Meatless Monday Challenge

24+ Side Dishes with 5 Ingredients or Less

on February 1, 2024
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List of 24+ side dishes with 5 ingredients or less for quick, easy, complementary flavors that complete any meal, including Saffron Rice.
A bowl of yellow saffron rice, one of 24 side dishes with 5 ingredients or less.

Looking for delicious side dishes with tons of flavor but minimal effort? This list contains 24+ of my favorite side dishes with 5 ingredients or less.

If you’ve got a plan for your main, but just want a little something simple and delicious to complete your meal, this list is for you! Plus, less ingredients means less steps and less clean up, so when I say “easy” I mean from start to finish!

Green tip: Speaking of cleanup, if you have a dishwasher-use it! Comparing dishwashing to handwashing, using an efficient dishwasher uses 1/6th the amount of water to get your dishes clean!

As an environmental scientist, I strongly believe that educating ourselves on how to make small changes in the kitchen can make a big impact over time, especially if we spread the word!

Side Dishes with 5 Ingredients or Less


Potatoes & Rice

1. Roasted Honey Gold Potatoes

35 Minute Roasted Honey Gold Potatoes on a white plate being held up over a wooden table
Beautifully golden brown with crispy edges and perfectly seasoned, these Roasted Honey Gold Potatoes make the most delicious side dish!
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2. Aromatic Yellow Saffron Rice with Caramelized Onions

Aromatic Yellow Saffron Rice with Caramelized Onions on a pink marble background
This Yellow Saffron Rice uses vegetable broth and onions to compliment the floral, aromatic saffron for a delicious and versatile side dish.
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3. 30 Min Creamy Boursin Mashed Potatoes

Creamy Boursin Mashed Potatoes garnished with melted butter and chopped basil
The herbed cheese in these Creamy Boursin Mashed Potatoes takes them up a notch infusing flavor and extra creamy texture into your favorite starchy side dish.
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4. Homemade Parmesan Truffle Fries

galvanized mug full od homemade truffle french fries garnished with parmesan and parsley
Learn how to make crispy, hand-cut parmesan truffle fries with this recipe! The homemade truffle fries can be baked in the oven, or quickly cooked the air fryer. The key to getting crispy baked fries is to remove the excess starch before cooking by soaking the thin, cut potato strips in water!
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5. Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus

Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus on a plate
This simple recipe for Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus gets your perfectly crispy potatoes and tender asparagus with just one sheet pan and in only 30 minutes!
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6. Maple Sweet Potato Casserole

Overhead view of 5-Ingredient Maple Sweet Potato Casserole in a casserole dish on a cooling rack
This 5-Ingredient Maple Sweet Potato Casserole maximizes the caramel and vanilla flavors of maple syrup and the natural sweetness of the potatoes to bring bold taste with just a few ingredients!
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7. 30-Minute Truffle Mashed Potatoes

Truffle Mashed Potatoes with Chives
These Truffle Mashed Potatoes are creamy and elegant, with truffle oil to bring extra earthy umami and tons of aromatic flavor.
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8. Baked Old Bay Fries

old bay fries with quick old bay aioli and bowl of old bay seasoning
These Old Bay Fries with Quick Aioli are the best golden brown, crispy, seasoned-to-perfection snack or sidekick to your main dish.
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9. Pan-fried Potatoes and Onions

Pan-Fried Potatoes and Onions garnished with basil
These Pan-Fried Potatoes and Onions are perfectly tender and golden-brown, and require just a frying pan and 30 minutes!
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10. Roasted Garlic and Feta Mashed Potatoes

Bowl of Roasted Garlic and Feta Mashed Potatoes
These Roasted Garlic and Feta Mashed Potatoes are creamy and fluffy with the perfect amount of salt and garlic to amp up each bite.
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11. 30-Minute Roasted Baby Potatoes and Broccoli

Golden brown honey gold potatoes and crispy roasted broccoli on a serving platter.
This simple and effective technique for Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli allows you to cook both vegetables simultaneously on one pan for the best crispy texture on this delicious side dish.
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Vegetables

12. Roasted Teriyaki Brussels Sprouts

Close up of Teriyaki Brussels Sprouts
These Teriyaki Brussels Sprouts are roasted to perfection with a flavor punch of sauce that's perfectly balanced between sweet and tangy.
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13. 10-Minute Cast-Iron Asparagus

Cast-Iron Asparagus
This Cast-Iron Asparagus is crisp and fresh, bringing out the delicious natural flavors in the asparagus in just 10 minutes.
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14. 20-Minute Roasted Broccoli and Carrots

Roasted Broccoli and Carrots in a serving dish
This recipe for simple Roasted Broccoli and Carrots is the easiest way to bring out the natural flavors of the vegetables and get the perfect texture.
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15. Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes

