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

Herbed Lemon Orzo

Rating: 4.5 stars 4
Lemon zest and fresh parsley brighten up plain orzo for a great side dish you'll find yourself adding to your repertoire.
By EatingWell Test Kitchen

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.
By EatingWell Test Kitchen

Easy Fried Rice

Mixed frozen vegetables make this fried rice recipe quick, easy and economical. If you don't have leftover cooked rice on hand, be sure to thoroughly cool your rice before adding it to the wok—if it's too warm, it creates too much steam and sticks to the wok. To quickly cool warm rice, spread out on a large baking sheet and refrigerate while you prep the rest of your ingredients, about 15 minutes.
A portrait of Breana Killeen, M.P.H., RD
By Breana Lai Killeen, M.P.H., RD

Easy Brown Rice

Rating: 4 stars 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.
By EatingWell Test Kitchen

Yogurt Rice

Savory, cool yogurt rice, or "curd rice," as it's referred to on the Indian subcontinent, is the ultimate comfort food.
By Padma Lakshmi

Zucchini Rice Casserole

Rating: 5 stars 41
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.
By EatingWell Test Kitchen

Baked Rice with Roasted Corn, Peppers & Onions

Rating: 2 stars 2
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.
By Deborah Madison

Curried Zucchini & Couscous

Rating: 5 stars 1
Made all in one saucepan, this curried zucchini and couscous recipe is a quick side dish, perfect to serve with grilled meats. For a little sweetness, throw in a handful of raisins with the carrots.
By EatingWell Test Kitchen

Cooked Wheat Berries

Rating: 4.5 stars 3
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.
By Cheryl Sternman Rule

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.
By Naomi Duguid

Slow-Cooker Quinoa-Summer Squash Casserole

Rating: 4.5 stars 3
As this layered slow-cooker squash casserole recipe cooks, the liquid from the tangy tomatillo salsa and summer squash is absorbed by the quinoa, adding tons of flavor to the final dish.

Quinoa with Peas & Lemon

Rating: 5 stars 1
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.
By Karen Ansel, MS, RDN
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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.
Parsley Tabbouleh
Rating: Unrated 5
Serve this tart, parsley-dominated tabbouleh at your next backyard gathering.
Basmati Rice & Curry Casserole (Chana aur Sarson ka Saag Biryani)
Rating: 4.5 stars 3

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.