Freelance writer from the northeast coast of England with a fondness for vegan food and punk rock.
Three Tasty Vegan Side Dishes
The scenario is that I have on my plate a quarter-pound veggie burger fresh from the pan. Alongside it I have fried baby potatoes, crisp on the outside but fluffy within. What I need to complete the meal is some sort of side dish that is both tasty and filling.
This is not such a difficult task. There are many vegan side dishes that tick both of the above boxes, and go perfectly alongside burger and potatoes. Below I have demonstrated three such dishes, each of which fills that gap on the plate perfectly.
Recipes on This Page
- Ratatouille: The classic French stew.
- Creamed corn: Deliciously creamy and given an umami kick with nutritional yeast.
- Brussels sprouts Creole: An old favourite from way back in the day.
Note about measurements: All cup and spoon measurements are level.
Recipe 1: Ratatouille
One day, many years ago, I discovered that a local supermarket stocked canned ratatouille, which soon became a regular addition to my vegetarian pantry. Ratatouille was new to me back then, but I took a liking to it immediately, serving it hot as part of a meal, or, on occasion, eating it cold, straight from the can with a fork.
Since then, of course, I have learned that this tasty vegetable stew is easy to make afresh, the stars of the show being eggplant and zucchini, or as we say on this side of the pond, aubergine and courgette. Pair homemade ratatouille with potatoes in some form, and you’re two-thirds of the way to a great meal.
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2–3 cloves garlic
- 1 large courgette/zucchini, sliced
- 1 medium aubergine/eggplant, diced
- 1 red or yellow pepper, chopped
- 1 can plum tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon chilli flakes (optional, but I can never resist)
- Salt and black pepper
- Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onion until soft.
- Add the garlic and saute 1 minute more, stirring constantly.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- When the ingredients have broken down into a thick stew, serve.
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Recipe 2: Vegan Creamed Corn
I never had a recipe for creamed corn, but intuition told me this would work (as it does with sliced green beans). A creamy white sauce made savoury with nutritional yeast and mustard, and packed with sweetcorn was always going to be a winner.
- 1 cup sweetcorn (canned. frozen or fresh), drained
- 1 cup unsweetened soya milk
- 3 tablespoons vegan butter
- 3 tablespoons plain/all-purpose flour
- ½ cup nutritional yeast flakes
- ½ teaspoon mustard
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir in the flour to make a roux.
- Add the soya milk and stir as it heats (I use a whisk to break down lumps).
- When the sauce thickens and becomes smooth, simmer gently over low heat and stir continuously for about 1 minute to cook the flour.
- Stir in the nutritional yeast and mustard.
- Add the sweetcorn and stir until everything is piping hot.
- Adjust the seasoning and serve (freshly ground black pepper goes well with this dish).
Tip: You can substitute green beans for sweetcorn in this dish. The process is as above, using canned frozen or fresh beans, sliced and drained.
Recipe 3: Brussels Sprouts Creole
In my early vegetarian days I shared a house with a pair of punk rock–loving friends. There was a vegetarian cookbook lying around that had a recipe for Brussels sprouts Creole. I had no idea what made this dish Creole, but the accompanying photo looked rather tasty, and it required only everyday ingredients so I tried it out.
Since then I have made this on many occasions, although the book is long since gone. I remembered enough of the recipe to replicate it. As the ingredients are in plentiful supply around November, I’ve almost made it a tradition to have this on or around Guy Fawkes’ night (November 5).
This side is a little different, and it goes very well alongside meat subs like sausages or burgers, and again fried potatoes work well. Once, I even tried brussels sprouts creole with vegan cheese as a filling for a calzone pizza, although if I'm honest, I've had better ideas.
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2–3 cloves garlic, minced
- 500 grams (about a pound) Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed and a cross cut into the stalks for quicker cooking
- 6 medium tomatoes, skinned and chopped
- 1 green pepper chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onion and green pepper until soft.
- Add the garlic and the sprouts, and stir everything together.
- Stir in the chopped tomatoes. Put a lid on the pan and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- After this time, the steam from the tomatoes should have cooked the sprouts.
- Adjust seasoning, and the dish is ready to serve.
Vegan Sides Playlist
Other than being slightly more foul-mouthed, the so-called punk explosion was no different to any other youth culture really. From teddy boys in the rock and roll era, through mods, rockers, hippies, skinheads, and eventually punk rock, young people bought records, followed fashions and attended gigs, each group believing theirs was the newest and freshest trend ever to have happened.
Me and my mate Rob used to buy punk singles that we played on a battered old Dansette record player in my bedroom; a record player so old, it may well have entertained teenagers from all of the aforementioned fashion trends. One day he brought this single over, and it was just wow!
Sadly, singer Poly Styrene (Joan Elliott-Said) died in 2011, aged just 53.