Simple Vegetable Side Dishes That Don’t Suck

I am not a food blogger, or a chef – but I do love eating and I could talk about food all day long. We are also trying to keep our meals healthy and frugal, hence all the veggies.

Roasted Veggies are a great go to (tips and meal ideas here), but these are some other ways we use to
pimp our vegetables…….frugal cheap and easy veggie side dishes, simple on purpose

Let’s start with zee onion…..

Caramelized Onions
If you haven’t caramelized onions before, give it a try. The result is a soft and sweet topping.  Add them to sandwiches, salads, eggs on toast, pizzas (this pizza), or anything with goat cheese (cause they make a great match). We like to make a big batch and keep it in the fridge.
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Baked Onion Rings
When you have run low on fresh fruits and veggies in the fridge, turn to onions to add a side dish. Dip in egg wash, a crumb mixture (add different spices, coconut, cracker crumbs, etc.) and bake. Maybe even add a yummy dip on the side like a garlic mayo or spicy ketchup!
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veggie side dishes, meal ideas, vegetarian meal ideas, cheap food, easy food, quick food, simple food

Roasted Cabbage
Cabbage is a cheap veggie that is most often made into coleslaw (we like fruity slaw) and sauerkraut. If you have any extra sitting in the fridge, cut it into wedges, add garlic and roast.
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veggie side dishes, meal ideas, vegetarian meal ideas, cheap food, easy food, quick food, simple food

Sesame and Turmeric Carrot Sticks
Most people boil or steam carrots, which is great if you are dousing them in butter or using them for baby food. Cutting carrots into sticks and roasting them with some soy sauce and garlic is where it is at!
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Carrot Slaw
Like onions and potatoes, carrots usually last a little longer than other veggies. When you are running low on fresh stuff grab some carrots. Peel, julienne and add a slaw sauce to make carrot slaw. My personal favourite combination for the sauce is orange juice, yogurt, and cumin. You can add in chickpeas, oranges and sunflower seeds to beef up the flavours.
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Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic with Parmesan 
A great gluten free way to eat cauliflower is  cauliflower pizza crust . If you don’t have the time, you can try out roasted cauliflower with roasted garlic and topped with parmesan.
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Cauliflower Curry 
Braise a head of cauliflower, add to a dish with 1/2 can of coconut milk, curry spices, maybe some cashew cream and bake until brown. If you’re ambitious you can even top with cheese and a bread crumb crust and bake til browned.
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veggie side dishes, meal ideas, vegetarian meal ideas, cheap food, easy food, quick food, simple food

Roasted Tomatoes with Basil
If you don’t have a BBQ you can also roast these on a pan in the oven. Cut tomatoes in half, add a bit of olive oil and salt and leave them roasting in the oven or on the BBQ until they soft and browning on the outside. Pull them off the heat and top with fresh basil that will melt into the tomatoes.  I’ve even used whole canned tomatoes when I ran out of fresh ones (in the oven, not on the BBQ).
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Bruschetta 
We like to make our bruschetta with chopped tomatoes, parmesan, basil and oil. Very simple but let it sit for a while and it is delicious. It can be used to top pasta, baguettes, chicken, perogies and baked potatoes.
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Roasted Red Peppers
Some cultures have roasted red peppers at every meal. They are so easy to throw in the oven while cooking the rest of dinner and getting them almost black is the key, so you don’t have to stress about watching them closely. Use them fresh or keep them in the fridge and add to sandwiches, pizzas, pasta, rice and feta, even make this delish dip from Food and Whine!
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veggie side dishes, meal ideas, vegetarian meal ideas, cheap food, easy food, quick food, simple food

Sweet Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Most people hate brussels sprouts. The trick is making them taste good is to make them not taste like brussels sprouts. If you were a child of the 80s you probably had them steamed and smothered with cheese sauce. Now the current trend is to roast the with balsamic vinegar.  I’ve found roasting them and adding in pecans and a maple syrup-balsamic vinaigrette near the end makes them taste the best. We have even roasted frozen brussels sprouts and they worked just fine.
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veggie side dishes, meal ideas, vegetarian meal ideas, cheap food, easy food, quick food, simple food

Blackened Chili Corn 
Having frozen corn in the fridge is great because it can always be added to dishes like chilis, wraps, salads, etc. You can also throw some on a baking sheet, sprinkling some chili powder and broil for a minute or two to have a tasty side dish.
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veggie side dishes, meal ideas, vegetarian meal ideas, cheap food, easy food, quick food, simple food

Hasselback Yam
We love the hasselback potato as a side dish and the hasselback yam is even better. Cut thin slices all along the yam (but don’t cut through) then coat with oil, spices and bake until golden and crispy. This makes a great side with Coconut Braised Spinach and Chickpeas (which is a quick, easy meal my whole family actually eats).
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Chili and Cumin Roasted Yams 
If you have kids like mine, they prefer to eat roasted yams over boiled yams. Toss them with some cumin, chili powder, oil and garlic and roast them. We love to cut them into sticks to make ‘yam fries’ and eat them with a curry mayo
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veggie side dishes, meal ideas, vegetarian meal ideas, cheap food, easy food, quick food, simple food

Smashed Potatoes
I once asked the Facebook what to do with some leftover mashed potatoes. My favourite suggestion was to mix in spices, cheese (and even ham) and them plop them on a baking sheet like cookies and cook them til they were brown.
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veggie side dishes, meal ideas, vegetarian meal ideas, cheap food, easy food, quick food, simple food

Beet Hummus
When your Father in Law keeps you in beets, you eat lots of beets. I will roast them all and keep them in the fridge. Then use them to make salads, but mostly make beet hummus. My sis in law says it freezes well too, but there usually aren’t leftovers in our house.
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veggie side dishes, meal ideas, vegetarian meal ideas, cheap food, easy food, quick food, simple food

Green Beans with Hazelnuts and Basil
The Tassajara cookbook is a cherished gift from a dear friend. Reading it taught me to look at cooking as a prayer or meditation. It also taught me that green beans can be delicious when roasted with garlic, hazelnuts and topped with basil.
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veggie side dishes, meal ideas, vegetarian meal ideas, cheap food, easy food, quick food, simple food

Marinated Mushrooms
Marinate mushrooms for at least an hour in balsamic, oil, garlic and herbs. Then roast in the oven or on the stove. If you are a keener you can stuff them with quinoa and spinach, or cream cheese and onions and then bake them for a great appy. Leftover marinated mushrooms can be added to almost anything like veggie sandwiches, pizza, and pasta
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Don’t forget to check out WHEN IN DOUBT, ROAST VEGETABLES for more meal ideas

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