For many, it's the delicious bounty of summer sides—not what's in the smoker—that makes a paper plate feel like fine china. So, in our first side dish smackdown, we set out to find the best reader recipes for slaw, baked beans, and more
It's a good potato salad, but is it a $1,000 potato salad? That's what we asked as we tasted our way through stacks of mouthwatering side dish entries in our reader-recipe contest, which launched online in December 2011 and offered meaty cash prizes to winners in six categories (including an open-ended surprise option). Fortunately, when we stumbled across recipes such as Priscilla Yee's Spinach-Artichoke Dip Potato Salad, we knew we had an answer. And to those who didn't win: There's an entire summer ahead for experimenting—and we can't wait to dig in again next year.
Liz Matthews from Fullerton, California
"My grandmother would make this dish for special family gatherings—it's a favorite. Sharing her recipe helps her legacy live on."
Dawn Moore from Warren, Pennsylvania
"I merged my love of Greek ingredients with my favorite barbecue side dish: pasta salad. It's wonderful with grilled chicken."
Nadine Mesch from Mount Healthy, Ohio
"My family always enjoys a little heat with their meal, and this slaw delivers on that! It's great with grilled meats or on a sandwich."
Priscilla Yee from Concord, California
"Our favorite party dip inspired this dish, and it's the perfect base for potato salad. Potato chips add an irresistible crunch."
Marshall Lee Camp from Sandy Springs, Georgia
"Happy childhood memories of my mother making mac and cheese from scratch inspired this dish. I cook comfort food all year."
Carolyn Kumpe from El Dorado, California
"Watermelon just goes with barbecue. It cleanses our palates from heavy meats and rehydrates us on those smoldering summer days."