Jane's Kitchen

Salads and Sides

Side dishes have always been one of my specialties. I feel I can be my most creative playing with vegetables, grains and spices that are inspired by a range of cuisines. Side dishes, along with condiment dollops, add the zest to any meal. Pairing suggestions are offered with each recipe, but these dishes can stand on their own as a light meal and many as part of a great picnic feast.

Beet and Blood Orange Salad
Blood oranges are in the markets from January through early spring. Their colorful flesh makes a nice contrast with the golden beets, fennel and Point Reyes blue cheese in this tasty salad. You can substitute with other orange varieties if you can't find blood oranges.
Buttermilk Corn Muffins
Serve these muffins warm with my Southwest Pork Stew or Harvest Gumbo. The slightly crunchy texture from the polenta cornmeal adds interest. Leftovers (if you have any) are great rewarmed for breakfast. For truly fresh organic polenta, order from Anson Mills in South Carolina. In fact, all of their products are wonderful at ansonmill.com
Fresh Corn, Red Pepper and Zucchini Succotash
Just east of Sacramento on the way to our winery is the small farming plain of Sloughouse. There, at the Davis Ranch, is grown the best sweet corn, both yellow and white. Cut off the cob and sautéed with sweet peppers, garlic, zucchini and basil, this succotash is great next to grilled flank steak, guacamole, and warm tortillas.
Grilled Vegetable Ratatouille
When it's hot I move my cooking outdoors. This grilled version of ratatouille is fresh, lively and tastes like it just came from the summer garden. It is equally good as a side to grilled meats or on it's own over rice or pasta.
Harvest Grain and Winter Squash
Black rice, bulghur wheat, and butternut squash combine for a savory, holiday side dish that can be a served at room temperature or warmed slightly before serving.
Moroccan Carrot Salad
These beautiful carrots add crunch and spice to any meal. They are simple to make and keep well, so can be made a day ahead, something I want when I am making food for a gathering.
Pan-Roasted Artichoke Hearts and Chickpeas
This is what I call a "pantry hack". This happened a lot during locked-up-by-COVID days, where I was trying to use what I had on hand and not go to the store. So, standing with a can of artichoke hearts, I asked myself what I could do to make them less canned tasting and crispier. It was easy.
Summer Couscous Salad
This is a fast salad to make on a hot night when you don’t want to heat up the kitchen. The ingredients all come from your refrigerator, garden and pantry and are very flexible. It is perfect as part of a composed plate with leftover grilled meats or simply pair with a big green salad and some sliced tomatoes.
Summer Rice Salad
I make a lot of grain salads. They are great for outdoor dining and can be served at room temperature. The dressing is light and the veggies crunchy. Feel free to improvise with other types of rice – black, red, or brown. I love the rice from Two Brooks Farms sent to me by one of our customers. Try a mix of two different colors of rice. Cook each rice separately and combine with other ingredients to make the salad.
Warm Green Lentil Salad with fennel and walnuts
This versatile salad is great for lunch at room temperature on a bed of greens with some crumbled feta or goat cheese. For dinner, I love this salad warm with a beautiful piece of grilled King Salmon. For an outdoor BBQ, pair with grilled Merguez (lamb) sausages and some crusty bread.