Ideas for an "bright" vegetable side to go with braised short ribs?
November 30, 2018 7:21 AM   Subscribe

I'm making braised short ribs for a dinner party on Sunday. I'm stumped for ideas for a "bright"/acidic vegetable side to go along. The other side will be polenta. Any ideas?
posted by sarajane to Food & Drink (32 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Leaf spinach, sautéed in olive oil with chopped garlic/parsley and finished with lemon juice and freshly ground pepper.
posted by Namlit at 7:24 AM on November 30, 2018 [11 favorites]

I'd go with a tougher leafy green like kale, braised in vinegar.
posted by Nelson at 7:25 AM on November 30, 2018 [4 favorites]

Best answer: What about a red cabbage slaw of some kind? I'm thinking something vinegary with carrots, but the cabbage sliced long and thin rather than grated. I love polenta and find acid-y cabbage dishes to go well with it.
posted by Frowner at 7:27 AM on November 30, 2018 [23 favorites]

Best answer: Capers! In moderation they're perfect for accenting deeply savory things like braised ribs. I would combine them with mashed or pureed something.
posted by dbx at 7:30 AM on November 30, 2018

Best answer: With polenta, rapini! Sauteed like Namlit suggested. And maybe some quick pickled red onions or shallots.
posted by wellred at 7:32 AM on November 30, 2018 [4 favorites]

A mix of Mustard Greens and Chard, sauteed. TJ’s has a bag of Mustard Greens + Other Greens called “Southern Greens” that works fine fore this.

Try Mustard Greens!
posted by jbenben at 7:32 AM on November 30, 2018 [3 favorites]

Agree red cabbage, I'd do it this way:
Red cabbage, sauteed with ginger, soy sauce and a can of crushed or chunked pineapples. The pineapple will make the color really pop, and add all the bright/sweet/tart you're looking for.
posted by SaltySalticid at 7:40 AM on November 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

You might try something like lemon roasted brussels sprouts (I do something similar to this recipe, though when I do it it's mostly by eye).
posted by tocts at 7:41 AM on November 30, 2018 [9 favorites]

Well, riffing off of gremolata, you could go with a parsley salad. This is more a palate reliever than an actual stomach filling side though.
posted by ftm at 7:41 AM on November 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

I love the suggestions so far. A few other go-tos for me in this sort of situation:
  • Green beans, briefly pan-fried, with a squeeze of lemon juice at the end
  • Some kind of cucumber salad or quick pickle. I've been making these a lot lately, which aren't terribly acidic but are spicy and balanced in an interesting way between "rich" and "bright." You can also just salt cucumber slices, let them drain in a colander for a while, and then dress with herbs and vinegar.

posted by nebulawindphone at 7:43 AM on November 30, 2018 [6 favorites]

I usually make roasted brussel sprouts with balsamic vinegar with short ribs. A little tart, a little sweet, you don't have to add a lot of fat to make them delicious and that's good because short ribs are plenty fatty all on their own.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:44 AM on November 30, 2018 [5 favorites]

Beets with some kind of vinegar seasoning, maybe something like this.
posted by terretu at 7:48 AM on November 30, 2018 [7 favorites]

Green beans lightly sauted with butter and lemon zest
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:14 AM on November 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

Beet slaw would be perfect imo.
posted by phunniemee at 8:25 AM on November 30, 2018

I just made something similar. I made romesco sauce, and served over creamy polenta with wilted fresh baby spinach. You can save time by using jarred roasted red peppers and canned tomatoes. Sometimes I whiz it all up and roast the sauce on a sheet pan afterward, saves roasting veggies individually. It's good stuff!
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 8:31 AM on November 30, 2018

I make this kale salad a lot and it sounds like it would be great with your meal.

Actually I have riffed on it a bit over the years. I squeeze a lemon into a jar or measuring cup and then add an equal amount of olive oil (eyeball it), add 1-2 crushed or grated garlic cloves, a good amount of salt and pepper, and 1/2 tsp or so of mustard. That makes enough for a good size bunch of kale. And I don't usually bother with the almonds.
posted by apricot at 8:33 AM on November 30, 2018

Roasted cauliflower with lemon and garlic.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:34 AM on November 30, 2018

Best answer: I'd do a nice green salad. A mix of butter lettuce and radicchio, topped with thinly sliced green apples and toasted hazelnuts. You could also add thinly shaved fennel or (very) thinly shaved celery, cut on the bias. I'd do a lemony or white wine vinaigrette. Could add goat cheese or some form of blue cheese if you want to gild the lily.

