6 Ways to Wake Up Weeknight Veggies

Weeknight veggies can be exciting and tasty – plus quick and easy; no boring sides allowed. We’re going way beyond steamed broccoli today…

Wake Up Weeknight Veggies | TeaspoonOfSpice.com

We need some new ideas for vegetable side dishes. It seems I’m always serving steamed broccoli or salad; and my kids only eat salad if I add croutons and bacon,” lamented a friend recently.

I get her dialema. Weeknight veggies have to be quick and easily adaptable to a variety of main dishes. They should also be kid- (or husband-) friendly. Here are my favorite ways to wake up the weeknight veggie routine:

1. Beans count. They count as both a veggie and a protein. No recipe needed. Just add a can of drained, rinsed beans to almost any salad, pasta or mixed dish. Or cook up a big batch of beans on the stove or in the slow-cooker; freeze in meal-ready portions.

How to Cook Dried Beans | Teaspoonofspice.com

2. Serve soup. For anyone with veggie-phobia, this is a favorite. Puree any vegetable-laden soup into a creamy concoction and offending veggies just ‘disappear.’ Don’t forget soup-toppers to add sparkle – like Deanna’s Frazzled Onions on this Carrot Soup or my Sweet Potato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons.

Wake Up Weeknight Veggies| Teaspoonofspice.com

3. Consider the casserole. Spaghetti squash is casserole-friendly because it can replace pasta in any baked noodle dish. Or check out this Cozy Casserole Round-Up.

Easily Cut Spaghetti Squash


4. Rediscover cabbage. Even this dietitian gets sick of salad – but I never tire of cabbage. And neither do my kids. The trick to appreciating this under-appreciated veggie (Prediction: It’s the next cauliflower!) is: Always add a bit of sweetness.

  • Winter: Roast in the oven until caramelized; or sauteed with butter and apples
  • Summer: Make simple slaws with maple syrup vinaigrette; or coleslaw with Praline Bacon.
  • Fall salads: Toss in dried cranberries + nuts; or make an Asian dressing with sugar, lime and fish sauce/Worcestershire sauce.
  • Spring: Buy 2 heads; it’s on sale for St. Patricks Day. Then check out 7 Ways to Enjoy Leftover Cabbage.

7 Easy & Tasty Ways To Enjoy Leftover Cabbage...beyond cole slaw! | Teaspoonofspice.com

5. Work backwards.

When meal planning, instead of starting with the main dish, start with a seasonal veggie – like asparagus. Pick up what’s on sale in the produce department and search (right there on your phone) for a main dish incorporating that veggie.

Asparagus cheese sauce

6. Pasta or Rice + veggies = A meal. 

Rice or pasta is the perfect template for a meal. Use whatever leftover veggies + proteins you have. One of the most popular veggie pasta dishes on our site is: Butternut Squash Fettuccine Alfredo

How to make healthier Fettuccine Alfredo

Would you try any of these weeknight veggie ideas? How do you get beyond steamed broccoli?


We’re Serena & Deanna, two dietitians who love food as much as you do!  

We're also moms and business owners who share our family recipes, healthy kitchen hacks and nutrition adventures while keeping it real in the kitchen with you.

We’re so glad you’ve stopped by!

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