16 Sides So Good, You’ll Altogether Forget About Having a Main Dish

Photo of author

| Published:

16 Sides So Good, You’ll Altogether Forget About Having a Main Dish

These 16 sides are so good, you might just skip the main dish altogether. We’re not kidding. You’ll find yourself heaping your plate with seconds, maybe even thirds, of these recipes, and not once thinking about what was supposed to be the centerpiece of your meal. It’s all about bold flavors and simple satisfaction here. So, let’s dive into these crowd-pleasers that are about to become the real MVPs of your dining table.

Roasted zucchini slices seasoned with herbs and parmesan cheese on a baking sheet.
Baked Sliced Zucchini. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Baked Tomatoes with Parmesan and Mozzarella Cheese

Baked tomatoes with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese garnished with parsley.
Baked Tomatoes with Parmesan and Mozzarella Cheese. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Baked Tomatoes with Parmesan and Mozzarella add flair to your table. Slice tomatoes, layer with a hearty amount of cheese, season with Italian herbs, and bake until bubbly and golden. This colorful, flavorful side complements any main dish with little effort and is ready in 25 minutes. It brings a splash of color and gourmet flair to your table with very little effort. Perfect for those who need a quick yet impressive side that complements any main dish.
Get the Recipe: Baked Tomatoes with Parmesan and Mozzarella Cheese

Creamy Dill Cucumber Onion Salad

Bowl of creamy dill cucumber onion salad in a bowl with spoons.
Creamy Dill Cucumber Onion Salad. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Creamy Dill Cucumber Onion Salad is a perfect way to refresh your palate. Featuring sliced cucumbers and red onions tossed with a flavorful yet simple dressing of sour cream, mayonnaise, fresh dill, and pepper, it serves a crisp and creamy texture and flavor combination. It is quick to prepare in just 30 minutes and great for hot days or when you need a light, flavorful side. It also works well for meal prep, staying crisp and delicious in the fridge, ready to make your mealtime hustle easy throughout the week. This salad is not only refreshing but also quick to prepare.
Get the Recipe: Creamy Dill Cucumber Onion Salad

Tuna Macaroni Salad

Close-up of a creamy pasta salad sprinkled with paprika and garnished with chopped herbs in a white bowl.
Tuna Macaroni Salad. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Tuna Macaroni Salad is a great choice when you want your side to stand out. It’s quick, budget-friendly, and uses ingredients you already have. In just 40 minutes, mix cooked elbow macaroni with canned tuna, hard-boiled eggs, and a simple dressing of mayonnaise, sweet relish, and mustard. You can also swap in Greek yogurt or try a different mustard flavor. This salad is perfect for dinner, work lunch or a potluck. It’s perfect for beginners or anyone who wants a great side without spending too much time cooking.
Get the Recipe: Tuna Macaroni Salad

Golden Baked Jicama Fries

Jicama fries on a plate with parsley.
Golden Baked Jicama Fries. Photo credit: Plays Well With Butter.

Golden Baked Jicama Fries are a healthy and interesting choice that will get attention. Slice jicama into sticks, boil until soft, then season with avocado oil, turmeric, and garlic powder before baking. This easy side is great for introducing healthier options without sacrificing taste or time. It’s a more nutritious choice that doesn’t skimp on flavor and is mostly just baking time. These fries are perfect for anyone looking to introduce healthier options into their meals.
Get the Recipe: Golden Baked Jicama Fries

Halloumi Fries

Halloumi fries with dill dip on a plate.
Halloumi Fries. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Halloumi Fries are a great choice for a side that stands out. The cheese slices are coated in a simple flour and spice mixture before being baked and broiled until golden brown. This process results in melty, flavorful fries that take only 25 minutes to prepare. These crispy, delicious fries are simple to make and add excitement to any meal. They are incredibly simple to prepare, making them perfect for busy nights. These fries are a great conversation starter and can liven up any meal.
Get the Recipe: Halloumi Fries

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

Twice baked potato casserole with bacon and green onions.
Twice Baked Potato Casserole. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Twice Baked Potato Casserole is sure to be a hit. It combines russet potatoes, bacon, sour cream, milk, butter, and cheese for a creamy, hearty dish. Perfect for big family dinners, it simplifies meal prep and keeps everyone happy and full. This casserole is a powerhouse of flavors, featuring the enticing taste of crispy bacon with the rich texture of mashed potatoes and a cheesy sauce. It’s a filling side dish that can overshadow your main meal.
Get the Recipe: Twice Baked Potato Casserole

Parmesan Crusted Potatoes

A baking sheet with garnished parmesan crusted potatoes on it.
Parmesan Crusted Potatoes. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Parmesan Crusted Potatoes are a great way to impress with minimal effort. They come out crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and seasoned with garlic, herbs, and Parmesan. Peel and slice the potatoes, then score, oil, and coat them with the Parmesan mixture before baking. These potatoes are incredibly easy to whip up and require minimal prep, freeing up your time to focus on enjoying the meal. They’re great for impressing guests or adding a special touch to family dinners.
Get the Recipe: Parmesan Crusted Potatoes

