Easy dishes to bring to this weekend’s LSU-Auburn tailgate parties

Tailgate fever is in the air at LSU this weekend, as longtime conference rival Auburn comes to town.

An 8 p.m. kickoff provides ample time for noshing, imbibing and making the rounds under the oaks.

Don’t come empty handed. Here are a few ideas for easy dishes to bring and share.

Sensation Salad

Sensation Salad travels well to tailgate parties.

Baton Rouge’s favorite lemony, garlicky and romano-cheesy salad travels well, and is a fresh and crunchy counterpoint to the grilled and fried fare that dominate many tailgate menus. Bring a Ziploc bag of washed and torn romaine and iceberg lettuce, and a jar of homemade dressing. One of our favorite recipes is this one by Chef John Folse, or the version that appears on page 24 of the Junior League of Baton Rouge’s original River Road Recipes. You can also pick up a bottle of local maker Hanley’s Foods Sensation dressing, the first flavor the company developed.

Mini crawfish pies

Mini crawfish pies are packed with spicy flavor and tender crawfish.

Tiger fans will be looking for opportunities to show off south Louisiana’s distinct and flavorful cuisine to visitors, and a platter of Tony’s Seafood’s mini crawfish pies is a great way to do it. They’re sold frozen, but thaw them overnight and heat them for 20-30 minutes. Aluminum tins help them hold their heat while being transported.

Blue cheese coleslaw

Bleu cheese crumbles add extra tang to cool and crunchy coleslaw.

Coleslaw is a tailgate staple, but something memorable is required for big games. Whip up a quick dressing using mayo, brown mustard, sugar and vinegar. Slice fresh cabbage, grate a couple carrots and add thin slivers of red pepper. Add blue cheese crumbles for extra tang. Easy.

Marinated crab claws

Marinated crab claws are fresh and light.

It’s crab season, after all, so why not pick up some crab fingers this week. Prepare an easy marinade with oil, vinegar and dried spices, and pour it over cleaned and gently rinsed crab fingers. Marinate overnight. Serve with French bread.

Caprese pasta salad

Portable caprese pasta salad combines bowtie pasta with pesto, fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.

This quick, four-ingredient salad is pretty and flavorful. Combine cooked bowtie pasta with prepared or homemade pesto, fresh sliced grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and—if you want a protein—cooked chicken or shrimp. Be sure to slice and add the tomatoes at the last minute so their texture and flavor are preserved.