Side dish recipes are, for me, often the trickiest part of getting dinner on the table.
There are only so many times I can roast broccoli florets with olive oil and salt (my normal weeknight go-to) and instead make one of our side dishes a little more interesting.
The problem with “interesting” side dishes on a weeknight, though? They usually take too dang long. We’re working against the clock here, people!
That’s why I started seeking out some easy side dishes that did double duty as banging freezer meals.
If I could throw a couple together on a weekend and store for later, I knew it would save me time on the weeknights; bonus was it would change up our boring side dish routine!
So here are some of the tastiest side dishes I’ve found out on these there interwebs lately. I’ve saved them to my Side Dishes Pinterest board, where I’m always adding new pins and recipes, so if you dig this list, make sure to follow that board, too!
Bite-sized chunks of carrot are browned in butter and then a lid is added and they are steamed with maple syrup, making these kid-friendly and a great side dish for your weeknight dinner tale. I used peeled, chopped carrots but baby carrots work great, too!
2 tablespoons butter
3 pounds carrots, peeled and ends trimmed
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup
½ cup water
Chop the carrots into bite sized pieces.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Add the carrots and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots have begun to brown and caramelize in the butter.
Add the maple syrup and stir to coat, then add the water and quickly cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid.
Cook the carrots until the water has dissolved and the carrots have softened through, about 5 minutes.
A simple Harvest Rice Bake, perfect for your holiday table (and a great vegan Thanksgiving side!) Add a shower of crumbled goat cheese if you’re missing out on the creaminess, and don’t forget to use panko bread crumbs- they amp the crispiness in this easy dish.
Somehow, some way, we made it to October.
It’s already the second week of the month, guys, and I’m torn between feeling dizzy at the thought that 2018 is almost to a close, and at the same time gleefully pulling out all my sweaters, boots, and comfy cold-weather clothes.
In other words, see ya later, spaghetti straps. I’ll start missing you in February. Today, I’m all about the knits.
Knits that feel extra cozy when we think about this simple Harvest Rice Bake, made with just a handful of ingredients and is -get this! – the perf vegan Thanksgiving side.
I mean, vegans need love on Thanksgiving too, right? The day is about more than just the turkey!
Of course, if you’re like me, you shower the top of this Harvest Rice Bake with crumbled goat cheese because #IHEARTCHEESE and even though I love me a good vegan buddy, I’m not losing the cheese. So feel free to do whichever version floats your foodie boat.
This is another rice dish made using VeeTee Rice, the company kind enough to sponsor this post (meaning I received some compensation and free rice in exchange for the time and effort it took to develop and photograph the recipe below)
VeeTee par-cooks their rice prior to packaging. This means their rice blends are the perfect match for recipes like this, recipes that “finish” the rice during the overall baking process.
Remember the kimchi fried rice and the spicy arancini from earlier this year? This is along the same lines; the vegetables and rice cook together in the pan, but since the rice is parcooked, the starch within the rice releases earlier in the cooking process, making the whole dish all creamy and yummy and bring in fall flavors like whoa.
I used sweet potatoes and yellow onions in this recipe, but I’m already playing with adding sliced brussels sprouts, or butternut squash, or even chunks of apples into the mix.
You know, like all the fall things that are glorious and wonderful. Grab your wooly socks and a steaming cup of tea and let’s fall the hell out of tonight with a Harvest Rice Bake.
This Harvest Rice Bake brings together simple fall flavors using the ease of VeeTee Rice, a parcooked microwaveable rice. If you’re using regular rice, cook the same amount halfway before stirring it in as in Step 3.
1 10 ounce package VeeTee whole grain brown rice
substitute: 1 ½ cups brown rice
2 cups vegetable broth
1 large sweet potato
1 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (about 2 sprigs)
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup crumbled goat cheese
Preheat the oven to 350*F and grease an 8×8” baking dish.
If using regular brown rice, cook the rice halfway according to the instructions on the packaging. Remove from the heat when the outside of the grain has softened but the insides are still hard.
Prepare the ingredients:
Peel and chop the sweet potato into 1” size dice
Peel and dice the onion.
