We dig it on our pizza, require it on our burgers and have even been known to melt it on our fries. It’s cheese, the well-loved ingredient that gets a whole lot richer when things are heated up. In these side dishes, cheese isn’t simply an afterthought to be dashed on top. It’s an integral part, giving things a creamy, rich edge in all the right ways. Tune into our roster of cheesy, decadent sides — each recipe is complete with a good showing of spring vegetables.
Due to Arborio rice’s natural starch content, risotto on its own has a creamy quality. But, according to Ina Garten, you simply can’t have risotto without the Parmesan. Her veggie-packed Spring Green Risotto comes together with freshly grated Parm and smooth, rich mascarpone. In the spirit of spring, Ellie Krieger’s Garden Risotto has a garden variety, with peas, asparagus and baby spinach.
Think of Food Network Magazine’s Spring Shells and Cheese (pictured above) as a grown-up mac and cheese — with its mature fix of veggies, too. Zucchini gives it a nice crunch, while spinach slides in for some good green. Or unload a batch of spring peas into this creamy Four Cheese Pasta With Peas and Ham by Food Network Magazine.
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At this point in the year, we can utter the word “summer” without feeling jipped. May is here, and things are only going to get hotter. That’s why FN Dish is compiling a list of pasta salad sides that are perfect for the warm weather. These recipes are anything but boring, and they also carry their fair shares of spring produce. Spoon a heap next to a grilled protein, pack some in Tupperware for outside eating, or enjoy it at home at your first barbecue of the season. No matter how you choose to enjoy it, we’re all about pasta salad on this May day.
Standard pasta salads are often creamy, but not much else. Go further with Food Network Magazine’s Pasta Salad With Asparagus, Corn and Sun-Dried Tomatoes, which is spiked with lemon, garlic and Parmesan cheese. American Macaroni Salad, too, is creamy in all the right ways, and it’s crunchy with diced celery and red onion.
The Neelys’ Lemon Pasta Salad nixes the creamy contingency for a lemony Dijon vinaigrette. With radicchio, fennel and baby bell peppers, Food Network Magazine’s Tuscan Pasta Salad With Grilled Vegetables (pictured above) is as bright as they come. Paula’s Italian Pasta Salad is fixed with bow ties and an easy balsamic vinaigrette.
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More likely than not, your kids have better things to think about than garden-fresh produce, bustling farmers’ markets and mindful grocery shopping. But, when they sit down at the dinner table, all that good stuff is what’s for dinner, even if they’re morally opposed to eating their veggies. Use these recipes to get your kids excited about spring produce.
For some, green beans are good eaten straight out of the produce bag. But for those who need a little push, Alton Brown’s Best Ever Green Bean Casserole is just as the name implies. Rather than using the store-bought crunchy onions, Alton whips his up from scratch.
Broccoli is typically a no-go for most little ones, but when it’s served up in a style reminiscent of mac and cheese, it’s much easier to sell. With a foundation of rice and a scattering of florets, Sunny Anderson’s Cheesy Mushroom and Broccoli Casserole (pictured above) does just that.
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A lot of our favorite spring sides come mashed — or smashed, depending on your word-choice preference. This week we’re zeroing in on a texture for side dishes that makes for good eating — and easy chewing. Some mashed dishes entail a ricer or the back of your fork. Others are mashed in a more casual sense. All of these dishes, however, involve a certain level of deconstruction.
When it comes to smashed spring peas, the British know what’s up. Go for Jamie Oliver’s Minty Mushy Peas, which will work as a hearty, vegetarian side. Though he opts for frozen peas, we all know the fresh ones are ripe for the mushing. Rachael Ray adds creamy, slightly sweet cheese to her Smashed Peas and Ricotta Cheese recipe.
This last recipe is not mashed in its entirety, but it shows how mashed ingredients fit into bigger pictures. Tagliatelle With Smashed Peas, Sausage and Ricotta Cheese by Giada De Laurentiis uses the pulverized pea for its creamy, filling and subtly sweet attributes. The spicy sausage counteracts the mild peas and cheese, creating a pasta side ready for any night of the week.
