Cooking the Southern classics is a surefire way to please the crowd gathered around your dinner table, but take your recipes to the next level by trying these innovative Southern dishes that will amp up the traditional cuisine of the American South.
1. Pimento Mac and Cheese Balls
Southern favorites like pimento cheese spread and macaroni and cheese can be combined and fried. Incorporate pimento cheese into your fave mac ‘n’ cheese recipe, shape them into one inch balls, coat in breadcrumbs and drop into your deep fryer for tasty morsels that will bring flavor and texture to old standards.
2. Peanut Coleslaw
Take a typical picnic coleslaw and kick it up a notch with the crunch and saltiness of roasted Georgia peanuts. Incorporate fresh ginger or wasabi for a flavorful kick and a hint at bold Asian flavors to transform your standard coleslaw into something completely fresh.
3. Coconut Buttermilk Dressing
A favorite Southern salad topper, buttermilk dressings are creamy and delicious. Incorporate a fun spin with coconut milk in addition to the buttermilk, bringing an Asian twist. This is a great accompaniment to greens with grilled chicken, orange segments, corn and peppers.
4. Spiced Creamed Corn
Creamed corn is a childhood favorite of many Southerners, but with a burst of heat, this side dish can be repurposed with bold new flavors. Chop up a jalapeno and cook it in with the corn for complexity and spice.
5. Fried Chicken Tacos
Fried Chicken and Waffles get a Mexican spin by incorporating the same fried chicken into a taco instead of the traditional waffle. The crunch of fried chicken batter meshes perfectly with a soft flour tortilla, and you can add in guacamole, salsa, and shredded cheese for a Southern-Mexican hybrid.
6. Roasted Okra
Okra, battered and fried, is a traditional Southern side, but why not change things up by roasting instead of frying for a lighter take and serving this side dish as an appetizer? Incorporate a delicious tangy dipping sauce and turn okra into a fun finger food your whole table will enjoy.
7. Panzanella with Peaches
Panzanella is a classic Italian salad with vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers and chunks of crunchy bread for texture. Georgia peaches, when in season, would be a terrific addition for a light summer supper.
8. Pecan Pie Pop Tarts
A pecan pie is an ultimate favorite. Try folding pecan pie filling into small pockets for a pecan pie pop tart treat. These morsels have the sweetness and crunch of pecan pie, with the easy finger food quality of the childhood classic, Pop Tarts.
Try your hand at these eight innovative Southern dishes, which will bring your classics up a notch with new flavors and updates for a fun and contemporary take on Southern cooking.