30 Sides for a Roast, Whether It's Chicken, Pork or Beef

The roasting season is upon us, and glorious entrees abound. But before you carve into that juicy, melt-in-your-mouth roast chicken you’ve prepared, have you thought about what you’re serving with it? Because plain-old potatoes aren’t going to cut it this year. (A potato-parm tart, on the other hand…now we’re talking.) If you’re looking for sides for a roast, you’re in the right place: Here are 30 pairings that will complement everything from chicken to pork to lamb and beyond.

65 Healthy Side Dishes That Are So Good, They Might Steal the Show

1. Bitter Greens Salad with Herby Ranch Dressing

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: no cook, crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly

when a salad needs to have enough pizazz to cut through a rich meal (say, a roast chicken), we reach for a recipe that’s more complex than our go-to Caesar. Don’t worry, the homemade ranch dressing is creamy enough to temper that bite.

2. Bacon Roasted Rainbow Carrots

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly

These sweet and savory veggies are simple yet elegant, made with just four ingredients and a welcome change to the usual honey glazed baby carrots you love to hate. We’d pair them with everything from pork chops to steak.

3. Utica Greens

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, low sugar, <500 calories

These greens are a regional favorite in central New York, likely because they’re spicy and savory and come together in one pan. In our experience, if you can’t find fresh cherry peppers, you can substitute with pickled ones, or use any other hot red pepper

4. Arugula Salad with Whole-Lemon Vinaigrette

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, beginner-friendly, <10 ingredients

When the main course is rich and savory, a bright, simple salad is necessary to balance all that meat. Make this dressing once and you’ll never throw away another lemon peel.

5. Dorie Greenspan’s Potato-Parm Tart

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 20 minutes (+ chilling time)
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser, vegetarian

As recipe author Dorie Greenspan explains, you can play around with the flavors as you please: “Replace the potato with an apple, preferably one with red skin,” she says. “Or, for fun, make the tart with alternating slices of potato and apple.”

6. Smashed Brussels Sprouts

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly, vegetarian

These crispy, cheesy Brussels bites are loaded with flavor, so we’d suggest pairing them with a relatively simple roast (like a whole chicken or a pork tenderloin).

7. Melted Onions

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly, vegetarian

Onions as a starring side dish? We never thought it could happen, that is, until we saw (and fell in love with) these beauties. They’re made with four ingredients and a muffin tin, natch.

8. Blistered Green Beans with Bacon Vinaigrette

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, gluten free

You already know (and either love or hate) the classic holiday green bean side that’s topped with cream of mushroom soup and onions. Think of this dish like a brighter, fresher take on that. (We’ve also had success pairing the tangy dressing with other vegetables, like Brussels sprouts.)

9. Balsamic-Brown Sugar Carrots

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, <15 minutes, <10 ingredients

According to recipe creator Sabrina Snyder, the vinegar cuts the sweetness of the brown sugar and adds depth. (We happen to agree and would happily eat two servings.)

10. Smoked Gouda and Scallion Mashed Potatoes

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser

When it comes to mashed potatoes (a no-brainer for pairing with all kinds of roasts), we say more is more. A hint of smoky cheese and savory onions take these spuds from fine to fantastic.

11. Cabbage-Fennel Salad with Honeycrisp Apples

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: no cook, ready in <15 minutes, <10 ingredients

This tangy-sweet salad is laced with fennel, maple syrup and celery seeds. If it sounds like an unusual combination, one bite will convince you that it deserves your attention (and pairs deliciously with chicken or pork).

12. Balsamic-Thyme Roasted Mushrooms

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: ready in <30 minutes, special occasion–worthy, beginner-friendly

These meatless morsels are glazed in a tangy balsamic sauce and ready in 30 minutes—the ideal accompaniment to a glorious, meaty main. Explains recipe developer Alex Snodgrass, “The mushrooms practically create their own pan sauce while roasting in the oven.”

13. Spicy Broccoli Sauté

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: ready in <30 minutes, one pan, <10 ingredients

This skillet side is simple yet flavorful, totally crowd-pleasing and blanketed in breadcrumbs—what could be bad about that? Even better, you need just six ingredients to get it to the table. Serve it alongside everything from buttermilk skillet chicken to prime rib.

14. Pommes Anna

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: one pan, special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients

If you ask us, this is “impress your guests” 101. It’s a classic Française dish that requires little more than butter, salt and spuds once you grasp the technique (and you’ll have it down pat in no time, promise).

