As plant based eating becomes more popular, we’re always on the lookout for exiting new ways to eat our vegetables. We’ve gathered 35 recipes that roast, steam, grill, and sauté nutritious vegetables, or prepare them raw.
1. Oven-roasted garlic cabbage
If roasted cabbage sounds strange, think of cabbage as basically one giant Brussels sprout. The hardy winter veg is cut into steaks, brushed with olive oil, and sprinkled with garlic, salt, and pepper. Your oven does the rest.
Bonus: cabbage is inexpensive.
2. Tomato fennel gratin
Raw tomato salads are fresh and tasty, but baked tomatoes are rich and luxurious. Especially when they’re layered over fennel tossed with olive tapanade, creme fraiche, and grated parm.
3. Harissa green beans with spiced chickpeas and feta
We love making crunchy chickpeas. Here, they join roasted green beans tossed in a North African red chile paste. That’s an easy “Wow!” We like to make the chickpeas as a snack, too.
4. Spicy maple-glazed carrots
Maple syrup adds a touch of sweetness to counter cayenne’s heat. Bookmark this easy one for Thanksgiving.
5. Cilantro-lime roasted cauliflower
Roasted cauliflower has a nutty flavor, and adding lime zest and cilantro makes it sing. Need another reason to eat more cauliflower? A cup of florets has 3.28 grams of fiber.
6. Roasted broccoli with soy sauce and sesame seeds
The flavor of stir-fry, but less hands-on, this broccoli side looks all fancy when you bring it to the table, showered with sesame seeds. Fancy vegetables are definitely good vegetables.
7. Steamed butternut squash salad with coconut lime dressing
This stovetop dish uses a steamer basket for the squash and greens (minimal clean up). Shake up a simple dressing of coconut oil, lime juice, honey, and cilantro. Yes, we’re talking about side dishes, but we could seriously eat this as a main dish.
8. Steamed broccoli mash
This dish is a great way to use stems (yes people, the stems taste good) and to get everyone to love broccoli. Coconut milk gives the creamy, rich flavor that makes this mash dairy-free. It also brings on the healthy fats.
9. Ginger beets with orange zest
Steaming sliced beets is waaay quicker than roasting whole beets. Dress in ginger-orange-apple cider vinaigrette while they’re still warm so they absorb the sweet, zesty flavors.
Beets are naturally high in sodium, so you can cut down on the amount of salt. Start with less and taste the dressing. Tasting is the key to making good food.
10. Steamed cauliflower with curry butter and toasted almonds
Toss steamed cauliflower in curry-infused butter, sprinkle on toasted almonds, and you’ve got a side dish worthy of a buffet table.
11. Lemongrass and ginger tea-steamed vegetables
A flavorful ginger-infused steam cooks layers of cauliflower, broccoli, and yellow zucchini. They get a surprise visit from Jerusalem artichokes, a sweet, carby tuber.
The rest of the veggies in this recipe pack fiber into each gingery, lemony serving.
12. Shredded brussels sprouts with pistachios, cranberries, and parmesan
We’re always happy to cook brussels sprouts in a new way. Whether you slice them with a sharp knife or, short cut alert, put them through your food processor’s slicer, you’ll cut the cooking time to minutes.
We also leave out the dried cranberries in this recipe because we don’t want the added sugar and carbs. Parm and pistachios give enough flavor to the Brussels!
13. Ratatouille-inspired summer veggie dish
Ratatouille is a summer standby. Zucchini, eggplant, pepper, and onion simmered in tomato sauce, topped with fresh thyme and basil, will pair with any protein.
14. Charred carrots with griddled goat cheese
This blogger, inspired by a trip to Buenos Aires, took a leaf from Argentinian chef Francis Mallman. His stovetop method of charring creates carrot magic.
Topped with greens, parsley, and warm, melty rounds of goat cheese, this recipe is a keeper. It’s so good we almost forget how healthy it is.
15. Vegan coconut creamed kale
Here’s a healthier version of creamed spinach. Swap out the dairy for coconut milk and the spinach for kale.
We tame kale by blanching and draining (squeeze the water out of it) before adding to the coconut milk.
16. Stir-fried turnips and cabbage spiked with cumin
Turnips have a sweet flavor, amped in this recipe by pressure cooking cubes of them, and then sautéing them over high heat (hello, caramelization).
Hint: For a tasty shortcut, look for baby turnips that only need to be cut in half and sautéed for 5 minutes, without precooking. They’re soo juicy and sweet.
17. Cider-braised kohlrabi
Kohlrabi looks like something from outer space, but it doesn’t taste scary. This member of the cabbage family has a crisp, juicy texture, and mildly sweet and sharp flavors that are reminiscent of of a turnip-radish mash-up.
