7 Sides That Go with Any Meal

When it comes to rounding out a meal, the perfect side dish can make all the difference. Whether you’re serving up a juicy steak, a delicate piece of fish, or a hearty vegetarian entrée, the right accompaniment can complement flavors, add nutrition, and turn a simple dish into a feast. From the comfort of creamy mashed potatoes to the freshness of a crisp salad, sides are the unsung heroes of the dining table. In this guide, we’ll explore a selection of sides that are not only delicious but versatile enough to pair with any meal you’re planning. Let’s dive into these universal crowd-pleasers that will improve your next dining experience.

1.     Roasted Vegetables

Roasted vegetables are a quintessential side that pairs beautifully with virtually any main dish. The high heat of the oven caramelizes the natural sugars in veggies, turning them into a savory-sweet delight with a satisfying texture. You can mix classics like carrots, potatoes, and onions or get creative with seasonal picks like Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, or asparagus. A drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, and your choice of herbs is all it takes to transform raw produce into a roasted masterpiece. This simple preparation not only brings out the best in the vegetables but also complements a wide array of flavors, from the rich and robust to the light and delicate.

2.     Instant Pot Chickpeas

For a side dish that’s both nutritious and convenient, try making instant pot chickpeas. Using an Instant Pot cuts down on cooking time significantly and yields chickpeas that are perfectly cooked and ready to accompany any meal. These versatile legumes can be seasoned in countless ways to match the theme of your dinner, from a simple sea salt and olive oil dressing to being incorporated into more complex, spiced dishes. They provide a hearty, protein-rich addition to your table, and their ease of preparation makes them a go-to choice for busy cooks looking for a healthy side dish that satisfies.

3.     Classic Rice Pilaf

A classic rice pilaf is a timeless side dish that’s as adaptable as it is delicious. The grains soak up flavors from broth, herbs, and aromatics, creating a versatile base that complements any main course. It’s a dish that can stand on its own or be customized—toss in some sautéed vegetables, nuts, or dried fruits to elevate the texture and taste. Rice pilaf’s mild flavor profile means it won’t overshadow your main dish, making it an excellent backdrop for both subtle and bold flavors. Plus, it’s a crowd-pleaser; nearly everyone enjoys a spoonful of fluffy, flavorful rice alongside their meal, whether it’s a casual weeknight dinner or a special occasion.

4.     Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Garlic mashed potatoes offer a creamy, comforting side that’s hard to resist and easy to pair with any main dish. Infused with the aromatic flavor of garlic, these mashed potatoes become an elevated version of the classic side. The key is to blend the right amount of butter, milk, and roasted garlic to achieve a smooth, rich taste and texture that’s neither too overpowering nor too bland. This dish not only adds a touch of indulgence to your meal but also brings a familiar comfort that’s welcomed on any dining table. It’s a side that can cozy up next to a hearty stew or provide a soft complement to a seared steak or grilled chicken.

5.     Quinoa Salad

Quinoa salad is a light and healthy side that’s as nutritious as it is versatile. This protein-packed grain serves as a fantastic base for a variety of ingredients such as fresh vegetables, dried fruits, nuts, and a zesty dressing. It’s a side dish that can be served warm or cold, making it perfect for any season. Quinoa’s subtle, nutty flavor allows it to take on the tastes of the accompanying ingredients, while its texture adds a satisfying bite to your meal. This salad is not only a great way to balance heavier main courses but can also stand as a substantial option for vegetarian and health-conscious guests, ensuring everyone at the table has something delicious to enjoy.

6.     Sautéed Greens

Sautéed greens, like spinach, kale, or Swiss chard, make for a quick and healthy side that fits effortlessly alongside any main dish. These leafy vegetables shrink down when cooked and are seasoned simply with garlic, olive oil, and a pinch of salt, resulting in a dish that’s both light and flavorful. They offer a nutritional boost, rich in vitamins and minerals, while their vibrant color adds visual appeal to your plate. Whether you’re serving a complex entrée or a simple grilled protein, a side of sautéed greens brings a touch of elegance and a punch of health to your meal, making it a guilt-free addition that complements the entire dining experience.

7.     Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Baked sweet potato fries are a delightful twist on a traditional side that can accompany any meal with their sweet and savory flavor profile. These oven-baked alternatives offer a healthier option to classic fries, boasting a crispy exterior with a soft, creamy inside. They’re seasoned to perfection with just a sprinkle of salt, or can be spiced up with paprika and garlic powder for an extra kick. Sweet potato fries not only provide a pop of color on your plate but also a rich source of fiber and vitamins. Their natural sweetness and satisfying crunch make them a hit among all age groups, ensuring a side dish that’s both wholesome and irresistibly tasty.


In conclusion, these versatile side dishes, ranging from the heartiness of instant pot chickpeas to the lightness of quinoa salad, ensure there’s something for every palate and meal. Roasted vegetables, rice pilaf, and sautéed greens add nutrition and color, while garlic mashed potatoes and baked sweet potato fries offer comfort with a healthy twist. Each one brings its own unique flavors and benefits to the table, making your mealtime both delightful and well-rounded. Enjoy crafting your perfect plate with these accompaniments that promise to complement any main dish beautifully.

Krystal Morrison

I create this blog to share my daily tips about home improvement, children, pets, food, health, and ways to be frugal while maintaining a natural lifestyle. Interested to be a Guest Blogger on my website? Please email me at: [email protected]

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