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75 Hearty Summer Sides That’ll Make You Want to Skip the Main

From pasta salads to grilled veggies, these hearty sides are so good, you won't want to leave room on your plate for the main dish!

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Corn Pudding

Jiffy mix and canned corn make this Southern corn pudding casserole a snap to prepare. Now this is real comfort food! —P. Lauren Fay-Neri, Syracuse, New York

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Dilly Potato Egg Salad Exps Sdam17 37208 D12 07 3b 3

Dilly Potato & Egg Salad

Everyone has a favorite potato salad, and this is mine. As a young bride, I was eager to learn how to cook and make things that my husband would love. I combined my mom's and his mom's recipes, and this is the delicious result. —Angela Leinenbach, Mechanicsville, Virginia
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Cantina Pinto Beans

This dish was inspired by one served at a restaurant in Dallas, Texas. The chef added chunks of ham, but my version is meatless. It makes a great Tex-Mex side or a filling lunch when served with cornbread. —L.R. Larson, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
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Mexican Street Corn Bake  Exps Sdfm17 197642 B10 04 4b 5

Mexican Street Corn Bake

We discovered Mexican street corn at a festival. This easy one-pan version saves on prep and cleanup. Every August, I freeze a lot of our own fresh sweet corn, and I use that in this recipe, but store-bought corn works just as well. —Erin Wright, Wallace, Kansas
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Jalapeno & Cotija Cheese Potato Stack Pie

Pie isn't just for dessert anymore. Stacking thinly sliced potatoes with layers of minced jalapenos and crumbled Cotija cheese helps turn ordinary spuds into something truly spectacular...especially when served with salsa and sour cream. —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
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Layered Veggie Tortellini Salad

Layered Veggie Tortellini Salad

Tortellini and a Parmesan dressing give this layered salad an unexpected twist. It's great for a potluck. —Dennis Vitale, New Preston, Connecticut
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Sweet Macaroni Salad

A sweet out-of-the-ordinary dressing makes this macaroni salad special. My aunt gave me the recipe and it has become one of my favorites. I occasionally leave out the green pepper if I know that people don't like it, and it still tastes great. —Idalee Scholz, Cocoa Beach, Florida
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Lemon Couscous With Broccoli Exps Lsbz18 86546 C01 19 2b 6

Lemon Couscous with Broccoli

I combined two recipes to create this side with broccoli and pasta. The splash of lemon adds nice flavor. Instead of toasted almonds, you could also sprinkle servings with grated Parmesan cheese. —Beth Dauenhauer, Pueblo, Colorado
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Cheesy Summer Squash Casserole

Cheesy Summer Squash Casserole

Onion and cheddar cheese perk up the rich flavor of summer squash in this comforting casserole. A crispy cornflake-crumb topping adds a little crunch. —Katherine Metz, Jacksonville, Florida
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Quick Barbecued Beans

Baked beans are a simple, classic recipe, and cooking them on the grill adds great smoky flavor. —Millie Vickery, Lena, Illinois
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Potato Salad with Kalamata-Hazelnut Vinaigrette

Potato salad tossed with vinaigrette has a lighter taste than traditional mayo versions. I add velvety avocado and hazelnuts for cool texture and crunch. —Laurie Bock, Lynden, Washington
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Shrimp Pasta Salad Exps Sdam17 32108 D12 07 6b 6

Shrimp Pasta Salad

I adore shrimp, so discovering it in this pasta salad recipe was a real treat for me. The lemon-dill sauce is light and bright. —Traci Wynne, Denver, Pennsylvania
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Almond Apricot Chicken Salad Exps Tham18 5040 D11 09 6b 4

Almond-Apricot Chicken Salad

Here's a one-of-a-kind pasta salad that combines tender chicken, sweet apricots and crunchy vegetables. Plus, the lemony dressing can't be beat. —Susan Voigt, Plymouth, Minnesota
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Deluxe German Potato Salad

I make this salad for all occasions—it goes well with any kind of meat. I often take this salad to potlucks, and there's never any left over. The celery, carrots and dry mustard are a special touch not usually found in traditional German potato salad. —Betty Perkins, Hot Springs, Arkansas
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Quinoa With Peas And Onion Exps Sdam19 46330 E12 04 10b 4