Peel and mince the garlic
In a large bowl, combine the rice, sweet potato, onion, garlic, thyme, salt, and vegetable broth. Stir to combine, then pour into the baking dish.
Cover the dish tightly with a lid or wrap in foil. Place in the oven and bake 30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes have softened all the way through.
While the dish is baking, heat the olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Stir in the breadcrumbs until they are coated in the oil, then continue to cook, stirring often, until the breadcrumbs have turned a golden brown and crispy. Remove from the heat and set aside.
When the rice dish is done baking, scatter the dish evenly with the fried breadcrumbs and serve warm. If desired, sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese prior to serving.
This simple, three-ingredient recipe makes a fabulous party appetizer, or just a fun weeknight dinner side! This post sponsored by VeeTee Rice. Read my disclosure statement here.
Here’s a simple appetizer recipe for a party that you can whip up in under 20 minutes! Spicy Latin flavors combine with a classic Italian appetizer to create these Crispy Spanish Rice Balls.
Spicy Spanish rice is bound with egg, coated in breadcrumbs, fried crispy, and studded with melty pops of soft Spanish cheese. It’s a simple appetizer recipe for a party that you can throw together with just 4 ingredients!
I’ve mentioned this before, but we’re rice fiends in our home. I love how versatility and inexpensive it is, and how it bulks up pretty much any dish.
We eat rice spicy, cheesy, fried with kimchi, made ahead as meal prep, bulked up under a fast weeknight curry, and a million other ways.
These Spanish style rice balls are a cross between two of my favorite ways to use rice, Spanish rice, and Italian arancini.
Spanish rice, that bright and fiery rice usually served alongside Mexican dishes like burritos or enchiladas, isn’t really “Spanish”, as in from Spain. It’s an Americanized term that refers to a Mexican style of cooking rice with cayenne, garlic, chicken broth, and tomatoes.
And Italian arancini is an appetizer usually made with leftover rice. They’re small, crispy fried balls of rice and cheese, usually served as an aperitif alongside a cool glass of white wine.
Arancini makes a perfect simple appetizer for a party; they’re just the size to pop in your mouth as you mingle and drink with friends.
But what if you don’t have leftover rice to make into arancini? That’s where VeeTee rice flavors come in.
I’ve spoken before about my unabashed love of VeeTee Rice (especially since they have since become a sponsor of Percolate Kitchen, thanks guys!)
VeeTee, a US company based out of Virginia, sell packs of par-cooked rice that are done after just 2 minutes in the microwave.
Where other ‘instant’ rice brands can often become soggy or oddly textured after cooking, VeeTee rice cooks to the perfect al dente, and in only 2 minutes! It makes for a really quick way to add rice to your weeknight meals without having to babysit a pot on the stove.
VeeTee’s Spicy Spanish rice has flavors of paprika, smokey adzuki beans, sweetcorn, tomato, and jalapenos, making it more than just a standard side dish; it’s a whole meal to itself.
But when you’re short on party appetizer recipe ideas, this spicy rice can turn into a perfectly quick dish in under 20 minutes.
Simply take a package’s worth of cooked Spicy Spanish rice, mix it with crumbled queso blanco, and roll in breadcrumbs. Dry the little balls over medium-high heat, then drain any excess oil on a paper towel.
What you’re left with are crispy little balls of spicy rice, cooled slightly with melty chunks of queso blanco, that are perfect for popping in your mouth as you mingle with friends. It’s a seamless blend of Latin heat and Italian cuisine, and the perfect simple appetizer recipe for a party this holiday season (or any time of the year!)
Crispy Spanish Rice ‘Arancini’ is spicy Spanish rice studded with melty cheese and coasted in crispy breadcrumbs; make this simple appetizer recipe for a party this holiday season- or any time of the year!
In a large bowl, combine the rice, egg, and cheese. Use your hands or a large spoon to mix and combine thoroughly.
In a large stainless steel pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.
Pour the breadcrumbs onto a plate. Using our hands or a small handheld ice cream scoop, scoop the rice mixture and roll into balls. Toss the balls in the breadcrumbs until coated, then place carefully in the hot oil.
Fry, turning the balls in the oil until they are browned on all sides.
Place cooked balls on a plate lined with paper towel to drain off any excess grease, then serve hot.