Five sides to make for your Fourth of July cookout

From jalapeno poppers to salads, you can make these the day of.
Jalapeno poppers. [Shutterstock]
Jalapeno poppers. [Shutterstock]
Published July 2, 2019

You’ll need something to complete your Fourth of July spread. Consider one of these five sides. Simple and requiring just a few ingredients, they can all be made the morning of the festivities.

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine 1 (8-ounce) block softened cream cheese, 1 ½ cups shredded Pepper Jack cheese and 1 minced clove garlic. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Halve 12 jalapeno peppers lengthwise, then use a spoon to remove seeds and veins. If you don’t want to use jalapenos because of their spice factor, you could sub in mini bell peppers. Fill each pepper half with cheese mixture and wrap each with a halved slice of bacon. Place on a baking sheet and bake until bacon is crispy and peppers are tender, about 25 minutes.

Summer Pea and Watermelon Salad

Place 1 cup uncooked farro in a large saucepan and cover with water to 2 inches above farro. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 23 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Add 1 cup fresh, shelled (you can also use frozen) green peas to pan with farro and cook for 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and rinse farro mixture with cold water; drain. Combine farro mixture, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper in a large bowl. Add 1 cup cubed seeded watermelon and 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, tossing gently to combine. Top salad with ⅓ cup shaved fresh pecorino Romano (or Parmesan) cheese. Recipe adapted from Cooking Light.

Jalapeno and Lime Slaw

Combine ⅓ cup fresh lime juice, 1 teaspoon sugar, ¾ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and stir with a whisk. Slowly add in 3 tablespoons olive oil, stirring the whole time. Add ½ cup thinly sliced red onion,½ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro and 1 (16-ounce) package cabbage-and-carrot coleslaw. Halve 4 jalapeno peppers, then thinly slice and add to slaw. Toss well to coat. Remove all seeds from the jalapenos before adding for less heat; leave them in for more heat. Cover and chill at least 1 hour, then serve. Recipe adapted from Cooking Light.

Honey Chipotle Baked Beans

Canned baked beans are taken to another level with flavor boosters like honey and chile peppers. To make, start by preheating oven to 300 degrees. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add ½ cup minced shallots and saute for about 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon ground cumin and 1 tablespoon minced garlic; saute for 1 minute. Add ½ cup tomato puree and a tablespoon or so of olive or canola oil and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add ¼ cup honey, ¼ cup cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons molasses, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, ¼ teaspoon salt and 2 chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce, seeded and chopped. Reduce heat; simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Combine 2 (28-ounce) cans baked beans with the shallot mixture in a 2-quart baking dish, then bake in preheated oven for about 1 hour. Recipe adapted from

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Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Halve 1 medium English cucumber vertically, then slice the halves into half-moon shapes about ¼ inch thick. Core and cut 2 or 3 tomatoes into slices a little bit thicker than the cucumber. Look for heirloom tomatoes if you can, as they’ll lend a nice color and flavor to this simple salad. Thinly slice 1 small red onion. Arrange all of the veggies on a platter or in a bowl. Top with ½ cup basil leaves, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and some freshly ground black pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons honey and ¼ cup olive oil, then drizzle over veggies and serve.