The Mediterranean diet is known as one of the healthiest diets not only because it can be adapted to your food preferences, but also because it encourages you to eat lots of filling foods like whole grains, legumes and vegetables. And these side dishes make following this diet easier and tastier than ever. With this batch of 5-ingredient recipes (excluding staples like salt, pepper, and oil), you can easily make flavorful accompaniments to foods you probably already have on hand, like quinoa, beans, or spinach. Recipes like Quinoa with Peas & Lemon and our Quick & Easy Broccoline Saute Recipe are nutritious, easy to prepare, and perfect for the healthy dinner accompaniments you’ll want to make again and again.
Quinoa with Peas & Lemon
Green beans add a pop of color to this bright whole grain side dish. Plus, opting for frozen foods saves you time—no peeling required! Want to save even more time? Use a bag of cooked quinoa.
Quick & Easy Broccoli Saute
Broccoli, with long thin stems and tiny florets, is a cross between broccoli and gai lan or Chinese broccoli. This crispy and tender broccolini stir fry contains a zip of lemon and garlic and just a hint of heat from crushed red peppers. Serve with anything from grilled chicken to fish or steak.
Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower
Roasted cauliflower turns it into a crunchy and tender vegetable. Sponge for another flavor, cauliflower can soak up any spice mix or marinade you add, like this warm, warming combination of turmeric, cumin, and garlic. Serve as a simple side dish, or stir into salads or grain bowls for added plant vigor.
Crushed Cucumber Salad with Lemon & Cumin
Don’t skip salting the cucumbers in this quick cucumber salad recipe — just 10 minutes draws out some of the excess moisture, concentrates the flavors and keeps the salad from watering down. Serve this smashed cucumber salad at a summer cookout alongside burgers and hot dogs.
Sauteed Balsamic-Parmesan Spinach
Soft spinach with a bit of garlic, Parmesan cheese, and sweet balsamic vinegar makes a quick and flavorful side dish. Sturdy cooked spinach leaves hold up best when cooked.
Kalettes, a cross between kale and Brussels sprouts, cook quickly in a hot oven in this easy vegetable side dish recipe.
When cauliflower is pureed in a food processor, it magically transforms into a vegetable that closely resembles white rice. In this easy recipe, cauliflower rice is made into a pilaf concoction.
Balsamic Roasted Green Beans with Parmesan
Sweet balsamic vinegar and spicy Parmesan cheese complement roasted green beans and shallots in this easy and healthy side dish. Roasting the green beans gives them a sweet, caramelized flavor while still retaining a bit of bite. Serve it with chicken, fish, pork – you name it. These green beans are also a great addition to your Thanksgiving meal.
Butternut Squash Air Fryer
Butternut squash becomes tender with slightly crunchy edges when cooked in the air fryer. The simple seasoning here complements the subtle sweetness of the pumpkin. Serve this quick and easy side dish with anything from grilled chicken to pork.
This fresh-tasting 10-minute salad is a simple mix of fresh baby spinach and dried cranberries. To save time, we used bottled Italian dressing, but with a few extra minutes you can easily switch up flavors by making your own sauce–just try our All-Purpose Vinaigrette (see linked recipe).
Steamed Fresh Green Peas
Steaming (but not overcooking!) is a foolproof way to get perfectly crunchy green beans, every time. This easy recipe is a great starting point for other flavors or preparations, such as adding cooked green beans to a salad.
Creamy Cucumber Salad
This creamy cucumber salad is an easy side dish for summer barbecues. Bright dill and white wine vinegar add a fresh tartness to cucumbers and shallots. Enjoy this salad the day you prepare it to keep the ingredients from watering down.
Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower
Roasted broccoli and cauliflower cooked to perfection with just the right amount of spices and some charcoal from the oven. Enjoy these simple recipes for any meal or occasion.
On the Island of Guadeloupe, I Learned to Love Raw Garlic—Now The Highlight of My 5-Minute Tomato Salad
In this installment Eat Diaspora, Jessica B. Harris’s series on the diet of the African diaspora, the author and historian offers up some seriously delicious summer salads, but not for the faint of heart. Fresh chopped garlic gives this salad, inspired by a visit to Guadeloupe, its special flavor.
Parmesan White Beans
Keep the mirepoix mixture—a basic blend of chopped carrots, celery, and onions—in your fridge and save some serious prep time for this simple bean dish.
Quick & Easy Green Beans
It’s a fast and efficient way to cook green beans (and other vegetables), eliminating the hassle of bringing a large pot of water to a boil or draining the vegetables.
Sauteed Zucchini & Mushrooms
Serve this simple side dish with grilled turkey burgers. Other fresh herbs, such as thyme or oregano, also work well.
Garlic & Parmesan Grilled Carrots
Roasting the carrots in the oven brings out their lingering sweetness, while Parmesan and garlic give this easy side dish a flavorful savory accent.
Lemon-Garlic Green Beans
These crunchy lemon-garlic green beans have lots of flavor from the tangy shallots, garlic and lemon. This is the perfect simple green bean side dish that goes with everything.
Sunomono (Japanese Cucumber Salad)
This version of sunomono uses the more readily available English or slicing cucumber, but if you live near an Asian market you can substitute Japanese cucumber. Some recipes call for salting the cucumbers first, but we found that squeezing them with a paper towel removed enough moisture without adding extra sodium. This Japanese-inspired salad is cool, crunchy and delicious.
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