Side Dishes You Can Have on the Table in 25 Minutes or Less

A satisfying side dish is one of the keys to a good meal, and it can sometimes even steal the show. These dishes range from soups to salads to grains, also encompassing fruits and vegetables. Since most cooks like to spend the bulk of their time on the main component of the meal — side dishes you can have ready in 25 minutes or fewer ideal. We’re highlighting five side dish recipes that deliver both easy prep and tons of flavor, so you won’t have to waste a moment.

1. Wild Rice and Carrots

Wild rice | Source: iStock

Wild rice |

Our first recipe for wild rice and carrots comes from Cooking Light. As long as you get your hands on precooked wild rice, this side dish can be made on the fly, and it’s a good way to get your family to eat their fiber and protein. One serving of this healthy side dish is only 113 calories, and you even get to enjoy some veggies alongside your carbs.


  • 1 (8.5-ounce) package precooked wild rice
  • 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrot
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Directions: Prepare rice according to the package directions.

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add carrot; cook 8 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in rice, parsley, pepper, and salt; cook 1 minute.

2. Cold Cucumber Yogurt Soup

asparagus soup in a white bowl

Creamy, shilled soup |

Chilled soup, anyone? We suggest this cold cucumber yogurt soup from Saveur. The chilled soup will cool you down and fill you up thanks to Greek yogurt, cucumbers, lemon juice, mint, chives, and olive oil. You’ll blend those ingredients together for a super speedy recipe. Once smooth, you’re ready to serve your dish topped with some flavored ice cubes. To keep this firmly in the 25-minute category, skip the ice cubes.


Ice cubes

  • 3 tablespoons mint leaves, cut into chiffonade
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 18 teaspoon salt

For the soup

  • 3 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and diced (about 3½ cups or 1 pound)
  • 1¼ cups plain Greek-style strained yogurt
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chives, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Directions: Make the ice cubes by dividing the mint, lemon juice, and salt among four cubes of an ice cube tray. Top off with cold water and freeze.

In a blender, combine the cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice, mint, chives, olive oil, and salt. Blend until completely smooth. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Portion soup into individual bowls and top each with a lemon-mint ice cube.

3. Raw Kale Salad with Creamy Tahini Dressing


Kale salad |

If anything is going to make you enjoy raw kale salad, it’s tahini dressing. This recipe from Cookie & Kate proves it. Mix the kale, avocado, carrots, sesame seeds. Then, add a dressing made with tahini, white miso, rice vinegar, sesame oil, rep pepper flakes, and cilantro. This is the perfect salad to refresh your palate after a weekend of heavy eating.


  • 1 bunch of curly kale
  • Sea salt
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 4 to 6 carrots
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Creamy tahini miso dressing

  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 1 tablespoon white miso
  • 1½ tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Big pinch red pepper flakes
  • Small handful chopped cilantro
  • ⅓ cup water
  • Dash of tamari or soy sauce (optional)

Directions: Pull the kale leaves off from the tough stem and discard the stems. Use a chef’s knife or your hands to chop or tear the kale into small, bite sized pieces. Sprinkle a small pinch of sea salt over the kale and massage the leaves for a couple of minutes.

In a small bowl or 8-ounce mason jar, combine the salad dressing ingredients. Either mix by shaking the jar or by whisking in the bowl. Divide the kale into two bowls, drizzle in the salad dressing, and toss to combine.

Peel and slice the carrots into ribbons with a vegetable peeler. Top the salad with carrot ribbons and diced avocado. Sprinkle the salad with sesame seeds and serve.

4. Roasted Parmesan Broccoli

Roasted broccoli

Roasted broccoli |

If you need some help getting your family members to eat their vegetables, this next recipe from Six Sisters’ Stuff is for you. It yields a side dish of roasted Parmesan broccoli that takes just over 15 minutes to make and guarantees your dinner guests will have their veggies. For this dish, you’ll coat your broccoli with oil and garlic salt, bake for 15 minutes, and then sprinkle on the cheese.


  • 2 cups broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ⅓ cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese

DirectionsPreheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the broccoli into a large bowl and drizzle oil on top. Toss broccoli to coat with oil. Sprinkle with garlic salt and toss to combine. Spread broccoli on a large baking sheet covered with aluminum foil or parchment paper and bake for about 15 minutes, until beginning to brown.

Put the broccoli back in a bowl as soon as you pull it out of the oven and mix with cheese. Serve at once.

5. Tomato Basil Salad

Pile of Heirloom Tomatoes

Assorted tomatoes |

Most of the time, simple is best. See for yourself with this tomato basil salad from Food Network. You’ll first cook some garlic in a small hot skillet before you combine it with red and yellow grape tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and basil. After you’ve tossed to combine, you’re ready to serve the bright and simple side dish that helps you capitalize on how naturally delicious summer produce really is.


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 pint red grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 pint yellow grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 16 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade, plus more if needed
  • Salt and pepper

Directions: In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir, lightly frying for about a minute and removing from the heat before the garlic gets too brown. Pour it into a mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly. Add the tomatoes, balsamic, basil and some salt and pepper to the bowl. Toss to combine, and then taste and add more basil if needed, and more salt if needed.

More From Culture Cheat Sheet: