Memorial Day 2016: Bring the side dishes the whole party will devour at your next cookout

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With Memorial Day and the cookout season comes the promise of grilled meats, cold drinks and late night bonfires.

Just as important as hot dogs and burgers at any cookout are the side dishes that accompany it, and if you’re not hosting the party then chances are good that you’re asked to bring one along with you to share.

We all undoubtedly have our standby dishes (think potato salad and macaroni salad) but those can get boring, and unless you make a rock-star potato salad, chances are you’re going to have leftovers. That have been sitting out in the sun. All day.

I’ve said before that when you bring a dish to share at a party, you wanna avoid mayo-based dishes or other dishes that will spoil, but what about for cookouts? Below are a few suggestions for side dishes to bring to your next cookout, as well as a my own recipe for tabbouleh to get you started.

 

Avocado chicken salad

avocado_chicken_saladSometimes you need a little extra heft with your side dish, without leaving you feeling heavy. Avocado chicken salad will get you right where you wanna be. Avocado, which is rich in healthy fats, combined with the healthy protein of grilled chicken is a great dish whether it’s for a cookout or a daily meal.

Cowboy caviar

Cowboy-Caviar-corn-blackbeans-southwestIf you love beans and pico de gallo, then saddle up the horses, ’cause this salsa is exactly what you’re looking for. Add your favorite spicy peppers to give your salsa and extra kick. Serve with large tortilla chips and watch folks mosey right up to the bowl full of colorful veggies.

Frozen yogurt-dipped fruit

yogurt_dipped_strawberriesFor a delicious, and healthy dessert dip several types of fruit in yogurt and freeze it earlier in the day. Strawberries are the easy choice, but play with apples, blueberries and raspberries for some variety. Add sprinkles or drizzle on a bit of melted chocolate for added flavor and variety.

Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh-parsley-bulgur-wheatA traditional Middle Eastern dish made from bulgur wheat and parsley, this cool salad will add a bit of flare to the party. It’s often made with mint and lemon juice, which gives it a refreshing flavor and will surely cool off partygoers on a hot day.

 

RECIPE

TABBOULEH

Servings: 4 salad servings

Ingredients:

• 1/2 cup fine bulgur wheat

• 2/3 cup water

• 3 cups parsley, chopped

• 2 vine-ripe-sized tomatoes, diced

• 1/4 cup mint, chopped

• Juice of two lemons

• Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. In a heat proof bowl, pour boiling water over the bulgur wheat. Cover and let set. Bulgur should soak up the water and cook, about 10 to 20 minutes. If you use a more coarse bulgur, soaking/cooking time will be extended, up to an hour.

2. In a large bowl, combine parsley, tomatoes, mint and lemon juice. Toss to mix all ingredients.

3. Using a strainer (you may also need cheesecloth depending on the size of the wholes in your strainer), drain the remaining water from the bulgur once it’s finished cooking (it should plump in size and be slightly soft). Squeeze any excess water from the bulgur while it’s in the strainer.

4. Combine bulgur and salad mix and toss with tongs.

5. Season with salt and pepper.

 

Follow editor Joe Kuharic on Twitter @JoeKuharic and on Instagram @skippyjoe27.

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