Greens are a must-have at many meals. They offer abundant nutrition and add flavor depth to many dishes, but what to serve with greens?
Greens are the ultimate side dish, pairing perfectly with any proteins or carbohydrates that may greet your plate.
Whether it’s a salad or cooked vegetable accompaniment, there’s almost always room on your plate for some greens.
As versatile as they can be, finding great pairings for greens isn’t always easy.
So whether you’re serving potatoes, meat, fish, or grains, this article will provide ideas on delicious dishes, such as what to serve with greens and your mealtime spread.
Let’s explore all the interesting and creative combinations you can make with greens!
1. BBQ Ribs
BBQ Ribs are a great choice of what to serve with greens. The sweet and savory flavors of the barbecue sauce combined with the smoky, tender ribs make for an excellent combination.
Best of all, BBQ ribs are relatively easy to prepare. You only need some quality ribs, your favorite marinade or sauce, and fresh vegetables like onions, garlic, celery, and peppers for added flavor.
To ensure your BBQ ribs are succulent and flavorful, cook them low and slow. Try finishing them off by grilling on high heat until they get a nice crispy bite and caramelized exterior.
Serve them alongside steamed greens such as kale or Swiss Chard for a balanced meal that will surely please any crowd!
Jambalaya is a delicious, tangy dish that pairs perfectly with what to serve with greens.
This Creole-style rice and bean stew (which can also be made with shrimp or chicken) is jam-packed with flavor and spices.
This makes it a great companion to simple sides like roasted vegetables or sautéed spinach.
Its intense aroma and contrast in flavors pair excellently with the bright, lighter notes of green veggies.
For vegetarians, increase the number of beans used for extra protein; for meat eaters, add cooked chicken or sausage for an added depth of taste.
Whip up a batch of Jambalaya to serve with your greens for a tasty meal you’ll surely enjoy!
3. Garlic and Bacon Green Beans
Cajun blackened catfish is a great dish as to what to serve with greens for dinner. The catfish has a delicious flavor with just the right spice and seasoning.
To make it, one only needs to combine the spices (like paprika, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, and cayenne pepper) until they form an even coating.
Then season both sides of the catfish with the mixture before frying them in butter or oil until cooked through. Serve it with steamed or sautéed greens like collard or kale, and enjoy!
4. Fried Chicken
If you want what to serve with greens, fried chicken is the perfect companion to a flavor-packed side of greens.
Its juicy golden crunch combines the earthy vibrancy of sautéed greens and aromatics to create an unforgettable meal.
The key to achieving this is selecting a quality cut of boneless or bone-in chicken—a thicker, less processed option like thighs will ensure plenty of flavor and fat for optimal browning and crunch.
If baking in the oven, you can use breading or a spicy dry rub if grilling to add even more flavor to the fried chicken skin.
To complete your meal, serve with lemon wedges for a light acidity that briefly cuts through all of the richness, not just of the fried chicken but also of cooked greens.
5. Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet Potato Casserole is a great dish as what to serve with greens for a complete and balanced meal.
One of those dishes has become a part of traditional American holiday meals but can also be cooked year-round.
Sweet Potato Casserole consists of layer upon layer of cubed mashed sweet potato, pralines, marshmallows, and even bits of bacon for extra flavor.
The result is an incredible mix of sweet, savory, and crunchy. This casserole pairs perfectly with dark leafy greens like kale or spinach, and the pairing provides a balance of nutrients to fill out the plate and shine any side dish.
Sweet Potato Casserole gives you flavors that bring something special to any meal – no matter what it’s paired with.
6. Potato Salad
Speaking of what to serve with greens, potato salad is often a great companion to greens and other salads. Its creamy richness balances out the slight bitterness of the leaves.
To make an amazing potato salad, boil your potatoes until they are cooked all through, then let them cool before cutting them into cubes or slices.
Mix generous mayonnaise with vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard, and a pinch of sugar in a bowl.
Then add in your cubed potatoes and diced onions. Give the whole mixture one last stir and season it with salt and pepper to taste.
Finally, serve this delectable potato salad alongside your favorite green leafy salads for a flavorful meal that will surely please every guest!
Cornbread is the perfect accompaniment to a greens dish on this list of what to serve with greens.
Its light, fluffy texture complements the rich flavors of a green dish prepared with ingredients like bacon and onions.
The corn in the bread adds sweetness and crunch, providing balance to bitter or strong flavors.
Cornbread can be served as dinner rolls, smothered in butter and honey, or made into muffins for individual servings.
Cornbread is also ideal for making croutons which provide textural contrast when tossed into a salad or top off a bowl of soup.
It’s not just delicious; its versatility makes it essential to any menu serving dishes, including greens.
8. Sea Bass
Sea Bass is one of what to serve with greens and is a delicate, white-fleshed fish that is delicious when prepared correctly. Its mild flavor accompanies other flavors, particularly vegetables.
Serving Sea Bass with greens works best when paired with something like sautéed spinach or garlic-roasted broccoli.
The leanness of Sea Bass pairs nicely with the heartiness of some vegetables, making for a delightful meal.
