Side Dishes and Salads for Entertaining
Complement main entrées with appetizing side dishes and salads at your next party.
Assorted herbs, lemon juice, and garlic is all you'll need to make this zippy side dish. It's great served warm, chilled, or at room temperature.
- Recipe: Lemon-Herb Potatoes
This deluxe version of spinach salad features a tangy sweet maple syrup vinaigrette, sliced apple, onion and and goat cheese and is topped with sweet curried pecans.
Browned butter adds a heavenly toasted nut taste and aroma to traditional mashed potatoes.
- Recipe: Browned Butter Mashed Potatoes
Though made with orzo rather than rice, this colorful dish is similar to risotto.
- Recipe: Carrot Orzo
We loved the dash of dried crushed red pepper—it made the flavor lively, not hot.
This from-scratch recipe is suited for any level of cook—even first timers.
Tip: Brush unbaked rolls with lightly beaten egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and fennel seeds. Or, brush unbaked rolls with melted butter; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, kosher salt, coarsely ground pepper, and dried Italian seasoning.
Recipe: Hurry-Up Homemade Crescent Rolls
Fresh herbs and chopped walnuts dress up Simple Beet Salad. For a twist, add crumbled goat cheese.
- Recipe: Simple Beet Salad
Instead of being tossed together in a bowl, the colorful ingredients for Potato Cobb Salad are arranged on a plate. To save time, the potatoes can be cooked overnight so they are ready to assemble just before serving.
- Recipe: Potato Cobb Salad
Combine French green beans and red bell pepper strips with shallots and garlic for a delicious side dish that's far from boring.
This homemade baked macaroni and cheese recipe beats the boxed kind any day of the week. For a divine main dish, stir in chopped cooked ham before baking, and then sprinkle top with chopped cooked bacon before serving.
Recipe: Golden Macaroni and Cheese
- Recipe: Sweet Onion 'n' Fruit Salad
Move over, butter beans. Crowder Pea Succotash, jazzed up with fresh thyme and red bell pepper, is set to become a new classic Southern side.
- Recipe: Crowder Pea Succotash
Feature grits the next time you entertain. Offer both plain and cheese, and keep them hot in slow cookers or chafing dishes. Choose quick-cooking, regular, or white or yellow stone-ground grits. (We don't recommend instant here.)
Serve several toppings, such as Tomato Gravy featured in the photo, so guests can mix in their favorite flavors. Here's some great ideas:
- Gravies and pestos
- Shredded cheeses
- Roasted vegetables
- Crumbled bacon
- Grilled corn kernels
- Recipe: Tomato Gravy
- Recipe: Parmesan Grits
A scattering of dried cranberries teams up with fresh pears and asparagus for an impressively easy salad.
- Recipe: Kentucky Bluegrass Salad
These rolls start with frozen bread dough but taste as if they're made from scratch--perfect for no-fuss entertaining. You'll get a spectacular look and big flavor while saving time.
Recipe: Easy Three-Seed Pan Rolls
Sweet, caramelized pearl onions make an elegant side dish. This version is flavored with butter, white wine, and brown sugar and then baked for less than an hour.
Recipe: Baked Onions
Add some Asian flair to your menu with the sweet, sour, salty and spicy flavors that make up Thai Noodle Salad.
- Recipe: Thai Noodle Salad
This rainbow of summer fruit makes an elegant presentation and a refreshing side for a luncheon, brunch, or dinner. Layer and chill the salad up to eight hours in advance.
Recipe: Melon-and-Mozzarella Salad
Raw fennel is crisp and tasty, a perfect complement to apples and arugula. Test kitchen professional Marian Cooper Cairns recommends using a handheld mandoline for ultrathin apple slices.
- Recipes: Marian's Apple-Fennel Salad