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.

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
2
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.

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.

Parsley Tabbouleh

Rating: Unrated
3
Serve this tart, parsley-dominated tabbouleh at your next backyard gathering.

Roasted Red Peppers Stuffed with Kale & Rice

Rating: Unrated
8
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.)

Wild Rice Pilaf

This healthy rice pilaf combines wild rice with brown rice for a nutty, delicious side dish that pairs perfectly with roasted salmon, chicken or pork. Bonus: Nutrient-rich wild rice has a higher protein content than many other whole grains.

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

Rating: Unrated
2
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.

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.

Nina's Mexican Rice

Rating: Unrated
6
The key to nutty and flavorful Mexican rice is cooking the rice first in oil until it is nicely golden.

Sweet Potato Dutch Baby

A Dutch baby is a puffy pancake. Over the years, they have gained popularity as an alternative to standard breakfast fare and as a stand-in for dinner rolls. In this recipe, boiled and mashed sweet potatoes lightly scent the Dutch baby—you can also substitute mashed roasted sweet potatoes. This would be excellent served alongside hearty beans, vegetable soup or cooked leafy greens.
By Nicole A. Taylor

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
4
This pilaf, made with nutty bulgur, gets plenty of bright flavor from fresh dill, mint, parsley, ginger and lemon.

Zucchini Rice Casserole

Rating: Unrated
23

We pack extra vegetables into this cheesy baked rice casserole. Plus we substitute brown rice for white, reduce the cheese by half and swap turkey sausage for pork sausage. If you're bringing it to a potluck, plan to reheat it before serving.