Do you find yourself stuck trying to come up with the perfect sides to serve with Cornish hens?
With such a unique poultry, it can be difficult to find delicious side dishes that take your dish from ordinary to extraordinary.
Luckily, we have compiled 15 of the best must-try side dishes for serving alongside your Cornish hen.
Starting from hearty roasted vegetables and creamy mashed potatoes all the way through flavorful couscous salads and savory wild rice blends.
No matter what flavors you’re accustomed to celebrating in your kitchen, these delightful suggestions will elevate any meal into something truly special!
What to Serve with Cornish Hens? 15 Must-try Side Dishes
1. Arugula Salad with Beets, Goat Cheese, and Pistachios
Arugula salad is a great way to incorporate some healthy greens into your diet.
The peppery taste of arugula is perfectly complemented by the sweetness of beets and the creaminess of goat cheese.
This salad can easily be made more filling by adding some protein-rich pistachios.
One of the best things about this salad is that it can be easily customized to your liking.
If you’re not a fan of beets, you can substitute them for another type of fruit or vegetable.
And if you’re looking for a bit more of a crunch, feel free to add some chopped nuts or seeds.
This salad is also perfect for entertaining because it can be made ahead of time.
Simply assemble all of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss before serving.
If you’re short on time, you can even buy pre-washed and pre-cut veggies to make things even easier.
2. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with pancetta is a dish that is sure to please any crowd.
The combination of the roasted Brussels sprouts and the pancetta create a dish that is packed with flavor.
The key to making this dish successful is to make sure that the Brussels sprouts are roasted properly.
The taste of this dish is unique and will be a hit with anyone who tries it.
The Brussels sprouts have a slight bitterness to them, which is offset by the sweetness of the pancetta.
The texture of the dish is also interesting, as the Brussels sprouts are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
There are a few tips to follow in order to elevate this dish.
First, make sure to roast the Brussels sprouts until they are nice and crispy.
This will help to bring out their flavor.
Second, use high-quality pancetta for the best flavor.
Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with different seasonings.
This dish can be made even better by adding a touch of salt, pepper, or your favorite herbs.
3. Kale Salad with Cranberries, and Pecans
Looking for a healthy and flavorful side dish to serve with your Cornish hens? Look no further than this kale salad.
Packed with nutrient-rich kale, sweet cranberries, and crunchy pecans, this salad is sure to please everyone at the table.
The best part about this salad is that it can be easily customized to fit your taste.
If you’re not a fan of cranberries, feel free to swap them out for another type of berry or diced fruit.
Not a fan of kale? You can use spinach or arugula instead.
And if you’re looking for some extra crunch, add in some chopped almonds or sunflower seeds.
No matter how you customize it, this salad is sure to be a hit.
The combination of sweet, tart and savory flavors will perfectly complement your Cornish hens.
And the best part is that it’s healthy too.
So go ahead and indulge guilt-free.
4. Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables
This Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables is a delicious and healthy dish that is perfect for any occasion.
The quinoa is cooked in a vegetable broth and then mixed with roasted vegetables, making it a flavorful and nutritious meal.
For a little added texture and flavor, I like to top it with some chopped nuts or seeds.
This dish can be served as a side or main course, and it’s sure to please everyone at the table.
The key to making this dish really shine is to roast the vegetables first.
Roasting them brings out their natural sweetness and makes them so much more flavorful.
I like to use a mix of vegetables, such as carrots, red peppers, onions, and mushrooms.
But you can really use any vegetables that you like.
Just make sure to chop them into bite-sized pieces so that they cook evenly.
Once the vegetables are roasted, simply add them to the cooked quinoa and mix everything together.
I like to add a little bit of lemon juice and olive oil to give it some brightness and acidity.
Then just season it with salt and pepper to taste.
This dish can be served warm or cold, so it’s perfect for any time of year.
5. Beet and Berry Salad with Goat Cheese
Beet and berry salad with goat cheese is a wonderfully sweet and savory dish that is perfect for any summer BBQ or potluck.
The beets provide a delicious earthy flavor, while the berries add a touch of sweetness.
The goat cheese brings it all together with its creaminess.
This dish is packed with flavor and texture.
The beets are tender but still have a little bite to them, the berries are juicy, and the goat cheese is rich and creamy.
It’s a perfect balance of flavors and textures that will leave your guests wanting more.
There are a few things you can do to elevate this dish.
First, try roasting the beets instead of boiling them.
Roasting brings out their natural sweetness and gives them a lovely caramelized flavor.
Second, use a mix of different berries for more flavor and color.
