4 Winter Vegetable Sides That Are Way Better Than Salad

You might think of spring and summer as the best time to eat seasonally, but winter actually offers plenty of delicious produce as well. With the right recipes, you can enlist the winter vegetables in healthy side dishes that are heartier than salads but every bit as healthy. We’re rounding up a list of recipes that prove eating healthfully during winter can be totally delicious.

1. Squash Hash with Kale and Baked Eggs

Kale | iStock.com

Kale | iStock.com

Hash goes healthy with this squash and kale version from Martha Stewart Living. And lucky for you, it also tastes phenomenal. Though this makes a full breakfast with the eggs, leaving them out turns this recipe into a side dish that will go with nearly any main course.

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ medium butternut squash or 1 whole acorn squash, halved, seeded, peeled, and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 10 ounces carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 cups packed coarsely chopped kale
  • 4 large eggs

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, and cilantro, then season with salt and pepper.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large straight-sided ovenproof skillet over medium-high. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Add squash and carrots, season with salt and pepper, and transfer to oven. Roast, stirring once, until golden and tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Stir kale into squash mixture, along with ¼ cup cilantro mixture. Return to oven 7 minutes. Make four wells in vegetables and crack an egg into each. Season eggs with salt. Return to oven and bake until whites are set but yolks are still runny, 4 to 6 minutes. Serve, drizzled with more cilantro dressing.

2. Carrot-Ginger Soup with Tofu

Carrot ginger soup

Carrot ginger soup | iStock.com

This carrot-ginger soup featured on Food Network gets an added boost of satiating power thanks to tofu. The tofu is fried in a skillet before it tops the creamy soup, offering a great textural contrast. That being said, you can leave it out if you’re serving something else particularly hearty. One thing you shouldn’t skip, though, is the cilantro. You’d be surprised how much flavor it adds.


  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 (1 -pound) bag frozen chopped carrots, thawed
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 (2- to 3-inch) piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 star anise pod or ½ teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 2 cups carrot juice
  • 1 pound extra-firm tofu
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • Torn fresh cilantro, for garnish

Directions: Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion and ginger and cook until the vegetables are just soft, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the star anise, carrot juice, and 3 cups water, then cover and boil until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes. Mix the cornstarch and curry powder on a shallow plate and season with salt. Pat the tofu dry and roll it in the cornstarch mixture. Heat the remaining 6 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the tofu and fry, turning, until golden and crisp on all sides, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and season with salt.

Discard the star anise. Transfer the soup to a blender and puree in batches, or puree directly in the pot with an immersion blender. Thin with water, if needed, and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and top with the fried tofu. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

3. Roasted Rutabaga, Mushrooms, and Onions with Mustard Seeds and Maple

Mushrooms add a savory note| iStock.com

Mushrooms add a savory note| iStock.com

Mix things up this winter with a side starring ingredients you might not use all that much. This dish from Fine Cooking stars rutabaga, mushrooms, and onions, which get tossed in a vinegar- and syrup-based dressing. The sweet and savory flavors come together to make a winter side that no one will be able to resist.


  • 2½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • One 1¾- to 2-pound rutabaga, peeled and cut into ¾-inch dice
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, cut into ¾-inch pieces
  • 1(14.4-ounce) bag frozen pearl onions, thawed and patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Directions: Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons of the vinegar, the maple syrup, oil, mustard seeds, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Add the rutabaga, mushrooms, and onions, and toss to coat. Transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet and roast, tossing every 15 minutes, until tender and browned in parts, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium heat, cook the butter until browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the remaining ½ tablespoon vinegar, and drizzle over the vegetables. Add the dill, toss, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.


4. Molasses-and-Ginger Glazed Carrots

Molasses and ginger carrots

Molasses and ginger carrots | iStock.com

Here’s one last winter side recipe that also enlists ginger and carrots. These molasses-and-ginger glazed carrots from Chowhound will forever change how you see the orange root vegetables. The carrots are cooked in butter, brown sugar, molasses, and ginger, and then served with salt and black pepper. This recipe is designed to feed 10 to 12 people, but you’ll be surprised by how many people request seconds.


  • 4 pounds carrots
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light molasses
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger

Directions: Peel carrots and slice them on the bias into ½-inch-thick pieces. Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a boil. Cook carrots until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.

Return carrots to the pot over medium-low heat, and add butter, sugar, molasses, and ginger. Cook until carrots are warmed through and glazed, about 5 minutes. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve.