Healthy Side Dish Recipes

From lightened-up mashed potatoes to hearty grains like quinoa, we've got delicious and healthy sides for every night of the week.
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Quinoa Salad

Tomato, cucumbers, herbs and a simple lemon dressing spruce up this quinoa dish. Spoon the grain salad into endive spears and top with cubes of creamy avocado.

Get the Recipe: Quinoa Salad

Orange-Glazed Carrots

Orange juice and dill are the secret ingredients of this easy side dish that showcases vitamin-rich carrots.

Get the Recipe: Orange-Glazed Carrots

Giada's Herbed Quinoa

Nutty, protein-packed, whole-grain quinoa doesn't need much dressing up: A simple dressing and some chopped herbs are enough to turn this grain into a hearty accompaniment for fish, chicken or meat.

Get the Recipe: Herbed Quinoa

Twice-Baked Potatoes

These potatoes still taste buttery and rich but are much lighter than the full-fat version; they're made with a small amount of butter and reduced-fat cream cheese.

Get the Recipe: Twice Baked Potatoes

Superfood Spinach Salad with Pomegranate-Glazed Walnuts

A salad made with superfoods — spinach, walnuts, pomegranate, mushrooms and tomatoes — is packed with nutrients and flavor.

Get the Recipe: Super Food Spinach Salad with Pomegranate-Glazed Walnuts

Ellie's Lighter Creamed Spinach

Ellie uses low-fat milk and chicken broth to add flavor and creaminess to this spinach classic without extra fat and calories.

Get the Recipe: Creamed Spinach

Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

These hasselback potatoes are whole potatoes that have been cut into a fan shape, then dotted with a butter, oil, thyme and garlic mixture before baking. Serve with a Greek yogurt topping for a new way to eat your sweet potatoes.

Get the Recipe: Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

Pan-Roasted Carrots with Mint and Parsley Gremolata

Gremolata is a combination of chopped herbs and citrus — usually lemon juice and zest. Here, it tops carrots roasted to perfection in a pan on the stovetop instead of the oven.

Get the Recipe: Pan-Roasted Carrots with Mint and Parsley Gremolata

Whole-Grain Herbed Garlic Bread

Loading your garlic bread with chopped herbs means you won't need to cover it with a thick coating of cheese.

Get the Recipe: Whole-Grain Herbed Garlic Bread

Baked Beans with Swiss Chard

Green, leafy Swiss chard adds color to this brightened-up version of baked beans.

Get the Recipe: Baked Beans With Swiss Chard

Green Beans and Tomatoes

A pinch of cinnamon adds depth to this colorfully healthful side.

Get the Recipe: Green Beans With Tomatoes

Roasted Beet Salad

Capers and pickles add the perfect dose of salty flavor that complements the sweetness of roasted beets.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Beet Salad

Mango Cucumber Rice Salad

The flavors and textures of mango, cucumber, rice, peanuts and cilantro pair so well together, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been eating rice this way for years.

Get the Recipe: Mango-Cucumber Rice Salad

Low-Fat Scalloped Potatoes

Ellie uses Gruyère cheese in her scalloped potatoes because it has a ton of nutty flavor, so you don't have to use a lot of it.

Get the Recipe: Low-Fat Scalloped Potatoes

Ham and Apple Salad

Satisfy sweet and salty cravings with this crunchy salad while impressing others with your homemade shallot dressing.

Get the Recipe: Apple-and-Ham Salad

Giada's Mediterranean Farro Salad

Farro, an Italian whole grain similar in texture to barley or wheat berries, lends its hearty bite to Giada’s chilled Mediterranean pasta-like salad.

Get the Recipe: Mediterranean Farro Salad

Oven "Fries"

Eating healthier shouldn't have to mean giving up french fries. That's why Ellie came up with this easy recipe for crisp matchsticks that are baked, not deep-fried.

Get the Recipe: Oven "Fries"

Escarole Salad with Bacon, Caramelized Onions and Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

The flavors of bacon and blue cheese are strong, so a little of each goes a long way in flavoring this green salad.

Get the Recipe: Escarole Salad with Bacon, Caramelized Onions and Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

Creamy Dijon Leeks

Take leeks out of the supporting role and into the spotlight with this creamy side dish. Dijon mustard gives this chicken broth-based sauce a creamy texture without any cream.

Get the Recipe: Creamy Dijon Leeks

Maple-Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Only small amounts of oil and maple syrup are needed to coat these potato wedges, and roasting them at a high temperature browns them well and deepens the flavors.

