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The other day while I was visiting some of my favorite blogs, I came across a post by Peter of Kalofagas Greek Food & Beyond. He was talking about how he was going to try and feature more side dishes. He felt that sides got little attention compared to the main course, we as bloggers often feature. My thoughts exactly!!! In fact in my house we’re all about the sides! Especially with grill season starting its fun to get creative with different sides to have with your main course. Below are a few of our favorites, and as grilling season gets reved up I’ll be posting more!

Cook in salted boiling water for 3 min. cauliflower, sliced carrots,and celery. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a tray lined with paper towels. Cool vegetables.
In a large bowl add green and your favorite black olives, drained artichoke hearts, minced garlic, drained eggplant salad, chopped red onion, and all of your cooled down veggies.
Make a vinaigrette of red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper, dried oregano, lemon juice, and lemon peel. Refrigerate till cool.
Precook your green beans, make sure they still till have a bite to them. Drain and cool them down.
In a large bowl add cooled beans, kalamata olives, red onion, garbanzo beans, and chopped fresh tomato’s. Toss like a salad with red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper, and granulated garlic. Delicious at room temp, or chilled.

I use the tomatoes on the vine, slice a little off the top, scoop out the pulp and place in a bowl.
arrange scooped out tomatoes on a baking tray lined with foil. Set aside.
Smash up the pulp a little, add to that your cooked risotto, parsley, basil, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper, mix well.
Spoon filling into prepared tomatoes, drizzle olive oil all over them, roast until tender and soft.
Depending on how big your tomatoes are it could take up to 40 min. at 400 degreesF.
Serve at room temp.
Prepare artichokes by trimming leaves and stems, then steam them just until the leaves pull off easy. Set aside.
In a bowl add flavored dry breadcrumbs, or fresh, add garlic, fresh chopped parsley, grated romano cheese, salt and pepper, moisten mixture with some olive oil.
Stuff each leave with the mixture, take your time go all around the artichoke. Place them in a baking dish and place them in a 375 degreeF. oven till heated through. Garnish with lemon.

Hopefully this will encourage all of you to “show your sides”! I’ll be looking forward to seeing all of your creations!

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  1. Thanks for the great ideas!

    I love the giardiniera idea and will be looking to incorporate it into our meals in the future.

  2. I looked at some of your posts. They are amazing! No wonder your are “Proud” Italian Cook. Artichoke are one of my favorite foods and you made them look like a work of art. My hat goes off to you! I will limit my list of foods that you did great justice to, enough said that everything looks yummy-scrummy.

  3. All of these “sides” look insanely delicious! Definitely tagging this post for reference. Andβ€”that’s just the way my mom used to make her stuffed artichokes. I haven’t made one in so long . . . am now inspired to.

  4. Very inspirational!

    I love the homemade Giardiniera. In the jarred version all the veggies taste the same. Oh, and that’s what I love about Chicago, this is a condiment in many restaurants there. We rarely see it in SoCal.

  5. Marie,
    I started hyperventilating by the time I got to the stuffed tomatoes and when I saw the artichokes…oh law, as my grandmomma used to say!
    Fabulous ideas.

  6. Great ideas Marie! Your photos make me want to prepare all! You are so right. Grilling season is here and I have been searching the books for sides that will go with fish or meat. Perfect! Thanks!

  7. Marie, all of the dishes look beautiful! I just love how colorful and vibrant all your food is. Mmmm!

  8. Great idea Marie! My husband loves his contorni and veggies while I’m more of a meat person. He’ll definitely thank for for the recipes. And I think I’ll enjoy them as well!

  9. BOW to you great lady! Spot on…even I think side dishes are often neglected. Thanks for bringing the focus back!! love the green bean salad. Have an award for you Marie…please do stop by when you have uno momento! Cheers

  10. Oh, my, Marie, you’ve outdone yourself here. That string bean salad is too pretty, and stuffed artichokes are one of all-time favorites.

  11. You’re so right Marie, we all focus on the mains, I haven’t blogged about “contorni” in a while – I’m on the case:) these all look great esp the french bean salad, this is my favouite:)

  12. Hi, honey, I hope you don’t mind that I tagged you for a blog award. You deserve it!

    xoxox Amy

  13. I loove veggies! I would be a vegetarian if my food didn’t already burn off too fast πŸ˜› – I feel like I’m hungry all the time. You’ve really captured the natural beauty of veggies in these dishes and pictures. I especially love the vegetable giardiniera – the colors are amazing :).

  14. I love the pics Marie! My favorite side dish growing up was stuffed peppers and stuffed artichokes. I’m going to have to work on my sides..your stuffed tomatoes look delicious!

  15. I agree, sides do not get enough attention. I am always looking for new sides to try. Those stuffed tomatoes and artichokes look really good. I really need to try doing something with artichokes this year.

  16. Beautiful, each and every one!I’m particulary all over that vegetable Giardinera. I’m now inspired to start making my own.

  17. I am all about the sides Marie. I am alwaqys looking for ways to tie a meal together. Thanks for all the great ideas:D

  18. Who needs a secondo with these contorni? BRAVA!!!

  19. We’ve been browsing our cookbooks for more inspirational side dishes and it’s far easier to just find them on blogs. Wonderful suggestions and I’m definitely coming back to this starred item.

  20. I completely agree. Let’s see more great side dishes!!

    I LOVE the artichoke one that you posted- my absolute favorite.

  21. What`s lovely pictures Maries, so beauty!!! I like so artichokes…I miss them because we dont have now!!! (is to spring) xx Gloria

  22. Hi Marie
    Everything looks so delicious! I love vegetables so any two of these sides would be dinner for me.

    I usually stuff my artichokes first and then steam them until thye are soft. I’ll have to try your way next time I make them..thanks!


  23. Peter is so right. After drooling and bookmarking your page, I am now heading over to Peter’s πŸ™‚

  24. I am sooooooooo glad I found your blog, those pictures look mouth watering good!

  25. All of those look fantastic. I especially like the artichoke dish..:)

  26. Oh I am so looking forward to the fresh veggies … hurry up summer πŸ™‚

  27. oh wow! My mouth is watering!!
    Call me when you do the BBQ πŸ˜‰

    the stuffed tomatoes look scrumptious!
    and the green bean sald, yummy!

  28. This is such a naughty blog! All I want to do is EAT everything you make. I’m going to try the tomatoes tonight since I have everything here (yippie!).

    xoxox Amy

  29. Marie, this is a 4 for 1 blogging special…all great sides and in one post!

    I like the Giardiniera plate the best…taking a fall pickling concept and making it a summer side.

  30. Can I have three side dishes instead of my main course? Hehehe, those pictures are making me hungry!

  31. Beautiful post! Those artichokes are making me hungry!

  32. Hi bud πŸ™‚
    I like your homemade GIARDINIERA. The ones you get in jars are so salty. As usual, your dishes look so good. πŸ™‚

  33. Great post, Marie! I was shamed by Peter’s post. I have been neglecting my side dishes terribly! Many times they are better than the main course. Your artichoke recipe is exactly like my grandmother used to make. She and I were the only ones who really loved them, so she made them as a special meal when it was just the two of us. Giardiniera was a staple on our table.

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