19 Gluten-Free Side Dishes You'll Make Over and Over Again

beet fries on a plate with maple pecan aioli

 The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney 

As eating gluten-free has become progressively common, choices for side dishes have grown well beyond simple baked potatoes or rice. There are countless fun and interesting ways to use naturally gluten-free ingredients such as vegetables, beans, and most grains to round our meals. We've collected a variety that span the globe and the seasons. Not only are they free of standard gluten-containing foods such as wheat, barley, or rye, we've also ensured they don't include any ingredients like soy sauce or prepared cream soups that have gluten ingredients unless expressly purchased as GF versions. From light and vegetable forward to filling and hearty, these side dishes will please every eater at your table! 

Note that some of these recipes use vegetable broth. While most brands of vegetable broth are gluten-free, it's important to read the label to verify that there are no gluten ingredients in the product.

  • 01 of 19

    Instant Pot Baked Beans

    instant pot baked beans with cornbread

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Thanks to the pressure cooker used to create this dish, making your own baked beans doesn't take all that much longer than preparing the ready-made canned version would. Brown sugar, bacon, and molasses help make this a sweet, rich side dish with all the smoky notes you expect from baked beans. With no soaking of the beans required first, you can whip this up at a moment's notice.

  • 02 of 19

    Vegan Pumpkin Risotto

    Vegan pumpkin risotto

    The Spruce 

    Nothing says fall like pumpkin, but the great news with this dish is that it uses the canned, not fresh, version. That means you can enjoy it at any time of year—and that you won't have to spend time dealing with a hard-to-cut pumpkin, either! Risotto makes a filling side, is more interesting than rice alone, and can also be used as a vegetarian entree when served with a salad or vegetables.

  • 03 of 19

    Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

    Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

    The Spruce / Laurel Randolph 

    Sure, you could just swap out wheat pasta for a gluten-free pasta sub made from brown rice or lentils, but this gluten-free side dish takes the carbs off the table while adding fiber and vitamin-filled cauliflower. Because of the swap, it's also keto-friendly. Roasting the cauliflower first enhances its texture, and the cream cheese, parmesan, and cheddar envelop it so well, you won't even miss the pasta.

  • 04 of 19

    Roasted Radishes

    Roasted Radish

    The Spruce / Elaine Lemm

    Typically used only as a garnish or sliced into salad, radishes are a colorful vegetable with a distinct, gently bitter taste. Roasting reduces that bitterness and adds sweetness, while transforming the crunchy texture to a softer one, and lemon wedges roasted alongside add a mellow acidity. Liven things up even further with one of the recipe's variations, such as a drizzle of honey and olive oil, garlic, or your favorite herb.

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  • 05 of 19

    Cool Vegan Cucumber Soup

    Cool vegan cucumber soup

    The Spruce / Emily Hawkes

    Most people are familiar with gazpacho, but fewer of us realize how easy and delightful it is to use other vegetables to make cold summer soups. Enter the cool cucumber, which in this recipe is combined with garlic, onion, and dill for a complex final flavor. While you might expect this to be a raw soup, the cucumber is actually cooked, taking away any cause for concern the soup might have a salad-like flavor. 

  • 06 of 19

    Colorful Rice Salad With Lemon Dressing

    Colorful Rice Salad With Lemon Dressing

    Brian Macdonald / Getty Images

    Not only is this rice salad as colorful as the name states, it will also satisfy your need for a vegetable side dish thanks to the plant heavy variety of them that it entails. Full of spinach, summer squash, and tomatoes, the rice functions to add a unique texture while also making this salad more filling. A lemon and olive oil dressing comes together quickly and simply, then marinates the ingredients as they chill. 

  • 07 of 19

    Vegan Lentil Meatballs With Gluten Free Flour

    Vegan meatballs in a skillet

    Westend61 / Getty Images

    Free of dairy and eggs as well as gluten, these "meat" balls are made with nutrient dense lentils, a member of the pulse family. Nutritional yeast mimics the taste of cheese, and flax seeds offer fiber and omegas. The ways you can serve are as plentiful as animal meatballs, ranging from a simple side on their own, to bathed in your favorite sauce or served over a gluten free pasta.  

  • 08 of 19

    Hoppin’ John With Ham

    Hoppin' John/ Black-Eyed Peas

    Lisa Charles Watson / Getty Images

    Also known as Carolina peas and rice, Hoppin' John is a Southern dish made with black eyed peas and white rice. In this version, ham hocks are used, but meaty ham bones or salt pork would also work. Creole seasoning provides the Southern flare while jalapeno or serrano pepper give a little heat. You can add extra ham or smoked sausage if you'd like the dish to be even more filling. 

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  • 09 of 19

    Tamale Pie With Cheese Cornmeal Topping

    Tamale Pie Recipe

    The Spruce

    Cornbread is usually made with wheat flour in addition to cornmeal, but you get all its signature flavor in the cornmeal topping of this tamale pie without any flour needed. It's an inexpensive and protein-laden casserole with many shelf-stable ingredients, making this tamale pie a viable weeknight go-to. You could serve a larger portion of it alongside rice and/or beans for a Tex-Mex inspired meal, or a smaller portion as a side for a vegetable entree or meal-sized salad.

