Healthy Grain Side Dish Recipes

Find healthy, delicious side dish recipes with grains. Healthier recipes, from the food and nutrition experts at EatingWell.

Staff Picks

Easy Brown Rice

Rating: Unrated
4
Here's the only recipe you need to make perfect brown rice every time! This healthy whole grain is great on its own as a side dish, or use it in your favorite recipes calling for cooked brown rice.

Basic Quinoa

This foolproof recipe for perfectly cooked quinoa is fast and easy! Use cooked quinoa as a simple healthy side dish, in a salad or as a base for a delicious main dish.

Roasted Red Peppers Stuffed with Kale & Rice

Rating: Unrated
15
You can vary the filling by substituting robust mustard greens or collards, or milder greens, such as spinach, escarole or Swiss chard. (Cook the greens until just tender in Step 2.)

Basic Risotto

Rating: Unrated
8
Slowly adding hot broth to arborio rice helps release the starch from the rice, giving risotto its characteristic silky, creamy texture. We add a splash of wine along with each addition of broth to give the dish a more pronounced wine flavor. If you'd prefer the wine to be more subtle, add the entire cup at the end of Step 2 and cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed, then begin adding the broth. If you prefer to omit wine, use more broth in its place.

Cooked Wheat Berries

Rating: Unrated
7
Contrary to popular belief, wheat berries do not require an overnight soak before cooking. Simply boil them for 1 hour to soften the kernels, which will produce their characteristically chewy texture.

Basmati Rice & Curry Casserole (Chana aur Sarson ka Saag Biryani)

Rating: Unrated
9
Biryanis are rice-based casseroles that combine a saucy meat, vegetable or legume curry with basmati rice, whole spices, nuts and raisins. This particular dish is a nutritional powerhouse, thanks to the mustard greens and chickpeas. Look for the specialty spices--cardamom pods, saffron and garam masala--in the spice section of well-stocked supermarkets or online at penzeys.com.

Black Sticky Rice

Black sticky rice, a delicious whole-grain alternative to white rice, is purplish black in color and has a chewy texture. This recipe gives you a simple method for how to make black sticky rice. Look for it in natural-foods stores in the bulk department or with other whole-grain rice.

Polenta Wedges with Tomato Tapenade

Rating: Unrated
2
Crispy pieces of polenta topped with a tangy sun-dried tomato tapenade makes a pretty and tasty appetizer.

Apple, Onion & Cranberry Stuffing

Rating: Unrated
1
Apples and fresh cranberries add a unique twist to this variation on the classic stuffing. Use fresh sage or rubbed sage in this recipe; the ground version is too bitter.

Baked Rice with Roasted Corn, Peppers & Onions

This filling rice casserole, loosely based on paella, features seared corn, roasted peppers, garlic and red onions. If you like, include diced zucchini or chopped green beans as well. A flavorful roasted garlic mayonnaise makes a luxurious topping.

Nina's Mexican Rice

Rating: Unrated
14
The key to nutty and flavorful Mexican rice is cooking the rice first in oil until it is nicely golden.

Mexican Cauliflower Rice

Rating: Unrated
1
Restaurant-style Mexican rice (sometimes called Spanish rice) gets a healthy, low-carb makeover in this recipe that swaps white rice for riced cauliflower. Cooked with other flavorful ingredients like tomatoes, jalapeño and cilantro, this makes the perfect, festive side for taco night.

Inspiration and Ideas

Side Dish Recipes for Whole Grains

Our whole grain side dishes feature hearty whole grains like barley, quinoa and bulgur. Whole grains are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients and are also rich in carbohydrates, the body’s main fuel supply. Research shows that filling up on high-fiber foods may help you prevent weight gain—or even encourage weight loss. You’ll feel full longer with these delicious and healthy side dish recipes featuring whole grains.

Fresh Herb & Lemon Bulgur Pilaf

Rating: Unrated
5
This pilaf, made with nutty bulgur, gets plenty of bright flavor from fresh dill, mint, parsley, ginger and lemon.

Parsley Tabbouleh

Rating: Unrated
9

Serve this tart, parsley-dominated tabbouleh at your next backyard gathering.