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Suggestions for side dishes with Chicken Marbella

I'm making Chicken Marbella - http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/mem... - for a dinner party on Saturday night and I'm looking for some suggestions for side dishes.

Two rules though - the side dishes must be make-ahead recipes, and the recipe can't contain any dairy.

I'm serving an arugula/strawberry/candied pecan salad to start, and then brownies for dessert.

Thanks in advance for any help!

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  1. just my 2¢ but i might re-think serving a salad with fruit & candied nuts. the salad is sweet, the chicken is sweet, the brownies are sweet...maybe just dress the arugula with a lemony vinaigrette and some toasted walnuts instead? the earthiness of beets could be a nice addition as well...

    for a starch, couscous or rice is a classic pairing with Chicken Marbella - you could go plain/basic or do a pilaf (pine nuts or pistachios would be a nice addition). and for a veg, perhaps roasted green beans with shallots?

    1 Reply
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      I agree about the sweet salad.being too much. Plain couscous is the perfect side and does not need to be made ahead as it cooks very fast, can really just soak in hit water

    2. The first time I had Chicken Marbella (I was blown away) it was served with a room temp sauteed spinach dish that was somebody's Italian family recipe and a pilaf. Trader Joe's has a rice/orzo pilaf mix that is new and really good. I usually serve the candied pecans on the side when I make that genre salad because I have guests who don't like or are allergic to nuts. I think everything sounds delicious!

      1. I think rapini goes well with marbella. I just reheated some last night and served with rapini and cous cous.
        The rapini is a bit bitter and deep, while the marbella has a whimsical sweetness along with salty and savory.
        The dish is heavenly, I agree. I now make it with dried apricots and golden raisins vs. prunes.

        2 Replies
          1. re: veggielover

            I use that variation too! Actually, the first time I made it I used prunes and thought that the prunes imparted a bit of a bitter taste. In the least, they didn't enhance the dish in the way that other dried fruits do.
            It may be old prunes, too, but I just love raisins, cherries and apricots.

        1. Just wanted to add my pic of dinner last night:

           
          2 Replies
            1. re: valerie

              Thanks! That was reheated 3 days after making it. Tasted even better than the first day. I'm in love with this simple but amazing dish.

          1. I agree that the salad should not be overtly sweet, and that you should have a somewhat bitter vegetable side, like braised bitter greens, or steamed broccoli. I prefer a plain starch to a seasoned one, since the Marbella sauce has a lot of complex flavor already. I'd serve plain couscous, bulgur, quinoa, or brown rice (love TJ's brown jasmine), Any of these can be made ahead. Thin ribbons of cucumber and sweet onion in seasoned rice vinegar would be a good salad.