Turn Your Summer Side Dishes Upside Down With New Flavors and Fresh Ingredients
If you're having a cookout or a picnic soon, you'll need lots of food to satisfy the hungry guests and family members there. Summer side dishes, like any other food items you prepare, don't have to be limited to standard ingredients, with no disrespect to Mom and her legendary favorites.
Try some of these fresh ideas to get you thinking in a new direction to reinvent and reconstruct traditional side dishes in exciting new ways.
New Twists on Classic Summer Salads
A little invention makes common salads uncommonly good. Take that standard Potato Salad from ordinary to extraordinary with just a few tweaks of that old recipe you've used so many times before.
Why not use new red or Yukon Gold potatoes with the skins on, or add a bit of crème fraîche or tarragon infused olive oil instead of mayonnaise for a decidedly different flavor. Veer off in a whole new direction with a homemade remoulade dressing. Toss in some cucumbers, radishes, capers, pimentos or okra for a whole new salad experience.
How about that perennial favorite Three Bean Salad? Who says you have to limit yourself to three? Combine a whole bevy of beans for some delicious combinations, with a variety of colors, flavors, and textures that stand out from the traditional wax, green, and kidney beans. Add the right complimentary spices and ingredients to ordinary summer salads, and open up a new world of flavors to explore.
Try Some Exotic Ingredients
Sometimes all it takes to turn drab side dishes into something sensational is the right ingredient, maybe something you didn't even expect to work as well as it does. For instance, tabouleh and couscous are both staple ingredients in Mediterranean dishes, but they also do well in something like a corn and tomato salad.
Consider some healthy quinoa in side dishes and salads. This nutty seed tastes great hot or cold, and can be used to add super-nutrition and flavor to a variety of dishes.
A side dish can even take center stage, with the right ingredients and subtle touches like dill, parsley, tangy lemon juice, mint, Dijon mustard, chives, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and other delicious delicacies. Create a taste sensation at your next event by adding some new herbs, spices, and sauces that will liven up any simple salad you have in mind.
Different Combinations for Wonderful Surprises
The key to variety with side dishes is being creative and courageous, trying new combinations to find the perfect balance. Green Beans are plentiful during the summer months, and Green Bean Almondine is a popular side dish because of it.
Would you be willing to substitute chopped walnuts for the almonds, for a slightly different taste and texture? Of course you would. Presenting and serving unexpected summertime dishes at cookouts and picnics creates excitement and renewed interest in food and family.
Remember that classic creamy broccoli salad with raisins you made years ago? Bring back an old favorite, with a new twist. Substitute dried cranberries for the raisins and watch the eyes of those who taste this new creation light up with pleasure.
Summer is also a time to enjoy delicious summer squashes, even when baked and served all by themselves. If you want a real "wow" factor, however, try sautéing a number squashes in butter and oil, with garlic, bacon, onions, or a variety of other ingredients. Add some sweet or savory spices, sauces, or other condiments to the mixture and you've just created a hearty, colorful production your guests won't soon forget.
These are just some of the ways to turn summer side dishes upside down, without spending lots of time or money. Rethink your favorite picnic recipes and include ingredients you use already for a brand new taste adventure.