These vegan side dishes are welcome at any table!
Do you struggle with what to serve with your main course? I know I do. There are only so many days you can have rice or potatoes after all.
Luckily the internet is full of amazing vegan sides to make those busy weeknights a little easier.
Every one of these 27 recipes is delicious and relatively easy to make.
Plus, they can just as easily be served with a roast chicken as a batch of red lentil “meat” balls.
You won’t be surprised to see roasted veggies and quinoa, but I’ve also found a crazy-creamy pasta salad and even cauliflower gratin. So let’s get to it.
Yukon Gold and Russet potatoes are the cream of the crop for mashed potatoes.
They each have great texture, and if you combine them, you’ll have the fluffiest and tastiest mash around.
Unusually, this vegan recipe does not include any kind of milk alternative, which can often leave a slightly nutty taste behind.
Instead, you’ll simply add the cooking water back into the potatoes as you mash them and rely on the garlic oil for flavor.
Cauliflower is the King of vegan cooking. It can become rice, mash, and even pizza dough, not to mention it’s cheap, mild in flavor, and full of nutrients.
That said, depending on what you need it for, there are some specific ways to cook it. We don’t want soggy rice, right?
The best way to make cauliflower rice is with a food processor.
Just use the pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs, and then scrape around the sides to find any lumps.
Then, gently fry to help remove that ‘raw’ taste. This is also great for adding spices and only takes a few minutes.
You can’t go wrong with a big pile of roasted veggies on your plate. They’re colorful, healthy, and easy to change up depending on the season.
During the summer, I like to use peas, beans, and summer squash. Then, as it gets cold, I look for filling root veggies, like pumpkins and cauliflower.
Remember that it’s better to roast them on high and that you’ll need to cut anything heavy (like potatoes) smaller, so they cook in time.
Otherwise, your bell peppers will burn before the potatoes are done.
I can’t tell you how many pots I’ve ruined with burned rice. I can never seem to get the ratio of water or the temperature right.
So, the Instant Pot is worth every penny just for that ‘rice’ setting. It works every time, without fail, and it’s so hands-off too, which I love.
When you see how easy it is, you’ll want to make rice every day!
Broccoli salad is sweet, salty, and typically loaded with bacon, cheese, and creamy mayo, so it’s not very vegan.
This twist on the classic keeps many of the same flavors and also includes some lovely textures.
Between the almonds, red onion, dried cranberries, and grapes, this is crunchy, peppery, chewy, and crisp.
Caramelized or glazed carrots are usually made with lots of butter. They’re rich, sweet, and perfect alongside everything from pot roast to lentil loaf.
Since vegan butter is now so readily available and unbelievably close to the real thing, I’ll bet most people won’t even know these buttery babies are vegan.
Start by steaming the carrots and then gently heat them on the stove with the ‘butter’ and brown sugar until the sugar has dissolved and the carrots start to turn slightly brown.
Even if you don’t love beets, you can’t deny that this salad looks incredible. Doesn’t that color pop like it’s under a filter?
Having said that, I would recommend any beet-hater to try this recipe.
With them being shredded and coated in a sweet and tangy dressing, that earthy taste is mellowed out.
You’ll still taste them, but combined with the carrot, quinoa, spinach, edamame, and avocado; it’s not overpowering.
Cowboy caviar is kind of a cross between three-bean salad and salsa.
It used to be made with just black-eyed peas and a vinaigrette, which is how it got its name.
Of course, it’s been modified over the years, and now it’s full of tomatoes, corn, red onion, black beans, and diced jalapeńos.
Serve this with a drizzle of lime juice and plenty of vegan-friendly corn chips.
Parsnips have a slightly sweet and nutty taste, and just like carrots and potatoes, you can mash these to serve with your favorite Sunday roast.
They make a terrific low-carb option since they have just over half the amount of carbs as potatoes per serving.
They’re also made the same way, and all you need to do is boil and mash.
I like them with some texture, but you can use a food processor if you want them smooth.
Have you jumped on the nutritional yeast bandwagon yet? Also known as nooch or hippie dust, this stuff is kind of magical.
It’s a plant-based protein and bursting with nutrients, but the best part is the nutty, cheesy flavor it imparts in your food.
Add it to vegan sauce or just sprinkle it over your food, and it’s enough to make anything vegan taste cheesy.
Asparagus has a pretty strong flavor, and like beets, I know plenty of people that don’t enjoy them.
But for those who do, you can’t go wrong with roasted asparagus and Parmesan cheese. Of course, with this list being vegan, you’ll use nooch instead.
Asparagus stalks typically come in two sizes, but they taste the same. I prefer the thicker kind because the thinner ones can be a little stringy.
Salad is a fairly standard side dish, but it’s not the most filling.
One way to guarantee it fills you up is to include roasted veggies, such as sweet potatoes.
Adding cashews to the dressing leaves it with a slightly thick and grainy texture, which works really well in this dish.
But if you’d rather it was nut-free, you can always leave them out and add extra avocado. That way, it will be silky smooth.
I only make gravy when we’re having a roast dinner. That means some kind of meat, lots of potatoes and veggies, and gravy made using the meat juices.
Since that’s not an option here, you’ll use onions and garlic as a base and also include soy sauce and vegetable stock for added flavor.
I wasn’t in love with the taste left behind by the coconut milk, so the next time I made this, I just used unsweetened almond milk.
It wasn’t quite as rich, but I preferred the flavor.
The holidays roll around fast this year, and before you know it, you’ll be in the kitchen making a feast.
One of the best sides to any festive dinner has to be cranberry sauce.
It cuts through the savory for a burst of tangy sweetness, and it’s lovely and colorful to boot.