Get the Recipe: Maple-Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Pear and Fennel Salad

Soft pears and crisp fennel make a refreshing seasonal salad. Cut the sweetness with a simple vinaigrette.

Get the Recipe: Pear and Fennel Salad

Mashed Potato Skins

Rachael amps up her mashed spuds with buttermilk and chopped turkey bacon. As she says, "If you eat well, you can eat more!"

Get the Recipe: Mashed Potato Skins

Quinoa With Garlic, Pine Nuts and Raisins

Quinoa is a protein-packed grain that works beautifully with this classic combination of garlic, pine nuts and raisins.

Get the Recipe: Quinoa With Garlic, Pine Nuts and Raisins

Herb Salad

Toss fresh Bibb lettuce with a light vinaigrette and your favorite fresh herbs. This recipe uses basil, dill, parsley and mint, but experiment with different combinations to find your favorite.

Get the Recipe: Herb Salad

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasting Brussels sprouts brings out their nutty flavor; Ina likes hers crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Chile-Garlic Edamame

Add a punch of flavor to high-protein edamame with garlic, pepper flakes and lime juice.

Get the Recipe: Chile-Garlic Edamame

Guy's Soy Green Beans

Soy sauce and garlic make Guy Fieri’s side an exciting way to get your greens.

Get the Recipe: Soy Glazed Green Beans

Fennel Potatoes

Fennel seeds toasted in oil, lemon juice and parsley add surprisingly delightful flavor to boiled new potatoes.

Get the Recipe: Fennel Potatoes

Melissa's Israeli Couscous Tabouli

Melissa makes this salad the traditional Mediterranean way with fresh parsley, cilantro and mint, but she uses Israeli couscous in place of bulghur.

Get the Recipe: Israeli Couscous Tabouli

Sunny's Braised Cipollini Onions

Sunny browns cipollini onions before submerging them in wine and balsamic vinegar. The reduced liquid becomes a richly dark glaze.

Get the Recipe: Cipollini Onions Braised in Red Wine

Wheat Berry Salad

Bright in both color and flavor, Ellie's Wheat Berry Salad makes a great side dish for grilled meats and fish; pack the leftovers for lunch the next day.

Get the Recipe: Wheat Berry Salad

Edamame and Shiitake Rice

Three ingredients and minimum preparation will let you enjoy this simple Asian-flavored side.

Get the Recipe: Edamame and Shiitake Rice

Spicy Chickpeas and Spinach

Garbanzo beans roasted with paprika and chipotle powder make the perfect protein-packed accompaniment to bright spinach leaves.

Get the Recipe: Spicy Chickpeas and Spinach

Roasted Turnips and Mushrooms

Roasting brings out the sweetness in turnips and onions, while it gives mushrooms a rich, meaty flavor.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Turnips and Mushrooms

Green Beans with Mushroom and Shallots

Saute fresh green beans with your favorite mushrooms — just one kind or a few different varieties — for a simple side dish that pairs well with chicken, fish or beef.

Get the Recipe: Green Beans with Mushroom and Shallots

Ellie's Jewel Roasted Vegetables

Stop juggling multiple pots of vegetables and instead throw them all in one pan and simply roast them with some garlic.

Get the Recipe: Jewel Roasted Vegetables

Curried Spaghetti Squash

The secret to this quick-cooking spaghetti squash is the microwave: Spaghetti squash cooks in under 20 minutes when you zap it; toss the pastalike strands with an Indian-inspired sauce for an easy weeknight side.

Get the Recipe: Healthy Curried Spaghetti Squash

Whole-Wheat Cornbread

This lightened-up cornbread gets its sweetness from a touch of honey. It's the perfect dipper for hearty stews!

Get the Recipe: Whole-Wheat Cornbread

Made-Over Blackened Cajun Skillet Fries

Replace mayo with Greek yogurt for a creamier, healthier dip for these crispy, Creole-flavored skillet fries.

Get the Recipe: Made-Over Blackened Cajun Skillet Fries

Spring Greens with Oranges

Pair slightly bitter spring greens like arugula or watercress with sweet orange juice, toasted walnuts and crisp fennel.

Get the Recipe: Spring Greens with Oranges

Provencal Summer Squash and Potato Gratin

Gratins don't have to be loaded with butter and cheese; a light sprinkling of boldly flavored Manchego cheese goes a long way in this healthier version.

Get the Recipe: Provencal Summer Squash and Potato Gratin

Green Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

The large cupped leaves of the butter lettuce in this salad hold in the rich buttermilk dressing.

