It’s time for one of the biggest grilling weekends of the year — a three-day affair with plenty of time to address all the barbecue greats: burgers, chicken, steaks, a whole dang suckling pig, you name it! No matter which meat is meeting its maker, you’ll need an extensive selection of sides to go along with it. We’ve got a whole mess of delicious sides with the crunch, tang, umami and/or herbaceousness you need to round out your feast. Now, what are we drinking?
Recipe: Falafel-Stuffed Eggplant
Cooking Light magazine’s new cookbook, Pick Fresh, is a collection of simple preparations of seasonal vegetables. Enjoy seasonal eggplant stuffed with hearty falafel for a steak of a veggie dish you’ll make over and over again.
Recipe: Texas Potato Salad
Remember, food folks: Mayonnaise is your friend. As are spicy chopped pickled jalapeños, plenty of tangy whole-grain mustard and toasted pumpkin seeds for crunch.
Recipe: Grilled Corn And Quinoa Salad
Quinoa has been a staple grain in Peru for centuries, and increasingly, a base for some intriguing recipes. Highly nutritious, it is a complete protein that is high in iron and fiber, and it has a very mild flavor that complements anything it is paired with. And when you consider that it cooks in only 15 minutes, you understand why it’s called the “gold of the Incas.”
Recipe: Cobb Macaroni Salad
Scrap the salad greens and sub in macaroni for a delightfully busy pasta salad that’s almost as attractive as it is delicious. Serve with grilled chicken for a satisfying weeknight dinner, and savor the leftovers for lunch the next day.
Recipe: Smoked Deviled Eggs
Eggs may be latecomers to America’s barbecue repertoire. But elsewhere on the world’s barbecue trail, grilled and smoked eggs are common currency. Cambodians grill cilantro- and chili-stuffed eggs on bamboo skewers over charcoal braziers. The chef at the Auberge Shulamit in Rosh Pina, Israel, smokes eggs to make the most remarkable egg salad you’ll ever taste, served on — what else? — grilled bread. Smoke takes the commonplace egg in gustatory directions you’ve never dreamed of. Hard-boiled egg? Okay. Smoked hard-boiled egg? Inspired.
Recipe: Green Beans With Pistachio Pesto
I can feel slightly self-conscious fiddling about with traditional pesto recipes when in its authentic original it is surely unbeatable. But having had such uplifting results with — admittedly still traditional — Sicilian variants, I decided that the uninhibited approach had something going for it, hence the substitution of pistachios for pine nuts in the pesto here. And, frankly, this was born to go with the green beans: It’s a riot of verdigloriousness!
Tip: You’ll have leftover basil butter, which you can freeze and use again later. It’s delicious on toast, all kinds of veggies, and pretty much anything else.
Recipe: Romanesco Summer Salad
Although vibrant lime green Romanesco (sometimes called broccoli Romanesco or Romanesco cauliflower) looks like the love child of cauliflower and broccoli, it is actually closer to cauliflower in terms of taste and how it is used. Its color is fantastic in this lively salad, though you can definitely use white cauliflower if that’s all you can find.
Recipe: Sugar Snap Pea Salad
As soon as sugar snap peas show up at the farmers’ market, I’m instantly happy. Sweet, crisp, snappy, and sugary! This salad is all about the sugar snaps, with a pinch of Aleppo pepper for heat, some fresh ricotta cheese for richness and texture, and edible flowers for color. It comes together easily, looks gorgeous, and is oh so easy to love.
Recipe: Lemon Garlic Broccoli With Bacon
This recipe brings in extra flavor from the bacon while minimizing the amount of olive oil. Also, it uses the entire broccoli, stem and all! It’s a recipe that showcases the extreme versatility of the spiralizer and what it empowers you to make out of everyday vegetables.
I like to present rapini (another name for broccoli rabe) as a really straightforward dish. Blanch rapini or broccoli, or any green in the broccoli family, in salted boiling water for less than a minute depending on thickness. Toss in olive oil, a little Fresno chile or red pepper flakes, and the grated zest and juice of a lemon or Meyer lemon if you can get it. Add garlic or anchovy for a little more action. Or add toasted pine nuts and currants for more textural contrast.
Recipe: Miso-Spiked Asian Slaw
Credit for this vibrant soy-sesame-and miso-flavored slaw goes to Michael Dougherty, a kitchen designer with a flair for entertaining and cooking. Serve it with all kinds of dishes, including burgers, fried chicken and grilled steak. Dougherty suggests making the dressing the night before so the flavors have time to blend. He also uses it as a marinade for meat or fish, first thinning it a bit with some soy sauce and/or mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine).