Easy side dishes to go with chili?
August 27, 2012 7:47 PM   Subscribe

Easy side dishes to go with chili?

I'm cooking dinner for a large-ish group and am planning on an easy chili as the main dish. I wanted to serve a veggie side dish to lighten things up a little, but I'm drawing a blank as to what would be good. Needs to be easy/relatively few ingredients as I'll be prepping in a friend's kitchen, and ideally on the healthier side.
posted by rainbowbrite to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Cucumbers with sour cream and dill. Easy, few ingredients and offers a "cool" element to the "hot" chili.
posted by Sassyfras at 7:51 PM on August 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

My go to would be corn bread, or a rice pilaf with corn and peas. Something to mop up chili with, preferably with a sweet contrast. For a healthy option, roasted cubed yams and root veggies or roasted corn. Just cube, rub with a light oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast on foil lined trays in a hot oven for 30 minutes.
posted by cakebatter at 7:54 PM on August 27, 2012 [4 favorites]

Corn bread with jalapeño peppers
posted by HuronBob at 7:59 PM on August 27, 2012 [7 favorites]

I'd probably go with the classic guacamole and tortilla chips, but both of the other suggestions sound easy and yummy too!
posted by The Girl Who Ate Boston at 7:59 PM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Really, really great bread. Something with a crisp crust and a crumbly, white crumb. Corn bread with jalapeños is also acceptable. Tortilla chips with escabeche, ohgodsogood.

Here is what is amazing: frijoles sabinas. They do it at my favourite Mexican joint in Chicago. It's refried beans topped with grilled onions, tomato, sliced jalapeños, and Chihuahua cheese. The whole thing goes under like a salamander or something -- I think you could do it easy with a broiler -- so that everything gets a little scorchy and browned. It's amazing.
posted by samofidelis at 8:11 PM on August 27, 2012

Ooh, ooh! scalloped corn is sweet and light and a bit crunchy and very creamy, and it goes really well with chile.
posted by xingcat at 8:21 PM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I can't imagine chili without cornbread. But if you need easy veg, a nice green salad fits the bill.
posted by Shoggoth at 8:57 PM on August 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

Corn bread!
posted by radioamy at 9:02 PM on August 27, 2012

Best answer: Cauliflower with Turmeric, you wouldn't think so, but it's awesome. Those are some fancy versions, here's a simple one.

1 bag frozen cauliflower
1 1/2 t turmeric
2 T oil (whatever kind you like and just enough to coat the cauliflower)
salt and pepper

Combine cauliflower, oil, and turmeric in a microwavable casserole dish. Stir until cauliflower is well coated.

Cover a microwave 3-5 minutes on high (or whatever the cauliflower bag recommends).

Heat oven to 400 and bake for 25 minutes.

Salt and pepper to taste, serve.

For a larger batch the oven method is better.
posted by zinon at 9:03 PM on August 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

Cornbread like this:

Take two boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix. Add half a box of tofu. Substitute one egg and some milk for the liquid portion (just crack the egg into the measuring cup, top off with milk to however much water is recommended). Toss in a can of whole kernel corn. Add some southwestern spices, like chili powder and cumin. Halfway through the bake time, top with grated cheese.

To die for.
posted by Michele in California at 10:06 PM on August 27, 2012 [4 favorites]

Cornbread! It goes great with chili and is filling, so anyone who can't eat meat will still be able to have something fairly substantial at your party. It's easy to make ahead-of-time, and will add some color with the chili.
posted by stxnpx at 10:14 PM on August 27, 2012

Best answer: Coleslaw goes really well with Chili, and it could be a lot healthier if you used light mayo and used skim milk and vinegar to thin the dressing instead of just more mayo. Or you could go totally mayo-free and do some kind of pickled cabbage slaw.
posted by katyggls at 10:40 PM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Coleslaw is pretty traditional. You can do a nontraditional slaw though, depending on your type of chili and what you have on hand and all that. There are a million recipes out there for no-mayo coleslaws. I particularly like it with some sweetness. Try shredded carrots, celery seed, apple cider vinegar, and lime zest. Or heck, just about anything works in coleslaw.

Cornbread is kind of mandatory as far as I'm concerned. The stuff Michele in California describes above is scrummy, but depending on how spicy your chili is you probably want to leave the southwestern spices out. You can skip the cheese and serve that on the side to melt into your hot chili to taste, or do half cheesy cornbread, half naked, so people can pick for themselves. The tofu probably sounds super weird to you but actually it's really awesome. Of course you can make normal run of the mill cornbread too.
posted by Mizu at 10:57 PM on August 27, 2012

I agree that cornbread would be great - I also love doing a fresh spicy fruit salsa, with bell peppers, mangoes, cilantro, green onion etc. A really fresh salsa wakes chili up so well!
posted by Bergamot at 11:01 PM on August 27, 2012

Baked (in their skins) sweet potatoes. Shredded red cabbage marinated in vinegar with bay leaves for a few hours.
posted by crabintheocean at 1:28 AM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

The tofu helps make it extra moist. Cornbread tends to be very dry when made the usual way.

(Disclaimer: I no longer consume tofu or other soy products. I read somewhere that it is problematic for my genetic disorder. I have done better since giving up soy. I mostly don't miss it, except for this one recipe.)
posted by Michele in California at 7:40 AM on August 28, 2012

posted by marylucycraft at 7:50 AM on August 28, 2012

posted by marylucycraft at 7:51 AM on August 28, 2012

if you want to change things up, you could make a corn pudding instead of corn bread.

We usually serve raw veggies like celery, cucumbers, cauliflower with a ranch dip since the crunch veg and mild dip are a good contrast to a spicy chili.

If your chili isn't so spicy, you may want to have some sliced jalapenos, cayenne pepper or chili powder on hand for those who like the heat

(OOOOOh make corn pudding or corn bread, stuff it into a variety of hot and mild peppers and see if you can get it to bake in the peppers. Banana peppers would probably work best due to their size or maybe a bell pepper. hmmmm)
posted by jaimystery at 8:15 AM on August 28, 2012

This is gonna sound wierd, but if you cube some radishes, mash up an avocado or two, and mix them up with salt and maybe some finely chopped onion and a little lime juice, you get this fantastic refreshing half-crunchy-half-mushy gunk. It's a Thing where I currently am in Guatemala, though nobody has any idea what to call it when I ask — "You know, avocado and radishes! Why does that need a name?" — and it's my current favorite side dish for dense spicy warming foods that need a little balancing-out.

In a similar vein, I recently ran across watermelon-and-feta salad as a summery side dish and oh man is it good. Also really cooling and refreshing.

And yeah, cornbread, duh. Or honestly my favorite is still the Jiffy mix corn muffins. If you feel like a bad foodie just making 'em out of mix, add some corn kernels and cheese and maybe some green onion chopped up little and make a production out of it.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:35 PM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

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