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Quick and Easy Vegetable Side Dishes {Sauteed Broccoli and Red Bell Pepper Recipe}

by Jeanette on May 9, 2011 · 16 Comments
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Sauteed Broccoli and Red Bell Pepper
Coming up with a variety of everyday vegetable side dishes can be challenging. I know I’ve gotten into a slump many times, making the same vegetables week after week. My kids may not be vegetable lovers, but they know to expect vegetables every night at dinner, and understand that vegetable are important to their health.

I’ve tried to come up with tastier concoctions over the years so vegetables aren’t an after thought when I’m making dinner.
I find mixing it up during the week requires some planning, but it is well worth it. When I shop, I try to pick up whatever green vegetables look fresh and vibrant, in addition to the old standbys that I know my kids will eat, imagining how well nourished my family will be if I prepare these wonderful nutritious vegetables for them at dinnertime.
When my kids were young, they lived off of peas, corn and carrot sticks. Over the years, I have introduced healthier vegetables such as romaine lettuce, spinach, green cabbage and napa cabbage, green beans, sugar snap peas, snow peas, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, and kale.

My favorite ways to serve vegetables are in salads, stir-fried/sauteed, or roasted. Romaine lettuce, spinach, green cabbage, napa cabbage and baby mixed greens are wonderful in salads. Green beans, sugar snap peas, and snow peas can be stir-fried, or par-boiled and then tossed in a light soy-sesame dressing. Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower become deliciously sweet after roasting, and bok choy and kale are best stir-fried or sauteed. For an easy one-dish meal, I love stir frying vegetables with a lean protein.

Once you have a few vegetable preparation and cooking techniques under your belt, it’s easy to rotate virtually any healthy vegetable onto the dinner menu during the week.
No matter which method I use to prepare vegetables, my oil of choice is typically olive oil (I also use avocado oil and grapeseed oil on occasion). Unlike butter, which is full of saturated fat (and increases cholesterol), olive oil is heart healthy, containing monounsaturated fat (that reduces total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol) and polyphenols, an antioxidant that promotes heart health.
Olive oil comes in light, regular and extra virgin. When I’m sauteeing or stir frying vegetables, I use light or regular olive oil. I reserve extra virgin olive oil for salads and roasting vegetables.
Recently, I was lucky enough to win a giveaway for Olivari Olive Oil. I couldn’t wait to try this olive oil, and I was not disappointed. Although I was unable to find any Olivari Oil in my local supermarkets, the giveaway lasted me several weeks for testing in various stir fries. I love all olive oils, but the Olivari Olive Oil had one feature that really stood out. You might laugh, but I loved the built-in pour spout! It was so useful in controlling the amount of oil that I used in my dishes. I don’t measure when I cook, but I do when I post a recipe, so for everyday cooking, the built-in pour spout is a terrific feature to control the amount of olive oil in cooking.

Simple Sauteed Kale

Simple Sauteed Kale

Sauteed Mustard Greens (same method as Simple Sauteed Kale)

Sauteed Mustard Greens

Sauteed Rainbow Chard

Sauteed Rainbow Chard

Stir Fry Baby Bok Choy and Shitake Mushrooms


Stir Fry Bok Choy and Shitake Mushrooms

Broccoli with Black Bean Sauce

Broccoli with Black Bean Sauce

Roasted Broccoli with Cherry Tomatoes

Roasted Broccoli and Cherry Tomatoes

Roasted Cauliflower and Potatoes

Roasted Cauliflower and Potatoes

Soy Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Soy Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Meg Wolff’s Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Winter Squash

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Winter Squash

Korean Spinach Salad

Korean Spinach Salad

Baby Asian Greens with White Peaches and Toasted Walnuts with Raspberry Vinaigrette

Baby Asian Greens with White Peaches and Toasted Walnuts with Raspberry Vinaigrette

