13 Quick Vegetable Side Dishes You Can Make in 30 Minutes or Less

Steamed Carrots with Lemon and Sea Salt
The Ingalls

It's so easy to get into a vegetable side-dish rut, be it the ubiquitous bag of salad greens mixed with a few chopped veggies or the ever-so-friendly roasted sheet pan vegetables. While these are perfectly delicious options, there are so many other wonderful, quick, and colorful ways to eat vegetables that don't take long to prepare. The easy steamed rainbow carrots shown here are the perfect example. If you're looking to mix it up a little, these recipes—all of which take 30 minutes or less to prepare—will help you get started.

It's easy to stick to the tried and true. We all tend to buy the same vegetables each week and forget that there are others to try, like baby bok choy. It's out there, ready to be cooked with a little ginger and garlic, like in Sautéed Baby Bok Choy.

Another way to spice up your veggie routine is to start by looking at the way you cook—or don't cook—vegetables. Have you ever cooked lettuce? Try the Sweet Peas with Shallots and Gem Lettuce, where greens gets a quick sauté just before serving. On the other side, beets and celery root are usually eaten cooked. Mix that up with the Raw-Beet and Celery-Root Salad, so you see how delicious can be when served raw.

If lactose is not your friend, we bring you Dairy-Free Smashed Potatoes, flavored with extra-virgin olive oil and chicken stock instead of butter and milk. Are you looking for a make-ahead dish? The Quick-Cooked Green Beans with Lemon can be served hot or at room temperature.

For the year-round grill fanatics, be you in warmer climates or if you willingly don a parka and grill in the snow, try the Grilled Zucchini with Miso, topped with a sprinkling with sesame seeds. It's a great side dish to serve with just about anything else you might be serving.

All of these recipes will help bring a little pizazz to your dinner plate, and all in under 30 minutes.

01 of 12

Quick-Cooked Green Beans with Lemon

Bryan Gardner

Here's a classy, quick, and versatile recipe. The beans can be served either hot or at room temperature.

02 of 12

Stir-Fried Carrots with Coconut

stir fried carrots with coconut
Jake Stangel

Serve this pretty, tasty, 20-minute side dish with grilled or roasted chicken or as part of your next Indian meal.

03 of 12

Roasted Delicata Squash with Garden Herbs

roasted delicata squash with garden herbs
Mikkel Vang

This vegetable side does take 30 minutes but most of that time is hands off with the oven doing all of the work. Another bonus: Sweet delicata squash doesn't need to be peeled like its big relations, butternut and acorn squash, so prep is super easy.

04 of 12

Fried Brussels Sprouts

Martyna Szczesna

Working in batches is the key to getting deliciously crispy Brussels sprouts; they need space to crisp up. Be sure to bring the oil back to temperature between batches to prevent the sprouts from getting soggy.

05 of 12

Sautéed Broccoli Rabe with Garlic

simply sauteed broccoli rabe healthy sidedish on blue table
Justin Walker

Just a bit of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, some garlic, and crushed red pepper are all you need to make this iconic Italian vegetable side dish.

06 of 12

Dairy-Free Smashed Potatoes


Skip the butter and add richness to your smashed potatoes with a nice glug of extra-virgin olive oil instead. Leaving the skin on the potatoes adds extra nutrition, flavor, and color.

07 of 12

Braised Fennel with Pomegranate

Yunhee Kim

Try to find fennel bulbs with some of the fronds attached. Along with the pomegranate seeds, they are the perfect garnish to add freshness to this quick and delicious braised dish.

08 of 12

Sautéed Baby Boy Choy

sauteed baby bok choy
Christina Holmes

Here's a perfect 15-minute side dish for all kinds of entrées—serve yours with Korean short ribs, seared salmon, or tuck them into a bowl of bibimbap!

09 of 12

Grilled Zucchini with Miso

grilled zucchini with miso
Dana Gallagher

A few minutes on the grill is all this zucchini needs. Put them on the coals after you've grilled steaks or chicken, and the squash will be ready by the time the meat has finished resting.

10 of 12

Raw-Beet and Celery-Root Salad

raw beet celery root salad
Justin Walker

Use a mandolin to make chopping the vegetables for this cold weather salad a snap. It's a great dish to bring to a pot luck, since it can be made up to three days ahead.

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Blistered Shishito-Pepper Salad with Chive Vinaigrette

blistered shishito-pepper salad
Lennart Weibull

Heads up! Shishito peppers are mostly mild—but every now and then you will get a spicy one! Here we pair the shishitos with cool, crunchy honeydew and cucumbers, plus juicy tomatoes.

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Sweet Peas with Shallots and Gem Lettuce

sweet peas with shallots gem lettuce
Anson Smart

Lettuce isn't just for eating raw in salads. This elegant sauté is finished off with Little Gem lettuce leaves, cooked just until they wilt.

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