Best Under 5 Ingredients Side Dishes: Top Ten {Tuesday}

top ten list

One of the best things about doing e-mealz is that each meal includes a side dish. I’m so very guilty of making an entree and then 2 minutes before I serve it up saying, “Oh. Maybe we should have some vegetables with this?” The side dishes e-mealz suggests are usually simple like cut up cantaloupe or a salad with bacon, tomatoes and ranch dressing. But I just like that it gets me out of my box to try new things!

So, because I’m a little hungry I thought I’d share my

Top Ten Favorite Side Dishes That Have Less Than Five Ingredients and You Can Make Even When You Forgot You Needed A Side Dish

{*waggling eyebrows*}

1. Balsamic Honey Carrots

I learned this one from Chef Druck when we did a Healthy Food Chat for The Motherhood. Just cut up a few carrots, throw in a little balsamic vinegar, some honey and maybe a little oil and water into a pan. Put on the lid and steam/cook for a few minutes until desired tenderness. This is Lydia’s favorite! So yummy! And I’m sure it would be delicious with other veggies, too.

2. Dressed Up Broccoli

I found this one on All Recipes. It’s basically just bread crumbs, butter, garlic and parmesan cheese sprinkled on cooked broccoli. Then broiled until brown. I could eat an entire bowl.

3. Sweet Baby Carrots

OK, baby carrots freak me out. You know they are STAMPED out of real carrots, right? Why?!

But this was a surprisingly yummy side dish from E-Mealz. Combine 1/3 c orange marmalade, a couple of tablespoons of water, a hunk of butter, and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg plus a little salt in a pan. Add carrots (baby or not), coat and then steam until done.

4. Cranberry Slaw

I am not a big slaw fan. Maybe because it usually shows up on the potluck table with the top just torn off from Wal-mart. Anywhoo. I *am* a fan of sweet/tart food. And this one fits the bill– mix 2 T cider vinegar, 1 T sugar, 2 t olive oil, ½ t salt. Add to 4 c coleslaw mix and ½ c dried cranberries. It was so yummy! The kids even liked it! {Got this one from E-mealz, too!}

5. Diced Potatoes

This is our old standby. And honestly, I could eat it for every meal. I like to dice (with my Vidalia Chop Wizard, a gift from Staci) potatoes of any kind–sweet potatoes, plain old Idaho potatoes, red potatoes and even purple potatoes! Then dice up an onion, bell pepper or jalapeno to mix with it. Pour on a little olive oil and some salt. Then bake at about 400 for 20 minutes. Oh, yum. I want some right now!

6. Broccoli with Poppy Seed Butter

This is another All Recipes find. It’s so easy–just a few spices, some poppy seeds and parmesan cheese. Pour over broccoli and devour. YUM.

7. Roasted Veggies

I asked my friends on facebook what their favorite side dish was and the landslide winner was roasted veggies–broccoli, asparagus, red potatoes, etc. Just grab whatever veggies you have, coat them with a little olive oil, some salt and pepper and throw them in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Done.

8. Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I haven’t tried this one yet, but since I obviously love potatoes, honey & throwing things in the oven this one is perfect. Thank you to one of my messageboard mamas on facebook for the suggestion: Cut 3 large sweet potatoes/yams into 3/4″ chunks. Toss with 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup good honey and 2tsp cinnamon. Bake on a cookie sheet for ~30 min @350. Tip: the honey kills a cookie sheet so cover the whole thing in foil and then a sheet of parchment paper.

9. Lundberg Jubilee Rice

OK. This isn’t actually a quick side dish. In fact, it takes an hour to cook. But oh man, is it yummy! It’s especially good if you cook it in broth instead of water. (You know you should ALWAYS use broth in place of water, right?)

10. Bread and Butter

I know, it doesn’t seem that great. A poor-man’s side dish even. But ever since I have been making my own bread and buying real butter? It is like the best thing ever. I find myself craving bread and butter for a snack. I’m not kidding. The crusts are even delicious!

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Link up your Top Ten list and join in the Top Ten {Tuesday} fun! All you have to do is WRITE a top ten list, PASTE it  below, LINK back to me in your post & then start LOVIN’ on the rest of the participants with facebook likes, stumbles, comments and tweets! For better and more succinct guidelines see my Top Ten {Tuesday} page!


  1. Love #10 as well! My favorite is when the bread is right out of the oven, slap some butter on it and a drizzle of agave nectar or honey. YUMMIE!

  2. Thanks for these great ideas! I especially love numbers 1 and 2! Easy peasy!

  3. Great list, Amanda! I love the idea of cranberry slaw (Hubs doesn’t like vinegar dressing, but maybe I can make some just for me!). 🙂

  4. Thank you for this list!! Great ideas for grilling season! And bread and butter is a common “side dish” at our house! Thanks for the link-up! 🙂

  5. I am so trying the carrots with oragne marmalade!

  6. The cranberry slaw sounds the best to me!

    My favorite instant side dish is: microwave a garlic clove for 15 seconds and press (or mince by hand). Add can of black beans, splash of olive oil, cumin and kosher salt. Microwave for 1 minute. Done!

  7. You and me both. I haven’t met a store bought coleslaw that I liked but when I buy the bag and mix it with craisins…yum delish. As always, thanks for hosting

  8. You are SO right about bread and butter. You can NEVER go wrong with that. It ain’t too bad thrown in the toaster oven with grated cheese on top, either. 🙂

    My go-to super simple side is sauteed summer squash: Quarter zucchini or yellow squash long-ways, then slice it about 1/3″, and saute it in olive oil on high heat (so the bottom gets browned and makes it taste almost like it was fried, (amen?!?)), then when it’s tender (about 10 minutes), sprinkle with a little salt, pepper, and thyme, and give them a squirt of lemon juice. Even my 24 mo old will eat them!

  9. Hi Amanda! I am with you on the bread and butter. Love, love, love it. I have to get back to making my own bread although it may have to wait until fall 🙂

  10. Oh my goodness, these dishes sound DELICIOUS!!! I’ll have to try some of them. Or all of them. 😀
    True story about bread & butter…when I was a kid, my Mom made a bread she called “kitchen sink bread” that had all sorts of yummy crunchy things in it. And she would mix butter & honey to make a spread. Our neighbors thought for sure, that we were weird deprived children, because we would BEG to have bread for a snack. 😀

  11. That cranberry slaw recipe sounds delicious! It might be a good compromise since I like cranberries and my husband likes coleslaw.

  12. We LOVE diced and fried potatoes. And also have lots of bread, rolls, biscuits for side dishes. And often either green beans or corn.
    I’m thinking of my next top 10 list…..will link up soon.

  13. Thank you for this. I’m exactly the same way! I usually just end up heating a can of veggies up as a side….and I end up not eating any. These sound yummy!

  14. Thank you so much for sharing my carrot recipe! Every single of these easy side dishes made my mouth salivate. I am going to do the broccoli and the potato side tonight. You have me so inspired. Thanks!

  15. What about a squash cake? Can this be possible? I just wonder if this can be made to happen on reality. Just like carrots squash is of the same color and they are also sweet. They both have the essential nutrients which is commonly good for human health.

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