Braising in apple cider, sage, and butter brings out the kohlrabi’s sweetness.
18. Artichokes and fava beans
This Italian-inspired dish requires shelling and peeling favas and prepping artichokes, so get a buddy involved to make it more fun.
Braising them is the easy part. The fiber rich artichokes and garlicy wine sauce goes so well fresh favas you’ll feel like you’re channeling Lidia.
19. Braised romano beans with bacon, baby leeks, chard, and garlic
Romano beans are sort of like a more rugged version of green beans that stand up really well to long cooking. This dish will make your house smell really good.
Hint: Can’t find Romano beans? It’s just as good with green beans.
20. Braised red cabbage with apples and caraway seeds
This traditional sweet-sour German dish, goes with just about anything, but especially pork. It takes about an hour to cook, giving you time to ponder why it’s called red cabbage when it’s purple. (Deep thoughts, we know.)
21. Green beans and cauliflower stewed in tomato sauce
This side of veggies simmered in tomato sauce has a homey, comforting flavor and texture. It’s an easy dish for a family meal, and it’s even better the next day.
And green beans are no slouch in the pan. They’ll contribute to some much-needed potassium to your diet.
22. Beer-braised collard greens
Traditional braised collard greens get a lot of flavor from smoked ham or turkey hocks. Here’s something more fun.
Jazz up this classic by braising the greens in beer, as well as boullion, onion, garlic, and hot red pepper flakes. Plus, collards will give you a dose of vitamin K.
23. Braised kale and broccoli with feta and olives
Olives and feta amp up the flavor in this quick braise of two of our favorite (wink, wink) vegetables.
P.S. No one has to know if you eat it directly out of the pot.
24. Grilled cauliflower steaks with fresh corn and black bean salsa
Slicing cauliflower into steaks opens up new possibilities, like grilling. A vibrant salsa of black beans, corn, and tomatoes is a zesty addition to this side dish. With protein, fiber, and vitamins, this is one nutritious side.
25. Grilled asparagus plate and cilantro pepita pesto
Sending asparagus to the grill brings out its natural sweetness. It’s even more special when served with a spicy, Mexican-inspired pesto that’s so good you’ll want to use it on everything.
26. Grilled escarole with Pecorino
Escarole is one of the milder greens, especially the pale leaves the inside. In this recipe, a head of escarole is cut into quarters, and dunked in soy-balsamic dressing.
Grilled, the flavors caramelize and mellow. A sprinkle of Pecorino is the final enrichment.
27. Grilled carrots with carrot greens pesto
Carrots from the farmers market usually come with the greens still attached, and turning those tops into a vibrant pesto turns your purchase into two dishes.
Use the best carrots available. Soak them in cold water to revive them if necessary.
28. Grilled broccoli with chipotle lime butter
Grilling isn’t just for hanging out on the deck in summer. With indoor grill pans, even a tiny apartment can crank out impressively charred food like this awesome broccoli. (Just try not to set off the smoke detector.)
29. Grilled zucchini Greek salad
Add grilled zucchini to a classic Greek salad, and it gets extra satisfying. This recipe calls for bottled dressing, but making your own is as simple as mixing fresh lemon juice, salt, and real olive oil.
30. Minty grilled snap peas
A grilling pan is the key to making these unexpected snap peas. Charred, fresh sweet snap peas meet fresh mint. There’s mot much this wouldn’t go with.
31. Kale, avocado, tangerine, and sesame salad
Raw kale gets the massage treatment here. Soy-honey dressing, fresh tangerine segments, and creamy avocado makes this irresistible… even if you think you’re done with kale salad.
32. Persian cucumber salad
Refreshing cucumber salad is always welcome on the table. Mild rice vinegar is used in this recipe. You can slice the cukes with a sharp knife, grate them by hand, or use a mandoline.
33. Marinated turnip greens
Turnip greens are among the milder greens. In this recipe, sun-dried tomatoes and olives give it a sweet and salty flavor boost. Prep a day in advance for the most flavor.
34. Shredded raw brussels sprouts with Pecorino, lemon, and olive oil
Brussels sprouts slay in a raw slaw. Skip the mandoline and let your food processor’s grater blade make quick work of these fiber-filled babies. We love 5 minute recipes.
35. Simple celery and almond salad
Finally, celery — that perennial supporting player — gets a starring role in this easy salad. The sliced almonds will make you feel oh-so-fancy, too.
At last, we’re actually looking forward to eating our vegetables with dinner tonight (we might even just eat them first).
Veggies alone are great for you, but sometimes they need just that little extra something. These recipes prove that the right dressings and garnishes are the fastest way to take side dishes from blah to bellisima.