Side Dish with Racetrack Casserole?

Having a few friends over for a very casual dinner later this week. Racetrack Casserole from Homesick Texan is the main dish, with pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream as garnishes, and some kind of dessert. For pre-dinner snacks I was planning to make Smoky Black Bean Dip from chowhounder Goodhealth Gourmet, served with chips and maybe jicama, along with some nuts. Goal is to keep everything simple and not have too much food, but I feel like the casserole needs a side and I’m stumped. I was thinking a southwestern-flavored cole slaw would be a good side, something light and fresh but complementary to the southwestern flavors of the casserole.

However I don’t have a good “southwestern” slaw recipe and am not generally good with slaw. Did some googling and found one or two recipes but they don’t have great reviews, so I thought I’d throw the question out to you folks. Any ideas for me?

Oh and here’s the link to Homesick Texan’s casserole. We love it:


I regularly “freestyle” slaws from a variety of fresh produce and fruit. Though for the dressing, I just sweeten rice vinegar, adding MSG and Trader Joe’s 21-Seasoning Salute, you could use some lime juice and chili. Shred/dice cucumber, sweet onion, bell pepper, and root &/or cruciferous vegetables. If using just cuke, bell peppers, and onion, I’ll add melon if available. Since the produce exudes juice, no water is added, nor is oil necessary. Chill for a few hours before serving.

For this casserole I would serve a slaw as well. But, honestly, I was more interested in the casserole itself so Googled it.

It seems to be one of those dishes one cooks for a crowd, or for the Super Bowl which I may very well do when the time comes. I can see bringing it to a Tailgate as well. One more once when folks cooking at home, whom I trust, enlighten me. Many thanks.

i don’t think i’d offer more tortillas, even as chips, before the meal. some quick-pickled carrots and/or jicama would be nice though. as would some spiced, toasted pumpkin seeds.

for the slaw, keep it simple. buy bags of already shredded cabbage and make an easy dressing with plenty of lime juice and zest, rice wine or red wine vinegar and a bit of hot sauce.

If you decide against slaw some simple roasted broccoli with a good squeeze of lemon and some fresh cilantro just before serving would work, or wedges of roasted cabbage with a similar treatment

Gio, this casserole is superb and great for a crowd - a 9x13 pan of it yields about 12 servings at a minimum. If making it just for our household I usually reduce the quantities by half and use an 8" square pan.

Not sure what this sentence in your reply means, though:

Don’t worry about it Ferny, just my silly way of saying that you have told me about something I never heard of. So, thank you.

Heck, the first thing I thought when I saw the name was … horsemeat.

Your comment was entirely innocent compared to my first impulse, LOL!

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Hahahha… A Pywacket after my own heart.

Finally were able to get our friends together for dinner last night, the Racetrack Casserole (aka Chicken Tortilla Casserole) received raves from everyone. Taking your advice to skip chips and dip for appys with drinks, I ended up keeping it ultra simple with smokehouse almonds and jalapeno pickled carrots, also well received.

As to the side dish which was the reason for posting this topic in the first place, having experimented with a few different cole slaw variations I opted for a butter lettuce salad with orange and grapefruit slices and sliced celery and radicchio, dressed with a citrus and cranberry vinaigrette. The salad was the right refreshing counterpoint to the relative spiciness and heavy cheesiness of the casserole.

Topping it off I served Burnt Caramel puddings from Food52. If you haven’t made this custard I urge you to try it. These puddings are terrific and really easy.

Thanks for all your advice.