To finish your Sea Bass dinner, lightly season it with herbs like dill or oregano and top it off with a few teaspoons of low-sodium lemon juice or white wine for extra flavor. Enjoy!
Grits are a classic Southern accompaniment to many dishes and make a great pairing with collard greens.
Grits are made with coarsely ground corn, cooked until creamy, and have a texture similar to mashed potatoes.
The flavor of grits can vary from cheesy to salty, depending on the toppings added before serving.
From adding butter and cheese for creamy, delicious grits to tossing in some garlic and hot sauce for an added kick of spice, an endless variation makes this side dish a crowd favorite.
Next time you cook fresh collard greens for a perfectly balanced meal that hits all the right notes, serve a bowl of creamy, delicious grits. We aren’t done with this list of what to serve with greens!
10. Bone-in Ham
What to serve with greens? Bone-in ham is the ideal addition to a plate of greens.
It adds texture and flavor, providing a savory layer that pairs amazingly with seasonal vegetables.
Its slow roasting process also ensures maximum depth of flavor with an extra juicy bite in every slice.
Moreover, it can be glazed or seasoned with your favorite herbs for an added flavor – your imagination only limits the possibilities.
Whether served hot or cold, bone-in ham is the perfect companion for any side dish utilizing hearty greens. The combination is sure to please any palate at any meal!
11. Ranch Pork Chops
Ranch Pork Chops are a delicious dinner option that can be served with various sides, including greens.
These pork chops will give you the ranch dressing flavor without all the unnecessary calories and fat.
Season pork chops with garlic powder, oregano, rosemary, and black pepper before coating each piece with ranch dressing mix to make Ranch Pork Chops.
Then sauté in a hot skillet for about 8 minutes until cooked through. Serve your Ranch Pork Chops with favorite greens like collard, kale, spinach, or broccoli rabe.
Top everything off with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese to give it an extra kick of flavor, and enjoy this as what to serve with greens!
12. Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes make an excellent accompaniment to just about any green.
Its soft and creamy texture balances the crunch and earthiness of greens like kale, spinach, or collard greens, and mashed potatoes also provide a delicious base for any accompanying sauces.
Depending on how you make them, mashed potatoes can be completely vegan with non-dairy milk or vegan butter, making them a great side dish for anyone looking for tasty yet healthy recipes.
With some chopped herbs and spices to give them an extra punch of flavor, mashed potatoes are an ideal way to add more sustenance to your green meals.
13. Pork Sirloin Tip Roast
On this list of what to serve with greens, Pork Sirloin Tip Roast is a delicious cut of pork that can be cooked perfectly.
It is a lean and flavorful piece of meat, full of healthy proteins, minerals, and vitamins.
To fully appreciate its tenderness, cook it slowly over low heat for the best results. Serve with various greens such as spinach, collard, or kale to make the meal more nutritious.
For those who like spices and flavors, some fresh herbs can be added during cooking to add depth to the dish.
For gluten-free options, multiple side dishes can be served with this roast, such as potatoes and sweet potatoes, rice pilaf, couscous, or quinoa.
It goes deliciously well with a simple green salad or your favorite vegetables for an extra nutritional punch.
When ready to serve, garnish with chopped herbs or Parmesan cheese shavings for something extra special.
14. Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is always a crowd-pleaser of all these options of what to serve with greens!
This creamy and cheesy dish perfectly accompanies fresh greens like kale, spinach, or collard greens. Greens are full of vitamins and minerals but can be too healthy for some.
Adding mac and cheese to the side adds a delicious contrast that packs in plenty of flavor and nutrition.
With so many varieties of Mac and Cheese, you’re sure to find something for everyone.
Whether it’s a classic cheddar macaroni or a veggie-packed alternative, you can create a tasty side dish with your greens that everyone enjoys.
15. Black-eyed Peas
Black-eyed peas are the perfect complement when speaking of what to serve with greens, adding a delicious and nutritious boost in flavor and texture.
The starchy legumes help break up the vegetables’ hearty texture, and their nutty, earthy flavor complements the greens’ bitterness.
Black-eyed peas have historically been served with collard greens as a traditional New Year’s Day dish in the Southern United States; however, they can be enjoyed year-round with just about any cooked or steamed green.
Whether you opt for cooked black-eyed peas from a can or prepare them fresh, this side dish offers an easy way to add protein to your meals without impacting your bottom line too much.
Plus, since they cook quickly and don’t require soaking overnight like other dried legumes, they can be on your plate quickly.
The perfect match for your greens depends on personal preferences, available ingredients, and the type of meal you’re attempting to create.
Popular accompaniments include grilled or roasted chicken, fish, steak, or pork chops if a main course is being prepared.
For vegetarian entrées, try nutrition-packed quinoa or hearty beans with extra flavor.
Complimentary spices or fresh herbs provide nuance to any accompanying protein and help tie the meal together with vibrant color.
When choosing what to serve with greens, choose nourishing items such as potatoes, beets, and sweet potatoes to fill out your plate without detracting from the lightly flavored greens.
Add pickled onions for a crunchy contrast or fresh fruits for sweetness.