Quinoa with Peas and Onion

Even picky eaters will love this protein-packed dish. If you have freshly shelled peas on hand, substitute them for the frozen. —Lori Panarella, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
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Herb-Vinaigrette Potato Salad

This is a great way to celebrate early produce from the garden. To add some more crunch, sprinkle with croutons. —Debra Keil, Owasso, Oklahoma
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Spicy Potatoes With Garlic Aioli Exps Thjj18 208371 C02 01 1b 9

Spicy Potatoes with Garlic Aioli

This is my take on Spanish
  • patatas bravas
  • . The potatoes are tossed in a flavorful spice mix and then finished to a crispy golden brown. The garlic aioli takes it over the top for an unconventional potato salad that'll be a hit at any party. —John Stiver, Bowen Island, British Columbia
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    Mango Barley Salad

    I made this fresh, colorful mango salad on the fly and it was a big hit! The bright flavor is perfect for a spring or summer picnic, served right away or chilled. —Dan Wellberg, Elk River, Minnesota
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    Turkey And Pasta Ranch Salad Exps Sdas17 187440 B04 04 7b 2

    Turkey and Pasta Ranch Salad

    This easy pasta salad is loaded with fresh veggies, and the classic ranch dressing makes it appealing to kids. —Julie Peterson, Crofton, Maryland
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    Buttery Horseradish Corn on the Cob

    For a July Fourth barbecue, I whipped up a butter and horseradish topping for grilled corn. People actually formed a line to get seconds. —Trish Loewen, Bakersfield, California
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    Grandma's Collard Greens

    My grandmother made the best collard greens recipe in the world. Eating them with a slice of buttermilk cornbread is pure bliss. —Sherri Williams, Crestview, Florida
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    Basil Tomato Tart

    I received this tomato tart recipe from a good friend of mine. It is a great way to us up fresh tomatoes from the garden. It reminds me a lot of pizza.—Connie Stumpf, North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
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    Eddie's Favorite Fiesta Corn

    When sweet corn is available, I love making this splurge of a side dish. Frozen corn works, but taste as you go and add sugar if needed. —Anthony Bolton, Bellevue, Nebraska
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    Gingered Spaghetti Salad

    We love this chilled chicken salad brimming with colorful veggies. Make it meatless by omitting the chicken and tossing in more edamame. —Cindy Heinbaugh, Aurora, Colorado
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    Grilled Three Potato Salad Exps Fttmz18 37161 B11 17 5b 2

    Grilled Three-Potato Salad

    Everyone in our extended family loves to cook, so I put together all of our favorite recipes in a cookbook to be handed down from generation to generation. This recipe comes from that cookbook. It's a delicious twist on traditional potato salad. —Suzette Jury, Keene, California
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    Slow-Cooker Sriracha Corn

    A restaurant here advertised Sriracha corn on the cob, but I knew I could make my own. The golden ears cooked up a little sweet, a little smoky and a little hot—perfect if you ask my three teenage boys! —Julie Peterson, Crofton, Maryland
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    Summer Chicken Macaroni Salad

    For sunny, lazy days, I make a loaded macaroni salad that’s like three salads in one. The mix of fresh veggies, sweet peaches and crunchy pistachios is a surprisingly delicious combo. —Nancy Heishman, Las Vegas, Nevada
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    Yellow Squash And Zucchini Gratin Exps Tham17 201887 D11 10 3b 5

    Yellow Squash and Zucchini Gratin

    This gratin is the perfect way to use up an abundance of summer squash. It's easy to prepare, takes just 10 minutes in the oven, and serves up bubbly and delicious. —Jonathan Lawler, Greenfield, Indiana
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    Jalapeno Popper Mexican Street Corn Exps Thjj17 200632 C02 08 6b 5

    Jalapeno Popper Mexican Street Corn

    One of the best things about summer is fresh sweet corn, and this recipe is a definite standout. We love its creamy dressing, crunchy panko coating and spicy jalapeno kick. If you're really feeling wild, sprinkle these with a bit of cooked and crumbled bacon! —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado
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    Tangy Baked Seven Beans

    Tangy Baked Seven Beans

    Everyone needs a go-to side dish for school events, picnics and potlucks. Here's mine. Freeze leftovers for future outings. —Rod Lundwall, Tooele, Utah
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    White Ale Potato Salad

