It's all about balance.
If we’d draw a Venn diagram of healthy foods and hearty foods, chicken would fall right in the middle. Unless it’s breaded and deep-fried or... oh... braised in Kool Aid. You’re reading this, though, so we’ll assume it’s neither. And we’ll assume you’re looking for sides that also fall in that healthy-hearty sliver of the Venn. The following sides do. And these sides just about prove that veggie-forward dishes can be as delicious as the rest of ‘em.
This take on tabbouleh (a Middle Eastern salad) trades bulgur for quinoa and adds shredded carrots to the mix.
"I made it for a group and everyone loved it, including those who don't really like veggies. I added some chopped chicken to make it a meal," KatherineC says.
Red peppers, Kalamata olives, and riced cauliflower simmer in chicken broth, lemon zest, and lemon juice, making it a natural with chicken.
"Great dish! Followed the other suggestions to cover with foil and roast at 425," says melmeow79. "Also added two small chicken breasts, which I cut into 1" pieces. Served over brown rice to round out the meal."
These crispy potatoes boast just the right amount of flavor, holding their own next to well-seasoned chicken without overpowering it.
"Every time I have a barbeque, this salad is a must! I cook the beans so they are still crunchy and add them warm to the marinade," Maryann Dekens says. Check out our collection of recipes for barbequed and grilled chicken for inspiration.
Simple ingredients make this salad an excellent recipe to have on hand. You even can replace rice vinegar with balsamic or red wine vinegar and go with grape tomatoes when heirlooms aren't in season, home cook Joanne Hoschette says.
You can season this basic (and slime-free!) okra with whatever condiments sound appetizing, making it a choice side. Our home cooks have added hot pepper flakes, Sriracha salt, garlic powder, soy, cayenne, and smoked paprika.
"I can't believe how good they were! This side dish is a great substitute for fried potatoes for someone on a diet that restricts carbs. This recipe is a keeper!" says Kerri C.
Broccolini tastes milder than broccoli, meaning this veg pairs just as well with flavor-packed mains as it does with simple ones.
"Omitted the cilantro and served it hot as a side dish for chicken shawarma," says kshaw. "It was very simple to make, and my guests loved it!! I will make it as a cold salad next time."
Plate the juiciest chicken recipes with this pilaf so that the millet (a grain that birds eat, too, hence the recipe's name) can sop up the flavors.
Meaty portobellos transform Swiss chard into a substantial side.
Kale, quinoa, and avocado have all been dubbed superfoods, which kind of sets this salad in a class of its own. It's just missing chicken.
If your asparagus spears are very thin, you might want to cut back the roasting time so they don't overcook.