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Parsley-cucumber salad a part of the Side Dish Bible cookbook

Healthy Eating: The Side Dish Bible

The Side Dish Bible provides 1,001 recipes to help you find the perfect complementary dish to enhance any meal. We highlight four recipes to get you started.

Scientifically reviewed by Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in August 2023. Written by: Life Extension Editorial Staff.

The main dish is typically the focus of our meals. But a tasty side dish can enhance—and sometimes even outshine—even the most delectable main attraction.

Yet many home cooks find themselves in a side dish rut—often resorting to the same rotation of steamed or roasted vegetables time and again.

The Side Dish Bible, from America’s Test Kitchen, solves that problem with 1,001 recipes to help you find the perfect complementary dish for any meal.

Steamed broccoli is good—but Steamed Broccoli with Lime-Cumin Dressing sounds even better.

Roasted cauliflower might be tasty—but Braised Cauliflower with Garlic, Ginger, and Soy sounds much better.

If you only have a few ingredients on hand, The Side Dish Bible provides dozens of simple, tried-and-true recipes. For a little more adventure, consult the section called “Up Your Vegetable Game” for options such as Roman-Style Stuffed Braised Artichokes or Sautéed Baby Bok Choy with Miso Sauce.

If you prefer beans and lentils, you could try Mashed Fava Beans with Cucumbers, Olives, and Feta, or for a fresh salad, toss together a colorful Cherry Tomato Salad with Basil and Fresh Mozzarella.

With 1,001 recipes, The Side Dish Bible covers all the bases—including sections for dinner parties, potlucks, and casseroles, as well as recipes that utilize the grill, slow cooker, or pressure cooker.

Here, Life Extension® features four recipes to get you started.

—Laurie Mathena

Roasted Zucchini and Eggplant Medley

Roasted zucchini and eggplant dish

Serves 8

3 zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds), quartered lengthwise and sliced crosswise into 3/4-inch-wide pieces

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus extra for serving

3/4 teaspoons table salt, divided

2 pinches pepper, divided

1 1/2 pounds eggplant, cut into 1inch cubes

1 onion, chopped fine

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried

3 garlic cloves, minced

12 ounces cherry tomatoes, quartered

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

  1. Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil spray.
  2. Toss zucchini with 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pinch pepper. Spread zucchini in even layer on prepared sheet. Broil zucchini, stirring occasionally, until lightly charred around edges but slightly underdone, 7 to 10 minutes; transfer zucchini to shallow serving dish (or casserole dish). Repeat with eggplant, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining pinch pepper; transfer to serving dish.
  3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, thyme, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Off heat, stir in tomatoes. Scatter onion-tomato mixture over broiled vegetables. Cover vegetables and let sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with basil, lemon juice, and additional oil before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Chickpea Salad with Carrots, Arugula, and Olives

Chickpea salad with carrots, arugula, and olives

Serves 4

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon table salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Pinch cayenne pepper

3 carrots, peeled and shredded

1 ounce (1 cup) baby arugula, chopped

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped

  1. Microwave chickpeas in medium bowl until hot, about 1 minute 30 seconds. Stir in oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cayenne and let sit for 30 minutes.
  2. Add carrots, arugula, and olives and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.


Chickpea Salad with Fennel and Arugula

Substitute 1 fennel bulb, stalks discarded, bulb halved, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces, for carrots and olives.

Chickpea Salad with Roasted Red Peppers and Feta

Substitute 1/2 cup drained and chopped jarred roasted red peppers, 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, and 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley for carrots, arugula, and olives.

Sautéed Green Beans with Mushrooms and Dukkah

Sautéed green beans in dish

Serves 4

5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin

3 shallots, halved and sliced thin

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths

1/4 cup water

1/3 cup organic plain low-fat yogurt

2 tablespoons dukkah (We prefer to use our homemade dukkah (see recipe opposite), but you can substitute store-bought dukkah if you wish.)

  1. Combine 1 tablespoon oil, garlic, parsley, and lemon zest in bowl; set aside. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms, shallots, salt, and pepper, cover, and cook until mushrooms have released their liquid, about 5 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are golden, about 8 minutes. Transfer to clean bowl.
  2. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in now-empty skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add green beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until spotty brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add water, cover, and cook until green beans are bright green and still crisp, about 2 minutes.
  3. Uncover, increase heat to high, and cook until water evaporates, 30 to 60 seconds. Stir in oil-garlic mixture and mushrooms and cook until beans are crisp-tender, 1 to 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to platter, drizzle with yogurt, and sprinkle with dukkah. Serve.

Parsley-Cucumber Salad with Feta, Walnuts, and Pomegranate

Serves 4 to 6

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon table salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Pinch cayenne pepper

3 cups fresh parsley leaves

1 English cucumber, halved length- wise and sliced thin

1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped coarse, divided

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds, divided

4 ounces feta cheese, sliced thin

  1. Whisk oil, molasses, vinegar, salt, pepper, and cayenne in large bowl until fully incorporated. Add parsley and cucumber and toss to coat. Add half of walnuts and half of pomegranate seeds and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to platter and top with feta, remaining walnuts, and remaining pomegranate seeds. Serve.


Makes 2 cups

Dukkah is a Mediterranean condiment made from a blend of nuts, seeds, and spices. It makes a flavorful crunchy garnish for vegetables and salads.

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and patted dry

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup shelled pistachios, toasted

1/3 cup black sesame seeds, toasted

2 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds, toasted

1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted

2 teaspoons fennel seeds, toasted

1 1/2 teaspoons pepper

1 1/4 teaspoons table salt

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss chickpeas with oil and spread in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Roast until browned and crisp, 40 to 45 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes; let cool completely.
  2. Process chickpeas in food processor until coarsely ground, about 10 seconds; transfer to bowl. Pulse pistachios and sesame seeds in now-empty food processor until coarsely ground, about 15 pulses; transfer to bowl with chickpeas. Process coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds in again-empty food processor until finely ground, 2-3 minutes; transfer to bowl with chickpeas. Add pepper and salt and toss until well combined.

(Dukkah can be refrigerated for up to 1 month.)

Side dish bible cookbook cover

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