6 No-Fuss, Portable Sides to Bring to This Weekend's Labor Day Celebration

These are the kind of sides that get better when they sit for a little while, and are super easy to make ahead and grab right before you go to the party.
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Food Network Kitchen’s Tailgating Oklahoma State Cowboy Caviar.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz

Matt Armendariz

The last party of the summer requires flexibility — you want make thoughtful dishes that showcase the last of the summer's best flavors, but you also want to enjoy a little downtime on the long weekend. So if you're invited to a Labor Day barbecue, bring a side dish that conforms to any schedule — even the laziest ones. These are the kinds of sides that get better when they sit for a little while, taste great at room temperature, and are super easy to make-ahead and grab right before you go to the party.

Cowboy Caviar (above)

An Oklahoma favorite, this zesty, sturdy corn-and-bean salad gets even more flavorful the longer the ingredients hang out together. You can certainly eat it with a fork, but it's way more fun to scoop it with tortilla chips.

Food Nework Kitchen's Cornbread Guide, Spicy

Photo by: Kate Mathis ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Kate Mathis, 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Poblano peppers, cayenne, coriander and garlic give a classic cornbread base a little bit of heat. And this easy recipe is just as delicious (and zippy) at room temperature as it is served warm.

Food Network Kitchen’s Shrimp Pasta Salad.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz

Matt Armendariz

There's no mayo in this pasta salad (but there is plump shrimp, bursting tomatoes and crunchy green beans), so it can withstand a little time outside the fridge.

Food Network Kitchen’s Grilled Ratatouille for One-Off Recipes, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

This charred riff on a classic French dish is great all smoky and warm, right off the grill. But we also happily file it under the "make-ahead" category, since it's perfect loaded onto bread at room temperature too.

Rachael Ray's bright and sunny veggie side takes mere minutes to prep (seriously -- combine kirby cucumbers, plum tomatoes, red onion, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and you're done). But it needs to stand for 20 minutes before serving so everything can marinade a little bit. So toss it at home (right in a container with a lid) and it'll be ready to eat when you get to the cookout.

GiadaDeLaurentiis_FarroSaladWithTomatoesAndHerbs_H

GiadaDeLaurentiis_FarroSaladWithTomatoesAndHerbs_H

Chef Name: Giada De Laurentiis Full Recipe Name: Farro Salad with Tomatoes and Herbs Talent Recipe: Giada De Laurentiis’ Farro Salad with Tomatoes and Herbs, as seen on Food Network’s Everyday Italian FNK Recipe: Project: Foodnetwork.com, CINCO/SUMMER/FATHERSDAY Show Name: Everyday Italian

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Renee Comet, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Farro won't get soggy on the car ride from your house to the party — Giada De Laurentiis's recipe (which beautifully melds Italian flavors like balsamic vinegar, tomatoes and garlic) can even stand in your fridge overnight before you serve it.

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