Carbohydrates are king in Asia, where many of the dishes center around either noodles or rice. Unlike Asian cuisine, the undisputed star of most Western dishes is the protein component. But even that can’t stand by itself — side dishes make the Western meal feel complete, and sometimes even steal the show.
Here, we explore what else goes into making a well-rounded dish.
1. Potato side dishes
Potatoes are one of the most well-loved and versatile carbohydrates used in Western cuisine. It can take on many forms depending on how you cut and cook them. Some of the most popular types are:
- Baked potatoes
- Roasted potatoes
- Mashed potatoes
- French fries
These different forms give diners different textures and flavours, and are often pairs with steak. As chefs experiment and come up with new ways to season potato side dishes such as this mashed potato with toasted nuts, they earn a special place in the hearts and guts of the diners as well.
Steak frites (steak and fries), fish and chips and potatoes au gratin are just some examples of dishes to show how important the humble potato is in the culinary world.
Our chefs recommend:
Roasted potatoes in skin with rosemary and garlic, pommes gratin (grilled potato slices with cream and cheese), potato gnocchi, potato salad with pancetta.
2. Clean eating side dishes: Salads
Salads often provide some acidity or freshness that can cut through the heavy profile of meat and carbohydrates. This is usually perfect for those that are looking for clean eating side dishes, whether it’s a part of their lifestyle or just because they feel like having dishes that are healthier and less greasy.
As a type of clean eating side dish, salads are usually served cold, and either at the start of a meal or together with the main course. One of the most popular variations, the garden salad, is a green, leafy mix that usually consists of lettuce, kale, arugula, spinach, cucumbers, radishes, fruits or nuts. Diners love this for the different textures that they can get within a mouthful as well as for its nutritional benefits.
There are endless ways to create a great tasting salad. A tomato caprese is a classic Italian item that’s made of mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, basil and olive oil. A cucumber salad with a balsamic vinaigrette is refreshing and crunchy and helps to puncture the taste of a very robust protein. A quinoa salad with pomegranates and red onions makes for a nutritious and tasty meal by itself.
A tomato caprese is a classic Italian item that’s made of mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, basil and olive oil.
Salads can even be served as a main. Just add some slices of beef tenderloin or some grilled chicken and there you have a healthy, protein rich meal.
Our chefs recommend:
A side salad of lettuce, tomato, cucumber and vinaigrette.
Pasta salads are usually considered heavy side dishes due to its frequent pairing with a mayonnaise dressing. But there are other ways to turn this hefty dish into a fresh, delicious side. Throw in strips of grilled chicken or fish, some olives, tomatoes, capers and finish off with a light herb dressing. The result? A healthy pasta salad that won’t weigh you down after eating.
Our chefs recommend:
Cold soba mushroom salad, pesto pasta with shiitake mushroom and pine nuts.
Pairing side dishes with your Western mains
There may not be a single formula when it comes to pairing side dishes with your favourite Western mains, but it is still of great importance. After all, no diner would like to have a side dish that doesn’t complement their main dish well enough.
While chefs may fret over how to pair their Western food side dishes, there are popular choices that you can consider before taking it up a notch.
Best sides for burgers
When it comes to burgers, there are usually only two options — fries or onion rings. These are classics that can’t be ignored, but perhaps you’re thinking of serving up healthier options that are just as delicious, crunchy and fresh.
Here are a few options for you to consider:
- Corn and avocado salad
- Roasted sweet potatoes with your signature creamy sauce
- Tomato and avocado salad
Feel free to jazz these side dishes up with seasoning and spices that go well with the taste of your burgers!
Potato side dishes for steak
The humble potato is an unmissable side dish for steaks. With the versatility of the potato, there is a wide variety of potato side dishes that you can whip up to complement your steak!
- Truffle mashed potatoes
- Potatoes au gratin
- Roasted rosemary potatoes
- Roasted fingerling potatoes
- Herb roasted baby potatoes
- Roasted sweet potatoes
- Hash brown potato soup
- Air fryer potatoes with sauce
The possibilities are endless with potatoes — it’s up to you to put your creative spin on it! Get started easily with the side dishes products made available by Unilever Food Solutions. Diners will be coming back not only for your steaks but also for your side dishes.