Dairy-free side dish

15 Dairy-Free Side Dishes: The Unsung Heroes of The Dinner Table

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Updated on February 10, 2024

Main dishes this, main dishes that. Do you know who are the real unsung heroes of the culinary world? Side dishes! Side dishes can turn a bland meal into the most favourable and diverse meal you have ever had. These small dishes arranged all around the dinner table are the ones that tie all the flavours together and make your meal indeed a success.

When it comes to side dishes, the choices are endless! But for people with dietary restrictions, things might seem a little limited. We’re here to give you so many options for dairy-free side dishes that you will never run out of ideas! So, without further ado, let’s dive into the world of dairy-free side dishes!

Dairy-Free Side Dish for the Veggie Lovers

Are you ready to celebrate the incredible world of vegetables? Forget bland sides relegated to the background—these dairy-free side dishes put veggies front and centre, bursting with flavour and showcasing their versatility. Whether you’re a confirmed veggie lover or looking to add more plant-based power to your meals, get ready to embark on a delicious journey!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Glaze

Dairy-Free Side Dish
Dairy-Free Side Dish

Imagine tiny cabbages transformed into crispy delights bursting with caramelised sweetness. A hint of balsamic glaze adds a tangy depth, making these Brussels sprouts irresistible even to veggie sceptics. This classic dairy-free side dish is easy to make and always pleases a crowd. The balsamic glaze adds a sweetness and acidity that complements the Brussels sprouts.

To make it, you need to preheat the oven to 200°C. Toss Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt, pepper, and chopped garlic. Roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and cook for another 5 minutes.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon and Pecans


Picture fluffy, golden sweet potatoes infused with warm cinnamon and the satisfying crunch of toasted pecans. This comforting side dish is perfect for cosy fall nights and holiday gatherings. This warm, lovely side dish is ideal for fall and winter. The cinnamon and pecans add a nice touch of sweetness and crunch.

To create this tasty dairy-free side dish, preheat oven to 220°C. Cut sweet potatoes into wedges and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and chopped pecans. Roast for 30-35 minutes, flipping halfway through, until tender and caramelised.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage

Imagine velvety-smooth butternut squash roasted to perfection, infused with the earthy aroma of fresh sage. Each bite offers a delightful dance of savoury and sweet flavours, making this dish a crowd-pleaser. This is a flavorful and healthy side dish that is easy to make. The sage adds a lovely herbaceous flavour to the butternut squash.

To create this dairy-free side dish at home, preheat oven to 200°C. Peel and cube butternut squash. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and chopped fresh sage. Roast for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden brown.

Rainbow Roasted Radishes and Carrots

Forget boring sides! Imagine a vibrant symphony of roasted radishes and carrots, their natural sweetness harmonising with a peppery bite. A touch of olive oil and fresh thyme elevate these beauties into a visual and culinary masterpiece.

Embrace the vibrant hues of spring with this simple yet stunning dish. Toss colourful radishes and carrots in a light olive oil drizzle, sprinkle with fresh thyme, and roast until tender. The natural sweetness of the carrots mingles with the peppery bite of radishes, creating a delightful flavour harmony. This stunning side dish is delicious and adds colour to your plate!

Creamy Cashew Cauliflower Fritters

Indulge in the unexpected! Crispy cauliflower fritters, infused with the luxurious creaminess of soaked cashews, offer a textural explosion. These golden bites are packed with spices and herbs, perfect for dipping and savouring. Let your taste buds embark on a flavour adventure!

Who says vegetarian fritters have to be dry and dull? These beauties are infused with the luxurious creaminess of soaked cashews, offering a unique textural experience. Grate the cauliflower florets, mix them with spices, herbs, and the cashew “cream,” then pan-fried them for a crispy golden exterior and a soft, flavorful centre. Dip them in your favourite sauce for an irresistible, protein-packed appetiser or side dish.

Dairy-Free Side Dishes for the Salad Enthusiasts

Forget the wimpy, wilted salads of yesteryear! Prepare to experience salad sensations that ignite your taste buds and redefine the meaning of “side dish.” Step into a realm where leafy greens transform into bold canvases brimming with flavour and texture. Whether you’re a seasoned salad lover or simply looking for a refreshing escape, these dairy-free creations promise a journey for your senses.