    Take this one outside! My grown-up recipe uses beer instead of mayo, so you don't need to worry about keeping it cool. It's a really popular recipe on my blog, girllikestoeat.com. —Jenny MacBeth, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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    Grilled Southwestern Steak Salad

    Pasta salad loaded with steak, peppers and onions makes both my boyfriend and me happy. Plus, it’s versatile! We serve it hot, room temperature or cold. —Yvonne Starlin, Westmoreland, Tennessee
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    Slow-Cooker Creamed Corn with Bacon

    Every time we take this super rich corn to a holiday potluck or work party, we leave with an empty slow cooker. It's decadent, homey and so worth the splurge. —Melissa Pelkey Hass, Waleska, Georgia
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    Grilled Southwestern Potato Salad

    This salad is great with a grilled steak for a Tex-Mex meal, and most of it can even be prepared out in the backyard. Poblanos and cayenne make it pop. —Johnna Johnson, Scottsdale, Arizona
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    Salsa Rice

    It's a snap to change the spice level in this popular rice side dish by choosing a milder or hotter salsa. It's a delicious way to round out burritos or tacos when the clock is ticking. —Molly Ingle, Canton, North Carolina
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    Broccoli-Pasta Side Dish

    I love to fix new recipes for my husband, Robert, and our children. With garlic and cheese, this broccoli pasta is a tasty way to get kids to eat their veggies. —Judi Lacourse, Mesa, Arizona
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    Macaroni Coleslaw Exps Mrmz16 43675 B09 16 5b 7

    Macaroni Coleslaw

    My friend Peggy brought this coleslaw to one of our picnics, and everyone liked it so much, we all had to have the recipe. —Sandra Matteson, Westhope, North Dakota
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    Honey-Mustard Potato Salad

    Whenever there is a picnic or cookout, I am asked to bring my potato salad. It’s tangy and a little different. —Alicia Quadrozzi, Escondido, California
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    Cheesy Corn Spoon Bread Exps Scscbz17 10826 B03 08 2b 1

    Cheesy Corn Spoon Bread

    Homey and comforting, this custard-like side dish is a much-requested recipe at potlucks and holiday dinners. The jalapeno pepper adds just the right bite. Second helpings of this tasty casserole are common—leftovers aren't. —Katherine Franklin, Carbondale, Illinois
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    Jen's Baked Beans

    My daughters wanted baked beans, so I gave homemade ones a shot. With mustard, molasses and a dash of heat, I made these beans absolutely delicious. —Jennifer Heasley, York, Pennsylvania
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    Pesto Pasta & Potatoes

    Although this healthy pasta dish is pretty simple to begin with, it's made even easier because you can throw the green beans and pasta into one big pot to cook. —Laura Flowers, Moscow, Idaho
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    Mediterranean Cauliflower Exps Thfm19 138778 E09 25 2b 7

    Mediterranean Cauliflower

    I adapted a recipe I received from a friend to make this delicious—and deliciously different—cauliflower dish. It's prepared quickly in a skillet and uses only a handful of ingredients. What a great way to take ordinary cauliflower to a whole new level! —Valerie Smith, Aston, Pennsylvania
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    Mexican Roasted Potato Salad

    My husband is the No. 1 fan of this south-of-the-border potato salad. The leftovers make an awesome late-night snack, straight from the fridge. —Elisabeth Larsen, Pleasant Grove, Utah
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    Balsamic Chicken Pasta Salad Exps Mtbz18 44698 B03 13 5b 7

    Balsamic Chicken Pasta Salad

    I love all the colors and flavors of this quick and easy dish and serve it often in summer, to the delight of my guests! You can't beat the combination of Gorgonzola and bacon. Leftover grilled shrimp makes a tasty substitute for chicken. —Terry McCarty, Oro Grande, California
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    Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola Spread

    My husband first tried this recipe with plain potatoes. They were so yummy; we experimented with sweet potatoes. Dipped in Gorgonzola spread, they’re irresistible. —Kristen Minello, Macomb, Michigan
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    Cashew Chicken Rotini Salad Exps Mrrmz16 32995 C09 01 4b 7

