Answering the mealtime question, “What should I serve with this?” feels like a pain for lots of us who don’t have much time to prepare dinner. So if you’re bored with plain and bland vegetable, ring the changes with these 7 alternative ideas for quick side dishes:
Cheesy zucchini: Perfect with fish or grilled meat and poultry, with a mediterranean flavor. Wash and cut zucchini into cubes, then roast at 360°F (180°C)for 15 minutes in a rimmed baking dish with chili pepper flakes, thyme, olive oil, salt and pepper. Meanwhile, combine minced garlic, breadcrumbs, grated parmesan and olive oil in a bowl. Combine one tablespoon of tomato paste with roasted zucchini, then sprinkle with cheesy breadcrumbs and bake for 10 minutes more, until crisp.
Baby leeks vinaigrette: Ideal for a light evening meal as starter or side. Boil enough water to completely soak the baby leeks. Add baby leeks and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and transfer into ice-cold water then drain again. Combine mustard, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice in a small bowl to make a vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper then pour over cooked leeks arranged on a plate. You can also crumble an hard boiled egg on top.
Dried-apricot quinoa: Give a Moroccan twist to your dinner! A must-try with lamb or chicken stew. Cook quinoa according to the pack instructions, then drain. Pour boiling water over dried-apricots in a bowl, then drain and chop. Combine quinoa and apricots in a salad bowl and stir in lemon rind and juice, oil, shredded mint leaves and chopped parsley. Add pine nuts if you have some.
Cooked radishes in orange juice: Slightly crunchy, and ideal with white meat or fish. Clean and trim radish leaves then steam cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile squeeze an orange and collect the juice. In a skillet, heat oil, add the cooked radishes, mix and pour the orange juice. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the juice is reduced.
Zucchini casserole with goat cheese and mint: The fragrant blend of goat cheese and mint makes this zucchini casserole a keeper for your quick weeknight dinners, especially served alongside grilled meat. Preheat your oven to 330°F (165°C). Wash and dry 4 zucchini. Trim the ends and slice zucchini very thinly. Mix 3 eggs, cream, salt and pepper together. Place the zucchini slices into a baking dish. Sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese and chopped mint. Pour the egg mixture and bake for 30-40 minutes.
Radish and cucumber salad: A refreshing spring salad for a quick lunch at work. Mix together rice vinegar, sugar and sesame oil. In a large bowl, mix chopped spring onions with peeled and cubed cucumber, and sliced radishes. Stir in the dressing and top with cilantro to serve.
Honey glazed roast carrots: A real treat to accompany smoked bacon. Turn your oven to oven 360°F (180°C). Peel 2 pounds (1kg) small carrots, and put into a roasting pan. Toss with 3 tbsp sunflower oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes. Drizzle over 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar and 2 tbsp clear honey, toss well and return to the oven for 20 minutes more.