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Hope this isn't requested to death, but need some ideas for BBQ side dishes for memorial day

I'm invited to a BBQ. It is at a friend's farm that i've never been to, and about an hour drive for me. She is grilling meat and providing a salad and Sangria. I asked if I could bring anything and she said a side, munchies and/or other drinks if i'm not into Sangria.
I do not know any of the other guests there. I haven't asked yet if I could use an oven to reheat or the grill.
I can obviously use a cooler to transport anything. Any ideas that are interesting and not just baked beans or deviled eggs?

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  1. I almost always bring a corn and black bean salad (there are tons of recipes online). It's wonderful with chips as an appetizer and goes really well with just about any grilled meat.

    1. I am confused if you mean an actual bbq or will the just be grilling?
      Do not bring anything you need to heat/fussy with there.
      I am not sure why no baked beans..easy to keep warm or deviled eggs...always a hit

      Other thoughts
      Pimento cheese and crackers
      Fruit and dip
      A couple of big ole watermelons
      Green goddess dressing with offbeat dippers
      Tomato pie or tart
      Potato salad
      Broccoli salad..always first to go
      Lemonade..even pink
      Mint infused water
      Sweet tea

      1 Reply
      1. re: LaLa

        Great idea! +1 on tomato pie. I forgot about that one. I will make closer to tomato season!

      2. I'm guessing her salad is greens and whatever. So something a little more filling, perhaps? A corn salad with red peppers, scallions, black beans, cheese? A barley salad with carrots, red onion and cashews?

        I wouldn't assume you'll have access to the grill, but if you're thinking of a hot side, either call ahead and check on reheating in the kitchen or use a thermal carrier to transport. Depending on what meat she is grilling, if you don't want to do beans, perhaps some sort of potato-veggie casserole, or even Mac and cheese if she's doing ribs.

        1. Well, I'm doing cole slaw, potato salad, macaroni salad and tortellini/antipasta/pesto salad for our small group. All can (actually should) be made the day before and come together quickly. Plus that's what I think of when I think big American holidays!

          Oh and I'm making baked beans too, per hubby's request.

          4 Replies
          1. re: coll

            Yes, there is nothing wrong with the old "standards," especially on Memorial Day, which essentially kicks-off the summer grilling/barbecue season. Maybe by Labor Day people are tired of the standards and want some variety, but I don't think that's true now.

            1. re: masha

              I'm with you on this. Right now I just want my old favorite summer dishes. Bring on the potato salad, cole slaw, baked beans, pasta salads and grilled corn on the cob!

              1. re: hheath9h

                No, you have to push it and come up with something way more creative. Corn on the cob can be done with a butter lime epazote. Come on.

                1. re: rudeboy

                  Just now got back to this thread. Sorry if my response sounded "rude." I meant it more to be supportive. Like " Come on - You can do it!

          2. Make-Ahead Thai Pasta Salad (has peanut butter in the sauce, so anyone allergic would need to avoid).

            Make-Ahead Thai Pasta Salad

            Serving Size : 6-8

            8 oz spaghetti, uncooked -- broken in 3" pieces
            4 cups assorted chopped vegetables -- such as red bell pepper, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, and broccoli
            3 green onions -- sliced

            ***Dressing***
            1/2 cup peanut butter
            1/4 cup soy sauce
            1/4 cup rice vinegar
            2 Tablespoons sesame oil
            4 teaspoons brown sugar -- packed
            1-1/2 Tablespoons fresh ginger root -- grated
            2 Tablespoons hot water -- or more as needed
            2 cloves garlic -- minced
            1/2 tsp chili paste or hot sauce (sriracha) -- up to 1 tsp.
            1/3 cup cilantro -- chopped (or 1T. dry) (I OMIT, because I despise cilantro but you could use some chopped parsley)

            Cook and drain the pasta. Rinse well with cold water. Once cooled and fully drained, combine the pasta, veggies and green onion.

            Carefully whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour over the pasta and veggies, toss well to coat.

            Chill for up to 24 hours before serving.

            - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


            NOTES : LLW Notes: This recipe has the dressing ingredients doubled, as the original one didn't seem to have enough to fully coat the pasta and veggies (quantities already adjusted to double amounts in the recipe above so don't do it again!).

            Oh - and if it seems a bit "solidified" when you take it out of the fridge, you can add a bit of very hot water to it after it's been sitting out for about 15 minutes, and toss it again. The hot water will help loosen the chilled dressing. :-)

            12 Replies
            1. re: LindaWhit

              This looks delicious, Linda. I think I know what's for dinner tonight (with a few shrimp on top).

              1. re: kcshigekawa

                It is pretty good, kcshigekawa. You can make it as spicy or not as you like, and all sorts of veggies can go in - pretty much anything that holds its shape well. I've blanched carrot pennies as well and tossed them in.

                Sauce can be thinned very easily as well. I haven't made it in a thinner format to see if that prevents the sticking from chilling in the fridge.

                  1. re: foodieX2

                    No, not with veggies like sugar snap peas, the mushrooms and red bell pepper. I've done so with the broccoli and carrots - very quickly, as I usually cut them into small florets and thin enough carrot pennies so they don't need a lot of blanching.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      This sounds amazing, I was thinking the brocc should be blanched. I see this at mondays BBQ!

                      1. re: foodieX2

                        I have done it without blanching the broccoli - made sure the florets were small enough or halved/quartered, and thin-sliced the carrot pennies, and it seemed to go over well!

              2. re: LindaWhit

                I just printed your recipe and can't wait to try it! I have everything except the peanut butter, so I'll pick that up tonight.

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  Could be made with orzo also. It does sound good, El.

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    I made this over the weekend and it was wonderful! I used broccoli, carrots, edamame & orange bell pepper. I tossed the raw veggies & dressing with the warm pasta and the dressing really seemed to be absorbed better.

                    1. re: Barbara76137

                      I'm glad you liked it, Barbara!

                      BTW, it's not my creation - I got it in a recipe swap from someone I don't know - and she got it from a magazine she had read.

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        Sounds very colorful. I bet that it presented very well.