Farm Fresh Chopped Salad

Farm Fresh Chopped Salad

Fresh Berry Salad with Creamy Raspberry Dressing

Fresh Berry Salad with Creamy Raspberry Dressing

Green Salad with Pears, Cranberries and Walnuts

Green Salad with Pears, Cranberries and Walnuts

Warm Vidalia Onion and Heirloom Tomato Salad

Warm Vidalia Onion and Heirloom Tomato Salad

Sauteed Broccoli and Red Bell Pepper (see recipe below)

Sauteed Broccoli and Red Bell Pepper


Sauteed Broccoli and Red Bell Pepper

Sometimes, I steam or blanch the broccoli ahead of time; then when I’m ready to cook dinner, I just saute the vegetables quickly.
1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets; if using stems, trim, peel and slice
1 red bell pepper, trimmed, seeds and membranes removed, diced
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Steam broccoli or blanch broccoli. To steam broccoli, bring 1″ of water to boil in a large stockpot. Place broccoli in steamer basket. Steam for 5-6 minutes until just tender. Alternatively, blanch broccoli by bringing a pot of water to boil. Add broccoli. Cook 5-6 minutes. Remove broccoli and place in bowl filled with ice water to retain bright green color; drain.

Heat olive oil in a saute pan and add shallots. Stir and cook until translucent, about 1-2 minutes. Add red bell pepper and saute 1 minute. Add cooked broccoli, season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss until heated through.
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  1. Pretend Chef says:

    I stress the importance of veggies to my itty bitty as well. He doesn't turn his nose up to any vegetable and I am blessed to have a toddler who is so willing to try new foods. I figured I better not disquise veggies if I wanted him to have a healthy relationship with them. I'll resort to sneaking them in if it's absolutely neccesary. All of those side dishes sound amazing. Yummy!

  2. Jeanette says:

    You are lucky your itty bitty is willing to try new foods! I believe the more foods you introduce to kids at a younger age, the better. Glad you like these side dishes!

  3. The Souper says:

    Jeanette, I too like to prepare vegetables and enjoy kicking-up the spices sometimes. At Prep2eat, my foodblog, I try to inspire homecooks to prepare vegetables by sauteing, roasting and steaming. Come visit Prep2eat at

  4. Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. says:

    These look so good and healthy!

  5. Jeanette says:

    Having a few different ways of preparing vegetables under your belt helps a lot. Spices are another great way change things up with vegetable dishes.

  6. Feast on the Cheap says:

    Such wonderful ideas! I need to do more with mustard greens…

  7. Inside a British Mum's Kitchen says:

    Jeanette, Thank you for this beautiful and inspirational post. I know it is not easy to get our kids to eat veggies, but once they're used to them being a part of their lives – I do find they eventually start eating them. Beautiful pictures and delicious recipes, thank you,

  8. Jeanette says:

    I have to say I was pleasantly surprised when I made the mustard greens. I expected them to be bitter, but when prepared by a quick saute, they were actually a little sweet tasting.

  9. Jeanette says:

    Thanks Mary – I have to say my kids are pretty good about eating their vegetables now (they have not choice ;)). I've found that certain ways of preparing vegetables are more popular depending on the vegetable.

  10. Kim-Cook It Allergy Free says:

    Wow! This is an awesome collection of side dishes! I cannot wait to give some of these a try! I am always trying to think up creative sides, especially with my garden going crazy right now!

  11. Jeanette says:

    Thanks Kim, wish I had a garden like yours! The chipmunks drove me crazy last summer, so this year I joined a CSA. Can't wait to see what fresh produce I'll be getting each week!

  12. Cooking Rookie says:

    Beautiful dishes! Great to have these ideas now, when so many veggies are in season. Thanks for sharing :)

  13. Jeanette says:

    Thanks Cooking Rookie! I'm looking forward to all the fresh farm produce!

  14. Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having says:

    These all look fantastic. Come up with vegetable sides is always tough, this a great list of ideas!

  15. Jeanette says:

    Thanks Lynn, my blog has actually been a great incentive to try new ways with vegetables for my family, so I'm glad it's helping you and others because it certainly has helped my own family eat more variety!

  16. Jillian Rueter says:

    Thank you for your hard work. I cannot wait to try these!

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