Tablet Life & Arts

Everyday Food: Sidekicks are heroes, too

Simple side dishes that will go with any meal.

Mixed-bean salad

Serves 6

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and halved crosswise, until bright green and crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons cider vinegar; 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil; 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped; 1 shallot, thinly sliced; and 2 teaspoons grainy mustard. Add green beans; 1 can (15.5 ounces) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained; and 1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained, and toss well to combine. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper.

Serve with grilled pork, blackened fish or chicken.

Roasted cauliflower with cheddar

Serves 4

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss 1 head cauliflower, cut into medium florets, with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, and season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes, tossing halfway through. Push cauliflower to center of sheet and top with 1 cup grated cheddar (4 ounces). Return to oven and cook until cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Toss again before serving.

Serve with grilled steak, meatloaf, lamb chops or roasted lamb.

Yellow squash with hazelnuts and pecorino

Serves 4

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high. Add 3 medium yellow squash, cut into 3-inch wedges, and 1/2 cup raw blanched hazelnuts or natural almonds and cook, stirring frequently, until squash is tender but not soft and hazelnuts are toasted, about 7 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice and 2 tablespoons fresh marjoram or oregano leaves and toss to combine. Transfer to a platter and top with 1/2 ounce shaved pecorino cheese.

Serve with chicken or fish, or stir into short pasta.

Roasted spiced acorn squash

Serves 4

Preheat oven to 425 degress. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss 1 acorn squash, halved, seeded, and cut into 1-inch wedges, with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and season with coarse salt, ground pepper, 1/4 teaspoon each ground cumin and ground coriander, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Arrange squash, cut side down, in a single layer and cook until tender, 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Serve with pork roast or Parmesan risotto.