Skip to main content

15 Healthy Side Dishes for Chicken

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.

1. Quinoa Tabbouleh

This take on tabbouleh (a Middle Eastern salad) trades bulgur for quinoa and adds shredded carrots to the mix. 

Quinoa Tabbouleh
Photo by KGora

2. Mediterranean Zucchini and Chickpea Salad

"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.

Mediterranean Zucchini and Chickpea Salad
Photo by NOZOMI

3. Paleo Cauli Couscous

Red peppers, Kalamata olives, and riced cauliflower simmer in chicken broth, lemon zest, and lemon juice, making it a natural with chicken.

Paleo Cauli Couscous
Photo by France C

4. Roasted Garlic Cauliflower

"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." 

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower
Photo by MRSJPVAN2

5. Roasted Parmesan Rosemary Potatoes

These crispy potatoes boast just the right amount of flavor, holding their own next to well-seasoned chicken without overpowering it. 

Roasted Parmesan Rosemary Potatoes
Photo by naples34102

6. Marinated Green Beans with Olives, Tomatoes, and Feta

"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.

Marinated Green Beans with Olives, Tomatoes, and Feta
Photo by lutzflcat

7. Heirloom Tomato Salad with Rosemary

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.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Rosemary
Photo by MrsFisher0729

8. Air Fryer Roasted Okra

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. 

Air Fryer Roasted Okra
Photo by Buckwheat Queen

9. Sauteed Radishes

"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. 

Sauteed Radishes
Sauteed Radishes

10. Simple Broccolini

Broccolini tastes milder than broccoli, meaning this veg pairs just as well with flavor-packed mains as it does with simple ones. 

Simple Broccolini
Photo by naples34102

11. Moroccan Spicy Carrot Salad

"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." 

Moroccan Spicy Carrot Salad
Photo by laurah

12. Vegetable Birdseed Pilaf

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. 

Vegetable Birdseed Pilaf
Photo by Allrecipes Magazine

13. Savory Swiss Chard with Portobellos

Meaty portobellos transform Swiss chard into a substantial side. 

Savory Swiss Chard with Portobellos
Photo by naples43102

14. Kale, Quinoa, and Avocado Salad with Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette

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.

15. Oven-Roasted Asparagus

If your asparagus spears are very thin, you might want to cut back the roasting time so they don't overcook.

mary claire lagroue

About Mary Claire Lagroue

Food writer who meal preps like it's her job.