This Thursday, we here in America are going to be celebrating the Fourth of July, American Independence Day. A day filled with patriotism—and barbecue!—awaits! No Fourth of July celebration is complete without sides though, and as a country that values diversity and inclusion, here are some unique side dishes inspired by our friends to the East and the South!
The Asian coleslaw is something my mom has made for a while now, a side to everything from Korean food to American food. I’ve always loved its vinegary taste; it leaves your mouth feeling pungent and tangy after every bite.
The cilantro-lime brown rice is actually inspired by one of my favorite fast-food restaurants, Chipotle. The great thing about Chipotle is their commitment to hormone-free meats. Lately, a big “scandal” erupted when Chipotle labeled GMOs on their website, showing that much of their food is in fact genetically modified. Personally, I commend them for labeling GMOs, something food companies have fought against for years. (They have said that they’re working towards a completely GMO-free ingredient list, and I’m sure it’ll happen sooner or later!)
Both recipes aren’t complicated in the slightest, so you’ll be able to whip them up without stressing yourself out too much! Remember, they’re only sides, not entrees—you have more to focus on later!
The United States is a melting pot of many cultures and all walks of life. This is a country where diversity is accepted and cherished. So what’s stopping you from adding a little diversity to your Independence Day meal to remind everyone of the principles this country stands on?
Makes about 6 sides.
- 1 bag prepared coleslaw mix (preferably tri-colored salad mix)*
- julienned mangoes (optional)
- julienned cucumber (optional)
- slices of canned mandarin oranges (optional)
- fried wonton strips (optional)
- chopped nuts, preferably peanuts (optional)
*If you don’t have a bag of prepared coleslaw mix, you can use: ½ head of green cabbage (or Napa), shredded; 1 cup of matchstick/shredded carrots; and ¼ head of purple cabbage, finely shredded
For the dressing
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ tablespoon sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
May be doubled if needed.
- Mix the rice vinegar, sesame oil, kosher salt, sugar, and sesame seeds in a bowl to use as the dressing.
- If using the prepared coleslaw, mix the dressing with the coleslaw. If not using the prepared coleslaw, place the green cabbage and purple cabbage in a food processor one at a time until they are finely shredded. In a bowl, add the matchstick carrots. Mix well with the dressing.
- Add the mango, cucumber, mandarin oranges, fried wonton strips, and nuts if desired.
- Refrigerate until ready to eat.
Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice
Makes about 6 sides.
- juice of two small limes (or 1 large lime) — add more according to taste
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- ¾ teaspoon sugar
- 6 cups cooked jasmine brown rice
- Mix the lime juice, cilantro, olive oil, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Stir well.
- Toss the rice with the seasoning mixture. Mix well.