With summer upon us and grilling on the agenda, I’m always looking for the perfect salad or side to complement my smoked and grilled fare. I’m guessing you’re in the same boat. Y’all know I’m a helper, so this month I’m sharing some of my most favorite summer sides and salads that are sure to be the perfect addition to your warm weather menu.
Creamy Cucumber Salad is great with just about anything, but the cool and creamy flavors are especially delicious with grilled meats. I prefer this dish with garden-fresh cucumbers of the pickling or Kirby variety, but English cucumbers work as well. That added step of drawing out some of the water in the cucumbers might seem like extra work, but it helps keep the dressing from getting runny.
Pineapple Slaw might sound different, but it’s packed with tons of bright pineapple flavor and a bit of tang. While I’m a huge fan of cilantro in this dish and think it’s an important part of the flavor profile, you can certainly leave it out if you’re not a fan. On a side note: Did you know that folks who claim cilantro tastes like soap actually have a genetic predisposition that causes the ill flavor in their mouths? Weird but true.
If you’re getting bored with the same old pasta and macaroni salads, this Taco Pasta Salad adds a ton of flavor to a dish that can sometimes be a little bland. I spice up the dressing with a packet of taco seasoning and mix in corn, black beans, avocado and red onions to give this dish tons of flavor and great crunch.
Cornbread Salad is a real showstopper. With crumbled cornbread, tomatoes, green peppers, onion, cheese and a tangy ranch dressing, there aren’t many folks who won’t love this dish. I used to tell folks to use leftover cornbread to make this deliciousness, but then I realized what a mythical thought “leftover” cornbread was. Now I tell folks that it’s worth making a pan just for this salad. One question I get asked a lot is how to serve it. I love seeing all the layers, so I typically leave it just as is and then allow it to be mixed as folks dish individual servings — or I’ll toss it all together right before serving. Either way, it’s delicious.