Third, substitute crumbled feta cheese for the goat cheese if you’re looking for something a little lighter.
6. Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Almonds
This Spinach Strawberry Almond Salad is the perfect combination of sweet and savory flavors, with a mix of textures that will tantalize your taste buds.
The sweetness of the strawberries is offset by the tartness of the almond slices, while the spinach provides a crunchy yet tender contrast.
The key to making this salad great is to use fresh ingredients.
The strawberries should be ripe and juicy, and the almonds should be sliced or slivered so that they are easy to bite into.
If you can find pre-washed baby spinach leaves, that will save you some time in prep work.
Otherwise, make sure to wash the spinach leaves thoroughly before adding them to the salad.
To elevate this dish, you could add a protein such as grilled chicken or shrimp.
You could also substitute feta cheese for the almonds or add a few slices of avocado.
If you want a heartier salad, you could add quinoa or brown rice.
7. Orzo Salad with Artichokes, Olives, and Feta
Orzo salad is a simple, light dish that’s perfect for summertime.
The key to a good Orzo salad is in the dressing – it should be light and flavorful, with a bit of acidity to balance out the sweetness of the corn.
I like to use a lemon vinaigrette for my Orzo salad, but you can also use white balsamic vinegar or even apple cider vinegar.
To elevate this dish, I like to add some chopped artichokes, olives, and feta cheese.
The artichokes add a nice earthy flavor to the dish, while the olives and feta add some salty goodness.
If you’re not a fan of feta, you could also use goat cheese or even Parmesan cheese.
8. Potato Salad with Egg, Bacon, and Chives
This is a great dish to serve with cornish hens.
The potato salad has a great taste and texture, and the egg, bacon, and chives elevate it even further.
Here are some tips on how to make this dish even better:
- Use Yukon Gold potatoes for the best flavor and texture.
- Boil the eggs until they are just barely cooked – this will prevent them from drying out and becoming crumbly.
- Chop the bacon into small pieces so that it evenly distributes throughout the salad.
- Add a little bit of vinegar to the dressing to balance out the sweetness of the cornish hen.
9. Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is classic comfort food that everyone loves.
It’s creamy, cheesy, and oh-so-delicious.
But sometimes, it can be a little bit boring.
If you’re looking for ways to elevate your mac and cheese game, here are some tips.
First of all, don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of cheese.
A sharp cheddar will give your mac and cheese a nice bite, while a gouda will add a touch of sweetness.
You could even try mixing in some goat cheese or feta for an extra special twist.
Another way to make your mac and cheese more interesting is to add some unexpected ingredients.
Mix in some sauteed mushrooms or onions, or stir in some diced tomatoes or roasted red peppers.
You could even top your mac and cheese with crispy bacon or crumbled sausage.
Finally, don’t forget about the toppings.
A simple sprinkling of breadcrumbs is always nice, but you could also try using crushed-up crackers or pretzels.
Or, if you really want to go all out, top your mac and cheese with a layer of bubbly melted cheese.
10. Honey-glazed Baby Carrots
These honey-glazed baby carrots are the perfect side dish for any meal.
They’re sweet and savory, with a slight crunch from the carrots.
Plus, they’re so easy to make.
Simply glaze the carrots with honey and bake them in the oven.
The taste and texture of these carrots are amazing.
The honey glaze is sticky and sweet, while the carrots themselves are slightly crunchy.
The combination is simply delicious.
There are a few tips to elevate this dish.
First, you can garnish the carrots with fresh parsley or thyme before serving.
This will add a pop of color and flavor to the dish.
Second, you can drizzle the carrots with a little bit of balsamic vinegar before serving.
This will add a touch of acidity that balances out the sweetness of the dish.
11. Mushroom Rice
Mushroom rice is a dish that is both savory and earthy, making it the perfect side to accompany your Cornish hens.
The rice is cooked in a broth made from mushrooms and onions, infusing it with flavor.
You can also add other vegetables to the dish, such as carrots or celery, for additional flavor and nutrition.
The taste and texture of mushroom rice make it a versatile dish that can be enjoyed on its own or as a side.
If you want a heartier dish, you can add protein, such as chicken or beef.
For a vegetarian option, tofu or tempeh would be a good choice.
You can also add more vegetables to the dish, such as peas or corn.
If you want to elevate your mushroom rice dish, you can try adding some herbs or spices.
Fresh herbs, such as thyme or parsley, can brighten up the flavors of the dish.
For a bit of heat, you could add red pepper flakes or ground black pepper.
And for a touch of sweetness, you could add a drizzle of honey before serving.
12. Wild Rice Casserole
When it comes to side dishes, there are so many different options to choose from.
