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You cover so many bases as a foodservice director. Between monitoring food costs, developing menu ideas and running daily operations, you put in countless hours. As you work on money- and time-saving strategies, are you incorporating healthy side dish recipes into your plans?
From formal dining rooms to fast casual restaurants, customers expect great sides with their entrees. According to industry research, more than 70 percent of consumers also want healthier choices when they dine out. Vegetable side dish recipes cater to those appetites, and that’s good for business.
Healthy Side Dishes for Restaurant Menus: 10 Easy Recipes
Hash, soup and slaw are just a few of the recipes we’ve pulled together to help with your menu planning. They all serve as delicious inspiration for busy commercial kitchens looking for new side dish ideas.
1. Fresh Brussels Sprouts Hash
Give customers another reason to love Brussels sprouts with this fresh take on vegan skillet hash from Food Network. Thinly sliced sprouts quickly cook up with pearl onions and only need a splash of white wine or chicken broth to finish.
2. Cucumber Soup in Iceberg Baby Bowls
Side dish vegetables don’t have to stay on the plate. Our associate, renowned Corporate Chef Beat Giger, crafts baby iceberg lettuce into edible bowls filled with cool cucumber soup. It’s a beautifully different presentation of both baby iceberg and creamy soup.
3. Two-Way Artichokes
Leave it to Chef Mario Batali to double down on the texture and flavor of fresh artichokes. While he prepares this dish over thinly sliced bresaola, it’s just as sophisticated as a strictly vegan side. Batali’s trick is simple: garnish sauteed artichoke quarters with thinly shaved raw chokes.
4. Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower
We add this recipe from nutritionist Ellie Krieger of “Go Healthy Tonight” TV fame because it’s quick and irresistible. Her easy broccoli and cauliflower roast brings out the best in two of our favorite side dish vegetables. It’s the kind of recipe a busy restaurant kitchen can really appreciate.
5. Cabbage and Kohlrabi Slaw
Food bloggers are calling it the new kale. We call kohlrabi a perfect pairing partner with savoy cabbage in Chef Michel Nischan’s simple-prep slaw. As CEO of Wholesome Wave, Nischan knows his healthy veggie sides, and this one serves up an impressive nutritional profile filled with vitamins and minerals.
6. Tuscan Kale and Cotija
Even with the rising popularity of kohlrabi, kale still holds a solid place in healthy side dish recipes. Celebrity Chef Bobby Flay puts the green leafy vegetable center plate as a super-easy side. Just dress shredded kale with olive oil and fresh lime, and lightly dust with cotija cheese.
7. Grilled Romaine Hearts
We offer this veggie side dish from the online collection of Allrecipes. These grilled hearts of romaine are an ideal smokey side for pairing with your best steaks. From prep to plate, grilled romaine hearts turn out sensational sides in less than half an hour.
8. Broccoli Roman-Style
How do you give a healthy vegetable side an enticing Italian accent? Follow this easy recipe for Roman-style broccolifrom the kitchens of Food Network. The simple dish showcases fresh florets complemented with garlic, red pepper and white wine.
9. Toasty Brussels Sprouts and Chestnuts
We credit the online recipe box of EatingWell for this very easy, very healthy vegetable side dish recipe. Pan-toasted Brussels sprouts with chestnuts can help streamline a busy shift in any commercial kitchen. It’s the kind of side that’s sure to warm up your restaurant’s menu just in time for winter.
10. Baby Carrots With Ginger and Lime
You win Top Chef with imagination and flair, and this dish from champion Chef Richard Blais serves up generous portions of both. It puts plenty of nutrition on the table too with crispy, tender baby carrots dressed with a tangy ginger and lime sauce. Japanese furikake adds sesame seed and seaweed flavors.
Your Dependable Source for Premium Produce
Every entree deserves a great side. Every health-conscious customer wants delicious choices. Well-prepared side dish vegetables make your best main dishes even better, and they satisfy growing consumer appetites for healthier dining.
As you develop your own healthy sides, you can depend on us here at Hitchcock Farms. We supply premium produce from our California fields to foodservice operations in-state and across the country. You always want the freshest vegetables available for your menu planning, and we always deliver.
Dan Holt is an experienced produce professional who started in the industry as a quality assurance inspector in the early 1990s and leads sales at Hitchcock Farms as Vice President. Prior to joining Hitchcock Farms, Dan enjoyed success in organic, specialty and conventional produce and with independent operators, regional and national chains in North America and abroad. Dan continues his passion in produce through collaborative inspiration and promoting healthy and sustainable food.