starchy side dishes

14 Classic Starchy Side Dishes You Can Serve at Any Occasion

People have go-to recipes; for side dishes, they’re usually mashed potatoes, fries, rice, and pasta. If you notice, they have these in common: starch and carbs. While starchy, carb-packed foods have a reputation for being bad for people on a diet, you’ll find them enjoyable when consumed in adequate amounts.

Moreover, starchy side dishes are easy to make, and their flavors complement many delicious entrees. These qualities have established them as classics for any occasion. Thus, if you are scrambling to make a dinner menu, look for your side dish choices in this article.

1. Mashed Potatoes

Name any occasion – potlucks, Thanksgiving, or get-togethers – you can be sure that someone would serve a bowl of creamy mashed potatoes. These soft, buttery goods are exceptionally great with flavorful, saucy dishes as they absorb the sauce pretty well. They’re so popular that people even go for instant mashed potato mixes all the time. However, nothing beats the quality of homemade mashed potatoes, which you can achieve with this recipe.

2. Crispy Baked Potato Wedges

Potato wedges also make frequent appearances in holiday dinners. Perfect wedges have crispy skins and tender flesh, and the flavorings are well-balanced and sink into every inch of the potato. These treats are traditionally deep-fried, but many choose to bake them so they’re healthier and less oily. They’re often served with a dip, like ketchup or a mayo-based mixture.

3. Potato Salad

Summer meals always benefit from a bowl of cool, creamy, and delicious potato salad. Also, it’s not just potatoes you get from this salad. There’s a tangy flavor from mayo, sweet pickle relish, and apple cider vinegar. Other flavorings, such as mustard, celery seeds, paprika, hard-boiled eggs, celery stalks, onions, and dill, further complement them.

4. Potatoes au Gratin

Cheese and potatoes are excellent, but you can take that pairing to the next level by making potatoes au gratin. It is a French recipe that alternates potato slices with a rich and indulgent layer of cream, butter, garlic, herbs, and cheese. The whole dish is then baked so everything comes together tender and creamy. The top has a luscious golden brown look, inviting you to dig into it.

5. Baked French Fries

The most popular way to have potatoes is by having them as French fries. They are a fun and simple side enjoyed by adults and children alike. French fries can be prepped in many ways: with skins or none, thin cut or thick, deep-fried or baked. This recipe makes them with skins, slim and baked, so you can avoid that unappetizing oiliness you get from deep-fried fries.

6. How to Cook Fluffy Quinoa

Quinoa is a popular rice alternative because it is rich in protein, manganese, magnesium, and other nutrients. It has a unique nutty flavor and looks like little pearls in various colors. If you haven’t tried cooking quinoa, check out this recipe. It’s the best guide to preparing your quinoa, so it comes out fluffy, soft, and light.

7. Homemade Fried Rice

If you’re planning to enjoy some Chinese cuisine tonight, homemade fried rice is an excellent, tasty addition. It pairs well with many Asian-flavored dishes and takes only 25 minutes to complete. You also encounter several exciting textures and flavors from the medley of spices, vegetables, sauces, and eggs added to the cooked jasmine rice.

8. Homemade Rice Pilaf

Rice pilaf looks similar to fried rice – long, brown grains with various ingredients dotting the mixture. But its preparation is much different. Raw rice is toasted in aromatics and spices before any liquid is even added. This imparts a unique, deep flavor to every grain, which makes rice pilaf sought after by many people.

9. Risotto

While many avoid turning their rice into mush, the Italians decided to go on the opposite road by making risotto. They’ve proven that the road less traveled isn’t necessarily wrong – risotto is rich, creamy, and delicious. It’s also incredibly flavorful, as it’s packed with all the added seasonings, aromatics, wine, and broth. Some even add cheese, mushrooms, and other ingredients to enhance the taste.

10. Grilled Corn on the Cob

Classic corn on the cob, boiled and then slathered with butter, is a juicy and simple side dish. But why not improve the experience? To do so, take that corn out of the pot and put it on the grill instead. Grilling imparts a beautiful, smoky flavor you can hardly achieve by any other method. Once cooked, try combining spices and seasonings with the butter, so your cob is more flavorful.

11. Homemade Creamed Corn

If you don’t have fresh corn cobs, you can still have a delicious corn side dish by making this homemade creamed corn. You can use fresh, frozen, or canned corn kernels; the flavors are fantastic, whichever you pick. They all come out as a perfect blend of sweet, savory and creamy – a comforting side for a heartwarming meal.

12. Pasta Salad

Salads are typical, well-loved side dishes and usually consist of fresh and light veggies and fruits. However, this recipe’s main element is pasta combined with tomatoes, arugula, chickpeas, nuts, cheese, cucumbers, and herbs. Thus, not only do you get a flavorful medley, but you also have all the nutrients you need — carbs, proteins, and vitamins — all in one bowl.

13. Garlic Butter Pasta

You can cook and serve pasta in many ways, but if you want to keep it plain and simple, go for this garlic butter recipe. It keeps the pasta’s flavors mild yet simple, complementing your main entrees without overpowering them. They’re especially great with proteins, like chicken, pork, and meat. This rich and decadent side is also a quick treat – ready within 20 minutes.

14. Soft Dinner Rolls

Soft and fluffy dinner rolls are a timeless side dish. They’re perfect with nearly everything – saucy entrees, rich pasta, juicy meat, and more, as they’re great for absorbing flavors. Or you can munch on them alone and feel the buttery flavors melt on your tongue.

AboutRibana Hategan

Ribana is a certified pastry chef and passionate home cook who curates and develops recipes that are high on nutrition. She develops and tests cost effective, nutritious meals using quality ingredients to help people better their everyday eating experiences.