Punched Up Summer Side Ideas for Backyard Entertaining

(Family Features) Backyard barbecues and family picnics are plentiful during the summer months, so chances are good you’ll host (or attend) at least one event this season. While you’ll likely feast on a bevy of hamburgers, hot dogs and summer salads, a menu filled with fresh, delicious sides makes for a meal worth celebrating.

There’s certainly more than one way to create a menu for a casual backyard picnic, so it’s easy to plan dishes that everyone can enjoy. When organizing your menu, be sure to consider your guests and prepare a selection of side dishes that are both age-appropriate and satisfy a wide range of cravings. Here are some creative ways to put a twist on classic side dishes to make your meal memorable:

Pasta medley. When you’re serving a group with kids, a simple pasta salad is a must-have side that even picky eaters will enjoy. Simply prepare your favorite noodles (fun shapes like spirals or bowties if you’re thinking kid-friendly) then add an array of ingredients like cubed cheese, olives, cherry tomatoes and broccoli florets with some extra-virgin olive oil. For a more grown-up flavor, combine feta cheese and bits of fresh basil with a drizzle of Bolthouse Farms Classic Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing for an extra kick of flavor.

Naturally sweet treats. Many traditional sweet dishes are simply impractical for a hot summer day. As an alternative, something lighter can help satisfy a sweet tooth without the bulk of a heavy cake or pie. Try a mixed berry bowl with all your favorite seasonal fruits like fresh strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. It’s a cheerful presentation and an option all ages can enjoy. Add a few sprigs of mint for garnish for a little festive fun.

Crisp coleslaw salad. A refreshing salad is almost always a crowd-pleaser. Instead of a traditional tossed garden salad, try adding some crunch with a zesty coleslaw salad. This recipe uses all chopped vegetables, allowing you to help reduce food waste by choosing veggies that are not the most beautiful on the shelf, but still taste delicious. Try using an option like Bolthouse Farms Coleslaw dressing to make these veggies and coleslaw even more delicious by giving you the classic, tangy, creamy and sweet coleslaw taste you love with less fat and fewer calories than other refrigerated brands. Just pour, mix in with cabbage and enjoy. Another tip: balance your crunchy veggies with some sweetness, like bits of apple, pear, persimmon or nectarine, for a truly flavorful salad.

Look in the refrigerated area of the produce section to pick up any of the Bolthouse Farms dressing varieties or visit Bolthouse.com to learn more.

“Ugly” Summer Coleslaw Salad

Recipe courtesy of Two Purple Figs

  • 1/2       head white cabbage (about 4 cups)
  • 2          scallions
  • 1          carrot
  • 1          apple
  • 1          pear
  • 1/2       bottle Bolthouse Farms® Coleslaw dressing
  • 1          cup pomegranate arils (optional)
  1. Using shredder disc in food processor, shred cabbage, scallions, carrot, apple and pear. Add dressing and pulse until smooth.
  2. Sprinkle with pomegranate arils, if desired, and serve.

Content courtesy of Bolthouse Farms®.

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