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It seems that spring is finally gracing us with its presence. Good thing we didn’t hold our breath, eh? In celebration of the season, bolt to your nearest farmers’ market — or produce section — for some fresh, fresh, fresh produce.
Here’s the catch: rather than zapping these veggies with heat, reach for a trusty kitchen tool instead: the mandoline. With its thin-slicing capabilities, this gadget converts veggies into some sensational no-cook sides. But be sure to watch yourself — this tool is seriously sharp. (Don’t have a mandoline? A standard vegetable peeler will work just fine too.)
Summer Squash Carpaccio by Food Network Magazine is vibrant and vital as we progress into the warmer months. Here ribbons of yellow squash and zucchini are thin but perky as they marinate in a simple lemon vinaigrette with herbs and grated pecorino.
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Fixing a bowl of raisin-laced quinoa and calling it dinner just won’t do. Yes, many wholesome grains are packed with protein and all that good stuff, but they’re that much better when things are kept balanced. With this fleet of recipe combinations, your grain-based sides are not just an afterthought; they’re a fluid and integral part of your meal.
A Tupperware of some-sort-of-quinoa-salad may be all the rage at lunchtime these days, but quinoa is much more exciting when it’s transitioned to the dinner table. Food Network Magazine‘s Spice-Rubbed Pork With Quinoa and its Scallops With Citrus and Quinoa are both sophisticated and relatively light, and the grain itself is prepared very simply.
Couscous works wonders when combined with shellfish. Sandra Lee whips up a homemade basil-walnut pesto for her Shrimp Scampi Over Pesto Couscous, and Food Network Magazine’s Greek Shrimp and Couscous integrates the grain with a sauce brimming in tomatoes, fennel and feta. The chefs in Food Network Kitchens aren’t kidding with this 20-Minute Shrimp and Couscous With Yogurt-Hummus Sauce (pictured above) — this dish comes out quick. Store-bought Greek yogurt and hummus make for an easy dipping sauce when blended, while the whole-wheat couscous is studded with dried apricots.
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Think about it — your oven has done a lot for you this season. It’s seen pies and casseroles, pot roasts and big birds. It’s gotten you through holidays and frosty nights. Let’s not even mention all the cookies and cakes. But soon enough, you’ll be trading your boots for shorts and your oven for the grill. It’s just how the cycle goes.
This week, as you get your hands on some of that fresh spring produce, keep that faithful oven of yours in mind. It roasts veggie after veggie to sheer perfection, making certain your sides are simply sensational.
When asparagus meets the oven, it doesn’t need much else. Food Network Magazine’s pristine Roasted Asparagus calls upon nothing more than toasted pine nuts and lemon to accentuate its earthy flavors. Ina Garten’s Parmesan Roasted Asparagus, on the other hand, is luxurious and the perfect mate to a sumptuous steak.
Though Roasted Carrots may scream fall, this recipe by Food Network Magazine uses lemon, red onion, cilantro and spices to inject a seasonal flair. Add a dose of green for Roasted Carrots and Peas, ensuring that the vibrancy of the season shines through. Here’s a good tip: It’s a good idea to parboil hard veggies like carrots so the finished product comes down without a crunch.
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You’ve heard it all before: Spring is a time for change. It’s a time when we kick off our puffy down coats and swing our windows wide open. It’s also a time when our diets change for the better. But before getting carried away with all the green-as-can-be produce you can get your hands on, use this first stage of the season for some serious spring cleaning, with a special emphasis on that pantry of yours.
This week, Food Network’s combining forgotten pantry items with the freshness of spring produce. Together, these two elements create bright and budget-friendly side dishes.
Those cardboard boxes of pasta sure stock up in the shadowy depths of your pantry. Get that stuff boiled by making one of these spring-forward pasta dishes. Serve Food Network Magazine’s Spaghetti With Snap Peas and Prosciutto alongside a nice chicken breast. Or try Pasta Salad With Asparagus, Corn and Sun-Dried Tomatoes by Food Network Magazine as a cold side for a spring picnic.
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