10 Simple & Elegant Sides that [Try to] Show Up the Main Dish

It’s not uncommon to see and hear about emphasis on the main course. It can often feel like the heaviest lift when it comes to preparing meals night after night. However, for those of us who choose quality, grass fed, heritage, and pastured meats as our main course, there isn’t too much fuss needed to get them to a melt-in-your-mouth, “best thing I ever ate” status. That being said, that doesn’t mean the meal prep hurdle can’t pop up elsewhere, like in the form of a side dish. 

We love our salad and all. Yes, we also love healthy options or else we wouldn’t be running an operation that’s devoted to the highest form of holistic health where all elements of the food chain benefit - nature, the economy, mankind, and beyond. But we’re not rabbits and we’re no Julia Childs either. However, not unlike preparing our grass fed, heritage, and pastured meats, there are some sensational side dishes that follow the less is more rule. This is especially true in the summer time in New Jersey, and all along the East Coast really, when you can access so much fresh fruit and vegetables directly from your farmers.

So, without further ado, here are some incredible side dishes that embody the less is more concept. These come together easily, with little time and ingredients, but without sacrificing quality and flavor. Enjoy!

Simple French-Style Potato Salad

You’ll Need:

Potatoes & Vegetables

  • 2 pounds baby yellow potatoes (we used half yellow, half red)
  • 1 Pinch sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup diced green onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley (optional)


  • 2 1/2 Tbsp spicy brown mustard (or dijon mustard)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp each sea salt and black pepper (plus more to taste)
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp good olive oil (if avoiding oil, see notes*)
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped dill

Get the Recipe: https://minimalistbaker.com/simple-french-style-potato-salad/

Sauteed Zucchini

You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 5 medium zucchini (thinly sliced)
  • salt & black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Get the Recipe: https://www.savorynothings.com/easy-sauteed-zucchini/

Roasted Tomatoes Stuffed with Feta, Olives and Pine Nuts

You’ll Need:

  • 6 plum tomatoes cut into halves lengthwise and seeded
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
  • 1 cup feta cheese crumbled
  • 1-1/2 oz cream cheese softened
  • 1/3 cup kalamata olives chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh basil chopped, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Get the Recipe: https://www.gritsandpinecones.com/roasted-tomatoes-with-feta-cheese-olives-and-pine-nuts/

Sauteed Spinach & Leeks

You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium leek, cleaned, trimmed and sliced (see notes)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 8 oz. bag fresh spinach or baby spinach
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Get the Recipe: https://www.familyfoodonthetable.com/sauteed-spinach-leeks/

Cucumber Salad

You’ll Need:

  • 2 medium shallots
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill (or 3 tablespoons chopped fresh)
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 large English cucumbers (2 pounds), or peeled standard cucumbers

Get the Recipe: https://www.acouplecooks.com/creamy-cucumber-salad-with-sour-cream/

Coriander Roasted Carrots

You’ll Need:

  • 1 1/2 lb. carrots, halved crosswise and lengthwise if large
  • 2 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4 oz. feta, crumbled
  • 1/4 c. whole milk yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 1/4 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh mint
  • 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

Get the Recipe: https://www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/a28609650/coriander-roasted-carrots-recipe/

Herby Quinoa, Feta, and Pomegranate Salad

You’ll Need:

  • 300g quinoa
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 85g raisins or sultana
  • 100g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 200g pomegranate seeds from tub or fruit
  • 85g toasted pine nuts or toasted flaked almonds
  • small pack each coriander, flat leaf parsley and mint, roughly chopped
  • juice 3 lemon
  • 1 tsp sugar

Get the Recipe: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/herby-quinoa-feta-pomegranate-salad

Kyoto Style Sweet Potatoes

You’ll Need:

  • 2–3 yams (or small sweet potatoes) sliced in half, lengthwise
  • olive oil for brushing
  • ¼ cup olive oil, coconut oil, butter or ghee
  • 1 large shallot, very finely diced ( about ½ cup)
  • 2 teaspoons ginger finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon miso ( I prefer white, but any color will work)
  • salt to taste
  • 3 Scallions, sliced

Get the Recipe: https://www.feastingathome.com/roasted-sweet-potatoes-with-miso/

Broccoli & Pine Nuts

You’ll Need:

  • 400 g Broccoli, about 1 head
  • 10 g Garlic, about 2 cloves
  • 30 g Olive oil, about 2 tbsp 
  • 40 g Pine nuts, about 0.25 cup
  • 1 g Chili flakes, about 1 tsp 
  • 10 g Lemon juice, from about 0.5 lemon
  • 3 g Salt, about 0.5 tsp 

Get the Recipe: https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/a-bright-simple-broccoli-side-dish-you-can-make-in-15-minutes

Smoky Roasted Cauliflower

You’ll Need:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt
Get the Recipe: https://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/smoky-roasted-cauliflower/

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