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The 22 Best Side Dishes for Tilapia

It’s T-minus 30 minutes until dinner, and you still have no idea what you’re going to make with that tilapia. Never fear, PureWow is here. Presenting 22 side dishes that pair perfectly with the tasty freshwater fish, from cheesy cacio e pepe Brussels sprouts to a hardy, elegant kale salad (and everything in between).

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1. Ratatouille

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Vegetarian, under 500 calories, gluten free, dairy free

Eat like the French…but cook with a little less effort. We’ve streamlined this classic recipe—the results are just as flavorful, but you’re not tied to the stove the entire time.

2. Vegan Pesto-parmesan Spaghetti With Zucchini

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Vegan, ready in <30 minutes, low sugar

Even if you’re not eating vegan, this plant-based side is a treat. The secret? Hazelnut “Parm.”

3. Kale Salad With Persimmons, Crispy Chickpeas And Fried Shallots

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Under 500 calories, <10 ingredients, vegetarian, dairy free

Crunchy? Check. Savory? Check. This gorgeous kale number is anything but bland.

4. Cacio E Pepe Brussels Sprouts

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, sheet pan recipe, low carb, vegetarian

Aka your new favorite side dish. These cheesy bites are so tasty, you’ll want to make this one twice a week.

5. Sugar Snap Pea Salad With Chèvre Ranch

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Ready in <15 minutes, vegetarian, gluten free, under 500 calories, low carb

Few things are more satisfyingly crunchy than a fresh sugar snap pea. The ranch dressing is equal parts elegant and easy to make.

6. Quick Guacamole Quinoa Salad

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Under 500 calories, vegan, <10 ingredients, low sugar

It’s basically a giant bowl of guac masquerading as a salad. If you happen to have leftover quinoa in the fridge, it’ll come together in even less time.

7. 15-minute Lemony Broccolini Pasta

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Ready in <15 minutes, vegetarian, kid-friendly

It’s elevated enough to serve company, but not too fancy to feed to the kids. Best of all, it’s ready in 15 minutes.

8. Tomato Salad With Grilled Halloumi And Herbs

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, vegetarian, low carb, ready in <15 minutes

Meet our summer staple. When the tomatoes are at their peak, a little olive oil, salt and pepper are all you need.

9. Easy Skillet Linguine With Trumpet Mushroom “scallops”

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

Sautéed trumpet mushrooms look like scallops, but are much easier to cook (and a heck of a lot cheaper). You’re gonna want seconds.

10. Spring Pea Soup With Mint

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Vegetarian, under 500 calories, gluten free

Forget what you know about fuddy-duddy pea soup: This one is bursting with color and flavor. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon to take it over the top.


11. Crispy Parmesan Brussels Sprouts Bites

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Crowd-pleaser, low carb, low sugar, under 500 calories

Don’t forget the tangy aioli dipping sauce (it’s great on tilapia, too).

12. Coconut Creamed Spinach

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Under 500 calories, vegan, gluten free, low carb

It’s totally unexpected and just as simple to make, plus, the coconut milk feels decadent but still keeps things light.

13. Orecchiette With Spring Greens

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Under 500 calories, ready in <15 minutes, <10 ingredients

We love a pasta that’s light but bursting with flavor. This one calls for a trip to the farmers market.

14. Slow-cooker Garlic Herb Mashed Cauliflower

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours, 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, low carb, keto

Set it and forget it (then devour it). Nothing against spuds, but we love that the cauliflower keeps things low carb.

15. One-pot, 15-minute Pasta Limone

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, ready in <15 minutes, vegetarian, one pot

Can you boil water? Then you can make this tasty, lightning-fast side. (Psst: It’s delicious enough to serve on its own, too.)

16. Zucchini And Tomato Ragù

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Ready in <30 minutes, vegetarian, gluten free, low carb

Top this saucy side with a fillet of pan-seared tilapia, and dinner is done.


17. Salty, Spicy And Bright Brussels Sprouts Pasta

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, high protein, vegetarian

It’s cheesy, satisfying and beyond simple to toss together, but still packs a nutritious vegetable punch.

what goes with tilapia vegan chop salad recipe
ERIN KUNKEL/MALIBU FARM SUNRISE TO SUNSET

18. Vegan Chop Salad

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Make ahead, vegan, high fiber

The dressing, squash and beets can all be made days in advance and kept in the fridge until assembly (and, in our opinion, taste better that way).

19. “magic” Peppers Salad With Pine Nuts And Capers

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: High protein, Mediterranean diet–friendly, vegetarian

It gets its name because, as you’ll find out, it requires minimal effort to turn out a satisfying, flavorful side dish.

20. Caesar Pasta Salad

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Ready in <30 minutes, under 500 calories, low sugar

Crisp, cool lettuce salad or creamy pasta salad? As it turns out, you don’t have to choose. The dressing can even do double duty as a dip for veggies, pretzels, pita bread and all other dunkable items.

21. Strawberry, Basil And Arugula Salad With Lots Of Black Pepper

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

The berries are marinated in a mixture of vinegar and honey, so the dressing practically makes itself.

22. Green Beans With Garlicky Pistachio Vinaigrette

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, vegetarian, under 500 calories

Cold green beans? Believe it. They’re tough and fibrous when raw, so a quick blanch in boiling salted water, followed by plunging in an ice bath, will tenderize their texture but preserve that appealing bright green color.