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Corn

Dairy-free side dish
Dairy-free side dish

Skip the lettuce and dive into a protein-packed fiesta! Imagine fluffy quinoa tossed with tender black beans, sweet corn, vibrant red onion, and fragrant cilantro, all dressed in a citrusy lime vinaigrette. This protein-packed salad is perfect for a light lunch or dinner. The black beans and corn add a nice touch of sweetness and heartiness.

To assemble this dairy-free side dish, cook quinoa according to package directions. Combine cooked quinoa, black beans, corn, chopped red onion, chopped cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Let chill for at least 30 minutes for the flavours to meld.

Arugula Salad with Pears and Walnuts

Envision peppery arugula leaves mingling with crisp pears and crunchy walnuts, drizzled with a light balsamic vinaigrette. The sweet-tart contrast and textural interplay make this salad a delightful flavour and texture adventure. This light and refreshing salad is perfect for a summer day. The pears add a touch of sweetness, and the walnuts add a nice crunch.

This dairy-free side dish can’t be easier to make! Toss baby arugula with sliced pears toasted walnuts, and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette or lemon juice and olive oil dressing.

Kale Salad with Massaged Kale, Apples, and Cranberries

Forget tough, bitter kale! Imagine tender, massaged kale leaves tossed with crisp apples, juicy cranberries, and crunchy walnuts, all dressed in a simple yet delicious lemon-maple dressing. This healthy salad is packed with nutrients and bursts with flavour. This is a healthy and flavorful salad that is filled with nutrients. The massaged kale is tender and easy to digest, and the apples and cranberries add a touch of sweetness and tartness.

To make the dairy-free side dish, kale salad, massage kale with olive oil and salt until softened. Combine with chopped apples, dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, and a simple dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, and maple syrup.

Mediterranean Couscous Salad


Escape to sun-drenched shores with this vibrant tapestry of textures and tastes. Imagine fluffy couscous dancing with sun-kissed tomatoes, briny olives, and creamy (vegan!) feta, all bathed in a vibrant lemon-tahini dressing. Each bite is a Mediterranean fiesta, perfect for complementing grilled delights.

To create this Mediterranean salad, cook couscous and let it cool. Mix with sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese (or vegan option), and fresh herbs. Drizzle with lemon-tahini dressing. Serve as a side with grilled chicken or fish. Enjoy the burst of flavours!

Spicy Asian Noodle Salad

Ignite your taste buds with this fiery symphony of flavours. Thin rice noodles twirling around crisp vegetables, coated in a spicy peanut sauce tantalising with ginger, garlic, and chilli’s kiss. Crunchy peanuts and fresh cilantro add texture and aroma, transforming this salad into a flavour explosion you won’t forget.

To make this dairy-free side dish, toss thin rice noodles with crisp shredded vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, and green onions, then coat them in a spicy peanut sauce spiked with ginger, garlic, and chilli flakes. Finish by topping with crunchy roasted peanuts and fresh cilantro. This salad offers a delightful interplay of textures and temperatures, guaranteeing a flavourful fiesta in every bite.

Dairy-Free Sides Dishes that Goes Beyond the Ordinary

Tired of the same old side dishes? Craving something unique and flavorful that takes your taste buds on a journey? Welcome to the forbidden zone of dairy-free decadence, where the ordinary takes a backseat to the extraordinary! Forget bland substitutes and limitations – these dishes redefine what’s possible, proving that dairy-free side dishes don’t have to mean flavour-free.

Coconut Curry Chickpeas

Immerse yourself in the warm embrace of creamy coconut curry. Imagine tender chickpeas simmered in a fragrant broth infused with aromatic spices like ginger and turmeric. This flavorful and hearty dish is sure to keep you warm and satisfied. This delicious and hearty dish is perfect for a cold winter day. The chickpeas are simmered in a coconut curry sauce that is sweet and savoury.

To make this favourable dairy-free side dish, add olive oil, chopped onion and garlic, and sauté until fragrant. Add spices like curry powder, ginger, and turmeric, and cook for a minute. Pour in coconut milk and vegetable broth, and bring to a simmer. Add chickpeas and simmer for 15-20 minutes until flavorful and thickened.

