We sped up these classic dishes to cover all your hot-weather eating needs: backyard grilling, picnicking, family reunioning, and potluck partying.
June 13, 2013
1 of 20Photo: Iain Bagwell
Fresh and Summery
When summer rolls around and the hot weather takes over, we want nothing but fresh, healthy, and hot-weather-appropriate food. These sides won’t weigh you down, and are the perfect accompaniment to grilled foods and outdoor parties.
First, our Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese and Basil is light and perfect as an outdoor summer side. Choose a variety of tomato colors to make the salad more beautiful without any additional work.
If you purchase whole fava bean pods, you'll need to shell them and then peel the beans: Blanch shelled beans in boiling water for a few seconds, remove to a bowl of ice water, drain, and slip off the opaque skins. You can also substitute shelled edamame.
The traditional colors of Fat Tuesday celebrations are purple, green, and yellow, and this vibrant slaw mimics that combo. Use a mandoline or very sharp knife to cut the cabbage, and you'll avoid the rather strong smell that often comes when you shred it.
Tomato Salad with Herbed Ricotta and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Sliced heirloom tomatoes are wow-worthy on their own with just a small sprinkling of salt and pepper, but a simple balsamic vinaigrette and dollops of rich basil-flecked ricotta take them over the top. Visit your local farmers’ market to get a variety of heirlooms for a plethora of tastes and colors. Serve with toasted baguette slices to sop up any tomato juices.
Think of this warm, starchy concoction as the best version of bean dip you'll ever have. Canned black beans get kicked-up flavor from sautéed onion, garlic, cumin, and jalapeño and are then mashed and placed in a dish. On top go firm, cured, paprika-rich Spanish chorizo, chopped tomato, creamy Jack cheese, and green onions—then the whole thing is baked until gooey, warm, and irresistible. You'll be delighted to scoop it up with crunchy tortilla chips. It’s a versatile dish, too; you can also serve it as a side dish with fajitas, as a taco filling, or as a jalapeño popper or chile rellenos stuffing.
Roll corn tortillas around a sausage and seal with creamy, melty cheese. Top with jalapeños, which add a spicy kick to this childhood classic. Ready in just under 15 minutes, this quick weekday snack is also perfect for parties, picnics, and barbecues.
Grilling the eggplant adds a charred note to this classic Middle Eastern dip. Let the slices steam after cooking so the flesh becomes even more tender. Serve with toasted pita, slices cucumber, or fennel.
Turn a beloved side dish into a cute and savory appetizer. Frozen phyllo shells speed prep time, as does bagged baby spinach (rather than frozen). Toasting the phyllo cups keeps them crisp longer after being filled.
Spinach and Arugula Salad with Creamy Parmesan Dressing
This light in calories but rich in taste dressing meets at the happy place between Caesar and ranch. Spinach, arugula, and matchstick turnips make it a hearty salad, but you can add grilled chicken or grilled shrimp for a Caesar salad dinner that the whole family will love.
Enjoy a favorite bar snack at home in a matter of minutes. Salty and satisfying, edamame is a nutrient-dense, between-meals bite you can feel good about. Look for whole edamame pods in the freezer section of your grocery store.
Assemble skewers the night before; brush them with the oil mixture before grilling. Flavor oil mixture with dried ground herbs to suit your taste. Look for okra pods of similar size to assure even grilling.