Side dishes are my dinner. If I don’t plan them, I forget about them when I make dinner because I’m so focused on the main course.
I have already written several times about simple side dish ideas.
But how do you know which side dishes go with which main courses? Some things are simple: spaghetti and salad. Meat, vegetables, a roll.
There are other more sophisticated recipes. Side dishes for stir-fries. Switch to chips and salsa with a Mexican dish. What to accompany pies and other prepared dishes with.
We’ll cover some of these topics in future posts, but today I want to share some of the things I keep in mind when planning meals as part of my weekly meal plans.
A good combination of side dishes and main dishes will have several effects on your meal:
End of ignition
To balance flavors
Adds and complements the textures of the main dish.
Complementing and complementing the colors of the main dish
Completing the plan
Most of the protein will probably be in the main dish. Holidays are a good time to introduce vegetables, fruits and grains that may not be part of the main dish recipe.
Balance of flavors
A spicy main dish paired with something mild. Think Mexican food with refried beans and rice.
Or spicy chicken curry served with naan or steamed rice.
A comforting dish like macaroni and cheese pairs well with tomatoes. Steamed or sliced fresh, the acidity of the tomatoes balances the milder flavors of the cheese and macaroni.
Add and add texture
Pasta dishes are soft. Salads are crisp. A perfect combination.
The soup goes well with crackers or crusty bread.
Eggs and toast. Steak and potatoes. Grilled cheese and tomato soup. Even these classic combinations get some of their appeal from the way their textures play off each other.
Adding and completing colors
Color is very important in food. A plate of chicken with meatballs, corn and mashed potatoes may be delicious, but it is not a real meal.
I prefer chicken and meatballs with turnip greens and baked sweet potatoes.
In future posts, we will look at complicated main dishes that can be combined with side dishes. But I also want to issue a small caveat:
It doesn’t have to be perfect to be a meal.
It doesn’t always have to be the perfect side dish to the main course to serve your family. It’s nice when things turn out the way you want them to. But sometimes getting dinner on the table is more important than worrying about the perfect side dish.
So, yes. When you’re planning your meal, think about side dishes. Try to choose something that really complements the main course in a way you can enjoy. But don’t dwell on them when time is up.
I would like to know which main dishes you have the most trouble with when choosing side dishes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most popular side dish?
Mashed potatoes were the most popular type of mashed potatoes in most states, leading in 10 states. Green bean casserole was next (in seven states, mostly in the Southwest). The third most popular side dish for casseroles was macaroni and cheese (the East Coast likes gooey macaroni and cheese) and rolls/crackers.