Mashed Potatoes with Avocado Oil

Dairy-free side dish
Dairy-free side dish

Reimagine creamy mashed potatoes without the dairy! Think fluffy mashed potatoes made with plant-based milk and enriched with the delicate flavour of avocado oil. This dairy-free side dish is a delicious and versatile option for any meal. This classic side dish is made dairy-free using avocado oil instead of butter. The avocado oil adds a lovely richness to the mashed potatoes.

Making this side dish is just as easy as making classic mashed potatoes. Boil potatoes until tender, drain and mash. Add hot plant-based milk, avocado oil, salt, pepper, and vegan butter (optional) while mashing until smooth and creamy.

Fried Rice

Embark on a culinary journey with this versatile dish. Imagine fluffy rice stir-fried with colourful vegetables, savoury protein (optional), and a symphony of Asian-inspired flavours. From classic to veggie-packed variations, fried rice offers endless possibilities. This versatile side dish can be made with any combination of vegetables and protein. It is a great way to use up leftover rice and vegetables.

All you need to do to create this dairy-free side dish is scrambled eggs in a pan with olive oil. Add cooked rice, chopped vegetables (like carrots, peas, peppers), cooked protein (optional), soy sauce, ginger, and cook until heated.

Harissa-Glazed Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew

Dive into Moroccan magic with this aromatic stew! Imagine tender sweet potatoes and chickpeas bathed in a vibrant tomato broth, simmered with harissa’s warmth, ginger’s zing, and cumin’s earthiness. Fresh cilantro and a lemon squeeze add brightness, creating a comforting yet exotic side dish that transports your taste buds.

To make this comforting side dish, combine sweet potatoes, chickpeas, harissa paste, ginger, cumin, diced tomatoes, and vegetable broth in a pot. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until sweet potatoes are tender. Garnish with cilantro and lemon juice before serving. Enjoy the exotic flavours!

Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce


Unleash the cauliflower’s hidden potential! Picture golden florets roasted to caramelised perfection, infused with turmeric’s warmth, smoked paprika’s depth, and a hint of cayenne fire. A creamy tahini sauce, swirled with lemon and garlic, provides an excellent counterpoint and luscious drizzle, transforming cauliflower into a sophisticated yet simple star.

To make this side dish, coat cauliflower with turmeric, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper, then roast until golden. Mix tahini with lemon juice and garlic for a creamy sauce. Drizzle over the cauliflower before serving. Enjoy!

Ingredients for the Perfect Dairy-Free Side Dishes

When preparing dairy-free side dishes, ingredients are key to creating flavorful and satisfying meals. Whether catering to dietary preferences and allergies or exploring new culinary horizons, these versatile ingredients offer many options for dairy-free cooking.

From creamy substitutes to vibrant flavour enhancers, this list highlights essential ingredients that elevate your dairy-free side dishes, bringing creativity and deliciousness to every meal. Explore the possibilities and let your taste buds embark on a journey of culinary delight!

Canned Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is rich and creamy, providing a luxurious texture to dishes without dairy. It adds a subtle sweetness and tropical flavour, making it perfect for savoury and sweet recipes. Additionally, coconut milk is naturally lactose-free, making it suitable for those with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies.

Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast commonly used in vegan cooking to add a cheesy, umami flavour to dishes. It’s rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein, making it a nutritious addition to dairy-free dishes. Nutritional yeast is versatile and can be used in sauces, dips, dressings, and sprinkled over popcorn or roasted vegetables for a cheesy taste without dairy.


Dairy-free side dish
Dairy-free side dish

Tahini, made from ground sesame seeds, is a creamy and rich paste that adds depth of flavour to dishes. It’s a versatile ingredient commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine and works well in savoury and sweet recipes. Tahini is an excellent source of healthy fats, protein, and minerals, making it a nutritious alternative to dairy-based creams and sauces.


Avocado is known for its creamy texture and rich flavour, making it an ideal substitute for dairy in many recipes. It’s packed with healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, providing a nutritious boost to dishes. Avocado can be used in dips, salads, sandwiches, and topping for various dishes, offering a creamy texture without the need for dairy products.

