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Update Your Dinner Standbys with These Side Dishes

Need an easy update for your tried-and-true dinner basics? These tasty extras will give your weeknight standbys a brand-new lease on life.


When I eat in a restaurant, nine times out of ten I choose my entrée based on the side dishes that come with it. After all, even the best pan-roasted salmon is just a nice piece of fish; it's when it comes on bed of farro salad or is accompanied by the bright green pop of snap peas with caramelized shallots that it really calls out to me. All of my restaurateur friends agree—it's the sides that sell the dish, and the more seasonal, crispy, crunchy, or tangysounding the better.
The same is true at home. A fantastic vegetable side can dress up a simple protein like a store-bought rotisserie chicken to make the quickest meal seem like something you slaved over. These edible accessories add color, texture, and intriguing flavor notes to the plate the way a great necklace or an elegant scarf updates a timeless black shift. Pull out one of these sides when you need to reinvent last night's grilled steak or pork roast and I bet no one will know they're getting a rehash. All of these recipes are so good I would happily skip the centerpiece altogether and make the sides the main attraction, and if you have vegetarians in your household, don't be surprised if they do just that!

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