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Side or starter with macaronic and cheese?

I'm making Martha Stewart's cheddar and gruyere mac and cheese as a main dish. there will also be a green salad.

Any ideas for an additional vegetable side, or perhaps a vegetable soup? I'm struggling with what to serve that will help balance out the heaviness of the main dish.

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  1. What about some greens? My CSA gave out a great recipe for Catalan-style chard, which might go well. You clean/de-stem a pound of chard, sauté it with olive oil and garlic, then add a handful each of golden raisins and toasted pine nuts, cooking a bit more until the raisins are softened.

    2 Replies
    1. re: operagirl

      ditto. greens are classic with mac. pretty much anything green and slightly bitter goes nicely. other ideas: roasted Brussels sprouts, arugula or spinach salad (maybe with cornbread croutons...a nice homage to the south...if that would work?), sauteed broccoli(ni), maybe a French green bean salad in vinaigrette?

      1. re: ChristinaMason

        i vote sharp greens too. watercress or chard with lemon. garlic and olive oil; radicchio, endive or trevisano grilled, then doused with fresh orange or tangerine juice and garlic infused evoo.

    2. I think with something rich and creamy, it is nice to have something tart like a green salad with a mustardy vinaigrette.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cassoulady

        I also like the salad with mac n cheese. I'm addicted to argula with good olive oil, lemon juice, shaved Parm, s&p (thanks for the millionth time to MMRuth).

      2. I agree with a nice salad.

        For soup, maybe a gazpacho or a creamless tomato soup.

        You could also do a mixture of greens (mustard, kale, and spinach) cooked with garlic and onions. Simple and flavorful, but slightly bitter to balance and cut the richness of the mac'n'chese.

        1. I think a Caesar salad would be nice with it

          1 Reply
          1. re: Reed422

            also not to be nit-picky, but a starter or side with cheese would just be dairy over-kill for me.

          2. I don’t mean to be rude or nit-picky, but when is Macaroni and Cheese considered a main dish? Is this a common practice?

            4 Replies
            1. re: RetiredChef

              I would say that really rich, homemade mac and cheese -- made with a bechamel, tons of cheese, baked, crusty, etc. -- would be a perfectly good main course. Of course, it also makes a good accompaniment to plenty of meat-based mains.

              As to whether it's a common practice or not, I couldn't say.

              1. re: RetiredChef

                Mac and cheese with protein added (Spam, Sausage, Lobster, Bacon, BBQ Pork, hot dogs) is routinely used as a main dish in households with Children who limit their palates. Or in households with adults who grew up using it as a main dish, like mine.

                1. re: RetiredChef

                  Macaroni and Cheese is always a main dish in my house. Not sure why it would be an appetizer or side dish... it's got tons of cheese and it's a heavy dish. I couldn't imagine eating mac and cheese and then eating a heavier main course.

                  1. re: RetiredChef

                    There's a restaurant in NYC that only serve M&C. So, yes.