34 Simple Spring Sides for a Healthy, Stress-Free Meal

Simple Cabbage Salad
Photo: Photography / Greg DuPree, Styling / Ruth BlackBurn / Julia Bayless

You can whip up any of these deliciously fresh and flavorful recipes with just 20 minutes of active time in the kitchen. Ingredients like cabbage, broccoli, asparagus and spinach make these sides perfect for spring, so you can add an easy salad to your backyard grilling menu or pair a favorite chicken dish with some quick roasted veggies for a touch of seasonality. Recipes like our Simple Cabbage Salad and Roasted Mushrooms with Brown Butter & Parmesan are so tasty, you'll want to add them to the menu every night.

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Simple Cabbage Salad

Simple Cabbage Salad
Photography / Greg DuPree, Styling / Ruth BlackBurn / Julia Bayless

Cabbage maintains a nice crunch when it's tossed with an easy dressing in this simple cabbage salad recipe. This easy salad is perfect for fall when cabbage is at its sweetest.

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Loaded Cauliflower Casserole


You'll never want to eat roasted cauliflower any other way once you try this tasty recipe. Bacon, sour cream and sharp Cheddar cheese coat good-for-you cauliflower in deliciousness for an easy side that will make everyone actually want to eat their vegetables.

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Garlic-Parmesan Melting Potatoes

Garlic-Parmesan Melting Potatoes

Crispy, buttery, cheesy, garlicky potatoes--what else could you ask for? Serve these melt-in-your-mouth potatoes alongside steak, pork chops, chicken or fish. If you have leftovers, throw them into a breakfast scramble the next morning.

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Balsamic Roasted Carrots

Balsamic Roasted Carrots
Pictured Recipe: Balsamic Roasted Carrots.

Roasting carrots brings out their sweetness, which is enhanced further with a tangy balsamic and maple glaze. Serve them straight-up for an easy weeknight side dish or garnish with chopped hazelnuts for holiday meals and dinner parties.

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Roasted Mushrooms with Brown Butter & Parmesan


Brown butter lends a toasty note to these savory roasted mushrooms. Enjoy them as a side dish alongside steak or chicken.

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Parmesan Broccoli Bites


Almond flour (aka almond meal) makes the coating on these broccoli fries extra-crunchy and flavorful. Find it in the gluten-free section of large supermarkets and natural-foods stores.

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Melting Beets with Ricotta

Melting Beets with Ricotta
Photographer / Brie Passano, Food Stylist / Annie Probst

Creamy, herbaceous, earthy, sweet, crisp and melt-in-your-mouth all at once? This simple recipe is firing on all cylinders. Use any color beets if golden aren't available. Either way, the cider vinegar will still make them pop, and the ricotta garnish adds just the right amount of creaminess.

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Garlic & Parmesan Roasted Carrots


Roasting carrots in the oven brings out their inherent sweetness, while Parmesan and garlic give this easy side dish a flavorful savory accent.

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Roasted Cabbage with Horseradish Cream

Roasted Cabbage with Horseradish Cream
Jacob Fox

Our roasted cabbage wedges have a beautiful char on the outside while the insides get slightly tender.

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Loaded Broccoli Casserole

Loaded Broccoli Casserole
Jason Donnelly

We take the traditional loaded baked potato toppings—bacon, Cheddar cheese and sour cream—and toss them with roasted broccoli instead. The result is a cheesy side dish that will have everyone rushing to eat their vegetables.

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Quinoa with Peas & Lemon

Quinoa with Peas & Lemon
Ted & Chelsea Cavanaugh

Green peas add a pop of color to this bright whole-grain side dish. Plus, choosing frozen saves you time—no shelling required! Want to save even more time? Use a pouch of precooked quinoa.

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Honey-Chipotle Roasted Broccoli


Honey and chipotle peppers coat roasted broccoli in this sweet and smoky side dish. Serve alongside grilled pork, roasted chicken or with any main dish that could use some kick.

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Balsamic Broccoli & Cauliflower

Balsamic Broccoli & Cauliflower
Ted & Chelsea Cavanaugh

Reaching for a frozen broccoli & cauliflower blend to make this flavor-packed side dish helps save time on chopping, plus the frozen veggies cook quicker than fresh!

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Cheesy Asparagus

Cheesy Asparagus

In this cheesy baked asparagus recipe, asparagus spears are roasted whole smothered in a creamy, cheesy garlic sauce. This low-carb side dish is a great way to entice picky eaters to eat their veggies! Pair it with roast chicken or steak.

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Crispy Salt & Vinegar Potatoes

Crispy Salt & Vinegar Potatoes
Ryan Liebe

This simple side riffs on the traditional pub combination of fries and malt vinegar. They are roasted to perfection, which gives a delicious crispy exterior.

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Lemon-Garlic Green Beans

Lemon-Garlic Green Beans
Will Dickey

These tender-crisp lemon-garlic green beans have tons of flavor from shallots, garlic and the tangy lemon. It's the perfect simple green bean side dish that pairs well with everything.

