Veggie Side Dishes For Your Labor Day Meal

We’ll be cooking burgers on the grill for our Labor Day picnic. No doubt many of you already know what main dish you’ll be preparing: burgers, hot dogs/brats, a veggie main, chicken, ribs, etc. So we’ve compiled a variety of vegetable side dishes to accompany your Labor Day celebration. They range from grilled veggies to sweet potato fries with maple barbecue sauce.

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Stacks “Serving something warm and cooked (eggplant and tomato) against something cool and uncooked (mozzarella) is a simple trick for building layers of flavor,” Napa chef Michael Chiarello says of this dish in his cookbook, At Home with Michael Chiarello (Chronicle Books, 2005). He recommends putting one stack on each dinner plate alongside a simple grilled meat. Chiarello adds that if you’re serving “a lavish mixed grill, put all the stacks on a platter and pass the platter around the table.” You could give each stack a finishing drizzle with our fruity Arbequina oil. (Click here to see the recipe.)

Sweet Potato Fries with Maple Barbecue Sauce These are a great alternative to French fries — particularly the kind you might have at a fast-food chain. Yams are sliced thickly, like steak-cut fries, and then tossed with olive oil, coriander, cumin, garlic powder and salt. The fries are roasted in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 30 minutes, until the edges are brown and the yams are cooked through. You could roast them with our Everyday Fresh oil. To make the sauce, simply combine barbecue sauce and some maple syrup. (Click here to see to the recipe.)

Italian-Style Grilled Vegetables “I guarantee you’ll never taste better grilled vegetables, nor feast your eyes on a prettier platter” grilling aficionado Steven Raichen says of this dish, which appears in his classic tome, The Barbecue! Bible (Workman Publishing, 2008). With the summer farmers’ market season in full swing you’ll have lots of options when it comes to picking veggies to grill. Raichlen suggests a colorful variety: red and yellow bell peppers; endive; mushrooms, eggplant or zucchini; asparagus; and tomatoes. But he calls his suggestions only “a starting point,” and that you should use “whatever vegetables look freshest.” You could give the vegetables a finishing drizzle with our robust Arbosana or Miller’s Blend oils. (Click here to see the recipe.)

Roasted Squash with Feta Home gardens and farm stands are overflowing with summer squash. This dish comes from Sondra Bernstein, owner and chief executive of the girl & the fig and ESTATE restaurants in Sonoma, Calif., as well as the fig café & wine bar in nearby Glen Ellen. Baby summer squash are cooked briefly in boiling water, or blanched, and then cut in half. They are sautéed in extra virgin olive oil until browned at the edges. The cooked baby squash are tossed with fresh marjoram and crumbled feta cheese. They get a finishing sprinkle of sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil, such as our Arbequina. (Click here to see the recipe.)

Grilled Ratatouille “Ratatouille, the symphonic vegetable stew of Provence, has been recast for the grill,” Andrew Schloss and David Joachim write in their book, Mastering The Grill (Chronicle Books, 2007). A traditional ratatouille calls for layering the vegetables in a casserole with herbs and olive oil and simmering them to allow the flavors to mingle. “Moving everything over a flame causes each vegetable to retain more of its distinctive flavor and texture and transforms the finished dish into a mountainous grilled salad, glistening with olive oil and radiating the aroma of fresh basil.” You could use our Everyday Fresh oil. (Click here to see the recipe.)

Bon appétit,

Your friends at California Olive Ranch