    Cashew-Chicken Rotini Salad

    I’ve tried many chicken salad recipes over the years, but this is my very favorite. It’s fresh, fruity and refreshing, and the cashews add wonderful crunch. Every time I serve it at a potluck or picnic, I get rave reviews—and ( always come home with an empty bowl! —Kara Cook, Elk Ridge, Utah
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    Summer Squash Mushroom Casserole Exps Mrrmz16 43402 C09 16 3b 3

    Summer Squash Mushroom Casserole

    This rich, creamy squash and zucchini casserole, with its crunchy topping would make a wonderful dish to take to summer potlucks and picnics, or to pair up with a wide variety of entrees. You'll love the buttery flavor of these "comfort veggies!" —Jennifer Wallace, Canal Winchester, Ohio
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    Orzo Vegetable Salad Exps48575 Cw1996974b01 27 3bc Rms 2

    Orzo Vegetable Salad

    Heading to a potluck and need something to share? Tangy lemon dressing over cool orzo and vegetables is everything you want in a light side dish. —Terri Crandall, Gardnerville, Nevada
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    Corn on the Cob with Lemon-Pepper Butter

    Roasting fresh-picked corn is as old as the Ozark hills where I was raised. My Grandpa Mitchell always salted and peppered his butter on the edge of his plate before spreading it on his corn, and I did the same as a kid. Today, I continue the tradition by serving lemon-pepper butter with roasted corn—it's a favorite! —Allene Bary-Cooper, Wichita Falls, Texas
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    Spanish Hominy

    I received this recipe from a good friend who is a fabulous cook. The colorful side dish gets its zesty flavor from spicy canned tomatoes with green chiles. —Donna Brockett, Kingfisher, Oklahoma
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    Tangy Potato Salad with Radishes

    Summer's approach makes my family think of potato salad. This tangy side is also great in the winter when it's served hot with cubed ham. —Peggy Gwillim, Strasbourg, Saskatchewan
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    Chicken Pasta Caesar Salad Exps Sdon16 124787 D06 07 1b 1

    Chicken Pasta Caesar Salad

    My colleagues and I made a pact to eat healthier, and we took turns sharing dishes. I'm happy to report that, thanks to recipes like this crisp and tangy salad, we all trimmed down. —Teresa Jordan, Springville, Utah
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    You're-Bacon-Me-Crazy Potato Salad

    It isn't a summer cookout without potato salad, but the stuff from the deli just isn't our thing. I toyed with many recipes until I developed this one. Now if I even mention grilling or barbecuing, it's my family's top request for a side. —Paul Cogswell, League City, Texas
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    Stuffed Grilled Zucchini Exps Cwjj18 32001 C01 26 9b 2

    Stuffed Grilled Zucchini

    Pair up these zucchini boats with charred pork chops, smoked fish and other grilled greats. Not warm enough for cooking al fresco? Your old-fashioned oven will do. —Nancy Zimmerman, Cape May Court House, New Jersey
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    Jambalaya Rice Salad

    My cold rice salad has a hint of spice for a classic jambalaya-style kick. Shrimp, tomatoes, ham and peppers give it bright colors and a delightful texture. —Karen Rahn, Hixon, Tennessee
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    Slow Cooker Bbq Baked Beans Exps Tham17 118451 D11 10 1b 1

    Slow-Cooker BBQ Baked Beans

    I was under doctor’s orders to reduce the amount sodium I was eating, but I just couldn't part with some of my favorite foods. After many experiments I came up with this potluck favorite—now everyone's happy! —Sherrel Hendrix, Arkadelphia, Arkansas
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    Potato-Bean Salad with Herb Dressing

    My veggie garden inspired this creamy combo of beans, potatoes and fresh herbs. I toss them with a ranch-style dressing sparked up with Creole mustard. —Chris Cummer, Bayonne, New Jersey
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    Whole Wheat Orzo Salad

    In less than 30 minutes, I can put together this hearty salad of pasta, white beans and veggies – and it’s good for a crowd. — Mya Zeronis, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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    Black Eyed Peas Ham Exps Sscbz18 133104 D09 27 1b 6

    Black-Eyed Peas & Ham

    Every New Year's Day we have these slow-cooked black-eyed peas to bring good luck for the coming year. —Dawn Legler, Fort Morgan, Colorado
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    Peppered Cilantro Rice

