Sides Dishes

A side dish, sometimes referred to as a side order or simply a side, is a food item that accompanies the entrée or main course at a meal.

Side dishes such as salad, potatoes and bread are commonly used with a main course throughout many countries of the western world, new side orders such as couscous or rice have grown to be quite popular.

When used as an adjective qualifying the name of a dish, side usually refers to a smaller portion served as a side dish, rather than a large main dish serving. For example, a "side salad" is usually served in a small bowl or salad plate, instead of a large dinner-plate-sized entrée salad.

A typical meal with a meat-based main dish might include one vegetable side dish, sometimes in the form of a salad, and one starch side dish, such as bread, potatoes, rice, or pasta.

Some common side dishes include:

  • Apple Sauce
  • Asparagus
  • Baked beans
  • Baked potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Coleslaw
  • Corn
  • Dinner rolls or other breads
  • French fries
  • Fruit
  • Green beans
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Mushrooms
  • Onion Rings (fried or sauteed)
  • Pastas (including pasta salads)
  • Peas
  • Potato salad or Macaroni salad
  • Salad (often a "side" salad)
  • Squash

Some restaurants offer a limited selection of side dishes that are included with the price of the entrée as a combination meal.
Other times side dishes are ordered separately from an ala carte menu. The term may or may not imply that the dish can only be ordered in combination with other food.

French fries are the most common side dish served at fast-food restaurants and other American cuisine restaurants. Due to criticism about the high fat and calorie content of french fries, some fast-food chains have recently begun to offer other side dishes, such as salads, or fruit, as substitutes for the standard french fries with their combination meals.

A related term is on the side. In some instances this is a synonym for side dish, such as "french fries on the side".
It can also refer to a sauce, salad dressing, or condiment served in a separate dish from the food item it accompanies.
For example, one can request that the side salad be served with dressing on the side.