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Seasonal fresh sides for Winter

A good side dish can elevate almost any dish, and winter’s tasty array of nutrient-rich fresh vegetables and fruit can complement your chosen protein, providing contrasting texture and flavour, and a hearty element to your plate.

While there’s a lot of comfort to be had in a meal of meat and two veg, traditionally the choice of veg could be a bit…well, uninspiring. These days, sides are often highly-anticipated stars of the show – think truffle and chive mash; pickled beets with apple cider and honey; sweet broccolini stems with chilli and garlic salt & truffle oil; burrata with heirloom tomatoes.

These days, side dishes are often an expression of the café or restaurant; many now feature ‘signature sides’ that bring customers back time and again, often with friends in tow. Debates ensue about who has the best truffle and parmesan fries to go with steak, for example, while a venue’s roasted root vegetables with balsamic glaze can be the decider on where to go for Sunday lunch, and anything with cheese is always a winner. Think poppers, cheesy leeks with toasted seeds, a creamy mac & cheese with parmesan crumble…

Use seasonal produce to create sensational sides and increase spend at the table.

In the past sides were plated with the main protein and without a lot for choice for the diner, generally comforting and non-offensive. Nowadays they are anything but; think truffle fries, broccolini chargrilled with chilli & garlic, bok choy drizzled with oyster sauce, burrata and heirloom tomatoes, roasted root vegetables with balsamic glaze, grilled or fried eggplant with miso dressing. Even more hearty options like mac n cheese, flavoured mash and poppers, or a colourful plate of roasted root vegetable chips can become the reason there’s suddenly a queue forming at your door.

While there’s always call for comfort food in winter, good health is often a factor for customers. Creating nutritious, seasonal side dishes that cater to people’s preferences is a way of providing texture and balance to a meal, while also bringing innovative new pairings to the table. Dishes like exotic mushrooms steeped in chilli and garlic, tick a lot of boxes, as they provide a variety of health benefits including immune support, cardiovascular health and are full of antioxidants.

Using seasonal produce as side dishes is also inexpensive way of increasing dollar spend per table, while stocking pre-prepared ingredients can save on time, too. It also ensures you have consistent quality, and makes it easier to adapt and reinvent your dishes.


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