7 Healthy Side Dishes For Chicken Entrees

Chicken is a fantastic meal option; it’s easy to make, can be prepared in many different ways, and is very healthy. Of course, chicken by itself isn’t exactly a meal. You need a great side dish to pair it with. If you’re trying to eat healthily, you don’t want your side dish to ruin all your efforts. You also don’t want to eat something boring, and frozen vegetables from your freezer aren’t going to cut it multiple nights in a row. To help boost your culinary creativity, here’s our list of 7 delicious and healthy side dishes for chicken. These will match your chicken entrée well, and they taste great without setting back all of your health goals.

1. Roasted Portobello Mushroom Caps

Via Nom Nom Paleo

Mushrooms are often served alongside steak, but they go great with chicken as well. Portobello mushrooms are great because they’re big and pack a lot of flavor while being low in fat. Adding them to your plate makes for a filling meal. One of the nice things about mushrooms is that you can add any of your favorite spices or flavorings, and they’ll probably taste great. One way to season them is with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme. Toss the mushrooms with all those ingredients (and anything else you like), roast them in the oven for about 20 minutes, and you’re ready for a great meal.

2. Zucchini Sticks

No matter how healthily you’re trying to eat, sometimes you just can’t get rid of a craving for French fries. Instead of running to McDonalds, you can try making oven-baked zucchini sticks. They’re (almost) as good as deep fried potato fries, and they’ll fulfill your need for something crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. They’re much lighter on the calories and fat, as well. They’re also easy to make; simply coat zucchini strips in egg and a seasoned flour mix, spray them with some cooking spray, and bake them for around 20 minutes. You can even try this with other vegetables, such as carrots, and serve them with dipping sauce. They’re a really fun side dish for chicken.

3. Tangerine Avocado Salsa

Via Oprah

If you’re looking for something full of flavor and color to pair with your chicken, this dish is for you. A tangerine avocado salsa is full of bright citrus flavor and the smooth texture of avocado for a perfect mix. It’s also full of nutrients. Tangerines or oranges will boost your vitamin C intake, and avocados are full of potassium, folic acid, vitamins, and healthy omega-3 fatty acid. To make this, you need to dice tangerines (oranges work too), avocado, and a red onion. Then season it with some cilantro, red chile or jalapeño, lime juice, and salt. Pair each bite of chicken with a forkful of this salsa for a wonderfully flavorful meal.

4. Baked Sweet Potatoes

This hearty vegetable side dish is both filling and healthy. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A, fiber, and potassium. Simply peel and cut up a sweet potato or two, coat them with olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper. If you like a sweeter taste, you can also add brown sugar, but of course this does increase calories and affect how healthy they are. If you’re looking for more variety, you can easily cook some carrots alongside the sweet potatoes for a tasty (and colorful) mix. 

5. Whole Wheat Couscous

If you’re looking for a carbohydrate, couscous can be a great option – just make sure it’s whole wheat so that you’re not eating empty calories. Couscous tastes delicious with any number of vegetables thrown in. One simple and delicious variant is with peas (you can just use frozen peas), parmesan, and lemon zest. It has a full and refreshing taste, will make you feel full, and you’ll be getting some vegetables into your meal. The lemony taste will also go really well with a simple grilled chicken breast.

6. Super Food Spinach Salad

Via Food Network

A salad is a classic and healthy side dish. Your salad doesn’t have to be boring though; a delicious salad can be packed with superfoods and flavorful ingredients. Try making a salad with baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, walnuts, mushroom slivers, and pomegranate seeds or blueberries. Spinach leaves are full of vitamin C and antioxidants. Tomatoes are also a great source of antioxidants and lycopenes. Walnuts will give you some extra protein, and both pomegranates and blueberries are known to be fantastic sources of antioxidants. This mixed salad will be delicious and give you all the antioxidants you could want. Feel free to experiment with adding in your favorite fruits and veggies (personally, I always go for avocado in my salads), and you’ll have a flexible go-to side dish for any lunch or dinner.

7. Herbed Quinoa

Via Stirring The Pot

Quinoa has gained a lot of buzz lately as a healthier alternative to pasta and rice. This is because, although it tastes much like a grain, it’s actually a kind of seed. It contains a lot of protein and fiber and is full of other nutrients. You can cook it with any number of sauces or vegetables. One easy dish to make as a fantastic chicken side dish is herbed quinoa. Simply boil your quinoa with chicken stock or vegetable broth plus a dash of lemon juice for a great flavor. Then season it with olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, basil, thyme, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. It’s simple but flavorful and is a great accompaniment for chicken.

Hopefully these dishes give you some great ideas for food to try as side dishes for chicken. They’re healthy, delicious, and sure to add a lot more flavor and variety to your meals.

Do you have any go-to side dishes to go with chicken? Let us know what your favorite recipes are in the comments.

About the author

Meghan Woolley

Meghan is a graduate of Hamilton College and has a Masters from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She enjoys trying new foods, exploring tasty recipes, and writing about her experiences.

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