Coconut Oil or Vegan Butter

Coconut oil and vegan butter are plant-based alternatives to dairy butter that provide richness and flavour to dishes. They are versatile cooking fats for sautéing, frying, baking, and spreading. Coconut oil adds a subtle coconut flavour, while vegan butter offers a buttery taste without dairy. Both options are suitable for dairy-free cooking and baking.

Plant-Based Milk

Dairy-free side dish
Dairy-free side dish

Plant-based milk, such as almond, soy, oat, or rice, is a dairy-free alternative to cow’s milk. These kinds of milk are made from nuts, legumes, grains, or seeds and provide a creamy texture and mild flavour similar to dairy milk. Plant-based milk can be used in cooking, baking, and as a beverage, making it a versatile ingredient for dairy-free dishes.


Cashews are often used in dairy-free cooking to create creamy sauces, dressings, and dips. When soaked and blended, cashews become smooth and velvety, resembling the texture of dairy cream. They add richness, thickness, and a subtle nutty flavour to dishes without requiring dairy products. Cashews are also nutrient-dense, providing healthy fats, protein, and vitamins.

Fresh Herbs and Spices

Fresh herbs and spices add flavour, aroma, and colour to dairy-free side dishes. They can enhance the taste of vegetables, grains, legumes, and sauces without relying on dairy products. Herbs like basil, parsley, cilantro, thyme, and spices such as cumin, paprika, turmeric, and cinnamon offer various flavours and health benefits to dairy-free side dish recipes.

Lemon or Lime

Lemon and lime are citrus fruits that add brightness, acidity, and freshness to dairy-free dishes. They can enhance the flavour of vegetables, salads, dressings, marinades, and sauces. The acidic nature of lemon and lime juice can help balance the richness of dairy-free dishes, providing a tangy contrast that elevates the dish’s overall taste.


Dairy-free side dish
Dairy-free side dish

Vegetables are naturally dairy-free and offer various flavours, textures, and nutrients to dishes. They can be cooked, roasted, steamed, or raw in salads, dairy-free side dishes, soups, stews, and stir-fries. Vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, spinach, and peppers are versatile ingredients combined with other dairy-free ingredients to create flavorful and nutritious dishes.

So, there you have it! A world of flavour awaits beyond the realm of dairy, bursting with creative possibilities and vibrant combinations. Whether you’re seeking comfort food with a twist, exotic adventures for your taste buds, or simply delicious additions to your meals, these dairy-free side dishes offer a gateway to a culinary journey like no other. Remember, experimentation is key!

Don’t be afraid to swap ingredients, personalise flavours, and unleash your inner chef. Embrace the freedom of dairy-free cooking and discover a world where limitations melt away, replaced by a symphony of taste and endless possibilities. Bon appétit!


Why choose dairy-free side dishes?

Dairy-free side dishes can accommodate dietary restrictions, promote lactose intolerance awareness, and offer healthier alternatives to traditional dairy-laden dishes. Additionally, dairy-free options can add variety and creativity to your meals.

Are dairy-free side dishes healthy?

Dairy-free side dishes can be healthy depending on the ingredients used and how they are prepared. Many dairy-free alternatives, such as plant-based milk, nuts, and avocados, are rich in essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. However, balancing your dairy-free side dishes with various other nutritious foods is essential to ensure a well-rounded diet.

Can I make dairy-free versions of traditional side dishes?

Yes, many traditional side dishes can be easily adapted to be dairy-free. For example, you can use plant-based milk or coconut milk instead of dairy milk, vegan butter or coconut oil instead of dairy butter, and nutritional yeast or vegan cheese instead of dairy cheese. With some creativity and experimentation, you can create delicious dairy-free versions of your favourite side dishes.

Can dairy-free side dishes be frozen or reheated?

Depending on the ingredients and preparation methods, many dairy-free side dishes can be frozen or reheated. Dishes like soups, stews, casseroles, and roasted vegetables generally freeze well and can be reheated with minimal loss of flavour or texture. However, dishes containing ingredients like avocado or fresh herbs may not freeze as successfully and are best enjoyed fresh. It’s essential to store and reheat dairy-free side dishes properly to maintain their quality.

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