Italian Green Beans Recipe with Crunchy Breadcrumbs and Parmesan Cheese. Best vegetable side dishes. Copyright © 2023 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Best Vegetable Side Dishes and the Main Courses to Serve Them With

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Our best vegetable side dishes and the main courses to serve them with – whether you’re cooking up a casual mid-week meal at home or planning a weekend feast, we’ve got everything from crispy green beans with crunchy breadcrumbs and parmesan to the ultimate creamy mashed potatoes and char-grilled baby corn with pistachios and caramelised onions on creamy butter beans.

If you’re looking for delicious vegetable sides to serve with mains, look no further than this collection of our best vegetable side dishes. We’ve got everything from stir-fried Asian leafy greens, which are brilliant with aromatic braised pork with star anise, to crispy Hasselback potatoes, which are a perfect match with Mediterranean style chicken.

Before I tell you more about our best vegetable side dishes, I have a favour to ask. Grantourismo is reader supported. If you’ve cooked and enjoyed our recipes, please consider supporting Grantourismo by supporting our epic Cambodian cuisine history and cookbook on Patreon, which you can do for as little as the price of a coffee.

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Now let me share this round-up of best vegetable side dishes and the main courses to serve with them.

Best Vegetable Side Dishes and the Main Courses to Serve Them With

This collection of our best vegetable side dishes includes everything from incredibly creamy mashed potatoes and crispy Hasselback potatoes to grilled corn with lime butter and lemongrass mayo to stir-fried leafy Asian greens.

Grilled Baby Corn Recipe with Creamy Butter Beans, Caramelised Shallots and Crispy Pistachios

Topping this compilation of our best vegetable side dishes is our recipe for grilled baby corn with creamy butter beans, caramelised shallots and crispy pistachios. It’s inspired by those deliciously addictive dishes from the Middle East that marry different textures and flavours, such as this warm chickpea salad recipe for hummus balila.

Charred in a griddle pan, the baby corn is tossed with caramelised shallots and crispy pistachios in a cumin-spiced extra virgin olive oil, before being piled onto a creamy butter bean spread, and sprinkled with fresh dill.

While not strictly Middle Eastern (I don’t recall seeing baby corn used during our many years living in and travelling the MidEast), it’s Middle Eastern in flavour and texture and would be a fantastic accompaniment to an Arabic mixed grilled or grilled dishes such as this beef kofta and other starters, sides and salads, such as fattoush and baba ganoush and the like.

And if you make and enjoy this char-grilled corn dish and the warm chickpea salad then make this recipe for Antalya piyaz, which while not a vegetable side dish, it’s practically a cousin, making a white bean salad of creamy soupy white beans topped with a Turkish salad and soft jammy eggs.

Grilled Baby Corn Recipe with Creamy Butter Beans, Caramelised Shallots and Crispy Pistachios

Roasted Cauliflower Recipe with Creamy Hummus, Crispy Chickpeas, Pickled Shallots and Mint

This roasted cauliflower recipe is one of our best vegetable side dishes, and it’s such a fantastic veggie side to roast chicken, baked fish or grilled meats.

My recipe makes a Middle Eastern inspired dish of cauliflower florets roasted in gently spiced extra virgin olive oil, served on creamy hummus, and topped with crispy fried chickpeas, tangy pickled shallots, and fragrant fresh mint.

If you’re looking for delicious vegetable side dishes to serve with family meals over the festive season, the please try my roasted cauliflower recipe. The dish is meant to be shared. Serve it at the centre of the table and let guests help themselves.

As I’ve been testing the dish in recent weeks, we’ve enjoyed it with the braised chicken with olives and capers, below, which quickly became one of our top chicken recipes, and my radish cucumber salad with feta, rucola and fresh herbs.

Roasted Cauliflower Recipe with Creamy Hummus, Crispy Chickpeas, Pickled Shallots and Mint

Italian Green Beans Recipe with Crunchy Panko Breadcrumbs and Parmesan Cheese

Another one of our best vegetable side dishes, this Italian green beans recipe uses a pangrattato of crunchy breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese to make a fantastic vegetable side that’s bursting with fresh flavour and boasts loads of texture.

The fresh flavours come courtesy of the just-cooked green beans, the crunchy texture is due to the panko breadcrumbs and sesame seeds, and there’s plenty of umami from the balsamic vinegar from Modena and Parmigiano Reggiano. Pecorino Romano also works.

It’s an addictive vegetable side dish that’s fantastic with Mediterranean style braised chicken with olives, a luscious chicken cacciatore, succulent pan-roasted brined pork chops, or some rustic artisanal sausages from your favourite butcher. It’s also a perfect side dish for a great steak or côte de bœuf.