Yum! What time is dinner?
posted by CiaoMela at 8:41 AM on November 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

Carrots sauteed in orange juice.
posted by Candleman at 9:03 AM on November 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Samin Nosrat of "Salt Fat Acid Heat" fame has an amazing Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts in Agrodolce recipe. My friend made it for Thanksgiving and it worked incredibly well as a tangy side to all those carbs. Works best when made in advance.
posted by rdnnyc at 9:22 AM on November 30, 2018 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Broccoli/Broccolini/Broccoli Rabe/Rapini - blanched, and then sauteed fast & hot with garlic slivers, red pepper flakes; deglazed with lemon.
posted by gyusan at 9:24 AM on November 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

Kale sauteed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and (dried) cranberries. So good.
posted by slidell at 9:42 AM on November 30, 2018

Best answer: Here are a few of my favorite ways to add acid to a meal:
  • arugula dressed in lemon juice, olive oil, and parmegianno
  • brussel sprouts cooked however you like 'em with lemon zest added at the end
  • radishes chopped finely with lemon juice/olive oil, used to garnish anything
  • raw onions soaked in balsamic, used to garnish anything

posted by entropone at 9:57 AM on November 30, 2018 [3 favorites]

Best answer: This is a bright and delicious brussels sprouts (raw, shaved) and pomegranate salad that would fit the bill. You quick-pickle the onions and the pomegranate seeds also have a nice tartness.
posted by misskaz at 10:20 AM on November 30, 2018

I would do roasted asparagus, which looks a little "fancy" and can be seasoned with lemon if you prefer, or just butter is great too. Don't over-cook them.
posted by randomnity at 10:20 AM on November 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

Some red cabbage would be lovely.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:21 AM on November 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

You should definitely quick-pickle some red onions for a garnish.
posted by padraigin at 11:10 AM on November 30, 2018

How about some Kkadugi which is cubed radish kimchi.
posted by Julnyes at 11:32 AM on November 30, 2018

Yeah, German red cabbage, maybe with some tart green apples diced in.
posted by GuyZero at 12:04 PM on November 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

Wow, yes, cabbage was also what came to my mind, and I'm glad others agree!

Red cabbage has the benefit of getting even redder / pinker when exposed to acid (it also turns blue if you put a base, e.g. baking soda on it), and would make a great plate with a handful of chopped scallion atop the yellow of the polenta, the brown-red of the short rib, and this nearly-neon pink slaw.
posted by batter_my_heart at 1:49 PM on November 30, 2018

Best answer: About a week ago, I made this recipe I came across in the Washington Post and used it to accompany some braised short ribs. Was brilliant - the red cabbage with the orange-based dressing was a nice counterpoint to the beef. But there's also roasted beets, so it's kind of wintery, too. It would also work just fine without the roasted beets if those aren't everybody's jam.

Not sure if the WaPo link will paywall for non-subscribers, so here's a copy paste:


3 medium red beets (unpeeled, greens trimmed)
About 1/2 red cabbage, shredded (2 cups)
1 radicchio, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 small red onion, cut into very thin half moons
2 red radishes, cut into thin slices using a vegetable peeler
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (arils; optional)


1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest and 2 tablespoons juice (from 1 orange)
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed

For the salad: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse, dry and then wrap each beet in aluminum foil. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet; roast (middle rack) for 45 minutes, or until you can pierce the centers with a fork. Let cool, then peel the beets and cut them into 1-inch chunks.

Meanwhile, make the dressing: Whisk together the orange zest and juice, shallot, balsamic vinegar, honey, oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl to form an emulsified dressing.

To assemble the salad, combine the cabbage, radicchio, red onion, radish slices, cranberries and beets in a mixing bowl. Pour the dressing over the top and toss gently to coat. Taste, and add more salt and/or pepper, as needed.

Scatter the pomegranate seeds on top, if desired, and serve.

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:02 PM on November 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

Here's my go-to red cabbage slaw, which i can't eat any more because I can't eat onions, but which is very simple and tasty.

Cut red cabbage into tong, thing pieces with a sharp knife. One whole cabbage goes a long way, I usually use about 2/3 of a cabbage.

Cut one red onion into thin strips, and two red or green bell peppers.

Make a dressing for the slaw out of lime juice, rice vinegar, and a bit of peanut oil. I do this to taste, but in general you want it to be a bit more acidic than a typical salad dressing.

You can add cilantro, crushed red pepper, cayenne, or peanuts if you want to jazz it up.

Add salt to taste.

Let the slaw marinate in the dressing for awhile in the fridge to soften the cabbage.
posted by mai at 4:30 PM on November 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

« Older Change default direction for animation in...   |   Saving $ by reusing Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.