Fish is one of those proteins that’s perfect for weeknights: It’s delicious, sustainable, cooks quickly (even when it’s straight from the freezer), and the dense nutrients make it really healthy.

My biggest struggle with fish is figuring out what to cook as a side, given that most fish takes 20 minutes to cook, if that. If you have the same struggle, here are 20 fast and easy side dishes that are guaranteed to pair well with anything from trout to salmon to shrimp.

Comforting Rice and Grains

Here’s a strategy for cooking rice or grains when serving with fish: Start the dish early (use a rice cooker with a timer and make it the morning of), use an Instant Pot, or look for cold salads that you can prep ahead. This way when the fish is done cooking you aren’t waiting on your side dish to finish. Here are some faster and easier rice dishes.

  • Creamy Spinach Parmesan Orzo
  • Portuguese-Style Mint Rice
  • Pearl Couscous Salad with Mint and Pecans
  • Mexican Restaurant-Style Cauliflower Rice
  • Mediterranean Cauliflower Couscous Salad
  • Farro Salad with Arugula, Radishes & Goat Cheese
  • Chipotle Copycat Rice

Refreshing Salads and Slaws

This category is my personal favorite. The combination of a rich, fatty fish like salmon and a punchy slaw just makes dinner so exciting!

  • Tangy Carrot Slaw
  • Broccoli and Cauliflower “Coleslaw”
  • Tri-Color Slaw with Lime Dressing
  • Arugula & Fennel Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
  • Bar Tartine’s Chicory Salad with Anchovy Dressing
  • Simple Arugula Salad

Brilliant Vegetable Sides

Raw, grilled, or otherwise quickly cooked vegetables are ideal for serving with fish and getting the timing just right. Don’t sleep on hearty vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower as a side for fish either.

  • Spicy Grilled Cabbage Wedges
  • Thai Stir-Fried Greens with Oyster Sauce
  • Easy Salt & Vinegar Cucumbers
  • Pineapple-Cucumber Salad
  • Fresh and Creamy Tomato Salad
  • Grilled Zucchini Salad
  • 15-Minute Parmesan-Thyme Mushrooms
  • Grilled Parmesan Broccoli
  • Balsamic Glazed Veggie Kebabs
  • Garlicky Roasted Broccoli

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