Italian Green Beans Recipe with Crunchy Breadcrumbs and Parmesan Cheese

Roasted Broccoli Recipe with Zucchini and Green Beans

This easy roast broccoli recipe for oven-roasted broccoli, zucchini and green beans sprinkled with sesame seeds will make you a healthy vegetable side dish that goes with just about anything, and it’s another of our best vegetable side dishes.

Admittedly, it’s a bit of an East-West fusion, as so many of my dishes are, having grown up in multicultural Australia and lived in Asia for a couple of decades.

With this roast broccoli recipe I combine extra virgin olive oil, which I season with garlic, onion, sea salt, and chilli flakes, brush onto the vegetables, then sprinkle with sesame seeds to add texture and flavour. If that’s too much of a stretch, use sesame oil for a distinctly East Asian taste.

This roast broccoli recipe is nothing if not versatile and if you’re reluctant to go East-West and prefer more European flavours, use ground paprika instead of chilli flakes, skip the sesame seeds, and sprinkle the vegetables with crispy bacon, toasted breadcrumbs or homemade croutons, and even a little grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

Roasted Broccoli Recipe with Zucchini, Green Beans and Sesame Seeds

Russian Eggplant Caviar Recipe for Ikra

My easy Russian eggplant caviar recipe for ikra – known as ‘poor man’s caviar’ in the USSR – makes a deliciously-rich version of this traditional Russian side dish, warm salad, dip, and spread that’s somewhere in between the ikra my baboushka made that was sumptuous and velvety and the ikra popularised during the Soviet era that more closely resembled a diced salad.

Considered by some to be Russia’s ratatouille, ikra is far more delicious as far as I’m concerned. Whether you serve it as a vegetable side, a warm salad, a dip, or a spread, ikra is made of roasted eggplant, red capsicum (bell peppers), carrot, onion, and tomato paste.

It’s incredibly addictive and yet easy to make. Please don’t let the ikra recipes you may have seen before that say this is a ‘complex’ dish to make deter you. When prepping your ingredients, there’s a lot of dicing involved. When frying the ingredients, there’s a bit of stirring required, but there are no complex skills required.

My grandmother would serve a big bowl of ikra alongside an array of dishes that filled their heavy round oak dining table that typically included a Russian garden salad, beetroot potato salad, savoury pirozhki (hand pies), stuffed cabbage rolls, potato vareniki and meat pelmeni. More eggplant recipes here.

Easy Russian Eggplant Caviar Recipe for Ikra, the Soviet Union’s Poor Man’s Caviar


Braised Cabbage Recipe with Bacon for a Rich Savoury Cabbage Side

This braised cabbage recipe with bacon makes a rich savoury side to almost any main course and it’s another of our best vegetable side dishes.

My baboushka served braised cabbage with meatballs, kotleti (chicken meat patties), and roast chicken, and used it to fill Ukrainian-style varenyky. Easy to make, it comes together quickly, though the lower and slower you cook it, the richer it tastes

My braised cabbage recipe with bacon is even richer than my grandmother’s and it’s one of my favourite cabbage recipes. It will make you an incredibly rich and delicious savoury side dish that is a splendid accompaniment to so many mains.

Braised cabbage always featured as one of an array of plates that were shared family-style for Christmas meals, which at a bare minimum included piroshki (hand pies), beetroot and potato salad, a classic garden salad, , and casserole pots brimming with Russian pelmeni and potato vareniki.

Braised Cabbage Recipe with Bacon for a Rich Savoury Side Dish to Almost Any Main


Creamy Mashed Potatoes Recipe for the Perfect Potato Mash

Terence’s creamy mashed potatoes recipe makes one of our best vegetable side dishes, perfect potato mash. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a classic roast chicken, cote de boeuf, crispy skinned salmon fillets, or five-spice crispy pork belly.

These mashed potatoes rely on a very simple formula: one kilo potatoes, 250 grams butter, and 250 millilitres of full cream milk. Add a good few twists of a salt grinder – and fresh pepper if you wish – and you have a classic creamy mash.

Note: while some chefs, particularly French-trained chefs, like to use a food mill, I prefer to use a potato ricer followed by a tamis, pushing the potatoes through with a bowl scraper.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes Recipe – How to Make Perfect Potato Mash Every Time

Classic Hasselback Potatoes Recipe with Baby Potatoes, Spiced Butter and Herbs

This classic Hasselback potatoes recipe for crispy Hasselback potatoes with spiced butter and fresh herbs is another of our best vegetable side dishes. Our recipe calls for baby potatoes, also known as new potatoes, which cook faster.

Brushed with the spiced butter at fifteen minute intervals, these mini Hasselback potatoes are crunchy on the outside and soft within, making a potato side dish that’s both elegant and comforting.

