Meatless Monday: Favorite Vegan Sides

Favorite Vegan Sides

When most people hear you are vegan they immediately envision a diet of all side dishes. It is hard for people who aren’t familiar with vegan options to understand that we eat a wide variety of foods, not all sides with a gaping hole on the plate where the main dish used to be. Most of the meals in our house are bowls, casseroles, tacos etc that don’t require side dishes. Occasionally we will need a side dish and I have 2 of my favorite vegan sides to share with you today.


Favorite Vegan Sides

This simple Garlic Rice was inspired by a local Japanese restaurant, Blue Ginkgo, that we love. They started to make Garlic Rice and it is so delicious I have been known to just eat the rice with edamame for dinner.


I was sent a sample of Royal Basmati rice to try and it worked perfectly in this Garlic Rice. I cooked the rice both on the stovetop and in my pressure cooker. The pressure cooker rice turned out better, but that is because I have terrible luck cooking rice on the stovetop. Rice cookers/Pressure cookers are my friend! I’m looking forward to trying a few of Royal’s other products, especially this Basmati, Wild Rice and Quinoa blend.

Serve this rice with my Teriyaki Bowl or use it as a side for any Asian inspired meal. I’m planning to use this frequently now that we are approaching cold & flu season. Garlic is known as a potent antibacterial.

Garlic Rice
Fragrant garlic rice that works well as a side for Asian inspired meals or as the base of a Bowl.
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1¾ cup water
  • 10 cloves garlic, whole
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Tamari
  • 3 scallions, sliced thin
  1. Soak rice for 15 minutes then rinse. Place rice, water and 10 cloves of garlic in saucepan. Bring to a boil uncovered. Once boiling reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until rice is cooked. This can also be done in a pressure cooker or rice cooker. Follow your manufacturers cooking instructions.
  2. Once rice is cooked heat a skillet to medium high over the stove. Add in sesame oil and 3 cloves of minced garlic. Heat for 1-2 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Add in cooked rice, Tamari and scallions. Toss to coat the rice. Taste for season. Add more Tamari and sesame oil as needed for flavor. Remove skillet from heat and serve.


Favorite Vegan Sides

Potatoes are one of my absolute favorite foods. I blame my Irish heritage. I love them roasted, mashed, in potato salad and as fries. One of my favorite restaurants in Oakland, Encuentro, serves roasted potatoes with a side of aioli for dipping, The aioli changes frequently but my favorite is the Lemon Herb Aioli. I love the tanginess of the lemon combined with the fresh herbs.

The aioli can be used on sandwiches and the like but I love copying Encuentro and using it as a dip for my potatoes. Toss small potatoes that you have cut into wedges with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast the potatoes at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the size of your potato wedges and potato type. Once they are done let them cool slightly and serve with this tangy, fresh aioli. These potatoes are a great accompaniment to veggie burgers and are also a hit at potluck meals.

Favorite Vegan Sides

Vegan Lemon Herb Aioli
Tangy aioli packed with fresh herbs. A perfect side for dipping potatoes or delicious as a spread on sandwiches.
  • ½ cup vegan mayonnaise (see note*)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (parsley, dill, basil are a good start)
  1. Mix all ingredients in a serving bowl. Once thoroughly combined refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
*I prefer Wildwood Organics Zesty Garlic Aioli

* This is not a sponsored post, but I did receive a free sample of Royal Basmatic rice for review. All opinions are my own. This post does contain affiliate links.
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Vegan Gretchen


  1. Hanna says

    Yum! I am making General Tso’s tofu for dinner tonight (so authentic!) and I’m now going to make garlic rice to go underneath!

    • vegangretchen says

      Let me know how you like it Hanna. Which General Tso’s recipe do you use? That sounds like a good combo.

  2. Hanna says

    FINALLY made this last night…it was delicious and tasted just like Blue Gingko! I did add a bit more toasted sesame oil into the finished product, but that was about it. And I used a recipe that was in VegNews like 5 years ago that I kept. I just looked for it online and I THINK this is it:

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