15. Ina Garten’s Roasted Broccolini and Cheddar

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: sheet pan recipe, ready in <30 minutes, special occasion–worthy

Ina Garten’s take on a green veggie smothered in cheese would go with pork, chicken or beef. With one sheet pan and five ingredients, the Barefoot Contessa manages to transform it into something classy.

16. Charred Cauliflower with Crunchy Garlic Chile Oil

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, special occasion–worthy

The more caramelized the veggie, the better. Plus, if your grill is already lit for a big cut of meat, this one will be a cinch to make. You might want to make a double batch of the chile oil to keep in the fridge.

17. Cauliflower with Roasted Tomatoes, Parsley and Breadcrumbs

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, special occasion–worthy, <500 calories

Roasting the tomatoes brings out their natural sweetness and concentrates their jammy flavor, which we know from experience is great if you’re working with off-season produce.

18. Kale and Brussels Sprout Caesar Slaw

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients

We love kale, but a plain old salad? Been there, done that. This slaw feels fresh and new, and it’s beyond easy to make, plus you can modify the dressing so it’s dairy free. The hint of bitterness pairs well with hearty roasts like beef or lamb.

19. Sweet Potato Biscuit Rolls with Honey Butter Glaze

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, beginner-friendly

We love a canned biscuit as much as the next person, but when you’re pulling out all the stops, try these fluffy, lightly sweet buns instead. The honey butter glaze is everything.

20. Roasted Broccoli with Olive and Almond Pesto

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, low sugar

Odds are you’ll be left with extra pesto (that’s a plus in our book), which will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to one week. Drizzle it atop beans, roasted cauliflower, raw carrots or pasta…or just make double of the roasted broccoli and devour it all in one sitting. 

21. Celery Salad with Walnuts and Pecorino

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, ready in <15 minutes, beginner-friendly

If you’re serving something rich and decadent like prime rib, you’ll want a side that’s refreshing to complement it. Enter this surprising celery number, which is crunchy, creamy and punchy in all the right ways.

22. Crispy and Spicy Harissa Potatoes with Yogurt

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <500 calories, beginner-friendly

These buttery-soft potato bites are coated in a super simple sweet-and-savory crust that gets a little heat from harissa, a chili paste used in North African and Middle Eastern cooking.

23. Hasselback Honey-Glazed Squash with Pistachios and Chiles

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser, gluten free

Hasselbacking” is an impressive-yet-easy technique that adds texture to vegetables. Here, we like to arrange a chopstick lengthwise on either side of the squash to stop the knife from cutting to the bottom; skewers or even butter knives would work too.

24. Herb-Butter Glazed Radishes

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, gluten free

Radishes and chicken are a classic pairing, and roasting the veg in the oven tames the usual peppery bite. The glaze in this dish will work with baby turnips or carrots, in a pinch.

25. White Wine Braised Leeks

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, special occasion–worthy

Like onions, we bet you’ve never really given leeks much thought. But when given a little TLC (aka wine and butter), they shine on their own. This tender, melt-in-your-mouth side dish will totally bowl over your dinner guests.

26. Miso Honey Brussels Sprouts

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: under 500 calories, beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser

The umami, sweet and salty flavors of this sheet pan side dish go with almost any meal, like prime rib, pot roast or leg of lamb. Pomegranates add a festive flare for a holiday, but you can leave them out if you’re making this dish when they aren’t in season.

27. Parmesan Risotto

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, <10 ingredients, gluten free

Think of this simple risotto like a step up from plain-old steamed rice. It requires a little more effort to make, but it’s also not the end of the world if you stop stirring for a minute or two. (Just don’t walk away from the stove and totally forget, like us.)

28. Roasted Indian-Spiced Vegetables with Lime-Cilantro Butter

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, special occasion–worthy

Roasted veggies are always a safe bet, but they could use an upgrade. This medley of carrots, potatoes, cauliflower and parsnips is rich with heady spices and beautiful to boot. We’d pair them with a simple roast chicken, if you’re wondering.

29. Baked Feta with Dill, Caper Berries and Citrus

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, special occasion–worthy

If you’ve never tried baked feta before, prepare yourself for all the oohs and ahhs at the dinner table. Here, the bright citrus and briny caper berries round out the richness of the cheese.

30. Kale Salad with Persimmons, Crispy Chickpeas and Fried Shallots

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, vegetarian

When the salad is pretty enough to be the centerpiece, it better taste good too. Luckily, this one is delicious. Look for Fuyu persimmons, which are pleasantly sweet and can be eaten when they’re still hard like an apple.


Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...