21 Vegan Side Dishes That Aren't Just Salad
Believe it or not, vegan side dishes are more than just boring green salads and roasted veggies. From cauliflower rice pilaf to coconut “bacon” collard greens, these dishes are so delicious, everyone—carnivores included—will want to try them. Plus, they pair with just about every main course so serve one up this week. Here, 21 delicious vegan side dishes.
1. Creamy Vegan Lentil and Roasted Vegetable Bake
Chef Nisha Vora's creamy vegan lentil and roasted vegetable bake is the ultimate healthy comfort food. Sweet, caramelized roasted vegetables and hearty lentils are baked in a rich cashew cream; a crispy pine nut topping brings crunchy balance. Tip: To make this gluten-free, omit the topping and garnish the casserole with simply toasted pine nuts.
2. Vegan Avocado Caesar Salad
Caesar salads get a bad rap. Even though they masquerade as a healthy choice, they’re usually fattening and full of empty calories. But we love this nutritious vegan avocado Caesar salad from Avocaderia: Avocado Recipes for a Healthier, Happier Life by Alessandro Biggi, Francesco Brachetti and Alberto Gramigni.
3. Vegan Slow-Cooker Detox Coconut Soup
Reset your system with this light (but still magically creamy) slow-cooker detox coconut soup. It’s vegan, diary-free, gluten-free and piled high with fresh, crisp greens.
4. Turnip Fries
Two things we love: 1) Turning other vegetables into fries and 2) Baking them in the oven instead of, well, frying them. This recipe for turnip fries checks off both of those boxes. They’re healthier and just as tasty.
5. Vegan Butternut Mac and ‘Cheese’ with Smoky Shiitake ‘Bacon’
Did you know that roasted, pureed butternut squash lends itself perfectly to a silky vegan “cheese” sauce? We’re not exactly sure why (something about its sweet, salty, buttery flavor), but we’re not one to question such a wonderful fact of life. Top off your portion of vegan butternut mac and “cheese” from Chloe Coscarelli’s Chloe Flavor: Saucy, Crispy, Spicy, Vegan with homemade smoky shiitake mushroom “bacon” to achieve next-level deliciousness.
6. Radicchio, Lentil and Apple Salad with Vegan Cashew Dressing
Let’s just face it: A creamy salad dressing is far superior to all others. But if you’re vegan or dairy-free, your options are suddenly slim. Aran Goyoaga has found a solution in her dreamy cashew cream recipe, which she transforms into a luscious dressing for this radicchio, lentil and apple salad.
8. Instant Pot Spicy Thai Butternut Squash Soup
Proof that vegan, gluten-free food can be really damn easy? Chef Nisha Vora’s Instant Pot spicy thai butternut squash soup. The author of The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook: Wholesome, Indulgent Plant-Based Recipes says the hardest part of making the recipe is chopping the butternut squash.
9. Dairy-Free Butternut Squash ‘Fondue’
If you’re dairy-free, vegan or just wanting to eat more plant-based foods, fondue has been pretty much off-limits to you. But why should cheese eaters have all the fun? Our recipe for butternut squash “fondue” is just as smooth, tangy and dippable as the cheese version—but about a billion times healthier.
10. Roasted Vegetable Salad with Chimichurri
Put those vegetables you’ve had in the fridge to good use.
11. Vegan Creamed Kale
Healthy, creaming and a total crowd pleaser. You won't miss the dairy, we promise.
12. Greek Cauliflower Rice Pilaf Bowls
Store-bought cauliflower rice will work just as well.
13. Thai Crunch Salad with Citrus Peanut Dressing
This crunchy and vibrant salad is sure to brighten up any main course.
14. Vegan Chili 'Cheese' Dip
“Meaty,” “cheesy” and actually spicy. Sign us up.
16. Coconut 'Bacon' Collard Greens
A great vegan twist on a Southern staple.
17. Italian Quinoa Bites
A crispy side the whole family will love.
18. Sesame-Ginger Cucumber Soba Noodle Salad
One thousand times better than your sad desk lunch.
19. Vegan Dirty Rice & Black-Eyed Peas
Mix in any vegan bacon of your choice.
20. Vegan Naan Bread
Buttery naan without the butter.
21. Baked Zucchini Fries
Veggie based? Baked, not fried? Yep, these truly are the healthiest fries we could find.