Guide to Sides, Vol. 1: Great Basics

guide to sides collage

What’s for dinner?  When that question gets asked, answers are “Grilled chicken! Mac ‘n Cheese! Tacos!”  But what else?  That salad, the green beans and the carrots…. they get overlooked.  Sides can be so-much more than limp lettuce and soggy green beans.  They can be a star!  Or a least a supporting actress…

Here are some of my super supper sides that are easy to whip up, and you’ll be craving to go with your grilled chicken, mac ‘n cheese or tacos.  And trust me on this one tip: the best temp for roasting veggies?  450 degreees.

Roasted Sesame Green Beans

guide to sides green beans2

-OR- Roasted Sesame Broccoli

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Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Trim off ends of green beans (approx. 1 1/2 pounds) and place in rimmed baking pan (or use broccoli florets).  Toss with 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 table spoon of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of ground ginger (it’s the paste that’s sold in bottles in the Asian food aisle).  Roast for 20 minutes, flipping half way through.

Garam Masala Carrots (and/or Parsnips)

guide to sides carrots

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Peel and quarter whole carrots or use baby carrots.  1 1/2 pounds is ideal.  Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and my favorite spice for carrots – Garam Masala.  Roast for 25 minutes, flipping half way through.  Toss in some parsnips if you want to mix things up a bit!

Charred Skillet Corn with Cherry Tomatoes

guide to sides corn2

I love to make this for Southwester/Mexican inspired dinners and it’s so simple.  Slice one pint of cherry tomatoes and put in a bowl.  Heat a dry cast iron skillet over medium high heat and toss in 1 cup of frozen corn.  Don’t add oil.  Once you hear some popping, give the corn a quick stir.  Allow to sit two more minutes, then add to the cherry tomatoes.  Add a splash of olive oil, cider vinegar, drizzle of honey and salt and pepper.

Shredded & Roasted Brussels Sprouts

guide to sides brussels2

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Using a food processor or your super-duper knife skills, slice Brussels Sprouts thinly.  In a large rimmed baking sheet (use two if necessary to get a thin layer of sprouts), toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast for 20 minutes, flipping half way through.  Toss with Parmesan if desired.

Thai Cucumbers

guide to sides cuke

Thinly slice two medium English cucumbers.  Toss with one tablespoon honey, one tablespoon rice vinegar, one tablespoon sesame oil, and a splash with soy sauce.  Toss in one minced shallot (or 1/4 minced red onion).  Chill for 30 minutes then serve.

Stay tuned for Guide to Sides Vol. 2 featuring winter veggies!




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