Get the Recipe: Green Salad With Buttermilk Dressing

Giada's Spicy Parmesan Green Beans and Kale

Meaty and flavorful cremini mushrooms come together with crunchy green beans and kale in this simple side dish. Red pepper flakes give it an added kick.

Get the Recipe: Spicy Parmesan Green Beans and Kale

Mediterranean Bulgur

Dried apricots are full of fiber and add a little bit of sweetness to the bulgur to contrast with the briny, salty flavor of the olives.

Get the Recipe: Mediterranean Bulgur

Corn and Squash Casserole

This tasty side dish gets a twist with the added bonus of squash. Not only does the squash add a vibrant color and tons of vitamins to the dish, it provides a creamy texture that plays well off the crisp corn kernels.

Get the Recipe: Corn and Squash Pudding

Herbed Farro Salad

Get your whole-grain fix with a salad made from nutty, chewy farro. You can find farro in the bulk bins at your grocery or health-food store, or with the other packaged whole grains.

Get the Recipe: Herbed Farro Pilaf

Quinoa with Shiitakes and Snow Peas

Toss quinoa with shiitake mushrooms, snow peas, soy sauce and sesame oil for an Asian-inspired side dish reminiscent of fried rice.

Get the Recipe: Quinoa With Shiitakes and Snow Peas

Roast Fingerlings with Lemon

Roasting lemon peel along with potatoes ensures that the resulting side dish is packed with lemony flavor.

Get the Recipe: Healthy Roast Fingerlings with Lemon

Shaved Cabbage and Brussels Sprout Salad

This salad comes together quickly, but giving the cabbage and Brussels sprouts extra time to rest in the creamy dressing before serving ensures that the vegetables have flavor in every bite.

Get the Recipe: Shaved Cabbage and Brussels Sprout Salad

Light Spicy Zucchini and Tomato Casserole

By quickly broiling the zucchini first, you can ensure all the pieces will be evenly cooked once they get baked with the tomato sauce.

Get the Recipe: Light Spicy Zucchini and Tomato Casserole

Okra with Tomatoes

Popular in the South, okra is known as a low-cal, high-fiber veggie. Simply stewed with tomatoes and spice, this healthful side is done in a snap.

Get the Recipe: Okra with Tomatoes

Quinoa Pilaf with Crimini Mushrooms

Quinoa is technically a seed but often considered a whole grain. It's a nutty and delicious replacement for rice, especially when steeped together with mushrooms in a pilaf.

Get the Recipe: Quinoa Pilaf with Crimini Mushrooms

Kale Caesar Salad

The well-loved salad is revamped, swapping in kale for the obvious romaine. Roast the hearty, antioxidant-rich green in the oven until just crisp for an exciting, crunchy texture.

Get the Recipe: Kale Caesar Salad

Spicy Summer Squash with Herbs

Chopped jalapeno and loads of spices breathe piquant flavor into summer squash, without spiking it with calories.

Get the Recipe: Spicy Summer Squash with Herbs

Purple Potatoes with Rosemary and Olives

Here, purple potatoes are simply boiled to retain their color and texture and then are drizzled with a flavorful, heart-healthy olive oil and tossed with savory olives.

Get the Recipe: Purple Potatoes with Rosemary and Olives

Sauteed Asparagus with Olives and Basil

Full-flavored, savory garlic and olives and aromatic basil brighten the crisp asparagus. Cutting the asparagus into short pieces allows them to cook quickly.

Get the Recipe: Sauteed Asparagus with Olives and Basil

Rainbow Bell Pepper Couscous

Served hot or cold, this couscous is a fabulous source of hearty whole grains and veggies.

Get the Recipe: Rainbow Bell Pepper Couscous

Lemon Pepper Mushrooms

Buying pre-sliced fresh mushrooms instead of canned saves time, making this a super-quick fix for low calories and full flavor. Serve these mushrooms on their own as a side or on top of chicken, pork or fish.

Get the Recipe: Lemon-Pepper Mushrooms

Beets with Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette and Mint

There's a timesaving trick to this recipe: The beets are "roasted" in the microwave, saving time and energy. The garlic is "roasted" in the microwave, too, to mellow its bite. Top the dish with a creamy, Greek-yogurt-based dressing for a dish that's both hearty and heart-healthy.

Get the Recipe: Beets With Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette and Mint

Tuscan White Beans

Dress up canned cannellini beans with tomatoes, rosemary and Parmesan for an easy-to-make weeknight side dish.

