People tend to fixate on the grill when it comes to backyard barbecues, but the right side dishes can steal the show at the next party. If you really want to impress your guests, why not serve up some unique and delicious cold side dishes? You might want to try a new angle for a classic macaroni or potato salad or serve up something new and exciting that will have your guests clamoring for your recipe.
Make sure you have plenty of chilled serveware to display your salads in, too. You don’t want to worry about the quality of your foods in the hot summer heat. With dishes that are designed to remain cold, your salads will stay fresh for hours, and they’ll look great too.
Kale and cabbage coleslaw
This twist on classic barbecue fare brings in the trendiest veggie of the year – kale – to create a flavorful, healthy coleslaw. The Foodie Crush blog served up this recipe, which adds a protein punch with Marcona almonds for an extra crunch of flavor.
- 1 16-ounce package coleslaw mix
- 3 cups kale, stemmed and chopped
- 1 red pepper, sliced thin
- 1 carrot, peeled and sliced thin
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups Marcona almonds, chopped
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup Champagne vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all of your veggies (except garlic) and almonds in the serving dish you plan to use. Then, in a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, garlic, sugar, caraway seeds, salt and pepper. Pour over the slaw and toss well until everything is coated. Refrigerate for at least one to four hours before serving.
Vegan spring salad
- Skip the mayonnaise-based salads in lieu of healthier fare at your next gathering. This recipe adapted from PopSugar uses ingredients that may surprise your guests, but the end result is a fresh, colorful dish even the meat-eaters in your group won’t be able to pass up. The best part is that you can choose whichever vegetables you want to complement the main, meatless ingredients.
- 1 cup cooked buckwheat groats
- 7 1/2 ounces firm tofu, cubed
- 3 carrots, sliced
- 3 tomatoes, diced
- 2 1/2 cups cucumber slices
- 1 cup fennel, sliced
- 2 avocados, cubed
- 3 cups leafy green of your choice
- 3 olives, sliced
- olive oil
- salt and pepper (and any other seasonings of choice)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and boil the buckwheat in 6 cups water. When the water comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. Coat the tofu cubes in olive oil, add any seasoning you may prefer and then bake for 20 minutes. Slice and dice your vegetables while the tofu and buckwheat are cooking. When the tofu and buckwheat have cooled a bit, combine with vegetables in a bowl and toss with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. This dish will be ready to serve right away.
BLT macaroni salad
- Adding bacon to any dish can up the yum factor instantly, so instead of serving the same old macaroni salad, why not try this fun alternative adapted from the food blog Buns in My Oven. It’s not the healthiest dish, but the others will balance it out. This recipe will serve a small crowd, so you may want to double it if you’re expecting a large turnout.
- 1 pound macaroni (or any shape pasta you prefer)
- 8 slices of bacon
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- 2-3 bunches green onions, chopped
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- First, bring water to a boil in a large pot and add the macaroni. Cook for about eight minutes – you’ll want it to be a bit al dente so it can absorb the mayo and not get too mushy. While that’s going, fry the bacon until it’s good and crispy. Place the bacon on a paper towel to soak up the excess grease and then crumble into small pieces when cool. Add the chopped veggies, mayo and vinegar to a bowl and blend together, adding salt and pepper to taste at this stage.
- When the pasta is cooked, place it in a serving dish and stir in the mayo mixture. Once it’s all blended, fold in the bacon and garnish with any leftover green onions.