When it comes to recipes for potato side dishes, especially sides for a roast chicken or roast turkey, I find it hard to go past Terence’s heavenly creamy mashed potatoes, a rich Irish colcannon, a warm German potato salad, or my mother’s classic potatoes au gratin, which are some of our best recipes with potatoes on Grantourismo.

But this easy Hasselback potatoes recipe made with baby potatoes, provides some stiff competition. If you’re starting to think about Christmas holiday meals, then consider these quick and easy Hasselback potatoes over boring old roast potatoes.

Classic Hasselback Potatoes Recipe with Baby Potatoes, Spiced Butter and Herbs

Best Shoestring Fries Recipe for the Perfect Potato Side

Our best shoestring fries recipe makes crunchy matchstick fries, which are the perfect side for everything from roast and fried chicken to barbecued meats and beef Stroganoff, and they’re another of our best vegetable side dishes.

My best shoestring fries recipe will make you crispy matchstick fries which we like to serve just as we would our hand-cut fries or potato wedges, as a companion to fried chicken or beer-battered fried fish (they’re fantastic dipped into our easy homemade tartare sauce), meat pies and sausage rolls, or sandwiches and burgers.

We also serve shoestring fries with my traditional beef Stroganoff (or any of my best Stroganoff recipes, actually), along with a classic garden salad, as shoestring fries were the original side to that centuries-old dish served in the grand palaces of St Petersburg.

Tuck into these super-crispy skinny potato fries as you would French fries or potato wedges, sprinkled with your favourite salts or spices or doused in home-made condiments such as Sriracha, mayo or sweet chilli sauce

Best Shoestring Fries Recipe for the Perfect Side for Burgers and Beef Stroganoff

Grilled Corn with Lime Butter and Lemongrass Mayonnaise Recipe

My grilled corn with lime butter and lemongrass mayonnaise recipe makes another of our best vegetable side dishes, especially if you’re in the southern hemisphere and can source summer corn right now.

This is my favourite grilled corn on the cob recipe, inspired by the traditional Cambodian grilled corn, poat dot, a Cambodian street food snack of barbecued corn on the cob with mayonnaise, lime and chilli, and the Mexican grilled corn on the cob street food dish.

Christmas in summer in Australia meant ‘surf and turf’ barbecues for my family. If that’s how you’re spending Christmas tomorrow, then browse our best Cambodian barbecue recipes, which includes barbecue and grilling recipes for smoky grilled pork ribs, marinated beef skewers, grilled eggplant with minced pork, pork spare ribs with star anise, and beef and pork belly skewers.

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Lime Butter and Lemongrass Mayonnaise Recipe


Stir Fried Morning Glory Recipe for Cambodian Char Trokuon

Another of our best vegetable side dishes, this stir-fried morning glory or water spinach recipe makes the Cambodian dish char trokuon. It’s generally eaten family-style as one element of a spread of dishes, centred around rice, that would typically include a soup, perhaps a grilled fish, a salad, and maybe a curry.

‘Trokuon’ means morning glory (Ipomoea aquatic), also known as water spinach, river spinach, Chinese spinach, Chinese watercress, and swamp cabbage. It tastes more delicious than it sounds!

This recipe calls for fried garlic. Some people don’t like the slightly bitter notes so feel free to replace it with fried shallots, which are a little sweeter but have the same texture. In any case, the dish is served well having a little crunch to it.

This is so good, we are very happy eating it just with a bowl of rice, but like the leafy Asian greens above, it’s fantastic with char siu pork (link above), this slow-cooked pork stew with ginger and star anise, or a roast chicken with Southeast Asian flavours (link above).

Stir Fried Morning Glory or Water Spinach Recipe for Cambodia’s Char Trokuon


Stir-Fried Asian Leafy Greens with Oyster Sauce Recipe

This recipe for Asian leafy green vegetables with oyster sauce makes Cambodia’s cha spei preng kachong, and it’s another of our best vegetable side dishes, Any leafy Asian greens or Chinese green vegetables can be used – choy sum, bok choy, baby bok choy, gai lan etc.

There are variations of this vegetable dish within China and right across Southeast Asia, but this is the Cambodian take on this classic side. ‘Cha’ or ‘char’ means to stir-fry or wok-fry, ‘spei’ refers to all Chinese or Asian leafy green vegetables, and ‘preng kachong’ is ‘oyster sauce.’

When it comes to oyster sauce, we like Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster sauce. We use Oh Huat Hin sesame oil, but this is a link to a popular sesame oil. And we love Thailand’s Megachef, a premium fish sauce that’s consistent in quality and widely available.

This is wonderful with char siu pork, roast chicken (link above) or braised pork belly with ginger, black pepper and star anise.

