5 Sassy Sides

sweet potatoes

Coconut Sweet Potato Mashers

“A side dish, is a side dish, is a side dish”, said one of my sassy gals.  Until, of course, she tasted one of my sassy sides.

brussel sprouts

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

A sassy side can rev up dinner and make it take off to new heights.  Especially when fresh, lovely produce is abundant and time is of the essence.  A sassy side is the most perfect complement to a simple but tasty meal.


Cauliflower Mashers

I love to pan sear chicken thigh and leg quarters, and then finish them off in the oven. (I’ll post that method soon)  All that’s needed is a little oil, salt and pepper.  They turn out divine!  But what takes this dinner over the top is the side dish.

green beans with shallots

Green Beans with Brown Butter and Shallots

These are five of the Bennett Crew faves.  And yes… my two sassy gals love these five sassy sides. 🙂

Roasted Delicata Squash

Five Spice Powder Roasted Delicata Squash

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!


Coconut Sweet Potato Mashers

Serves 4-6


1 – 1 ½ lbs sweet potatoes (about 3 medium to large)

1 cup coconut milk (Thai Kitchen canned organic is what I use)

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of cinnamon (optional)


Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork and set on a baking sheet.

Roast the sweet potatoes until soft to the touch.  About 45 minutes.

When the sweet potatoes are cool, remove the skins and lightly mash.

Place them in a food processor or blender and add the coconut milk ½ cup at a time. Pulse until the coconut sweet potato mashers are at a desired consistency.  I like mine smooth but thick.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and if desired a pinch of cinnamon.

These can be prepared one day prior to serving. 🙂

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Serves 4


1-1 1/2 lbs Brussel Sprouts

2 tablespoons high heat oil

Salt and pepper to taste

2-3 tablespoons grated parmesan (optional)


Pre-heat the oven to 375F.  If using a convection oven I only heat to 350F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Slice the brussel sprouts in half, trimming the ends.  Place them in a bowl and toss with the oil.

Pour them onto the baking sheet in a single layer.

Roast for about 10-15 minutes until toasty and soft.  I like my brussel sprouts very toasty 🙂

Pull them out of the oven and sprinkle with salt and pepper and a little parmesan if desired. Serve immediately.

Cauliflower Mashers

Serves 4-6


1-2 heads cauliflower (or one really large head cauliflower)

salt and pepper to taste

1-2 tablespoons of really good extra virgin olive oil ( I use California Olive Ranch Everyday Fresh) or 1 tablespoon melted butter

1 clove garlic, minced (optional)


Cut the cauliflower into florets.

Steam the cauliflower in a stove top steamer or for a more toasty flavor you can roast the cauliflower florets by tossing in a little oil and roasting on a baking sheet lined with parchment in a preheated 375F oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft.  Phew! That was a long sentence. 🙂  If you’d like to serve these florets as a side, just season with salt and pepper to taste and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.  To make mashers proceed with the recipe below.

Once the cauliflower is soft, set the cooked florets in a colander and let them drain any excess water.

Place the florets in a blender, food processor or vita mix and pulse just until nicely smooth.  Season with salt, pepper and olive oil or butter.  Serve immediately.

Green Beans with Brown Butter and Shallots

Serves 4


1 lb fresh green beans, washed and ends trimmed

1-2 shallots, sliced

1 stick unsalted butter

Salt and Pepper to taste


You can either steam the green beans in a stove top or microwave steamer or you can roast them.

To roast, I preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment.  Toss the beans in a little oil and then place them in a single layer on the baking sheet.  (Just like we did for the Brussel Sprouts) Roast just until nicely tender.

While the beans are cooking, in a medium sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat.  Lightly swirl or stir the butter in the pan.  Just as it starts to develop those lovely little golden brown flecks, add the shallots and let the shallots crisp in the butter.  This should only take a minute longer.  The shallots should be slightly crisp and the butter brown.  Pull it off the heat and add the green beans to coat, seasoning with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Pour into a serving platter and serve immediately.  For a little variation you can add fresh chopped herbs with the shallots, or a squeeze of lemon before serving.

