While entertaining, I generally have a pretty good idea of the entrées I plan on serving. But finding simple side dishes to accompany the main course sometimes leaves me scrambling for ideas.
So, over the years, I’ve come to create and perfect certain dependable simple sides like the ones below. (Images and titles link to the recipe.)
During this season of house guests and family visits, cozy dinners and larger parties to plan; I’m sure the sides I’ve brought together here will point you in the right direction.
Depending on the meat or vegetable being served as your main course, these sides are easy to adapt and work for most occasions and celebrations.
While on celebrations, this week, I’m running a 10% holiday discount on my e-cookbook ‘Spice Up Your Celebration’ with many more sides and celebration worthy recipes. The book is now available globally on all eBook readers like iBook, Kindle and Nook, as well as local sellers like Amazon, Flipkart and others.
Click here to go to the page with discount codes and have the book instantly delivered to you, or as a gift for someone special.
Now, onto the sides…
A year round favorite of mine, this flavor-packed quinoa will soon become your must-have side for parties and get-togethers. Hearty quinoa is cooked in a lemony spiced cooking liquid to extract maximum flavor, and then tossed in fresh lemon juice, herbs and green chili pepper for a spice kick. Anyone who thinks quinoa is too bland hasn’t tasted this dish.
I often use lightly spiced casseroles with different vegetables and meat to add a wholesome element to the dinner spread. This one uses two sharp opposing flavors – the sweetness of corn with the pungency of jalapeno to create an interesting bite; a textural mix that adds flavor to any family dinner or get-together.
The nutty flavors of brown rice complement the sweetness of seasonal dried cranberries and crunchy walnuts in a simple two-step recipe. This go-to salad is truly versatile – swap out the walnuts for almonds or pine nuts, or replace the cranberries with raisins or apricots to create a new serving each time.
One of my trusted seasonal side dish, these Brussels Sprouts are now equally popular with readers and friends who often mention using this recipe. A signature spice and oil blend is smeared over Brussels sprout halves and oven-roasted to perfection, rendering a simple vegetable side of Brussels sprouts with crisp outer leaves, a melt-in-your- mouth soft center and delightful flavor.
Limitless options come to mind with this side featuring orzo pasta, which is shaped like rice and tastes like pasta. In summer, I use it as a bed to soak up the juices of moist kebabs, while in winter the pasta makes an ideal side to any holiday roast. The culinary triumvirate of thyme, garlic and lemon infuse unbeatable taste into the orzo pasta.