15 Hearty Winter Sides
It's time to eat all the food.
Photo by Heami Lee.
The best thing about winter is winter food, and the best thing about winter food is the heavy-duty sides you can eat with every meal. Some dishes just don’t make any sense to eat outside of the snowy confines of sub-zero temperatures, and these recipes will allow you to appreciate nature’s small but versatile bounty when vegetation, like us, is struggling to stay alive. Some are decadent, some are lighter, but they’ll all make you thankful for root vegetables, sturdy greens, cream, and butter.
Big chunks of salty beets and goat cheese will always work well together and this recipes uses a beet reduction to get Prince-levels of purple magic into your belly. Plus, any excuse to use a blowtorch is a good one.
Roasted carrots are a winter staple. Here, they're reclining on a bed of hearty, fibrous farro, and a charred scallion salsa verde is the perfect way to jazz up them up a little.
Green beans are another winter classic that don’t get enough love or attention, but with a little lime, a lot of roasted garlic, and a fried egg, you will never look at these bean vessels the same.
Brussel sprouts and kale are tough leafy greens, and when they come together, they will give you the physical and mental strength to contend with the most unforgiving of weather.
What main wouldn’t go well with sausage, figs, and parmesan? Stuffing should not be relegated to argumentative Thanksgiving meals.
Creamed spinach is too often in the shadows of the huge pieces of meat it is served next to in steakhouses. But, in that sense, it’s also the ultimate side, enhancing everything it is paired with, never asking the credit and always satisfying. Creamed spinach always delivers.
Potato gratin never met an entrée it didn’t like, and, given the amount of cream and cheese in here, it’s unlikely you’ll be serving this in July.
And while we’re in the cream department, we’d be remiss if we left creamed corn out of a winter sides roundup. Sure, fresh corn is a distant memory at this point, but frozen kernels are just as sweet. It’s the perfect metaphor for how frozen and far from summer we are.
A big bowl of double-fried potatoes covered in salt is never a bad idea and this recipe has a few trade secrets for maximizing crispiness.
Speaking of crispiness, roasting the hell out of brussel sprouts and adding crispy bacon is a surefire way to fill your kitchen and your stomach with winter glory.
Cauliflower is another cold weather hero, but there’s nothing like tahini, pomegranate seeds, and toasted pine nuts to turn a winter stalwart into an interesting side.
Indianapolis chef Jonathan Brooks gave us this recipe, which is says is perfect for “stoned greedy bastards” like himself. If weed isn’t your herb of choice, there’s still enough parsley, basil, oregano, and mint in here to make it worth your while.
This is a true ode to root vegetables; it’s got six hall of fame starches and enough maple syrup to make you eat them compulsively.
Winter is no time for dainty cucumber brunoise. It's the time of year to throw whole cukes onto the fire, whole and ready to be paired with grilled halloumi.
Pommes aligot is to mashed potatoes what crack is to cocaine; amped up with cheese curds, roasted garlic, and 1.25 kilos of butter. It's the last resort for cold, wretched, wintered souls in need of comfort. It's also really good with steak.