When it comes to dinner parties, entrées are important, sure…but everyone knows it’s the side dishes that really steal the show. Whether you’re headed to a potluck or hosting a party yourself, it’s time to upgrade from your usual glazed carrots and roasted cauliflower. Here are 60 easy side dishes for parties that are impressive, exciting and will wow your guests at any gathering.
1. Roasted Indian-Spiced Vegetables with Lime-Cilantro Butter
Roasted veggies are always a safe bet, but they could use an upgrade. This medley of carrots, potatoes, cauliflower and parsnips is rich with heady spices and beautiful to boot.
2. Cauliflower, Pomegranate and Apple Salad
We’re suckers for cauliflower, but it’s the tahini-honey dressing that has us coming back for seconds. (You might want to make extra; it’s that good.)
3. Baked Feta with Dill, Caper Berries and Citrus
If you’ve never tried baked feta before, prepare yourself for all the oohs and ahhs at the dinner table. Here, the bright citrus and briny caper berries round out the richness of the cheese.
4. Domino Potatoes
Thinly sliced and doused in butter, these spuds are ready for their close-up.
5. Radicchio, Lentil and Apple Salad with Vegan Cashew Dressing
Trust us: No one will miss the dairy when they taste this vegan cashew dressing. It’s creamy and slightly sweet—just what the crisp, slightly bitter radicchio needs.
6. Roasted Squash Salad with White Beans, Bread Crumbs and Preserved Lemon
A hearty salad can easily double as a side dish for a crowd, and Aran Goyoaga’s is one of our favorites. Even better, it keeps well in the fridge if you want to make it ahead.
7. Black Fig and Tomato Salad
Here’s proof that sometimes simple is best when it comes to sides. And by simple, we mean five ingredients.
8. Braised Cannellini Beans with Prosciutto and Herbs
Once you make homemade beans, you’ll never go back to canned. This back-pocket-worthy recipe is simple but delicious.
9. Zesty Chargrilled Broccolini
Say goodbye to sad steamed broccoli and hello to smoky, salty, super-easy grilled broccolini.
10. Broccoli Rabe and Burrata with Lemon
Fact: No one will be able to turn down a side dish with burrata in it.
11. Cauliflower with Roasted Tomatoes, Parsley and Bread Crumbs
When you’re tired of plain old salt and pepper, try roasting your cauliflower with tomatoes and bread crumbs. It’s not fussy, but it definitely feels special.
12. Harissa and Honey-Roasted Carrots
If we’re being honest, we almost never turn down harissa. But these sweet-spicy carrots are out of this world.
13. Blistered Green Beans with Tomatoes, Pounded Walnuts and Raw Summer Squash
Instead of boiling your green beans, why not blister them? It’s just as quick and easy, with way more flavor.
14. Kamut and Sour Cherry Meze
Not familiar with kamut? It’s an ancient grain with a nutty flavor and chewy bite. In this Mediterranean dish, it’s paired with fresh herbs and tangy dressing for a light yet satisfying side.
15. Sumac and Fennel Fattoush
Salad with homemade pita chips? You might want to double the recipe.
16. Cauliflower, Olive, Pepper and Caper Salad (Insalata di Rinforzo)
Our favorite cruciferous veggie got an Italian makeover in this lightly pickled salad. While the ingredient list looks long, the execution is effortless—promise.
17. Delicata Squash Rings with Garlic-Lemon Sauce
Our favorite thing about delicata squash? You don’t have to peel its skin, making this cocktail-ready recipe even easier than it appears.
18. Charred Broccoli with Sriracha Almond Butter Sauce
Crispy broccoli plus a Thai-inspired spicy almond butter sauce? We’ll take seconds, please and thanks.
19. Charred Sweet Potatoes with Pistachio-Chili Pesto
The spicy, tangy and salty pesto adds a welcome bit of texture to the roasted sweet potatoes, and a final sprinkling of goat cheese just gilds the lily.
20. Salt and Vinegar Roasted Potatoes with Feta and Dill
They’re crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, and taste kind of like everyone’s favorite potato chip flavor. Plus, the leftovers make a delish breakfast.
21. Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Ranch
“But I’m not really a ranch dressing person,” said no party-goer ever.
22. Green Bean Casserole Galette
With a flaky crust and savory onion filling, we can almost guarantee everyone will go back for seconds (and maybe even thirds).
23. Dorie Greenspan’s Maple Syrup and Mustard Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts and maple syrup? Yep, the sweet and savory combo really works, thanks to the additions of whole grain Dijon mustard and cider vinegar.
24. Ina Garten’s Baked Spinach and Zucchini
If you can’t get Ina Garten to host a party for you, this inventive baked vegetable dish is the next best thing.
25. Yotam Ottolenghi's Roasted Butternut Squash with Lentils and Gorgonzola
Serve this while the squash and lentils are still a little warm, so the cheese will melt slightly when it’s dotted on top. Yum.
26. Korean-Style Popcorn Cauliflower
You had us at popcorn cauliflower, but it’s the sticky gochujang-honey sauce that has us coming back for more, not to mention the 35-minute cooking time.
27. Dorie Greenspan's Roasted Acorn Squash Wedges
Oven-roasted squash sounds kind of plain, until you factor in the pomegranate molasses and za’atar glaze that it’s baked in.
28. Greek Wedge Salad
There’s nothing wrong with a classic—we just lightened it up a touch, with a homemade vinaigrette and tons of vegetable toppings in place of the usual bacon.
29. Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Chèvre Ranch
Here, creamy goat cheese does double-duty: It’s blended into an irresistibly tangy dressing and crumbled on top.
30. Swedish ‘Pizzasallad’ Cabbage Slaw
It’s called pizzasallad because it’s traditionally served with pizza, but we can’t think of anything this vinegary slaw wouldn’t pair with.
31. Cacio e Pepe Cauliflower
Skip the noodles and make this cheesy cauliflower number instead. With all that butter, pepper and Parm, no one will miss the carbs.
32. Spiralized Winter Vegetable Gratin
Butternut squash, parsnips and sweet potatoes, meet cheesy, herby béchamel sauce.
33. Zucchini & Tomato Ragù
Give us a 20-minute side dish and we’ll make it for every gathering from now until forever.
34. Joanna Gaines’s Peach Caprese Salad
Tomatoes need not apply in this light, fresh, ten-minute take on caprese salad.
35. Pumpkin Polenta
We thought we loved polenta, but with the addition of puréed pumpkin, we’re officially obsessed.
36. Coconut Creamed Spinach
Aside from being totally irresistible, we love that this healthy-ish recipe is dairy-free and vegan-friendly, so everyone at the table can enjoy it.
37. Turnip Fries
Healthy and tasty? Say it isn’t so. Don’t skip the Old Bay seasoning and garlic powder—they’re essential for flavorful fries.
38. Creamed Brussels Sprouts with Sage and Caramelized Onions
As much as we enjoy a big batch of crispy Brussels sprouts, we also have a soft spot for the mac-and-cheese equivalent of veggies. This casserole is just that.
39. Hasselback Butternut Squash
Your guests will think you’re oh-so-fancy when in reality, this recipe is mostly hands-off. (We’re sneaky like that.)
40. Whole Roasted Carrots
Nothing to see here, just a really delicious batch of tender, spicy carrots that took a mere ten minutes of prep time.
41. Delicata Squash Agrodolce
Agrodolce is the fancy Italian way of saying sweet and sour. These squash rings take a quick bath in a mix of honey, vinegar and chilis for that caramelized, tangy flavor.
42. Baked Cauliflower with Pomegranate Seeds and Thyme
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, meet onion, cauliflower, butter and pomegranate. Now meet our mouths.
43. 15-Minute Microwave Mashed Potatoes
No one needs to know that you made these delightfully creamy taters the day before. The secret? Your friendly neighborhood microwave.
44. Brussels Sprouts Skillet with Crispy Pancetta-Garlic Bread Crumbs
You only need one skillet and 30 minutes to make this aromatic dish. Don’t skimp on the pancetta bits or bread crumbs (because they’re secretly the best part).
45. Kale Salad with Persimmons, Crispy Chickpeas and Fried Shallots
Kale salad? Yawn. Kale salad with a host of seasonal fruit and crunchy toppings? Pass the plate, stat.
46. Roasted Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese
This mac and cheese has a secret: a hefty dose of roasted cauliflower. You know, for your health.
47. Brussels Sprouts Latkes
Introducing the ultimate hybrid side dish. We’re serving ours with plenty of sour cream and a sprinkle of flaky salt.
48. Broccoli and Cauliflower Gratin
Two different veggies, two types of cheese and zero problems. A pinch of nutmeg makes this one extra cozy.
49. Baked Sweet Potato Fries
We highly recommend making a double batch—they’ll disappear the minute you set them on the table.
50. Oven-Roasted Beets and Potatoes
Instead of tossing everything on a sheet tray, we artfully arranged our veggies in a skillet. It’s just as easy to make, but a whole lot more eye-catching.
51. Kale and Brussels Sprout Caesar Slaw
While we’re always in the mood for kale, it’s good to switch it up from time to time. Enter this Caesar-inspired slaw, which is garnished with blue cheese and plenty of fresh herbs.
52. Kale and Cheddar Cheese Galette
In just an hour, you can whip up this savory pie (and have everyone begging for the recipe).
53. Whole Roasted Radishes
Radishes are peppery and crisp when raw, but take them for a quick trip in the oven and they become magically sweet and tender.
54. Black Fig, Mozzarella and Basil Salad
Since there are so few ingredients, try to seek out the best quality you can. It’ll make all the difference.
55. Roasted Squash and Tofu with Soy, Honey, Chili and Ginger
Everything mingles with a gingery-sweet glaze in the oven, so this dish doesn’t even need a sauce for serving. (To be filed under “genius.”)
56. Avocado, Radish and Walnuts with Carrot-Miso Dressing
Everyone swoons over avocado, so why not give it its own starring role? (Psst: The carrot-miso dressing is just like the one at your favorite Japanese restaurant.)
57. Pearl Couscous with Chickpeas, Eggplant and Peaches
FYI, this dish can be served cold, warm or at room temperature, and you can make it up to one day ahead. Whatever you do, don’t be stingy with the tahini-lemon dressing.
58. Make-Ahead Farro and Brussels Sprouts Salad
Bright, tangy and fruity? Check. Make-ahead-friendly? Double check. Looks like we know what you’re serving tonight.
59. Light and Tangy Coleslaw
This one goes out to all the mayo-haters in the room. The zesty vinegar dressing is lighter, more flavorful and can be made up to four hours in advance.
60. The Best Potatoes au Gratin Ever
Yes, this is all about sides. But let’s be real: We would totally eat this as a main dish if given the opportunity.