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Nebraska Furniture Mart | December 17, 2017

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Easy Side Dishes for Your Next Barbecue

Easy Side Dishes for Your Next Barbecue

The best thing to bring to a summer barbecue usually comes in a can… but I’m blogging about easy side dishes today, so here goes.

Summer barbecues really are an American staple. The purpose is not simply the meal and nourishment, but the camaraderie and fun that goes along with grilling and hosting a cookout.  Barbecue side dishes traditionally focus on veggies in the summer as they are at their freshest and most delicious.

I selected four dishes that are truly flavorful and somewhat unexpected. They’re also easy enough to toss in your favorite serveware and take over to a friend’s house. Of course, baked beans and traditional mayonnaise-style potato salad are staples, but the next time you’re invited to an outdoor cooking event, think outside the bowl!

Keys to making a selection:

Make It Easy– by the time you arrive at the party, you want to relax and watch the fireflies come out… not spend time in the kitchen doing food prep!

Remember Safety – I steer away from dishes that require extreme refrigeration. I feel one day without a mayonnaise based salad is ok.

Keep it Fresh – Use the veggies you can get at local farmer’s markets or your own garden.

Here are some twists on classic on pasta and vegetable side dishes to try for your next cookout!

Tangy Cucumber-Dill Salad – Using red wine vinegar adds a taste that pairs nicely with the smoky flavors of barbeque. Add crumbly feta for a slightly salty kick.

Macaroni Salad – Pasta dishes are great as they can be made ahead of time. Adding chopped, hard boiled, eggs can make this side a main course for those non-meat eaters in the crowd!!  Diced celery, or even cucumbers, add a contrasting crunch to this dish. Italian dressing makes this an easy, summer-safe option.

Caprese Salad – This is a favorite of mine. I use fresh mozzarella pearls and often add tiny salad shrimp. I also use cherry-style tomatoes (both red and yellow) to add colorful variety.

Herb Potato Salad – I know, I said I was going for different… but try potato salad with smaller new potatoes coated with olive oil, Dijon, and herbs like parsley, tarragon or dill.  For the truly adventurous, use “jewel” or fingerling potatoes to get red, yellow, and blue hues.

Of course, all food tastes better when shared with great friends in a fun atmosphere.  But since the focus is not only on the food, backyard barbeques are the place to try something new and yummy!

Happy Summer!

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