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45 Healthy Side Dishes to Celebrate Easter

45 Healthy Side Dishes to Celebrate Easter

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Lunch, brunch, or an elegant dinner—no matter how you're serving your Easter meal, we have a side for you. Our picks will help usher in the warmth of spring, even if there is still snow on the ground.

Best Easter Side Dishes

Celebrate this spring holiday with fresh vegetables and Easter side dishes designed to embrace the season.

From crisp green beans and sautéed carrots to sweet roasted asparagus and turmeric-pickled deviled eggs, our collection of eye-catching Easter accompaniments will thrill your taste buds—and your guests. We're confident these recipes are destined to become family traditions. Go ahead: Savor green vegetables, embrace distinct textures, and amp up all the flavors. After all, spring is finally here!

First up, these crowd-pleasing, bacon-y green beans. Shallots and garlic kick up the flavor, toasted pecans add crunch and fiber, and center-cut bacon lends a salty punch without tons of sat fat in this easy side dish. Last but not least, utilizing the rendered bacon grease in the skillet eliminates the need for butter.

Creamed Curried Spinach

Curry powder adds warmth and earthiness to this speedy version of creamed spinach. Whole milk yogurt gives the side a luscious mouth feel and plenty of body. Serve with steak or with seared planks of spice-rubbed tofu.

Turmeric-Pickled Deviled Eggs

Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez

Deviled eggs get way more interesting when the eggs are pickled in a tangy turmeric-spiked brine that also dyes them a lovely color. The longer the eggs marinate in the brine, the firmer they become and the more vibrant the color gets. For a tangier flavor, use some of the brine instead of water to loosen the filling.

Ginger-Orange Carrots

This spring carrot recipe is great for entertaining: Simply roast the carrots ahead of time and broil just before serving.

Snap Peas with Breadcrumbs and Pecorino

For the best breadcrumb flavor and texture, go for an artisan-quality whole-grain bread instead. A quick toss in a skillet with olive oil adds golden color and just the right crisp to the coarse crumbs. The lemon and pecorino deliver a bright hit of salty flavor. Pecorino Romano cheese gives the topping a sharp, salty flavor, but you could also use slightly milder, nutty-flavored Parmesan. Serve with seared pork tenderloin or broiled cod.

Herbed Ricotta, Asparagus, and Phyllo Tart

Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez

If working with phyllo dough fills you with fear, don't worry—this recipe is beginner-friendly. There's no crimping or folding the dough; you just lay flat sheets of dough on top of each other for a rustic, unfinished edge.

Harissa-Roasted Carrots with Pistachios

Available in most supermarkets, harissa comes in mild and hot varieties; if you want to play it safe, go with mild, then bump up the heat with a dash of cayenne pepper if you like. To make after-dinner cleanup easier, line your roasting pan with aluminum foil before adding the carrot mixture.

Nutty Mashed Sweet Potatoes

If you prefer your sweet potatoes more on the savory side, this dish is for you. Since the tubers are already naturally sweet, we add just a small drizzle of honey to enhance their flavor. The tahini lends a distinct nuttiness and contributes to the overall creaminess of the dish. We use a food processor because it creates an incredibly smooth texture; you can also mash with a potato masher for a more rustic dish.

All the Green Things Salad

Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez

This salad is full of lovely textures ranging from crunchy to creamy. You can make the zippy lemon dressing and blanch, drain, and chill the peas and asparagus up to 2 says ahead, but combine all the elements shortly before serving to preserve the color of the avocado and the crunch of the greens.

Seared Salmon with Balsamic-Blistered Tomatoes

Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez

Fresh tomatoes and balsamic vinegar mirror and amplify eah other; both are a bit tangy and sweet, and both benefit from a little high heat in the pan.

Glazed Carrots Almondine

Traditional versions of glazed carrots can include up to 2/3 cup sugar. Our re-imagined version delivers all the classic flavor with just a tablespoon of honey and a dash brandy. If you’d like to keep this dish kid-friendly, substitute apple cider vinegar for the brandy. Be sure to stir frequently during the last few minutes of cooking to ensure maximum glazed goodness.

Parslied Brown Rice Pilaf

This simple side plays up the brightness of fresh parsley. This unassuming herb is pleasantly verdant and pairs wonderfully with zippy lemon zest and nutty brown rice. Compared with unenriched white rice, brown rice is higher in fiber, protein, B vitamins, iron, and magnesium. New research shows that eating whole grains like brown rice daily reduces colorectal cancer risk, and the more you eat the lower your risk.

