Score a Goal with These Tailgating Side Dishes
When it comes time for the big game, there's nothing like celebrating beforehand with grilled mains and sides, fun sports-themed desserts, and, of course, a beer or two. But knowing what food to bring to a tailgating party can be tricky. Tailgates are usually held in parking lots and cooking equipment is limited to just what you bring with you.
Serving grilled food is a great option because the recipes usually require few ingredients, are easy to make for a crowd, and, assuming your tailgate is taking place in the late fall or the middle of winter, you can't beat the heat for warming up your hands. Burgers, ribs, hot dogs, and sausages are tailgate classics, but figuring out what to serve with them can be a bigger challenge. To help make menu planning simple, we're sharing tailgate-worthy side dish recipes that fall into one of two categories: They can either be made ahead and transported to the tailgate or they require minimal ingredients and equipment and can be grilled on the fly. We've also included tips to make prepping side dishes for a tailgate easier and faster than ever.
Sides often associated with cookouts are green salads, pasta salads, and slaws. Classic potato salad isn't as popular because it's not suited to sitting out for hours due to its mayo content; since we love this dish, we're sharing a recipe for a mayo-free option featuring fresh dill and hard-boiled eggs. But if you've already lit the coals, then you may as well grill some sides, too. Grilled corn with chile-lime salt is great during the early football season when fresh corn is still available. If you're feeling fancy, grilled oysters with compound brown butter are easy to prepare on a grill and you'll totally impress fellow game-goers.
All that's left to do is pull up a chair, crack a beer, and enjoy the game. These tailgating side dish recipes will make your pre-game so much more delicious.
Blistered Shishito-Pepper Salad with Chive Vinaigrette
Slightly spicy peppers, sweet delicate melon, refreshing cucumber slices and mint leaves, and juicy tomatoes are a delicious blend of flavors that we can't get enough of. You can set the cast iron skillet right on top of the grill to get direct heat for the crispiest charred peppers ever.
Loaded Baked-Potato Dip
Grilled Zucchini with Miso
Orecchiette, Celery, and Olive Salad with Ricotta Salata
Grilled Garlic Bread with Herb Butter
Taco Salad with Sweet-Potatoes
Grilled Corn with Chile-Lime Salt
Corn and football season overlap by just a few weeks, so take advantage of its freshness during early fall tailgates. To ease prep, prepare the chile-lime salt and soak the corn in water ahead of time so all you need to do at the tailgate is grill, sprinkle the corn with the chile-lime salt, and enjoy.
Kohlrabi, Apple, and Mint Slaw
Vegan Green Goddess Dip
Dill, Potato, and Egg Salad
Instead of a traditional mayo-heavy potato salad, make this lighter, tangier version that can stand sitting for a couple of hours outside. With chopped hard-boiled eggs, sliced shallots, and dill fronds, we think it's an even prettier version than the classic, too.