Looking for healthy vegetable side dishes that are super tasty too? From simple roasted vegetables for a weeknight dinner to a fancier holiday side dish or a killer mashed potatoes, the gangs all here so you’re sure to find a new fave. All of these easy vegetable side dish recipes are vegan and gluten free too.

Coming from a euro-centric background, it was always protein-starch-veg on the plate. Usually a simple salad or some peas or something. If this was you too, you can be forgiven for thinking that the vegetables are not the most exciting part of a plate…but you’d be wrong! These healthy vegetable side dishes will show you that veggies pack all the flavour and excitement you can think of – and they just might become your favourite part of your plate!

roasted pumpkin and garlic cloves on baking sheet

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What does a healthy meal look like?

As a dietitian, a lot of folks ask me what it actually means to eat a healthy meal and it’s one of my favourite questions because it has A) a very simple answer and B) it is the perfect example of just how complicated health actually is.

Let’s start with the first (simple answer) shall we?

A healthy meal follows a simple formula:

  • half your plate is covered in fruits and vegetables
  • one quarter of your plate has a protein (peep these awesome plant-based proteins)
  • one quarter of your plate has a whole grain or starchy vegetable like potatoes with their skin
  • plus, add a dash of healthy fat to the cooking or as an add on, like omega 3-rich seeds

I love this guideline because it is endlessly adaptable: making a soup? double the veg in a recipe if it isn’t already veggie-full, and have some sprouted grain toast on the side! Stir-fry? Easy! Want to make a plant-based salad more filling? Don’t forget the roasted chickpeas! If you’re looking to explore more vegetable-forward cooking, be sure to pick up a copy of my bestselling cookbook, Eat More Plants.

Next up, what the heck does healthy diet look like?

The second part of this conversation goes a wee bit deeper. Because, no dietitian would ever expect you to rigidly hold onto some food rule. For example, sometimes, I just want a big ol’ bowl of pasta alfredo and don’t make a salad. And that’s okay…because your overall dietary pattern matters WAY more than what you put on a single plate.

Which means, if most of the time, you follow the plate formula, then if once in a while dinner is popcorn and wine, whatever. Or if you want an ice cream, no problem. Foods that aren’t as nutrient-dense still fit in a healthy diet.

We get sold all sorts of fear mongering nutrition ideas, such as the ludicrous notion that lectins in plant foods cause disease. Or, that a single cookie will cause inflammation because it has sugar. Your body is SO much more resilient than that. Aside from actually allergy or intolerance, in a generally healthy body as long as you provide the nourishment your cells need to thrive, your body can more than handle the occasional dessert, beer or big bowl of ramen.

TLDR: not everything you eat has to be ‘healthy’ for YOU to be healthy. Got it?

All the Healthy Vegetable Sides You Could Ever Need!

Whether its a weeknight, a special family meal or a potluck, I think veggies are always the star of the show!

Stovetop Vegetable Sides

Sautéed Dijon Green Beans Fresh Out of The Oven

Sauteed Green Beans with Dijon Butter (Vegan)

5 from 1 rating
Looking for an easy way to prepare fresh green beans so they’re super flavourful? These sauteed green beans with a simple vegan Dijon butter sauce are sure to be your new favourite vegetable side dish.
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Baked and Roasted Vegetable Sides

bowl and fork with kale gratin

Vegan Oven-Baked Kale Gratin

4.38 from 8 ratings
This cheesy, crispy, craveable baked kale recipe is going to be the side dish you make whenever you want comfort + health in equal measure. Adapted from Bon Appetit.
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Salads and Slaws

roasted butternut squash salad

Vegan Butternut Squash Kale Salad

5 from 2 ratings
This hearty and flavourful kale butternut squash salad has plenty of cozy vibes from roasted squash and creamy white beans. The citrus vinaigrette is so simple to make and adds just a touch of sweetness to this wonderful winter salad.
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sweet potato cauliflower mash in white bowl on gray tablecloth

18+ Healthy Vegetable Side Dishes: Sweet Potato Cauliflower Mash

This decadently healthy sweet potato and cauliflower mash is creamy, rich and just a touch sweet. It's a flavourful and fun way to get more veggies on your plate!
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Ingredients

  • 1 pound cauliflower, cut into florets
  • pound sweet potatoes, cut into 1 inch (2.5cm) cubes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, skin on
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • ¼ cup vegan butter
  • ¼ – ⅓ cup unsweetened cashew, oat or almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 425° F (220° C) and prepare a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment.
  • In a large bowl, toss cauliflower, sweet potato and garlic with oil, salt and pepper and pour onto cookie sheet. Tuck garlic between other veggies so it's less likely to burn.
  • Roast for 20 minutes, check that garlic isn't burning and roast for 10 minutes more. Garlic should be soft, the cauliflower starting to brown and everything fork tender. Carefully set garlic aside.
  • Add roasted vegetables to a food processor, squeeze garlic out of its skin and add to food processor along with butter, sage and maple syrup. Puree until well blended, then, start drizzling in cashew milk to achieve desired consistency. I added just over 1/4 cup (60 mL) to create a smooth texture.
  • Taste, and adjust salt or maple syrup if necessary.

Notes

Tip: You can absolutely mash this recipe by hand, which will result in a more rustic mash but it is absolutely delicious.