Serving platter with roasted sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts
This simple, easy, 30-miute recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes is the perfect balance of earthiness and natural sweetness with tender and crispy vegetables caramelized to perfection.
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16. Grilled Corn on the Cob with Old Bay Seasoning

overhead shot of four ears of corn with grill marks and sprinkled with old bay seasoning
This Grilled Corn on the Cob with Old Bay Seasoning is cooked to perfection and topped with a blend of spices to make the ideal fresh summer side dish.
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17. Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Asparagus

Simple Roasted Asparagus and Brussels Sprouts
This recipe for simple Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Asparagus is the foolproof way to bring out the natural flavors of your vegetables and get the perfect crispy texture.
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18. The Best Yellow Carrots (aka White Carrots)

The best roasted white carrots
This is hands down the best white carrots (aka yellow carrots) recipe! Simply roasted with minimal ingredients, allowing your beautiful produce to shine.
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19. 30-Minute Roasted Asparagus and Carrots

Platter of roasted carrots and asparagus
This recipe for simple Roasted Asparagus and Carrots makes for the perfect, healthy, 30-minute side dish to accompany any main dish.
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20. Roasted Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
These Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts are roasted to perfection with a flavor punch that's perfectly balanced between sweet and savory.
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21. 25-Minute Roasted Cauliflower and Sweet Potatoes

Overhead shot of roasted cauliflower and sweet potatoes
The perfect simple side dish, this Roasted Cauliflower and Sweet Potatoes recipe uses simple ingredients to bring out the natural flavors of the vegetables.
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22. The BEST White Asparagus Recipe

Roasted white asparagus
This is the best white asparagus recipe! Simply roasted with minimal ingredients, allowing your beautiful produce to shine.
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23. 15-Minute Sautéed Broccolini and Mushrooms

Sauteed Broccolini and Mushrooms on a white serving plate
This simple Sautéed Broccolini and Mushrooms dish teaches you how to quickly and easy whip up your veggie side dish in just 15 minutes and in one pan.
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24. 20-Minute Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Carrots

Overhead image of roasted vegetables
This recipe for simple Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Carrots is the easiest way to bring out the natural flavors of your vegetables and get a delicious crispy texture.
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25. Garlic Lemon Asparagus

Overhead shot of Garlic Lemon Asparagus on a white plate with two slices of lemon on top
This 20-Minute Garlic and Lemon Asparagus is fresh, earthy, cheesy, and zesty! The perfect side dish. But, don't limit this recipe just to asparagus. Use the same ingredients and techniques for all your green vegetables!
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I hope this list of Side Dishes with 5 Ingredients or Less has inspired you to whip up something easy and delicious to complete your meal! If you’re still not sure where to start, I included this recipe for Yellow Saffron Rice which uses vegetable broth and onions to compliment the floral, aromatic saffron.

A bowl of yellow saffron rice, one of 24 side dishes with 5 ingredients or less.

24+ Side Dishes with 5 Ingredients or Less. including Saffron Rice

5 from 1 vote
Marley Goldin
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List of 24+ side dishes with 5 ingredients or less for quick, easy, complementary flavors that complete any meal, including Saffron Rice.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • ¼ teaspoon saffron (plus an extra pinch for serving)
  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large yellow onion (sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons water

Instructions
 

  • Using a mortar and pestle, grind your saffron until it is fine powder.
  • Add saffron, rice, vegetable broth, and salt to a medium-sized pot and bring it to a rolling boil. Then reduce it to a low simmer, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes, until all of the liquid is absorbed.
  • In a separate small pan, add 1 tablespoon of butter and sliced onions over medium heat. Once the butter melts, stir to coat the onions, then let them cook for about 10 minutes without stirring. Add the water, stir, then cook until water absorbs, and onions are golden brown on all sides.
  • Remove the rice from heat and fluff it with a fork. Transfer to a serving bowl and remaining butter and stir to melt butter.
  • Pour the onions on top of the rice and sprinkle with an extra pinch of saffron. Serve hot with your favorite main dish—I love it with this 3-Ingredient Pesto Butter Salmon.

Pro Tips

  • Saffron is expensive, but luckily a little bit goes a long way. You really only need a pinch of it per 1 cup uncooked rice, especially if you grind it up.
  • The consistency of the rice should be light and fluffy. If the liquid is absorbed before 15 minutes, then the stove is too hot. Add a little more veggie broth, and make sure to turn down to a simmer.
Course Sides
Cuisine Asian
Diet Vegetarian
Keyword 30 Minutes or Less, 5 Ingredients or Less, Caramelized Onions, Classic Side Dishes, Rice, Saffron Rice
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