    This colorful confetti rice is a traditional dish in Puerto Rico. We enjoy it in the summer alongside grilled shrimp kabobs, but it is good with most any entree. -Laura Lunardi of West Chester, Pennsylvania
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    Roasted Potato & Green Bean Salad

    I made this salad to take advantage of seasonal potatoes, onions and green beans. It’s a perfect twist on the tangy German potato salad my mom used to make. Readers of my blog, The Seasoned Mom, are big fans. —Blair Lonergan, Rochelle, Virginia
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    Baked Two-Cheese & Bacon Grits

    In the South, everyone loves three things: bacon, cheese and grits! After playing around with this recipe, I took it to my first family party as a newlywed, and it was a huge hit. This recipe has become a family tradition that I'm sure will be passed down for generations. —Melissa Rogers, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
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    Grilled Firecracker Potato Salad

    I can eat potato salad like crazy. A little spice is nice, so I use cayenne and paprika in this grilled salad that comes with its own fireworks. —Ashley Armstrong, Kingsland, Georgia
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    Easy Macaroni Salad

    This hearty pasta salad is sure to please appetites of all ages—and it serves a lot of folks! —LaVerna Mjones, Moorhead, Minnesota
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    Tex-Mex Summer Squash Casserole

    Mild-flavored yellow squash gets a big boost from flavor-packed chiles, jalapenos and red onion. This side dish also works with zucchini. —Tommy Lombardo, Euclid, Ohio
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    Mama's Potato Salad

    This old-fashioned potato salad recipe doesn't have many ingredients, so it isn't as colorful as many that you find nowadays. But Mama made it the way her mother did, and that's the way I still make it today. Try it and see if it isn't one of the best-tasting potato salads you have ever eaten! —Sandra Anderson, New York, New York
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    Dilly Zucchini Casserole

    Whenever I take this timesaving side-dish casserole to a potluck, I seldom bring any home, and folks often ask for the recipe. If I have fresh dill, I'll substitute a couple tablespoons for the dill weed. —Esther Kilborn, Bridgton, Maine
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    Smoky White Beans & Ham

    I had never made or eaten this dish before meeting my husband here in Kentucky. Now I make it at least once a week. I serve it with some homemade sweet cornbread. Delicious! —Christine Duffy, Sturgis, Kentucky
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    Grilled Asian Chicken Pasta Salad Exps Tham17 143282 B11 09 1b 5

    Grilled Asian Chicken Pasta Salad

    This cool noodle salad makes a great casual one-bowl dinner or a perfect dish for a potluck or buffet. —Sharon Tipton, Casselberry, Florida
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    Grandma's Potato Salad

    Grandma's Potato Salad

    Our Fourth of July feast wouldn't be complete without this chilled old-fashioned potato salad. It's my grandma's treasured recipe. —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
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    Sweet Pepper Pesto Pasta

    What’s a family gathering or potluck without at least one pasta salad? This one's great freshly made or for several days after. We like it warm or cold. —Karen Hentges, Bakersfield, California
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    Avocado & Artichoke Pasta Salad

    A squeeze of lime, a sprinkle of cilantro and a little avocado make this a creamy and zingy pasta salad. —Carrie Farias, Oak Ridge, New Jersey
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    Fiesta Corn and Beans

    Bursting with southwestern flavors, the zesty veggie medley here can be served as a side dish or a meatless meal-in-one. The dollop of yogurt is a cool, creamy finishing touch. —Gerald Hetrick, Erie, Pennsylvania
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    Tzatziki Potato Salad

    My son has an egg allergy, so this potato salad is perfect for him. For extra color, add radishes, apple and garlic dill pickles. —Cindy Romberg, Mississauga, Ontario
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    Vermicelli Pasta Salad Exps168544 Sd143204d12 10 6bc Rms 3

    Vermicelli Pasta Salad

    I started making this salad because it's loaded with peppers, my husband's favorite. Don't be surprised when there are no leftovers to take home after the family reunion, picnic or church potluck. —Janie Colle, Hutchinson, Kansas

    Caroline Stanko
    As an Associate Digital Editor, Caroline writes and edits all things food-related and helps produce videos for Taste of Home. When she’s not at her desk, you can probably find Caroline cooking up a feast, planning her next trip abroad or daydreaming about her golden retriever, Mac.
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