New Takes On Traditional Sides For Summer Grilling

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Indian-spiced coleslaw with fried shallots, coconut and lime. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Indian-spiced coleslaw with fried shallots, coconut and lime. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

For many, Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer — and the summer grilling season. Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst shares her takes on coleslaw and deviled eggs, as well as a salad using grilled asparagus and leeks, for hosts Robin Young and Peter O'Dowd to try.

Indian-Spiced Coleslaw With Fried Shallots, Coconut And Lime

What makes American food "American?" Is pizza Italian or American? Is a hot dog German or American? This is my take on coleslaw, which introduces all the great textures and creaminess of a traditional coleslaw to Indian flavors.

Thinly sliced shallots sautéed in coconut oil, chile peppers, coconut shavings and lots of fresh lime juice wake up this traditional side dish. Serve it with your Memorial Day hot dogs, burgers, ribs and fried chicken.

Serves 4 to 6.


  • 2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil (or safflower oil)
  • 3 thinly sliced large shallots
  • 2 green chiles, cut lengthwise, most seeds and all ribs removed and thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 4 cups very thinly sliced green/white cabbage
  • 5 cups very thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup Greek-style plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions


  1. In a medium skillet heat the coconut oil over moderately high heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. They should begin to turn golden brown and get a bit crispy on the edges. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the chiles, salt and pepper, and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir the coconut flakes into the hot shallots and chiles.
  2. Mix the two types of cabbage in a large salad bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, yogurt, salt and pepper. Toss with the cabbages no more than 2 hours before serving. Top with the salt and pepper, the reserved sautéed shallot and coconut mixture, and the scallions and toss just before serving.

Grilled Asparagus And Leek Salad With Feta And Lemon-Chive Vinaigrette

The season for asparagus is so short and so good that I like to eat them almost every day. In this salad, asparagus and leeks are quickly steamed, drained, drizzled with olive oil and then grilled. The salad is finished with a lemony dressing full of fresh chives and a sprinkle of crumbled feta cheese.

The asparagus and leeks can be steamed ahead of time and the vinaigrette can also be prepped beforehand. When you put your burgers, seafood or ribs on the grill, you can throw the asparagus and leeks on with the other food and put this salad together at the last minute.

Serves 4 to 6.

Grilled asparagus and leek salad with feta and lemon-chive vinaigrette. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Grilled asparagus and leek salad with feta and lemon-chive vinaigrette. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The Grilled Leeks And Asparagus

  • 1 pound leeks (about 2 to 3 medium-sized leeks, dark green section and ends trimmed and discarded, the white and pale green section, cut lengthwise, washed and cut into quarters and then in half)
  • 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
  • About 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • About 1 cup arugula, or greens, if desired

The Vinaigrette And Feta

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • About 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • About 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese


  1. Bring a few inches of water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add the asparagus and cook for 2 minutes. Add the leeks and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove and drain under cold running water; drain again.
  2. Place the asparagus and leeks in a shallow pan and toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper to thoroughly coat all the vegetables.
  3. Heat a charcoal or gas grill until hot, about 400 degrees, with a vegetable tray in the middle. Add the leeks and the asparagus; the leek will take about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness or until golden brown and tender. The asparagus will take around 2 to 4 minutes per side, depending on thickness, or until just tender.
  4. Make the vinaigrette: In a bowl, mix the mustard, chives and lemon juice until smooth. Add the oil and whisk until smooth. Season to taste.
  5. Place the arugula or greens on a serving plate and top with the grilled leeks and asparagus. Spoon on a little more than half the vinaigrette. The remaining vinaigrette can be served on the side. Sprinkle with the crumbled feta.
Dilly bean deviled eggs. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Dilly bean deviled eggs. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Dilly Bean Deviled Eggs

I love the tradition of deviled eggs at Memorial Day barbecues and picnics. But, once again, I want to mix it up a little. Turns out that chopped (pickled) dilly beans, parsley and scallions make a delicious filling. Dilly beans are pickled green beans with fresh dill. You can buy them bottled at the supermarket — or make your own.

Serves 4.


  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
  • 2 tablespoons dilly beans, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 dilly beans, cut into 8 pieces, for garnish


  1. Place the eggs in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat off and let eggs sit in hot water for 8 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain. Crack eggs along the edges of the pot by swirling them around. Fill with cold water. Drain again. Peel and cut the eggs in half; place yolk in a small bowl.
  2. Mash the yolks with a fork. Mix in the parsley, scallions, chopped dilly beans, mayonnaise, salt and pepper, to taste. Using a spoon, divide the filling between the egg whites. Place a small piece of dilly bean garnish into the yolk and serve.

This segment aired on May 22, 2019.

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Kathy Gunst Resident Chef, Here & Now
Kathy Gunst is a James Beard Award-winning journalist and the author of 15 cookbooks.



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