Roasted Carrots with Pine Nut Gremolata

Starting the carrots at a high temp gives them a pretty browned exterior; finishing at a lower temp makes them tender. Pair with chicken or fish.

Bacon-and-Apple Braised Cabbage

We add sweet (brown sugar) and tangy (sherry vinegar) flavors toward the end of braising so they stand out in the finished dish. Serve with roast pork or braised beef.

Asparagus With Avocado-Herb Dressing

If you can find white asparagus, try using half white and half green. The white variety will need to boil a couple of minutes longer than the green.

Collard and Chickpea Salad

Look for red palm oil in health-food stores, Whole Foods, and online—it is different from palm kernel oil. You may need to melt the red palm oil for it to be tossed evenly and easily with the chickpeas, as well as to incorporate into the dressing. Roasting the chickpeas adds a nice crunch to the salad. Pair this with a piece of grilled meat, and eat the salad immediately, as the oil absorbs quickly into the collards.

Green Bean Salad

This delicious salad is bright, balanced, and bursting with flavor. The punchy vinaigrette adds tanginess, the walnuts add crunch (plus a hearty dose of healthy fats), and the feta adds a briny, salty kick.

Sorghum with Mushroom and Miso

This flavorful, savory bowl gets a ton of umami thanks to the miso and mushrooms, and the leftover sorghum cooking liquid and butter give this dish a nice creaminess. Technically a seed, sorghum is a nutrition powerhouse, boasting more protein and fiber per serving than other whole grains like barley and brown rice. It’s also brimming with other essential nutrients, such as phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and potassium. Choose whole-grain sorghum for the most nutrition; pearled sorghum cooks up more tender.

Braised Fingerling Potatoes with Oregano and Thyme

A stovetop sauté and an oven braise gives the spuds a bronzed exterior and creamy interior. The stock mixture reduces in the oven, giving the potatoes their own rich gravy. Serve with a simply roasted chicken or pork loin.

Snap Peas With Feta

Be sure to pat the snap peas thoroughly dry before tossing with the creamy yogurt-feta dressing so the dressing coats the peas instead of slipping off. Fresh mint gives this dish a decidedly Greek flavor, but dill would also taste great. The peas are a perfect side for grilled lamb chops or oregano-garlic seasoned chicken.

Sautéed Carrots with Sage

You can easily double, triple, or quadruple this small-yield recipe to feed more hungry Easter guests. A few simple ingredients turn carrots into a star side dish.

Buttery Lemon Broccolini

If you want to get a jump on this recipe, cook the Broccolini four minutes, plunge it into ice water, and refrigerate. Separately prepare the compound butter, and chill it. Then finish cooking the Broccolini in the skillet, and toss it with the butter just before serving.

Pasta with Green Peas and Almond Gremolata

Chickpea pasta can be a nice change from whole wheat—it has a mild flavor and higher fiber content. The gremolata topping (a chopped herb condiment made with lemon zest and parsley) truly makes the dish. It’s crunchy, herby, fragrant, and citrusy.

Steamed Carrots with Garlic-Ginger Butter

Steaming vegetables helps to retain all of the healthful water-soluble vitamins, and these carrots are no exception. The addition of the garlic-ginger butter gives an exotic flair to an otherwise classic dish.

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter

Photo: Randy Mayor and Iain Bagwell

One of the best (and simplest) sides in our magazine's history, this recipe was named Best Vegetable Side Dish in our 20th anniversary issue, making it a perfect choice for your Easter dinner. The browned butter with a splash of balsamic vinegar adds an elegance that belies the simplicity of this approach.

Asiago, Potato, and Bacon Gratin

This side is a sure hit, featuring the three ingredients almost everyone loves: cheese, bacon, and potatoes. Combining Parmesan and Asiago cheeses provides depth and creaminess, while the buttery Yukon Gold potato stands in for the additional fat and calories.

Corn and Parsnip Cakes

Reminiscent of corn fritters, this skillet-cooked side dish features the additional sweetness of parsnips. A golden brown crust adds crunch and makes this side a crowd pleaser.

Green Bean Salad Amandine

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

The classic side dish gets a fresh makeover with the addition of a sherry-Dijon mustard vinaigrette. Haricots verts are the traditional bean, but regular green beans work just as well.

Carrot-Parsnip Soup with Parsnip Chips

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Root vegetables lend their complementary, slightly sweet flavors to this hearty bowl. Stir in more water or broth if you prefer a thinner consistency.