But if you’re looking for something unique and tasty, you can’t go wrong with wild rice casserole.
This dish is packed with flavor and has a great texture that will complement any main course.
Plus, it’s super easy to make.
The key to making this dish really stand out is the quality of the ingredients.
Be sure to use good quality wild rice and broth.
And don’t be afraid to experiment with different herbs and spices to give it your own personal touch.
- Add some chopped nuts or seeds for a crunchy contrast.
- Try using different types of cheese for a more complex flavor.
- Stir in some cooked, shredded chicken or other protein for a complete meal.
With just a little bit of effort, you can easily turn this simple side dish into a show-stopping main course.
So go ahead and give it a try.
13. Corn Pudding
Corn pudding is a classic side dish that is often served with cornish hens.
The dish is made with eggs, milk, cornmeal, and salt, and it can be either sweet or savory.
Sweet corn pudding is typically served as a dessert, while savory corn pudding is usually served as a side dish.
Corn pudding has a smooth texture and a slightly sweet flavor.
It can be made in advance and reheated, so it’s a great option for holiday meals or large gatherings.
Corn pudding can also be easily customized to suit your taste preferences.
For example, you could add some chopped green onions or shredded cheese to the mixture before baking.
If you’re looking for a way to elevate this classic dish, try serving it with a dollop of whipped cream or a drizzle of honey on top.
You could also garnish it with some chopped fresh herbs or crumbled bacon.
No matter how you serve it, corn pudding is sure to be a hit.
14. Dinner Rolls
Dinner rolls are a classic side dish that can be served with almost any meal.
They are typically soft and fluffy, with a slightly sweet flavor.
Dinner rolls can be purchased pre-made at the store or made from scratch at home.
There are a few things you can do to elevate your dinner rolls and make them even more delicious.
One tip is to brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter before baking.
This will give them a nice golden color and a slight crust on the outside.
Another tip is to add some shredded cheese to the dough before rolling it into balls.
This will give the rolls a cheesy flavor that is sure to please everyone at the table.
If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can even stuff your dinner rolls with other ingredients like bacon, sausage, or vegetables.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you serve your dinner rolls warm so that everyone can enjoy their gooey goodness.
15. Bacon Wrapped Brussel Sprouts
If you’re looking for a delicious and unique side dish to serve with your Cornish hens, look no further than bacon-wrapped brussel sprouts.
These little bites are perfect for anyone who loves the taste of bacon and the crispy texture of roasted Brussels sprouts.
Plus, they’re easy to make and can be easily elevated to fit any occasion.
To start, simply wrap each brussel sprout in a half slice of bacon and secure it with a toothpick.
Then, roast the sprouts in a 400-degree oven for 20-25 minutes until the bacon is crispy.
For an extra special touch, try drizzling them with balsamic vinegar or serving them with a dipping sauce on the side.
Whether you’re looking for a simple side dish or something a little fancier, bacon wrapped Brussels sprouts are sure to please everyone at the table.
So give them a try the next time you’re looking for something new to serve with your Cornish hens.
So there you have it, 15 delicious side dishes to serve with your Cornish hens.
With so many options to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect dish to complement your meal.
What to Serve with Cornish Hens? 15 Must-try Side Dishes
- 1. Arugula Salad with Beets Goat Cheese, and Pistachios
- 2. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta
- 3. Kale Salad with Cranberries and Pecans
- 4. Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables
- 5. Beet and Berry Salad with Goat Cheese
- 6. Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Almonds
- 7. Orzo Salad with Artichokes Olives, and Feta
- 8. Potato Salad with Egg Bacon, and Chives
- 9. Mac and Cheese
- 10. Honey-glazed Baby Carrots
- 11. Mushroom Rice
- 12. Wild Rice Casserole
- 13. Corn Pudding
- 14. Dinner Rolls
- 15. Bacon Wrapped Brussel Sprouts
- Select your favorite sides from the list above.
- Prepare the side dish according to the recipe instructions.
- If you’re short on time, some of these can be made ahead of time and reheated before serving.
- Serve and enjoy!
Carrie is a food writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience. She has worked for some of the biggest names in the food industry, including Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Martha Stewart Living.
As the Editor in Chief of IntroChicago.com, Carrie oversees all of the content on the site. She also manages the team of contributing writers and editors, who help to create delicious recipes, helpful tips, and informative articles that you’ll find on the site.
A native of the Chicago area, Carrie is passionate about all things food. She loves trying new restaurants and experimenting with new recipes in her kitchen. She’s also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, so she knows a thing or two about food!