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3 Easy 2-Ingredient Side Dishes Anyone Can Make

The holidays are upon us yet again, and as I say every year, it’s time to start eating more side dishes.

Or at least I will, and you will too, after enjoying these surprisingly tasty, fabulously easy side dishes. They’re perfect on the table for the holidays or on any other day of the year. Now to be clear, for our purposes, we’re going to take a few common kitchen staples for granted, so when I say a dish uses “two ingredients,” and then I ask you to use some salt and olive oil, don’t go calling me a goddamned liar, because that would be an egregious over reaction. Just go with it, okay?


The easy side dishes on the docket today require minimal culinary prowess and are, in fact, almost totally hands-off after the initial prep. That will free you up to enjoy a glass or twelve of rum-ridden eggnog or to enter an apoplectic panic over the fact that you have surely ruined the turkey. (Fifteen minutes per pound at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, baby. Relax and have some more nog.)

Brown Rice with Lentils Recipe

brown rice with lentils
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Here’s a dish that is almost a meal in and of itself. It has carbohydrates! It has protein! It has a pretty good idea for a televised mini series! And if you can measure out ingredients, you can’t get it wrong! (That is assuming you are using a pretty standard brown rice that cooks in about 40 minutes.)


  • 2 cups  brown rice (that’ll serve about six as a side, FYI)
  • 1.5 cups green lentils (pr black, or red, but green is the go-to)


  1. Spray the inside of a big ol’ pot and add 6.5 cups of broth. Ish. You may add a bit of water later. Probably not, though. Bring that broth to a boil. If you don’t have broth, use bouillon cubes. If you don’t have those, use way too much salt. And maybe some pepper.
  2. Add the rice, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Set a timer for 20 minutes.
  3. Timer went off? Keen. Add the lentils. Re-cover. 20 more minutes.
  4. Check the pot. All cooked? No? Add more water. Yes? Drain as needed. Serve.

Asparagus with Almonds Recipe

asparagus with almonds
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This one looks great, tastes great (assuming you like asparagus), and is almost impossible to screw up if you just follow these steps.


  • Asparagus, trimmed
  • Handful (-ish) almonds


  1. Preheat that oven to around 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Coat a glass pan (metal is fine too) with cooking spray and put the asparagus in there.
  3. Put the almonds in a plastic bag and crush them! Use a hammer or a book or whatever. Don’t pulverize them into powder, but rather make a bunch of almond chunks.
  4. Toss the almonds over the asparagus, sprinkle some salt, and drizzle some olive oil. (Got any balsamic vinegar or say sauce? Add a few stripes, if so. If not, find a mirror and stare deeply at yourself).
  5. Bake the whole lot for between 15 and 20 minutes. Maybe … 17? Delicious.

Roasted Potatoes and Onions Recipe

roasted potatoes
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Did someone say “Irish Thanksgiving!?” No! That’s not really a thing. But this Irish-style staple meal will be welcome on the American (or Canadian) holiday table anyway.


  • Potatoes, enough to satisfy.
  • Onions, about a quarter the volume of potato.


  1. Start a big pot of salty water boiling and preheat the oven to 400 degress Fahrenheit.
  2. If you’re using charming little finger potatoes, skip this step. Big potatoes? Chop ’em into chunks.
  3. Chop that onion up, too. Strips or chunks.
  4. Toss the potatoes into the boiling water and count 10 minutes. Or use a timer.
  5. Oil a glass pan (or metal … actually, no — Jesus Christ, man, just get a glass baking dish) and put in the onions in there, then drizzle a bit more oil. Maybe add a pinch of salt and pepper. Start baking ’em.
  6. When the time is up on the boiling potatoes, drain ’em, then add ’em to the onions. Toss it all round a bit, maybe add a bit more oil.
  7. Bake for another 15 minutes or so — let the potatoes start to take on a bit of crispness and then serve. Delish.
Steven John
Steven John is a writer and journalist living just outside New York City, by way of 12 years in Los Angeles, by way of…
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