10 Vegan Side Dishes That’ll Have Everyone Asking for More!


Jan. 3 2024, Published 12:01 p.m. ET

Top view of hands helping themselves to a variety of plant based side dishes
Source: iStock

Most people are all about the main course. Not me. I’m at my happiest when the restaurant lets me order my meal from the sides menu. Not all of them do, which is why I’ve taken to creating my culinary fantasy world at home.

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If you, like me, are all about the tapas style of eating or you simply enjoy having a repertoire of vegan side dishes on hand to bolster your plant-based turkey, you will love this tasty roundup. Here are 10 plant-based side dish recipes you have to try.

Festive Lebanese 7-spice veggie roast

Veggie roasts are the bomb (IMHO), but this Lebanese twist on an old classic from Leeksnbeets takes the side to a whole other level. Not only is it spiced up with a heavenly mix of coriander, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom (is your mouth watering yet?), but the recipe has you adding a bunch of vegan sausages in with the usual veggie suspects. Because, well, why not?

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Chinese-style air fryer green beans

When I think of what to make in an air fryer, things like sweet potato fries, falafel balls, and crispy tofu squares come to mind. But green beans? Color me unimaginative, but that never occurred to me.

This recipe from Piping Pot Curry is ridiculously easy, too. Douse the beans with a mixture of sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic, zap them in the air fryer, sprinkle sesame seeds and chili flakes on them, and serve. Yum!

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Whole roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce

I love these YouTube shorts from @FitGreenMind. She’s always cooking up something tasty, and her recipes are usually not too complicated either. As a relatively new cauliflower convert, I can’t wait to give this one a try.

Roasted cauliflower is oddly umami anyway, but I suspect the tahini dressing with liberal lashings of sriracha, maple syrup, and lime juice will make a party in your mouth for sure.

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Broccoli and cauliflower salad with sunbutter sauce

While it never really took hold, a brief foray into the raw food lifestyle did open me up to the idea that not all vegetables have to be cooked. (I especially love how much time it saves.)

This recipe from Our Salty Kitchen looks absolutely delicious. Combining crunchy broccoli and cauliflower florets with sweet raisins, tangy red onion, and a creamy sunbutter dressing, it's the perfect side dish for a vegan barbecue.

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Chimichurri courgettes

Get ready to elevate your vegan side dish game with this recipe from Georgie Eats. Thickly sliced courgettes are perfectly cooked with olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper until tender and flavorful.

But the real star of the show is the chimichurri sauce. Made with finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, red chili, dried oregano, red wine vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil and finished off with a sprinkle of lemon zest, this zesty dish is sure to be a hit.

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Paleo triple green kale salad

Packed with nutrition and flavor, this kale salad from I Heart Umami will make your health-fanatic friends swoon. The main ingredient is lacinato kale, which is massaged into submission with a combination of sesame and olive oil, garlic, and ginger.

Coconut aminos and aged balsamic vinegar add depth of flavor, while the avocado, snow peas, and hemp seeds finish off this refreshing salad. I can’t say I’m the hugest kale fan, but this might just sway me.

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Dill “pickle” potato salad

Potato salads are a must-have at any BBQ, and this unique vegan take from Better Food Guru will leave everyone amazed. With its tangy, slightly sweet, and incredibly fresh flavors, it's a breeze to make.

Yukon gold potatoes are cooked until fork-tender and tossed, along with cucumbers and red onion, in a sweet, tangy mustard dressing that doesn’t feature mayonnaise. Wild or what?

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Easy vegan creamed corn

As someone who thought tinned creamed corn was a gourmet menu item, I’m excited to try this easy creamed corn side from the Minimalist Baker.

Homemade cashew milk and corn (frozen or fresh) are the main ingredients, while flour, vegan butter, maple syrup, and salt and pepper turn it into a creamy, flavorful dish that’ll have everyone clamoring for seconds.

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Korean bean sprout side dish (Kongnamul Muchim)

A bean sprout salad might not be everyone’s idea of a delectable vegan side dish, but with its Korean flavors, I think this one from Tiffy Cooks might just win the naysayers over. It takes just 15 minutes to whip up and pairs perfectly with a large bowl of rice.

You can make it two ways. The classic flavor includes green onion, garlic, sesame oil, optional soy sauce, sugar, and crushed roasted sesame seeds. The spicy version features an added bite in the form of gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes).

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Easy cilantro lime rice

It’s only fitting that we end this roundup of vegan side dish recipes with some dressed-up rice to enjoy with your bean sprout salad. If you think this staple Asian grain is boring, think again! This easy cilantro lime rice recipe from I Can You Can Vegan will take your taste buds on a flavorful journey.

All you need is white basmati rice, freshly squeezed lime juice, some lime zest, chopped cilantro, vegan butter, and a pinch of salt. But don’t be fooled by how simple it is, because the combination makes a super flavorful result.

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