Springtime Side Dishes to Enjoy at Your Next Party

Coleslaw. Photo: Ruth Hartnup, via Wikimedia Commons

With the springtime temperatures starting to warm up and the barbecue season getting underway, now is the time to try some refreshing side dishes to complement any main course. Including seasonal vegetables is a great way to add vitamins and phytonutrients to your diet. Coleslaw is always a crisp addition to any barbecue and offers a cool contrast to hot and spicy foods on the menu. Swiss chard is a good source of magnesium and an excellent source of vitamins A and C. It can be used as a substitute for spinach in many recipes.

Greek Coleslaw

1/2 cup full fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon Greek sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, mustard, celery seed, salt, and freshly ground pepper. Add the shredded cabbage and carrots to the bowl. Toss until the cabbage and carrots are evenly coated with the dressing. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about 2-3 hours. Serve as a side dish at your next barbecue.

Swiss chard. Photo: James Steakley, via Wikimedia Commons

Swiss Chard

1 bunch Swiss chard
3 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
Greek sea salt to taste

Rinse the Swiss chard under cool water. Chop the leaves and the stalks into 1-inch pieces, but separate the leaves and stalks since the stalks will be cooked first, and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the sliced garlic, red pepper flakes, and coriander seeds and cook, stirring constantly, just until fragrant. Add the Swiss chard stalks and salt to taste and stir. Cover the pan and allow the stalks to cook for about 5 minutes. Add the leaves and stir until wilted about 3 minutes more. Taste a piece to check for doneness. If needed, cover and cook a minute or two more until tender. Serve immediately.

Swiss Chard, Lentils and Chick Peas Salad

1 bunch Swiss Chard
3 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil
Greek sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup cooked lentils
2 cups cooked chick peas
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup feta, Dodonis or Arahovas
Fresh lemon juice, to taste

After rinsing the Swiss chard, chop into 1-inch pieces. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the Swiss chard, salt and pepper to taste. Cook until wilted about 3 minutes. In a salad bowl, stir together the cooked lentils and chick peas, drizzle with remaining olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooked Swiss chard, the tomatoes, feta, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to taste. Serve immediately as a side dish or vegetarian main course.

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