Get the Recipe: Tuscan White Beans

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks

Slice a head of cauliflower into 1-inch-thick "steaks" and then brown to perfection in a skillet for a nutritious and filling side. Top with a savory-sweet relish made with roasted peppers and golden raisins.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Raisin Relish

Spinach and Green Apple Salad

Toasted walnuts and julienned Granny Smith apples add excellent crunch to tender spinach leaves. A simple Dijon dressing balances the salad's flavors.

Get the Recipe: Spinach and Green Apple Salad

Green Beans Gremolata

Ina heats blanched green beans in olive oil before adding a homemade Gremolata to the pan. She uses traditional flavors in the Gremolata, including lemon zest, grated Parmesan, minced garlic and parsley, plus toasted pine nuts for crunch.

Spicy Green Tomato-Avocado Salad

Celebrate the arrival of green tomatoes with this all-green salad of mache lettuce, avocado and a spicy-sweet jalapeno dressing.

Get the Recipe: Spicy Green Tomato-Avocado Salad

Braised Collard Greens and Butternut Squash

The secret ingredient in this side dish is the ginger, which adds warmth and depth of flavor to the vegetables. Save the butter for the very end — it's a smart way to maximize its flavor without using too much.

Get the Recipe: Braised Collard Greens and Butternut Squash

Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese Sauce

Enjoy one of your favorite bar and party snacks in a new form. Cauliflower with a spicy buffalo coating and served with a cool, creamy blue cheese sauce is a delicious, vegetable-centric stand-in for the traditional wings.

Get the Recipe: Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese Sauce

Sweet Potatoes with Maple-Horseradish Butter

The combination of maple syrup, horseradish and butter in these slightly sweet and sharp spuds — perfect for your next holiday dinner — is a home run.

Get the Recipe: Sweet Potatoes with Maple-Horseradish Butter

Baby Spinach with Almonds and Golden Raisins

Yes, both bacon and butter can be part of healthy recipes! Use just a small amount of each in this Spanish-inspired side dish, saving the butter for the very end so it has more impact.

Get the Recipe: Baby Spinach with Almonds and Golden Raisins

Creamy Chili-Lime Corn

Inspired by Mexican elote — corn on the cob, usually roasted and brushed with butter, mayonnaise and cheese — this healthy, whole-grain side dish has many of the same enticing flavors and, if you use frozen corn, can be enjoyed all year round. 

Get the Recipe: Creamy Chili-Lime Corn

Asiago Roasted Broccoli

This high-fiber recipe features a clever method for roasting broccoli: preheating the baking sheet before adding the vegetable, ensuring crispy, browned edges.

Get the Recipe: Asiago Roasted Broccoli

Cheesy Mushroom Stacks

These cheese-smothered mushroom stacks make a delicious sidekick to grilled chicken or pork tenderloin. They can be thrown together quickly and cooked under the broiler in just a few minutes.

Get the Recipe: Cheesy Mushroom Stacks

Spiced Citrus Baby Kale

This side dish has the perfect balance of citrus and spice. We love using baby kale — it's quicker than regular kale on prep and cooking time but still packed full of vitamins K and C and the nutrient lutein (reportedly good for eye health).

Get the Recipe: Spiced Citrus Baby Kale

Southwestern Black Beans

This side dish offers a quick way to dress up black beans, which are a good source of fiber and protein. Try it with pinto beans as well.

Get the Recipe: Southwestern Black Beans

Roasted Beets with Warm Fennel Vinaigrette

This ruby-red side dish isn't just a showstopper. It's also packed with betalains, red and yellow pigments that act as antioxidants that search for and stabilize free radicals (which can cause cell damage).

Get the Recipe: Roasted Beets with Warm Fennel Vinaigrette

Roasted Moroccan-Style Vegetables

This high-fiber side dish is colorful and comforting. The sweetness of the apricots and sweet potato and the tang of the lemon juice are nicely balanced by the warm spice.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Moroccan-Style Vegetables

Whole-Grain Biscuits

These warm, buttery biscuits call for whole-wheat flour in place of some of the traditional refined flour, giving them a hearty richness.

Get the Recipe: Whole-Grain Biscuits

Ina's Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Ina uses sweet potatoes and a flavor-packed spice mix for her healthier take on french fries, which are baked instead of deep-fried.

Get the Recipe: Baked Sweet Potato "Fries" with La Boite Spice Mix

Guy's Grilled Polenta

These polenta cakes get their salty bite from a touch of Parmesan cheese and their smoky flavor from a few minutes on the grill. They work as a great side to soups or salads.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Polenta

Corn-and-Oat Risotto

Oats don't always have to be sweet; they're great in savory dishes as well. Risotto, a comforting Italian dish usually made with Arborio rice, can also be made with steel-cut oats for a homey and heart-healthy version. Try it for dinner with grilled shrimp or blackened catfish.