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Arugula & Fennel Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Arugula & Fennel Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Victor Protasio

This salad is a study in simplicity, so use the best-quality ingredients to allow each one to really shine. Break out that special bottle of olive oil and grab a block of nutty Parmigiano-Reggiano from the specialty cheese section for the biggest flavor impact.

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Roasted Fingerling Potatoes


Oven-roasted fingerling potatoes can be a special holiday side dish, but they're quick enough to enjoy on a weeknight too. The secret to these crispy roasted fingerling potatoes? Getting the baking sheet nice and hot before you spread the potatoes on it.

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Balsamic & Parmesan Roasted Broccoli


This healthy side dish recipe couldn't be simpler--or more delicious. Broccoli is roasted until brown and crispy, then topped with Parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar for a savory and sweet flavor combination that can't be beaten. Try this quick vegetable dish along with chicken, fish or really any main course. It's also great in salads or warm grain bowls. Tip: Preheating the pan helps the broccoli to brown and develop nutty flavors.

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Honey-Mustard Roasted Cabbage

Honey-Mustard Roasted Cabbage

Roasting cabbage brings out its sweet and savory side. Caraway seed is a natural pairing with this cruciferous veggie, and a combination of honey and Dijon mustard deepens the flavor. Serve as a side to pork chops, burgers or roasted chicken.

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Turmeric-Roasted Cauliflower


Roasting cauliflower transforms it into a crispy, tender vegetable. A sponge for other flavors, cauliflower can absorb any spice mix or marinade you add, like this warm and toasty combination of turmeric, cumin and garlic. Serve as a simple side dish, or stir it into salads or grain bowls to add more plant power.

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Maple Roasted Carrots


Roasting brings out the inherent sweetness in carrots--but add a little maple syrup and butter and you have a caramelized vegetable your kids (and you!) will actually want to eat seconds of.

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Lemon Herbed Orzo Pasta


This quick and easy lemony and herb pasta dish makes a delicious side. Try adding chicken or shrimp for a more complete meal.

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Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower

Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower

Roasted broccoli and cauliflower are perfectly cooked with just the right amount of seasonings and char from the oven. Enjoy this simple recipe for any meal or occasion.

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Cheesy Roasted Cauliflower

a sheet pan with cauliflower and a wooden spatula

You'll be craving your vegetables with this easy and oh-so-delicious recipe. Cauliflower gets sweet and tender as it caramelizes from the high heat of roasting. A sprinkling of Cheddar and herbs and a squeeze of lemon on top make it crave-worthy.

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Air-Fryer Asparagus

a platter of air-fried asparagus
Fred Hardy

Use your air fryer to crisp up tender asparagus for a simple and easy side dish. If your air fryer is large enough, you can cook the asparagus in one batch. If it's smaller, cook the asparagus in two batches, keeping the first batch warm as the second batch cooks.

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Air-Fryer Broccoli & Cheese Baked Potatoes


This side dish gives you the best of two potato favorites. Tender baked potato halves are topped with a creamy Cheddar cheese and broccoli filling, then they're air-fried to create crispy skins. Air fryers require a lot less oil than deep fryers, which leaves room for an extra sprinkle of cheese.

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Catalan Spinach Sauté


In this quick and easy sautéed spinach recipe, a handful of standard pantry items transform frozen spinach into a satisfying side dish or omelet filling.

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Lemon Rice (Chitrannam)


Use up leftover rice and make it into something delicious with this healthy Indian recipe. Because cooked rice refrigerated overnight dries out a little, it's better suited to absorb all the flavors in this dish without getting sticky or mushy. In a pinch, use frozen or shelf-stable precooked basmati rice, available in many stores. Urad dal and roasted chana dal add texture and authenticity to the rice--look for both types of dal in Indian markets or online.

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Cauliflower "Potato" Salad


This cauliflower "potato" salad recipe has all the flavor of your traditional potato salad--without the potato. We slashed carbs from this classic salad by using cauliflower instead, but kept all the familiar flavors the same.

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Cheesy French Onion Cauliflower

French Onion Cauliflower Bites
Jacob Fox

If you like French onion soup, you'll love this baked cauliflower coated in melted Gruyère cheese and sweet caramelized onions. Enjoy this as a side dish alongside roast chicken or steak, or as a healthy appetizer. We called for vegetarian Worcestershire sauce in this recipe to keep the recipe vegetarian, but if you don't care about it being vegetarian, feel free to use regular Worcestershire.

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Crispy Smashed Mushrooms with Gremolata

Crispy Smashed Mushrooms with Gremolata
Photography / Dera Burreson, Styling / Lauren McAnelly / Holly Rabikis

Mushrooms get tender in the oven before they're smashed and broiled, creating crispy edges. An herbaceous, bright gremolata completes these tasty mushrooms.

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Steamed Artichokes with Lemon-Basil Aioli

Steamed Artichokes with Lemon-Basil Aioli
Eva Kolenko

The simplest way to make artichokes: cook them whole and eat your way to the tender heart leaf-by-leaf. And they cook up in less than 10 minutes in the microwave!

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Garlic-Butter Mushrooms


Enjoy these savory mushrooms as a topping for steak or burgers, or on their own as a rich umami side dish.

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