These Quick and Easy Vegetable Recipes are simple, healthy and kid-friendly as well! They’re perfect dinner side dishes and a great way to add some extra veggies to your day.
*Originally published 8/2017. Updated 9/2023*
I originally wrote this post shortly after my second child started eating solid foods. While I did a fairly good job making and serving my oldest a variety of vegetables, it’s a whole different game trying to start feeding a baby with a wild toddler running around.
When I noticed I was falling into the habit of giving her more fruit than veggies, I decided I needed to step up my game. I made an effort to be more proactive about prepping vegetables to have on hand to give her for meals and snacks.
How To Make Vegetables More Interesting
One of the easiest ways to make vegetables more interesting is to add variety. That can mean changing the preparation method – raw, steamed, roasted, sauteed, etc and can also mean adding different spices and seasoning to change up the flavors. Spices like paprika, cumin, curry powder and oregano are great ways to change up the flavor profile without making foods too spicy for little mouths.
What vegetables are best for picky eaters?
All of them! One of the best things you can do for more selective eaters is to offer a wide variety and offer them repeatedly, even when they’re not getting eaten. Exposure matters and even getting kids to touch, smell or lick things on their plate can be a huge exposure win!
Our Favorite Easy Vegetable Recipes
So, here are 9 quick and easy ways to add veggies to your table. I buy fresh veggies weekly, but my freezer is also packed with frozen veggies and my pantry usually has a few cans of vegetables as well.
Most Americans don’t eat nearly enough vegetables and my motto is “the easier the better” so these simple “recipes” will help add some vegetables to your familys’ plates and hopefully you’ll find some new favorites!
What Vegetables Side Dish Recipes Are Good For Last Minute Dinners?
Most of these are ready in just 20 minutes or so in the oven or on the stove if you need to cook them right before eating. But they can also be made ahead of time and reheated which makes them perfect for dinner in a hurry.
They don’t really require recipes so I’ve just provided a short description/instructions for each one:
Easy Roasted Vegetables – Ginger Soy Green Beans
If you’re not a fan of just plain steamed green beans, try these with fresh green beans! I simply cut the ends off, toss in a little oil and roast at 400 degrees F on a foil-lined baking sheet for about 12 minutes, stirring once.
Then drizzle with a little sweet thai chili sauce, some soy sauce and a bit of fresh ginger (or ginger paste) and mix well.
Vegetables with Butter – Paprika Carrots
I just peel some fresh carrots and thinly slice them, then toss with a little melted butter and sprinkle with paprika and roast on a foil-lined baking sheet at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until desired softness is reached, stirring occasionally.
You could also use baby carrots for this – it’d be an easy way to keep all the slices similar sized. I slice mine pretty thin both so they cook quickly and are easy for the baby to eat but you could make them thicker and cook them longer. Also- don’t like butter? Just drizzle with oil instead.
Oven Baked Vegetables – Broccoli Tots
Steam a bag of broccoli in the microwave. Drain excess water and add to food processor. Pulse until well chopped. Add an egg, 3/4 cup breadcrumbs, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 – 1 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 cup shredded cheese and process until combined. Form into tot shape, squeezing tightly.
Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes, flipping once. Serve with ketchup. Make sure you sprinkle the seasonings around the whole food processor bowl when adding instead of just dumping all in one spot or you may get ALL the garlic powder in one tot like my husband was lucky enough to taste!
Skillet Vegetables – Balsamic Mushrooms
Thinly slice mushrooms and cook over low heat on the stovetop with a little oil until soft. Add a little balsamic vinegar, mix well and serve.
Lightly Sweetened Vegetables – Maple Cinnamon Squash
Cut squash in half and remove seeds. I used acorn squash but most kinds would be fine. Cut into slices – I sliced mine into rings and then cut them in half. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet, brush both sides with maple syrup and sprinkle with cinnamon. Roast at 400 degrees F for 20 min or until soft, flipping once.
Simple Sauteed Vegetables – Pesto Zoodles
Spiralize zucchini into noodles. Saute over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add pesto and stir to combine.
Oven Roasted Vegetables – Curried Sweet Potatoes
Slice and dice a sweet potato. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with oil (I usually use olive oil but coconut oil would be good for this flavor combo too!) and stir to coat. Sprinkle with curry powder, stir and roast at 425 degrees F for about 20 minutes, stirring a couple of times.
Smashed Vegetables – Parmesan Smashed Potatoes
Look for the smallest little round potatoes you can find. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet, drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Roast at 425 for 20 minutes. Using the bottom of a glass, smash each potato.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and parmesan cheese. Optional – add rosemary to the mix. Also optional- stick back under the broiler once smashed to get them crispier!
Sauteed Vegetables – Peas with Pancetta
Saute diced pancetta and garlic in a pan. Steam peas in the microwave. Add peas to the pan, stir to combine and serve. Bacon would also work if you don’t have pancetta!
Easy Vegetable Recipes As Side Dishes FAQs
What vegetables are easiest to cook?
Frozen vegetables are a great option if you’re looking for vegetables that are easy to cook. You don’t need to peel or chop them and they pretty much just need to be heated up in the microwave or on the stove!
Similarly, canned vegetables are an easy option as well. Just open the can, drain if needed and then heat them up if you want to or serve them room temperature. Canned and frozen vegetables are also perfectly prepped to be added to things like soups and casseroles.
Here are some more quick and easy vegetable recipes for lunch/dinner.
What is the fastest vegetable to cook? What is the best way to cook vegetables quickly?
The smaller the vegetable pieces, the quicker they cook so if you do need things to cook quickly, dicing them into small pieces will help! You can also look for precut vegetables at the grocery store to save time.
Cooking frozen vegetables in the microwave is an easy way to cook vegetables quickly. You can then add seasonings, butter, salt etc or add a sauce on top for an easy side dish.
Harder vegetables like potatoes and carrots can take longer to cook than vegetables like peas, corn, peppers, beans etc.
Here are some quick-cooking tips for vegetables.
How to store these vegetable recipes?
These vegetable recipes can be stored in glass Pyrex containers in the fridge. To reheat them you can use the microwave, a saute pan or an air fryer.
What veggies are best for meal prepping? Can you meal prep vegetables for the week?
You guys know I love meal prep. I have a whole course called Mastering Food Prep. Vegetables are something I prep every single week. Some of my favorites are chopping, washing and drying lettuce for salads and prepping a veggie snack tray with carrots, cucumbers, peppers, cherry tomatoes, etc. I also always roast a few vegetables like sweet potatoes, potatoes, green beans etc to use as dinner side dishes.
Here are more tips for How To Meal Prep Veggies for Easy Meals and How To Meal Prep Specific Veggies.
What are some autumn and winter vegetable recipes? What are some spring and summer vegetable recipes?
Fall and winter veggies include things like brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, carrots, kale and other leafy greens. Spring and summer vegetables include things like asparagus, snap peas, corn, squash and zucchini.
Best Kid-Friendly Vegetable Side Dish Recipes:
Looking for more veggie side dishes? Try these:
- 10 Kid-Friendly Vegetable Recipes
- 25+ Kid-Friendly Vegetable Recipes
- Healthy Veggie Nuggets
- Kid-Friendly Vegetable Side Dishes
What’s your favorite veggie side dish?
LEARN HOW FOOD AFFECTS YOUR BODY.
Get my free Table Talk email series where I share bite-sized nutrition information about carbs, protein, and fat, plus bonus information about snacks and sugar!