This year, I highly recommend putting down that can of jelly and making this from scratch.
The apples add a pleasant crisp sweetness to the mix, and you can easily adjust the spices.
French fries are universally beloved, but they’re also loaded with salt and oil. So, for something equally as tasty, sweet potato fries are the next best thing.
Unfortunately, if you don’t follow a few key steps, they’ll wind up being soggy and sad.
First, always soak your fries in water for around 45 minutes. This will draw out excess starch and help to make the middle tender and the coating crisp.
After drying them thoroughly, coat them in a mix of cornstarch and seasonings (minus the salt, which comes before serving).
Line the fries on a tray with room between each and bake until golden and crunchy. Season with salt and serve.
Plenty of bread recipes are already vegan, but when you look at rolls, they often contain butter, eggs, and/or milk. That’s what makes them so soft and tender.
This recipe is quite simple and slightly sweet, like every good dinner roll should be.
You’ll use vegan butter to make the dough, but the method is the same as any other bread dough.
Roasted sprouts are a thing of beauty. I love the crispy layers on the outside and that tender, butter middle.
They’re so easy to flavor, too, and with the right glaze, I’ll bet everyone will be reaching for seconds.
In this case, you’ll mix olive oil with balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, salt, and chopped garlic.
Then, just cut the sprouts in half, toss in the glaze, and roast on high until caramelized.
Gratin is a deliciously rich and creamy meal (usually potatoes) served in a shallow dish with a browned topping of breadcrumbs, cheese, and plenty of cream and butter.
It doesn’t sound particularly vegan, does it?
To make a non-dairy recipe, you’ll use cashew cream instead of heavy cream and additional ingredients, like garlic, chilis, and chopped greens.
For those who need something nut-free and prefer it to be thicker, this vegan alfredo sauce works wonders.
Roasted corn is such a treat, and it’s beyond easy to make. Just shuck it, grill it, and devour!
As good as it is with butter and salt, it’s nice to make something different, and Mexican Street corn is one of my all-time favorite sides.
This version doesn’t use any kind of mayo or vegan cheese and instead coats the corn in a blend of cumin, chili, salt, paprika, garlic, olive oil, and lime juice for a burst of incredible flavor.
For something extra decadent, try this recipe, which includes cashew sour cream, vegan mayo, and vegan feta.
The key to making the best macaroni salad is to use small pasta, like elbow pasta which you can even buy gluten-free.
Along with the smaller pasta, you’ll want to cut the veggies small, too. That way, you get a little bit of everything in each bite.
Lastly, don’t go overboard with the dressing.
I know it’s tempting to drown the bowl because it doesn’t look like it’s going to be enough, but the amount listed is just right, I promise.
It’s been years since I saw this dish! My aunt used to make it all the time with everything from stew to pot roast, and I always loved how bright it looked.
She used to make the two separately and then serve them in a kind of swirl. It looked very impressive, but the taste is better when they’re mixed.
Just boil them in salted water and leave them to dry after draining. This is important, or the dish will be watery.
As with mashed potatoes, you can make these as chunky or smooth as you prefer.
It’s safe to say that stuffing is the star of any holiday dinner. It’s crunchy, loaded with amazing herbs and spices, and perfect with a drizzle of gravy.
It’s also pretty easy to make vegan just by using oil in place of butter.
Obviously, the bread you choose also needs to be vegan, and then it’s just a matter of using the right ingredients to make the flavor pop.
Another option is to make it like they do across the pond.
In the UK, stuffing is practically a religion, and it’s served like little meatballs made from breadcrumbs, sage, and onion.
One of my favorite things about butternut squash (and sweet potatoes and pumpkin, for that matter) is that it can and should have a touch of sweetness in the mix.
These veggies are naturally on the sweeter side, so adding coconut milk in place of heavy cream will only enhance that lovely flavor.
There’s also onion, vegetable stock, and soy sauce for a pleasant savory taste.
I used to hate mushrooms. As in, I would pick them out of food if I saw any hiding in my meal.
Something about the texture just turned my stomach, and I was put off for years.
As I got older and more mature, I figured out that you can actually cook mushrooms to remove that slimy, rubbery texture! Who knew?
And once you fall in love with their earthy taste, there’s no better way to dress them up than with oodles of vegan garlic butter.
If you’re a potato lover and you haven’t made Hasselback potatoes yet, please stop what you’re doing and run to the kitchen!
They’re like thick potato chips with a perfect crunchy edge and delicious fillings.
I almost always use oil in place of butter in this type of recipe, just because it’s cheaper and won’t burn in the oven.
Of course, I also usually include cheese and bacon, but this garlic and rosemary version might move to the top of my list.
Pair it with some vegan rosemary and garlic mayo, and you’ll have a hard time going back to boring baked potatoes.
As soon as they’re in season, I buy way too many cherry tomatoes at the farmer’s market. I just can’t resist those colors!
I use them in everything from salads and sandwiches to pasta and even on avocado toast.
This tomato salad is a fantastic vegan side because it’s sweet, tart, acidic, vibrant, and crazy-easy to put together.
Top tip! Put a layer of cherry tomatoes on a small, shallow plate and cover with a second plate.
Then, cut through the little gap to half a whole bunch of tomatoes at once. This also works with the plastic lid from a tub of butter.
On their own, green beans are pretty bland. Sorry, but I just can’t eat them without some kind of seasoning!
Usually, I’d use butter, garlic, and lots of Parmesan cheese. But for this vegan version, you’ll rely on veggie stock and garlic to add flavor.
The most important part here is to char the beans in the pan. Once they have a little color, add the garlic, and season with salt and pepper.
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