Spinach Salad with Gorgonzola, Pistachios, and Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Red pepper jelly adds a snappy note to the vinaigrette that makes this simple salad memorable enough for an Easter dinner. You can prepare the vinaigrette earlier in the day and refrigerate; let it come to room temperature before tossing it with the spinach.

Roasted Beet, Avocado, and Watercress Salad

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

With red beets and onions and green avocado slices and watercress, this is a festive salad to begin your Easter dinner with. This recipe serves 12, so it's great for large gatherings.

Zesty Three-Bean and Roasted Corn Salad

Cooking Light July 2006 Issue

This southwestern-accented recipe combines canned beans with sweet corn and red bell peppers for a colorful Easter side dish.

Roasted Potatoes with Tangy Watercress Sauce

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Add watercress, basil, and mint to a yogurt base for a fragrant, fresh-tasting sauce you can make up to 2 days ahead. Serve this versatile dish alongside chicken, beef, or lamb. You can also use the sauce as a dip for vegetables.

Fresh Peas with Spicy Pepper Relish

The lightly pickled relish will keep up to two days in the refrigerator, so feel free to prep prior to Easter day. Corn muffins with honey butter would make a great accompaniment.

Grilled Vegetable Salad with Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

If the weather is warm your Easter weekend, you won't want to miss out on this delicious, warm-weather side. This is a smart make-ahead dish because the vegetables can be grilled a few hours prior to assembling the salads. Just be sure to savor every bite—you will certainly be glad you did.

Spinach with Garlic Vinaigrette

Try one of our variations on this basic recipe. Mix with cooked farfalle pasta to make Spinach-Pasta Salad. Try increasing the garlic to three thinly sliced cloves, heat the vinaigrette over medium-high heat and sauté with onion and garlic for two minutes before tossing in fresh spinach to create Wilted Spinach. Another option, microwave 4 (6-ounce) Yukon gold potatoes for 13 minutes or until tender, prepare wilted spinach before dividing among potatoes. Then top each with 1 1/2 tablespoons crumbled feta for Spinach Baked Potatoes.

Haricots Verts and Grape Tomato Salad with Crème Fraîche Dressing

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

This salad tastes fresh, fresh, fresh, with a hint of tangy creaminess from the crème fraîche that also makes it feel indulgent.

Melon and Prosciutto Salad with Parmigiano-Reggiano

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Salty and unctuous, prosciutto is a classic match for fresh melon, and a topping of Parmigiano-Reggiano (the real stuff is worth it here) adds another layer of savory flavor. Make this salad the centerpiece of an easy antipasto Easter meal. Serve with a platter of olives, roasted peppers, sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and, if you're feeling ambitious, add your favorite grilled or roasted veggies, too.

Carrot-Pineapple Slaw

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

The mayonnaise-laden (and usually store-bought) version of this slaw is a popular picnic food. Our healthier version uses a lemon-maple vinaigrette and adds juicy pineapple for extra interest to make this recipe fit for your celebration.

Herbed Green and Wax Beans

Adding a bundle of herbs (bouquet garni) to the steaming liquid imparts subtle flavor and aroma to the vegetables.

Eggplant, Zucchini, and Tomato Tian

Fresh summer squash, eggplant, and tomatoes are the stars in this recipe. A crunchy, salty, breadcrumb coating atop layers of eggplant, zucchini, and tomato give the fresh ingredients the ideal complement. An 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish works well for this recipe, but if you have a 2-quart tian or gratin dish, all the better.

Shrimp and Bacon Deviled Eggs

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Shrimp and bacon elevate these deviled eggs from familiar to fantastic. Party Tip: These can be made up to a day ahead.

Lemon-Scented Broccoli Soufflé

Serve this fluffy side as a perfect foil for your Easter dinner table. The soufflé will fall when it’s taken out of the oven, but its airy texture and fresh citrus aroma will remain long after it has been served.

Asparagus With Balsamic Tomatoes

This recipe is quick and bursting with flavor. We love the sweetness from the grape tomatoes paired with the creaminess of the goat cheese.

French Onion Galette

The trick to making this simple, stylish dish taste incredible is this: Don't rush. You want to really caramelize the onions to give the galette a silky texture and deep, rich, decadent flavor, and there are no shortcuts. But when you're done, you'll have a rustic, free-form version of a savory tart that's pretty enough to serve guests. Or make one for yourself on a quiet Sunday, and keep leftovers for weekday lunches. You can serve it with a slice with a simple side salad for a vegetarian-friendly lunch or dinner, or pair with your favorite eggs for a decadent brunch.

Watch the video: HEALTHY SIDE DISHES perfect for an easy fall dinner


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