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Neighbors of Kane County

Flavorful Sides for the Win

Aug 17, 2015 03:32AM ● By Family Features
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(Family Features) Much like a star quarterback, grilled foods get all the glory when it comes to tailgating, but the often overlooked side dishes are the supporting players that help drive your menu to victory.

Whether you’re tailgating in the parking lot or hosting a “homegate” in the backyard, plan a well-rounded menu with a wide range of sides. To be sure your sides and apps get the play time they deserve, rely on bold flavors that keep guests coming back for more. These tips from the makers of Tabasco Sauce will help create a flavor-rich spread that makes you the fan favorite.

  • Stay ahead of the game. Plan ahead by prepping appetizers and chilling drinks beforehand. This allows plenty of time for the ingredients to blend and develop perfect crowd-pleasing flavors.
  • Change up your lineup. Upgrade traditional tailgate fare with healthier and tastier versions. This Cajun Country Caviar is a delicious take on a tasty tailgate dip that incorporates protein and fresh, seasonal vegetables. Then take it up a notch with some Tabasco Original Red Sauce to make sure it’s the MVP of the party.
  • Make a pass on budget, not flavor. Inexpensive cuts of meat, such as drumsticks, flank steak and brisket, can make for delicious football fare. Be sure to season well and offer variety of flavor combinations to really impress. 
  • Give veggies some play time. Skip the side salad and throw your favorite veggies, such as corn, zucchini and lettuce, on the grill. The uniquely smoky flavors from the grill can transform everyday basics into applause-worthy apps in minutes. 

For more ideas to heat up your menu, visit

Cajun Country Caviar


For black-eyed peas:
  • 2 cans black-eyed peas, drained
  • 1 teaspoon chives, thinly chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco Original Red Sauce
  • 1/2 cup carrot, thinly shaved
  • 2 tablespoons radish
For avocado:
  • 2 avocados
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro


  1. In large mixing bowl, combine black-eyed peas, chives, parsley, lime juice, olive oil, salt and Tabasco Sauce. Add additional salt and lime juice to taste.
  2. Using knife, slice off tops of carrots on bias. Using mandolin, shave thinly from top to bottom; place in ice bath for 5 minutes. Remove and place on towel to dry for 5 minutes; add to bowl.
  3. Using mandolin, shave radishes thinly; place in ice bath for 5 minutes. Remove and place on towel to dry for 5 minutes; add to bowl.
  4. Slice avocado from tip to tail to open; secure pit, twist and remove. Score each side vertically 3 times and horizontally 4 times. Using a spoon, remove avocado from rind and add to blender. Add salt, lime juice and cilantro; blend until smooth.
  5. On large serving platter or in wide bowl, spread avocado mixture in wide, thick circle. Pile black-eyed peas mixture high in center. Serve with corn chips.

Sponsored by Tabasco