Five Spice Roasted Delicata Squash


1 ½ – 2 lbs Delicata Squash

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 ½  teaspoons Five Spice Powder

2 tablespoons high heat oil

Salt and Pepper


Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

Mix together the brown sugar, five spice powder and oil until the brown sugar is mostly dissolved.

Wash the squash and then slice about ½ inch of each end.  Slice down the center vertically and clean out the seeds in the squash with a spoon or small ice cream scoop.

Then slice the squash to make little half moons.

Put the slices in a bowl and toss with the Five Spice Powder, brown sugar and oil.

Layer on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Sprinkle with a little salt and black pepper.

Roast on 400F for about 20-30 minutes or until nice and fork tender.

This little dish can be served piping hot or at room temp.  Leftovers store easily in the frig for about 3 days.  Great for midnight snacking!



  1. Delicious! I think dinner without a side fish is like an opera without the Aria, either is good but the latter makes it better! I love the idea of sweet potato mash and coconut milk, I need to get me some next time I’m at the shops!
    As for roasted brussel sprouts, I hear ya sister 🙂

  2. Pretty sassy of you to post all these great looking sides! I’m lovin’ the sweet potato and coconut mashers…great combo… and the cauliflower mashers, too. These will be so wonderful to try this fall!

  3. Coconut sweet potato mash…sign me up! Autumn is finally here and these 5 sassy sides are great way to celebrate it.

  4. First off. I’m really excited I found this blog. your pictures are gorgeous and your food looks awesome. Secondly, have you ever made your coconut sweet potato mashers with okinawan sweet potatoes?? They are purple on the inside and not quite as sweet as orange sweet potatoes and holy goodness something amazing happens when they are mashed up with coconut milk. it’s incredible. plus, it’s purple..which is awesome.

    • Hi Erin, Thanks so much for stopping by! Yes, my local coop market carries the Japanese sweet potatoes and I’ve prepared them before but never with the coconut milk. Definitely going to have to try that. My brother and his family live in Japan and rave about these sweet potatoes. Yum! Have a most delicious weekend 🙂

  5. Your children are lucky ducks…they know that right? I would eat any of these sides for dinner any night of the week. YUm!

  6. Ooh, I would love a meal of just all of these sassy sides!
    🙂 Mandy xo

    • Mandy, when I make these sides rarely are there leftovers. So now, I make extra, especially of the sweet potatoes, and hide it in the frig for my lunch the next day. 🙂 Sometimes Mom’s just have to be a little sneaky.

  7. peasepudding says:

    I’m with you on the side dishes, sometimes they beat the main dish!

  8. Wow. This looks so incredibly delicious.

  9. Mmmmm…I love all the sides you shared, but the Coconut Sweet Potato Mashers are calling my name! 😉

  10. saffronandhoney says:

    Love the sass and the sides;) every one is even better than the other, but I’m partial to the squash!

  11. Love the squash! That one might make an appearence at hour house, soon!
    I do oven Brussels sprouts, too…in bacon drippings. They’re downright evil 😉

  12. Pretty sassy! Love the Brussels sprouts one.

  13. delicata squash is on my list of “must trys” have you ever had kabocha squash?! it’s like candy, i swear, it’s so sweet..

    • Yes, I love kabocha squash! I feel greedy when I see a few hanging out in my market because I usually snag 3 or 4 at a time. 🙂 So fantastic. Thanks for the comment and have a most delicious weekend!

  14. YUM – they all look so hearty and delicious!

  15. Great ideas Karista! Roasted Brussels and Mashed Cauliflower are regulars around here as well 🙂 You have great lighting in your photos – how do you do it living here? I need to get you drunk and pick your brain 😉 lol!

    • Hahahaha!! Well although it would be so fun to go pub crawlin’ with you, no need to get me drunk to pick my brain. 🙂 I get the best lighting out of my kitchen window near my sink unfortunately. White cardboard pieces to reflect light and I love Kelly Senyei’s tips on food photography. She’s at Justataste.com . And PicMonkey is a great photo editing tool. That’s really about it. It does get harder to take good food pics though when the weather turns and those low clouds and rain moves in. 😦

  16. Great ideas for side dishes. Thank you for the link.

  17. thanks for all these great ideas! can’t wait to try them 🙂

  18. I have a sassy side, but you, Karista, seem to have many 😀


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