Asian Leafy Green Vegetables with Oyster Sauce Recipe for Cha Spei Preng Kachong


Stuffed Tomatoes Recipe for Cambodian Tomates Farcies

Our stuffed tomatoes recipe makes Cambodian tomates farcies, a culinary remnant of the French colonial period when Cambodia was a French protectorate and part of Indochina, along with Vietnam and Laos.

Another of our best vegetable side dishes, and one of our best tomato recipes, this is my take on the much-loved Cambodian classic of French origin called ‘tomates farcies’, a dish of plump sweet red tomatoes stuffed with savoury minced pork, garlic, onions, and mushrooms that are pan-roasted and/or oven-baked until the flavours meld together.

In the classic Cambodian stuffed tomatoes recipe, the pork in the savoury mixture is raw when it’s stuffed into the hollowed-out tomatoes. I fry the pork mixture in our round flat-bottomed wok until the pork is just-cooked before adding fresh coriander and stuffing the tomatoes with the cooked mixture.

A delicious starter or side dish when cooked in the home, in Cambodia tomates farcies are also sold on the street and in markets, and as ready-to-cook meals in supermarkets

Stuffed Tomatoes Recipe for Cambodian Tomates Farcies, a Culinary Remnant of French Indochina


Traditional Pork Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup Recipe for Cambodia’s Sngao Mreah

This savoury minced pork stuffed bitter melon soup recipe for Cambodia’s sngao mreah makes a traditional Cambodian dish also found in neighbouring Vietnam. Bitter melon, also called bitter gourd, is stuffed with seasoned ground pork and served in a light soup.

A nutritious superfood eaten for its medicinal properties, bitter melon is delicious after the bitterness is reduced by soaking it in salt water. I also increase both the saltiness and sweetness of the savoury mince, as well as adding a little chilli to give the pork mince stuffing more savouriness and more flavour.

When it comes to fish sauce, we often get asked what fish sauce we recommend. We use local Cambodian fish sauces for Cambodian recipes, but if you’re living outside Southeast Asia and don’t have access to Cambodian fish sauces, we recommend Thailand’s Megachef for a quality fish sauce for most Southeast Asian recipes, as its sodium levels are always consistent.

Traditional Pork Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup Recipe for Cambodia’s Sngao Mreah


Aloo Gobi Recipe for a Curried Cauliflower and Potato Side

This easy aloo gobi recipe for a cauliflower and potato curry makes a gently spiced aloo gobi just like your favourite Indian restaurant makes. It’s another of our best vegetable side dishes.

Traditionally a Punjabi dish originating in Northern India and Pakistan, aloo gobi has become a much-loved dish all over the world, thanks to Indian and Pakistani migrant and the proliferation of Indian restaurants.

This delicious curried vegetable dish is brilliant with this Indian-style Burmese curry, coconut rice, tomato and cucumber yogurt raita, and Indian flatbreads, and a couple of salads, which is how the Burmese eat their curries – perhaps this Burmese green mango salad, cucumber salad, potato salad or this raw cabbage slaw.

Aloo Gobi Recipe for a Cauliflower and Potato Curry Like Your Favourite Indian Restaurant Makes


Tamarind Eggplant Recipe from Rajasthan from Indian Cooking Class by Christine Manfield

Our tamarind eggplant recipe from Rajasthan is from the cookbook Indian Cooking Class by Australian chef Christine Manfield, who has a deep love of India, Indian cuisines and spices, having travelled to India 40 times and published four books on Indian food.

If you cooked and loved Christine Manfield’s chole bhatura recipe for a Punjabi chole or chickpea curry, which we also published, then you’re also going to love this tamarind eggplant recipe from neighbouring region of Rajasthan.

This tamarind eggplant dish is sweet and sour, savoury and saucy, and it comes together quickly.  Christine recommends serving it with other vegetarian dishes (such as the chole bhatura on the link above) on a shared table or as an accompaniment to grilled fish or barbecued meats.

We served with a delicious ribs dish from the cookbook, along with raita, paratha, and a Rajasthani kabuli, a festive rice dish studded with dried fruit, cashews, almonds, and pistachios. We’ll share those recipes soon and link to them here when we do.

Tamarind Eggplant Recipe from Rajasthan from Indian Cooking Class by Christine Manfield

Please do let us know in the Comments below if you make our best vegetable side dishes as we’d love to know how they turn out for you.


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A travel and food writer who has experienced over 70 countries and written for The Guardian, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Feast, Delicious, National Geographic Traveller, Conde Nast Traveller, Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia, DestinAsian, TIME, CNN, The Independent, The Telegraph, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, AFAR, Wanderlust, International Traveller, Get Lost, Four Seasons Magazine, Fah Thai, Sawasdee, and more, as well as authored more than 40 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, DK, Footprint, Rough Guides, Fodors, Thomas Cook, and AA Guides.

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