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Award-Winning Side Dish Recipes

March 8, 2018

Spectacular Sides

By Angie Sutton, www.mothersapronstrings.com


    These side dish recipes will steal the show on your dinner table this month. Prepare a side dish on Sunday evening and enjoy it for a few nights. They satisfy the spot on your dinner plate that is reserved for your vegetable serving and the leftovers are a great lunch addition the next day. The fresh taste of a broccoli salad and the hearty flavor of the Festive Primavera are our favorites.


Broccoli Salad

This recipe has a time-honored spot on the table at celebrations like graduation or your church potluck. I cut back on the onion just a bit when I make this for home.


1/2 c. low-fat plain yogurt

1/2 c. mayonnaise

1/2 c. granulated sugar

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 bunch broccoli, cut into bite-size florets (about 5 cups)

1 c. diced red onion

1/2 c. dried cranberries

1/2 c. sunflower kernels

10 slices bacon, cooked, drained and chopped


1. In a medium bowl, stir yogurt, mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar. Stir in broccoli, onion and cranberries. Cover and refrigerate.

2. Stir in sunflower kernels and bacon just before serving.


Festive Primavera

This dish is so hearty that it can stand alone as a quick entrée!


1 (9-oz.) pkg. refrigerated cheese tortellini

About 6 oz fresh asparagus spears, trimmed and chopped into 1-1/2 inch pieces (about 2 c.)

1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 c. red wine vinegar

2 tsp. granulated sugar

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 oz. ham, cut into julienne strips

4 oz. genoa or hard salami, cut into julienne strips

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1 c. canned quartered artichoke hearts, drained

1/2 c. chopped green onions

1/2 c. chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese


1. Cook tortellini according to package directions, adding asparagus during last minute of cooking. Drain, rinse under cold running water and drain again.

2. Meanwhile, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, sugar, mustard, oregano, salt, pepper and garlic in a large bowl. Stir in tortellini, asparagus, ham, salami, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, onions and parsley.

3. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours and up to 12. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese just before serving.


Macaroni Salad

I use a number of different macaroni salad recipes but this one is a stand out that receives a number of compliments when I take it to gatherings.


3 c. whole-wheat elbow noodles (14- to 16-ounce package)

3/4 c. low-fat mayonnaise

3/4 c. sour cream

2 tsp. granulated sugar

1 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. celery seed

1/4 tsp. ground pepper

3 stalks celery, finely chopped

3 carrots, shredded

1/2 c. sweet onion, finely chopped

1 c. baby spinach, chopped

1/3 c. shredded mild Cheddar cheese


1. Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water until tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain. Transfer to a large bowl to cool for at least 15 minutes.

2. Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, sugar, salt, celery seed and pepper in a small bowl.

3. When the noodles have cooled, add celery, carrots, onion, spinach, edamame and the mayonnaise mixture; stir well to combine.

4. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours. Sprinkle with cheese just before serving.

Apron Strings Tip: To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.


Simple Pasta and Bean Salad

The adults rave over this one as something different to add to their plates.


1 (6-oz.) pkg. bowtie pasta

2 c. fresh or frozen cut green beans

1 (15-oz.) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15-oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained

1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 (3.8-oz) can sliced ripe olives, drained

4 green onions, sliced

1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 c. red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. spicy brown mustard

1 Tbsp. honey

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. garlic salt


1. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente, adding green beans during last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain; rinse with cold water and drain again. Transfer pasta and green beans to a large bowl. Stir in pinto beans, corn, red pepper, olives and green onions.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, mustard, honey, basil and garlic salt; gently stir into pasta mixture.

3. Cover and chill in a plastic container for at least 4 hours before serving.

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