If you love to cook your meals every day, there is the difficulty that many home cooks run into: what side dish to pair with the meat? A side dish that both complements and delights as much as a well-cooked, tender, succulent piece of meat can be as challenging as deciding what meat to cook in the first place.
From our favorite side-dish vegetables to indulgent casseroles and tons of other options, we will explore meat and side dish pairings that will no doubt help give you countless ideas.
Beef Side Dish Pairings
One of the simplest and high on the list of comfort food side dishes for beef. All you need are potatoes, some fat, plenty of salt and if you wish, onion. Pre-cooked potatoes, such as leftovers or freshly boiled fried in a pan with butter and oil as well as onions until a deep, crisp, golden brown.
Scalloped potatoes have always been a traditional, stick-to-your-ribs delicious side dish. Consider elevating the usual by adding sharp cheddar and bacon, always the right combination when it comes to potatoes.
Garlic Butter Mushrooms
Butter, garlic, thyme, and vinegar poured over cremini mushrooms, seasoned with salt and pepper and roasted until golden and tender. These garlic butter mushrooms will surely be a side dish that will have friends and family coming back for seconds!
Couscous – The Lighter Side
For a lighter side that is still as fulfilling and as comforting as other sides, couscous is a fantastic and versatile side for any cut of beef. Cook your couscous in chicken broth with the juice of a lemon, salt, pepper, olive oil, and freshly chopped parsley for garnish for a bright pop of flavor. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes, or more if you enjoy a flash of heat too.
Balsamic Roasted Carrots
It can be a bit of struggle to get the pickiest of eaters in the house to try and enjoy carrots. Luckily, roasting a carrot often brings out luscious, layered flavorings, and sweet caramelization that changes the typical flavor. A basic balsamic glaze comprised of vinegar, olive oil, a dash of maple syrup, salt, pepper, and you will have fork-tender carrots that may just convert the biggest carrot hater.
Poultry Side Dish Pairings
Any way you want to dress the salad up, recipes that differ from family tradition and state to state, potato salad is the ultimate summer side dish. It is also the perfect pairing for juicy, tender barbeque chicken. Most potato salads are made ahead for the best flavoring, too, so they can be a time saver.
Sautéed Garlic Parmesan Zucchini
No need for a side dish to be elaborate to be packed with flavor. Simple, easy, and quick, sautéed zucchini is the perfect dish for nights when you simply don't have the time or energy yet tastes as delicious as something you could have been preparing for hours. Slightly caramelized zucchini in a cast-iron pan is a subtle flavor, tossing garlic and the nutty sharpness of parmesan work to bring it all together.
Sugar Snap Peas
Cooking some orange chicken? Maybe tonight you will be having Kung Pao or General Tso's? If so, sugar snap peas will be the flawless side dish choice for these chicken dishes. All you need to make this dish to perfection is 5 minutes for crispy perfection. Some olive oil and one pound of sugar snap peas over medium heat for 5 minutes, then serve sprinkled with salt.
Speaking of easy, nothing is quite as easy as tossing a few things you have from your refrigerator together to create a salad to go with your poultry. All you need is fresh spinach, a few slices of apple, a red onion thinly sliced, some crumbled feta, and a few sliced almonds to make a crunchy, savory, sweet side salad. Top it with a low-calorie dressing of choice.
Bruschetta Pasta Salad
The best flavors of Bruschetta in a comforting pasta dish! Any pasta will do, but shells or orecchiette may work better at holding bits of that flavorful drizzle of balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and fresh basil.
Seafood Side Dish Pairings
Creamy Southern Succotash
Typical and classic succotash contains corn and lima beans and just before the dish is ready, cream or milk and butter are added. You can use fresh or frozen and experiment with complementary seasonings such as adding onion, garlic, salt, and black pepper. This is a dish that is excellent to pair with seafood.
Garlic Herb Butter Fettuccine
For a shrimp side dish, a nice balanced creation like garlic herb butter fettuccine will bring out the unique flavors of this often-favorite shellfish. Grilled, fried, or boiled in the shell, this pasta side dish goes well with it all.
Other extremely easy side dishes for fish:
- Steamed spinach
- Arugula salad
- Green beans
- Caesar salad
Pork Side Dish Pairings
Butternut Squash with Onions and Pecans
Easy winter squash recipe that has a nutty, creamy taste that is excellent for salty pork chops. All that is needed is butter, onion, butternut squash, chopped pecans and salt and pepper to taste. Roast the butternut squash in the oven for sumptuous caramelization, brown onion in a pan, and combine for a side dish that will be a hit no matter who enjoys it.
Mushroom Rice Pilaf
Bringing flavors that mingle well with any piece of pork, fresh mushrooms, green peppers, and onions tossed with fluffy white rice then seasoned with garlic is always an excellent side dish.
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
While this popular comfort food goes well with anything, it is an especially delicious side to popular pork cuts. Creamy, cheesy, and very filling, the ingredients are affordable, and the preparation is relatively easy to whip up in a few moments for any dinner.
Whenever you need a bit more inspiration in what sides to pick, look no further. Whether it is a simple salad or a heaping spoonful of creamy macaroni and cheese, we have a little bit of flavor to cover whatever you may be craving.