  • 10 of 19

    Potato Gratin With Cheese and Bacon

    cheese-potato-bacon-gratin

    Jupiterimages / Getty Images

    Potato gratins work as both side dishes and entrees, and this one is no exception. To use it as a side, serve alongside vegetables and meat, or with a protein-heavy entree. You may not be familiar with Reblochon cheese; it's a semi-soft French cheese with a strong flavor. If it isn't available, you can substitute a different strongly flavored cheese. For a greener variation, you can add spring onions or spinach.

  • 11 of 19

    Granny Smith Apple Slaw

    Granny Smith Apple Slaw

    Sabrina S. Baksh / Regarding BBQ, Inc.

    Granny smith apples are a great snack on their own and are notoriously good baking apples; it makes sense then that their crunchy tartness would also marry well with a refreshing side dish. In this slaw, the apples are mixed with white cabbage and flavored with a dressing that includes thyme, caraway, cilantro, and mustard. It can be used on a sandwich, or as a side to an entree high in protein or starch.

  • 12 of 19

    Roasted Cauliflower Salad With Pomegranate

    Roasted Cauliflower Salad With Pomegranate

    The Spruce / Laurel Randolph

    This warm salad is a savory medley on the palate: Red onion has a crunchy bite, pistachios are rich and nutty, pomegranate seeds are a touch sour, and turmeric adds earthy spice. The cauliflower is cooked at a high heat so they char lightly and become tender-crisp. The dressing is made by simply pouring lemon juice and honey over the cooked cauliflower, saving time otherwise spent creating a separate dressing.

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  • 13 of 19

    Cambodian Pineapple Rice

    Cambodian Pineapple Rice

    MIB Pictures / Getty Images

    This basic fried rice dish is elevated by the addition of pineapple, which is used fresh along with the juice it collects from cutting. While the recipe calls for shrimp, many different proteins would work well, such as chicken, squid, or diced fish. Because it's made with rice cooked the day prior, it involves only stir frying, not any other cooking methods. Note that fish sauce is usually gluten-free, but it's worth double checking ingredient labels to verify that.

  • 14 of 19

    Sauteed Corn and Zucchini With Cotija and Cilantro

    Sauteed Corn and Zucchini with Cojita and Cilantro
    Katie Workman / themom100.com

    Cotija is a Mexican cheese that is dry and crumbly and has considerable saltiness. The corn used can be fresh or frozen, meaning this dish can be made no matter what the season and isn't relegated to summer only. Fresh oregano has a slightly different taste than dried, and though only half a teaspoon is used here, you can certainly add more to taste! This dish goes well with quesadillas, rice bowls, or other Mexican entrees.

  • 15 of 19

    Tofu Mochi (Rice Cakes) With Sweet Kinako (Roasted Soybean Flour)

    Tofu Mochi (Rice Cakes) With Sweet Kinako

     The Spruce / Judy Ung

    Glutinous rice sounds like a food that would contain gluten, but the word is used to describe texture—the rice is gluten free just like all other rices are. Glutinous rice is prized for its stickiness and is the main ingredient in mochi, a Japanese rice cake. In this recipe, tofu is used to increase protein and a different version of soy is used on the outside of the cake. Kinako, which is roasted soybean flour, is mixed with sugar to sweeten the cakes. Though mochi is often eaten as a dessert, the protein enrichment of tofu in this version makes it usable as a side dish.

  • 16 of 19

    Baked Beet Fries With Maple Pecan Aioli

    Baked Beet Fries

     The Spruce / Leah Maroney 

    Any root vegetable can be roasted in French fry style, but none is as pretty as beets! To achieve the beautiful look of this side dish, use both golden and red beets. The maple pecan aioli plays on beet root's natural sweetness, and a grumbly goat cheese topping balances out that sweetness with some tang. Bonus: roasted fries are far less messy than the actual fried version.

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  • 17 of 19

    Grilled Sweet Potato Skewers With Honey Mustard

    Grilled Sweet Potato Skewers

    When you think of grilled vegetable skewers, sweet potatoes probably aren't the first vegetable that pops to mind. Because sweet potatoes require a bit more cooking than a grill can offer, they're given a head start in the microwave before being placed on skewers with standard veggie kabob onions and peppers. These sweet potato skewers would be perfect alongside a grilled entree such as burgers, steak, or chicken breasts, and eliminate the need to use the stove or oven for your meal. 

  • 18 of 19

    Brussels Sprouts With Stewed Tomatoes

    Brussels Spouts with Stewed Tomatoes

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    This gluten-free side dish is a refreshing change from the way Brussels sprouts are often prepared. Rather than roasting with bacon or baking in a gratin, this already light vegetable is given an even sunnier preparation with simple canned stewed tomatoes. The result is a side that works with nearly any entree. If you tend to find Brussels sprouts too bitter, follow the soaking tip to mellow them before cooking.

  • 19 of 19

    Creamy Cold Red Pepper Soup

    Creamy roasted red pepper soup

    Stockstudiox / Getty Images

    The secret to this vibrant red soup is in the roasting of the red peppers, which deepens both their color and taste. Butter and cream make the soup more luxurious and filling, and rosemary lends its forest charm. The peppers are seeded before roasting so there's no need to worry about seeds accidentally getting blended in. This red pepper soup makes a perfect appetizer, and also holds up to being heated if you're more in the mood for a warm soup than a chilled one.