Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Jun 10, 2012 07:04 AM

Favorite cold main and side dishes

I have an event to go to in a few weeks and I need to bring either a main or side dish that can travel on ice in a cooler and be served either cold or at room temp. There will be no heating or prep facilities.

I don't really want to bring seafood or fried chicken. I may make a spaghetti salad or gazpacho but in addition would like to bring something else too.

Your thoughts?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Shrimp cocktail. A Mexican restaurant in my old town made a cross between the two. The shrimp were in the gazpacho.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Ikkeikea

      Room temp shrimp? Not so much, thinks moi.

      Caprese salad with fresh mozzarella, best at room temp. Cheese tortellini salad with kalamata olives, feta cheese and halved grape tomatoes and olive oil... melon and prosciutto... depending how long it's going to be room temp.

      1. re: mcf

        Room temp shrimp? Yuck. She did mention that it could be served cold. That's the way I've always had it :)

        ETA: I didn't read it correctly, either. No seafood.

        1. re: Ikkeikea

          Thanks for the tips and keep them coming. Yes it can be kept in the cooler until the last minute and served or it can be served room temp. I would prefer non-seafood because I am allergic and would like to enjoy what I bring as well.

    2. Broccoli salad made with 2 heads of chopped broccoli flowerettes (include some of the stems but try to use as many flowerettes as you can), 1/2 large red onion, finely chopped, 1 cup of currants, 1/2 pound bacon (cooked crisp and chopped) 1/2 cup nuts (I like cashews) chopped. Combine 1 cup Best Foods/Hellmann's mayonnaise with 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar and 1/3 - 1/2 cup sugar (start small and add more to taste).
      Mix it all together, chill for a few hours.
      You can use a single head of broccolli and chop it all quite fine, but I like it best when the flowerettes dominate the bowl.
      Avoid using a food processor to make this one unless you're very watchful to ensure the solids aren't over processed into a powder.

      1 Reply
      1. Whether you call it a Nachitoches meat pie, UP pasty, Jamaican meat pie, or empaneda, they were all originally designed to be eaten cold at the job site. All vary in their crust and filling, thus giving you lattitude to go along with the theme of the gathering. Insert none soggy fruit for the filling, and you have a dessert that travels well cold.

        I prefer a Jamaican jerk sauce for dipping, number of habaneros at your discretion, and a brown sugar and sour cream sauce for the fruit filled desserts.

        1. Panzanella salad, quinoa salad, bean salad, etc. Any salad with lots of fresh veggies, some cheese and a little bit of starch & a vinaigrette. You can add chicken and or chopped hardboiled eggs for protein. You could also add roasted new potatoes and hold them at room temp so they don't soften.

          I recently had a lovely salad with watermelon & feta and a mint vinaigrette and I practically licked the plate it was so good (it also had little lamb chops, but that wouldn't work here for you).

          10 Replies
          1. re: lynnlato

            Panzanella doesn't hold up over time, so if it's for a buffet, it's not the best choice. The bread gets soggy and gross really quickly.

            Same goes for the watermelon salad -- the salt in the dressing leeches out the water and turns the whole thing into a wet mess.

            That said, both are great for dinner parties where the food is eaten immediately.

            1. re: piccola

              That's true for those who have wet bread syndrome. Some of us love it soggy, and that's how I've had it in Italy.

              1. re: lemons

                Sigh..... I suffer from wet bread syndrom. It all started in grade school with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in my lunchbag. It sadly has (shudder) become a chronic problem. :-(

                1. re: suzigirl

                  One of my stepdaughters has the same problem. No bread pudding, no turkey stuffing, and so on.

                  1. re: lemons

                    Bread pudding. Gastly stuff. Eeeww.

                    1. re: suzigirl

                      well, if you're not going to eat it -- push it over here ( DOES seem I say that a lot)

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        No problem. You can have the hard sauce too.

                  2. re: suzigirl

                    Me too, suzigirl. Exact same deal, grade school lunchbox thing. It was the grape jelly soaking through Wonder bread. Have never gotten past it.

                    1. re: suzigirl

                      I thought I was the only one who suffered from this. Every year the day after Easter my mother would whip up this concoction called "Ham and Cheese Fondue" which was NOTHING like a fondue. It basically consisted of giant hunks of wet soggy bread soaked in milk, a sprinkling of cheese (never enough cheese), and cubes of leftover ham baked in the oven. Makes me shudder to this day.

              2. One of the best impluse buys I made was this type of Pyrex container. It comes in handy w/ this sort of situation because you can make hot or cold, easy to transport, all self contained.


                Other than that, I had the same thought as Lynnlato on the panzanella and different salads. I love this israeli couscous salad but improvise on vegetables:


                I also like to make braided bread for things like this. I usually make several loaves, different fillings. Something along these lines:


                I've tried all different variations but the most popular (which always surprises me) is something w/ bacon, cheese and sometimes hard boiled egg. I'll add oven dried tomatoes to it sometimes. I love this one:


                There is also torta rustica. I make it in a springform pan so it's easy to transport.

                I love the layered colors in King Arthur's but don't like that dough.


                I like the pizza rustica dough:


                That said, I usually improvise with this, too, and add what I want.