Q: I am throwing a surprise 40th birthday party for my husband. The majority of food will be done on the grill (ribs, burgers, dogs, corn, veggies) but I am looking to round out the menu with some new and interesting side dishes. Extra credit for dishes I can make ahead of time to freeze or store elsewhere, so I am not raising suspicion in my already sneaky husband.
There will be about 50 people, and I will be serving a wide range of ages, vegans, and omnivores alike. So filling, non-meat dishes are welcome! There will definitely be some Trinidadian and Iranian dishes from my side. Also, any fun booze ideas that aren't too expensive for a big group?
Sent by Tisola
Editor: Tisola, we are big fans of grain salads. They can be made ahead, they are a wonderful dish for vegetarians, and they are refreshing and cool yet fresh and more unusual. Here are a few favorite recipes:
• Meyer Lemon Grain Salad with Asparagus, Almonds and Goat Cheese (pictured above)
• Sweet and Savory Wild Rice Salad
• Five Grain Salad from Emeril Lagasse
Readers, what are your suggestions for fresh, interesting BBQ side dishes, or for cocktails for a crowd?
Related: Make-Ahead Lunches! 9 Fresh and Satisfying Grain Salads
(Image: Faith Durand)