Get the Recipe: Corn-and-Oat Risotto

Whole-Grain Mushroom and Kimchi Brown Rice

Did you know that kimchi, a spicy fermented Korean condiment, is a probiotic like yogurt? It's a great ingredient to include in your healthy pantry. A little goes a long way — as in this very flavorful and low-fat side dish.

Get the Recipe: Whole-Grain Mushroom and Kimchi Brown Rice

Roasted Carrots with Almonds and Olives

This Spanish-inspired roasted carrot dish gets salt and crunch from fat Cerignola olives and Marcona almonds. It pairs equally well with fish, turkey, or lamb and complements Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Merlot and Cabernet alike, making this dish your all-season starter or side.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Carrots with Almonds and Olives

Coconut-Curry Wheat Berries and Rice

Wheat berries are one of the chewiest of all whole grains — soaking them overnight helps to soften them. They combine nicely with fluffy basmati rice in this Indian-inspired side dish.

Get the Recipe: Coconut-Curry Wheat Berries and Rice

Cajun Spelt

Spelt is a member of the wheat family and can be used interchangeably with wheat berries, although spelt is slightly milder in flavor. The plump and tender kernels pair nicely with Cajun flavors.

Get the Recipe: Cajun Spelt

Kasha Salad with Hazelnuts and Feta

Kasha is a form of buckwheat that has been toasted. Although "wheat" is in its name, buckwheat is actually gluten-free and more closely related to rhubarb. It's particularly high in vitamins and minerals.

Get the Recipe: Kasha Salad with Hazelnuts and Feta

Garlic Greens

Smoked paprika adds robust, peppery flavor to sauteed kale and mustard greens in this simple, nutrient-packed side dish. Spice lovers will appreciate a few dashes of hot sauce for an extra dose of heat. 

Get the Recipe: Garlic Greens

Barley Pilaf

Barley can be found in two forms — hulled and pearl. Pearling removes almost a third of the grain, making it quicker cooking and reducing some nutrients. Hulled barley takes longer to cook but has a higher nutrient content and a pleasant, toothsome chewiness. This pilaf recipe is a simple way to enjoy hulled barley.

Get the Recipe: Barley Pilaf

Barley with Bacon, Peas and Dill

This fiber-packed side dish makes a comforting and impressive addition to any meal. It's best with hulled (also called dehulled) barley, which is less processed, chewier and takes longer to cook than pearl barley. Both varieties work for this recipe (though pearl barley, while still healthy, is not considered a whole grain). Or substitute brown rice, farro or your favorite whole grain.

Get the Recipe: Barley with Bacon, Peas and Dill

Kamut Marinara

Khorasan wheat has long, plump golden grains that are larger than those of other wheat varieties. Its chewiness and buttery flavor make it substantial and satisfying. Plus, it's high in protein and vitamin E and loaded with fiber (10 grams per serving here!). It works perfectly in a simple marinara sauce with a sprinkle of Parmesan.

Get the Recipe: Khorasan Wheat Marinara

Mexican Green Quinoa

Quinoa has Peruvian origins and was named the "mother grain" by the ancient Incas. The grain (which is actually part of the same family as spinach) is high in protein and has a large, nutrient-rich germ. Quinoa seeds are naturally coated in saponins, which have a bitter, soapy taste, so be sure to thoroughly rinse the grains before cooking them. Serve this simple but delicious dish alongside grilled chicken or enchiladas.

Get the Recipe: Mexican Green Quinoa

Triple-Herb Freekeh

Meet freekeh ("free-kuh"), a toasted and cracked wheat similar to bulgur. It has a slightly smoky and nutty flavor and a pleasant chew, and is a good source of fiber and protein. If you can't find it in your grocery store, cooked brown rice is a great substitute.

Get the Recipe: Triple-Herb Freekeh

Healthy Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower can shine in many forms. This recipe shows how simple it is to turn the florets into a healthy, low-carb side dish--our version has only about 1/4 of the carbohydrates in rice.

Get the Recipe: Healthy Cauliflower Rice

Pea Salad with Tarragon and Pea Shoots

Alex's fresh, green salad is a celebration of spring with three kinds of peas (fresh shelled green peas, plus snow and sugar snap) topped with delicate pea shoots. Toss it all with a light dressing made with tarragon and sherry vinegar.

Get the Recipe: Pea Salad with Tarragon and Pea Shoots

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