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Side dish to serve w/ Chili

I'm throwing a bday party for my spouse and will be serving Turkey Chili( we dont eat red meat). The location where the party is being held has no refridgeration or oven. I'll be making the chili ahead of time and serving out of a crock pot. When I make Chili at home, I usually always serve brown rice, cornbread, sour cream, cheese, and crushed tortilla chips. I wont serve brown rice at the party because 1. no stove and 2. rice w/ chili isnt really the norm here in SW Ontario( I'm from Cali). I will serve the cornbread and the condiments. Do you think I need another side dish?

We'll be having various appetizers ( mostly cold) before dinner. I plan on making a few things, but I was told by the Spouse I should delegate to various guest. So, I know those items will end of being store bought crap( spinach dip, veggie platters, etc).

Any suggestions for side dishes? Or maybe I dont even need them?


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  1. sounds like this is to be an event where others are contributing.. There will be enough food already. Your contribution of the chili, cornbread and condiments should be more than enough this time.

    1. Cornbread and condiments sounds like a very generous contribution if you are having a potluck.

      1. Maybe a nice coleslaw - that is always nice with chili! (particularly if it's spicy, the coleslaw will tame the heat)

        1. Is this a red or white/green chili?? If it's red and you really want to add something else, try either macaroni (for chili mac) or simple hot dogs (for chili dogs).

          The slaw is a nice idea as a counter point to the chili. A nice crusty bread would be good too.


          1. Cole slaw, a nice crisp fresh, tangy sweet mostly vinagar based cole slaw. it's my go to side for chili.

            1 Reply
            1. re: aggiecat

              I agree. Coleslaw is always a staple for me when making pulled pork and cornbread. I'd imagine it would be great with chili as well!

            2. There's really only 2, maybe 3 acceptable sides for chili. Fritos, cheese and onions; and beer of course.

              2 Replies
              1. re: drlee_susquespine

                we also do beer cheese and saltines, celery, and carrots or pimento cheese

                1. re: drlee_susquespine

                  I agree, Fritos rule when it comes to chili along with cheese, onion and sour cream.

                2. I'm throwing the party( so its not really a pot luck per se), but we're asking other guests to bring an appetizer. I'll also be serving a bday cake( maybe a choc layer cake/w peanut butter filling).

                  Coleslaw sounds good. I love vinegar based coleslaws but they're not the norm around here. There is a good coleslaw that costco carries, its from a deli in Montreal so maybe I'll pick some of that up.

                  The chili is red but not too spicy. I was going to make a white chili too, still contemplating that.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Calipoutine

                    I like a salad/salsa made from chopped avocado, tomatoes, sweet onion or scallion, jicama if you can find it...little lime juice, s/p, ancho powder, cilantro...easy.

                    1. re: Calipoutine

                      I love a coleslaw too that is vinegar based rather then mayo.

                      1. re: Calipoutine

                        Yeah, I make a less spicy chili (shh don't tell anyone) as I've got a 7 year old who's moderately hot seasoning adverse. So even with a little spice the cool vinigar kick of slaww really sets off the warm spice of the chili. Since it's easy to do up the might before it's perfect for entertaining. Which is shy chili, cornbread muffins, slaw and cobbler are my go to party menu. They can all be done in advance, well, not the muffins, they are better fresh. And the chili prefers a crock pot and at least a day of "thinking" before it reaches optimal flavor. So most everything I need can be totally prepared, cooked and simply get reheated prior to party time. What's not to love.

                        I concur with Drlee, frito pie is a real southern winner. Take fritos corn chips. Put chili on top. sprinkle with cheddar and fresh chopped onions. Very very good. To make it really old school (quite literally) use the small bags of fritos. Cut bag open on the long side of the bag. Spoon chili into bag on fritos. Top with cheese and onions. A little slice of memory served warm.

                      2. you mention the limited kitchen at the party site. are there tables or will this be a lap-top affair? sometimes side dishes are determined by logistics not menu pairings.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: silverhawk

                          Yep, there will be tables. I've rented the upstairs room at a meeting Hall. The hall has a kitchen, but we're not allowed to use it.

                        2. It sounds like you already have a lot of good suggestions but , something rather easy to delegate is perhaps garlic bread. It's always nice with chili.

                          1. corn stuff, aka, corn casserole.
                            a can of corn, drained
                            a can of creamed corn
                            a stick of butter, melted
                            a little container of cream cheese (8oz. i think)
                            an egg
                            and a box of jiffy corn bread mix

                            mix all ingredients together and pour into a greased pyrex (10x 14-ish). cook for about 45 minutes on 350.

                            it is ALSO great with taco fixin's on top (sour cream, guac, cheese and salsa.) mmm mmmm good.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: raygunclan

                              I make this all the time( have to buy the jiffy in MI as its not sold in Canada). But, I'm making Trader Joe's cornbread so dont want to make the above too.

                            2. How about caesar salad?

                              1. If you're putting the chili in a crockpot, why can't you do the same for rice, if you want to serve it? It may not be the norm where you're going but you could set a new trend and may be actually welcome. I see nothing wrong with what you already plan to serve except that I agree that a green salad might be nice and either crackers or bread.

                                I gather from your post that the chili is the main course, not the topping for something else so go with it!

                                1. My vote is for a Mexican slaw that is served around here, made with vinegar, cilantro, white onion, scallion, and jalapeno pepper. I can devour buckets ot this stuff. The crunchy texture will go great with chili.
                                  But yes to fresh salsa with avocado, and the rest. That would be delicious.

                                  1. Calipoutine: how did the chili-fest go? What did you end up serving?