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Spice up your Tailgate with These 3 Tasty Side Dishes

May is National Hamburger Month. Bring these tasty side dishes to your next tailgate, picnic or beach party to pair with your favorite burger.

It’s not that ruffled potato chips aren’t delicious – because they are – but we can do better. Burgers, sausage and other grilling favorites fit into the current “whole foods” trend just fine, but the store-bought macaroni salad has got to go. Mayonnaise just doesn’t hold up in the heat, and who wants to risk a visit to the portable potty when the show’s about to start? These three options will refresh your tailgate and your taste buds…not to mention keep you full through the final encore.

First up, a lighter take on potato salad. With spicy greens and tons of fresh herbs, this is short on fat but not on flavor. Plus, it’s fine at room temperature for a few hours. It’s free of gluten and dairy, which means even your most allergy-sensitive diners will appreciate a seat at your table.

Another option for those selective eaters (also GF and DF), the sesame, snow pea, asparagus salad only gets better with age — so feel free to make it up to two days before your party. Salty and spicy, the fiber content in this healthy salad will fill you up so you reach for the chips a little less often.

And finally, a show-stopper that can be prepped ahead but made to order on your grill. Soak the corn in the ice water and then pack it, ready to go. The butter can be made ahead and slathered on when the corn is tender, golden and hot off the grates. It’s rare that corn on the cob steals the show, but in just a few simple steps, this recipe can do just that.


Potato Salad with Fresh Herbs and Arugula



Serves 6

  • 2 lb. red skinned potatoes, scrubbed clean and cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp. minced fresh chives
  • 2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
  • 3 c. lightly packed baby arugula


  1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water (about 6 cups). Add salt. Place over high heat, lid off.
  2. Once mixture boils, reduce to simmer over medium-low heat.
  3. Place garlic on skewer or toothpick and hold in simmering water for about 1 minute, to blanch. Remove and run under cold water. Mince garlic or press through a garlic press.
  4. Once potatoes have simmered for several minutes, check for tenderness – a butter knife should slide easily in and out of the potato.
  5. Before draining potatoes, use a measuring cup to scoop 1/4 c. of the cooking water from the pot. Drain potatoes and spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet
  6. Add minced garlic, vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil and pepper to reserved water and whisk to combine. Pour mixture over potatoes and spread with hands so that potatoes are evenly covered. Let potatoes sit about 10 minutes to absorb dressing.
  7. Place arugula and fresh herbs in a large mixing bowl and transfer potatoes into bowl, along with any dressing. Mix gently, and serve.


Sesame, Snow Pea and Asparagus Salad



Serves 4

  • 2 c. cooked brown rice  
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp. tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 lb. snow peas, trimmed and cut into 1 to 2 in. pieces
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends snapped and cut into 1 to 2 in. pieces
  • 3 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes


  1. Bring a medium or large pot of water to boil.
  2. When water is boiling, add veggies.
  3. Let cook 1 minute or until bright green and tender.
  4. Strain veggies and and rinse with cold water until no longer warm.
  5. Combine oils, tamari and honey in a small bowl. Toss mixture with rice and veggies until evenly combined.
  6. Add sesame seeds, crushed red pepper and scallions and toss to combine.
  7. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.


Grilled Corn with Basil Butter



Serves 4

  • 4 Ears Corn
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tbsp. fresh basil
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt


  1. Heat the grill to medium.
  2. Pull the outer husks down the ear to the base, keeping them attached. Strip away the silk from each ear of corn. Fold husks back into place, and place the ears of corn in a large bowl of cold water with 1 tablespoon of salt for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine butter, basil and salt in food processor and blend until smooth.
  4. Remove corn from water and shake off excess. Place the corn on the grill, close the cover and grill for 15 to 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, or until kernels are tender when pierced with a paring knife.
  5. Remove the husks and spread with herb butter while hot. Serve.