Baked Sliced Zucchini

Baked sliced zucchini with parmesan on a white plate.
Baked Sliced Zucchini. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Baked Sliced Zucchini is perfect for grabbing attention. Slice zucchini, season with Parmesan and Italian spices, and bake to achieve a perfect balance of crispy and tender. This side is quick and easy, taking about 20 minutes to prepare, making it great for busy weeknights or special gatherings. It saves time and adds a flavorful vegetable to your meal. These zucchini slices are a straightforward way to add a vegetable to your meal without skimping on flavor.
Get the Recipe: Baked Sliced Zucchini

Loaded Zucchini Boats

Three loaded zucchini boats on a plate.
Loaded Zucchini Boats. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Loaded Zucchini Boats are perfect for when you want veggies to take center stage. Halved zucchinis are filled with bacon, cheese, and sour cream, creating a dish that’s rich in flavor. These boats are visually good and great for anyone looking to eat more vegetables without sacrificing taste. They’re quick to prepare, making them perfect for busy weeknights. You can have a complete meal in no time, reducing dishwashing afterward. If you’re aiming for a dish that everyone will love and is easy to whip up, this is the one.
Get the Recipe: Loaded Zucchini Boats

Buttery Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Buttery whole roasted cauliflower on a baking sheet.
Buttery Whole Roasted Cauliflower. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Buttery Whole Roasted Cauliflower is a great side that’s easy to make and demands attention. The cauliflower is simmered in chicken stock and roasted with butter, Parmesan, and thyme, resulting in a rich and tender texture. It’s perfect for those who want to add something special to their meal without spending too much time in the kitchen. Ready in about half an hour, this dish impresses with minimal effort. It’s a great way to enjoy vegetables in a delicious form. This dish is sure to be a hit at any dinner table.
Get the Recipe: Buttery Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed mushrooms on a serving tray.
Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms bring a gourmet touch to your table. Filled with a delicious mix of sausage, cream cheese, bread crumbs, Parmesan, and garlic, these mushrooms are baked until golden and delicious. They’re perfect for entertaining since you can prepare them ahead of time and pop them in the oven when needed. This recipe is a stress-free choice for gatherings. The mushrooms will surely be a crowd-pleaser with their rich and hearty flavor. They’re perfect if you want a side that stands out and is easy to prepare.
Get the Recipe: Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice

A bowl of cilantro lime cauliflower rice.
Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice is a light, refreshing side that can easily stand out. Pulsed cauliflower florets are cooked with onion and jalapeño, then finished with lime juice and zest for a tangy kick. This dish is perfect for adding flavor to any meal without weighing you down. Whether stuffing it into tacos or serving it alongside grilled chicken or fish, it fits into any meal plan. It’s a versatile, healthy choice that’s quick to prepare and delicious. It’s a great way to enjoy a fresh and flavorful side.
Get the Recipe: Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice

Roasted Cubed Butternut Squash with Cauliflower and Bacon

Roasted butternut squash with cauliflower and bacon and dollops of sour cream with a spoon.
Roasted Cubed Butternut Squash with Cauliflower and Bacon. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Roasted Cubed Butternut Squash with Cauliflower and Bacon combines butternut squash, cauliflower, spinach and bacon for a hearty yet not heavy side. The vegetables are tossed in avocado oil, garlic, and Dijon mustard, then roasted to bring out deep and rich flavors. It’s a perfect choice for something that complements any main course. The combination of sweet squash and bacon creates a balance that’s hard to resist. This dish is easy to prepare, making it a great option for any meal.
Get the Recipe: Roasted Cubed Butternut Squash with Cauliflower and Bacon

Cauliflower Risotto with Mushrooms

Cauliflower risotto in a pan.
Cauliflower Risotto with Mushrooms. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Cauliflower Risotto with Mushrooms is a low-carb side that doesn’t compromise on flavor. Cauliflower rice and mushrooms are cooked with Parmesan cheese and a touch of heavy cream, creating a rich texture. Ready in just 30 minutes, it’s perfect for those looking to enjoy a comforting dish without the heaviness of traditional risotto. This dish is a great way to reduce carbs while enjoying something rich and flavorful. It’s a quick and easy side that will impress anyone at the dinner table.
Get the Recipe: Cauliflower Risotto with Mushrooms

Fried Cabbage with Bacon

A pan full of bacon and cabbage with a wooden spoon.
Fried Cabbage with Bacon. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Fried Cabbage with Bacon is a quick and flavorful side that’s sure to impress. This dish combines the crisp texture of bacon with the softness of green cabbage and the subtle sharpness of white onion. Ready in just 25 minutes, it’s a versatile side that pairs well with various main dishes. You can also enjoy it all on its own for a lighter meal. It’s perfect for those who need a fast and delicious addition to their dinner. This dish makes dinner time easy and filling without much effort.
Get the Recipe: Fried Cabbage with Bacon

Creamy Broccoli with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

A pan of creamy broccoli with sun-dried tomatoes with a wooden spoon.
Creamy Broccoli with Sun-Dried Tomatoes. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Creamy Broccoli with Sun-Dried Tomatoes turns a simple vegetable into a rich and hearty side. Broccoli florets and sun-dried tomatoes are coated in a creamy sauce with spices, making this dish quick to prepare and perfect for busy nights when you need something filling and flavorful. Ready in about 25 minutes, it’s a great way to enjoy a side without spending too much time in the kitchen. This dish is sure to be a standout on any dinner table. This recipe is a great choice if you want an easy and delicious side.
Get the Recipe: Creamy Broccoli with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.