The Kentucky Derby is finally set to run this Saturday after its first postponement since 1945. We certainly think that’s something to celebrate. While preparing a traditional Southern feast sounds like a more than viable option for any fancy cocktail party, we’ve got a slightly more creative idea in mind. Why not ditch the oversized hats and pastel garb, grab yourself a hobbyhorse, and celebrate what it means to be an award-winning thoroughbred? From carrots and barley to oats and hay, we’ve rounded up a nine horse (get it?) tasting menu of dishes that you can serve to your fun (and open-minded) friends. We’d bet money that they’ll be champing at the bit for more.
1. Carrot Chips
Munching on carrots can be quite unsatisfying (just ask Prudence, a.k.a. the “Junk Food Kid” from “Rugrats”), but slicing and baking them elevates the sweetness to a level beyond basic. Dip these in ranch dressing because, frankly, why wouldn’t you? Get our Carrot Chips recipe.
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Apples? Oats? Sugar? It’s a show pony’s dream. Lucky for you, you don’t need a blue ribbon to treat yourself. Simply head to the grocery store and get baking. Or play the role of the trainer and have someone bake these for you. Get our Apple Oatmeal Bars recipe.
This may be the only recipe on this list that resembles actual horse feed, but don’t let that stop you from preparing the deliciously healthy dish with a tart vegan pesto. More green equals more lean. Get our Barley with Winter Greens Pesto recipe.
Corn requires a little help from friends to take it from “just okay” to drool-worthy amazing. In this case, the friend is the fryer and the fryer never fails you. Get our Crispy Corn Fritters recipe.
It actually isn’t wise to feed a horse avocado (they can be toxic!), but we know they can graze on grass for hours. Wheatgrass is essentially the human-food equivalent, but this recipe downplays its “grassiness” in the form of a zesty garlic and lemon spread. Get the Whipped Avocado and Wheatgrass Spread recipe.
A little molasses in horse feed can serve as an excellent energy source. A little molasses in cookies can serve as a delicious backdrop to spices like cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Heat things up by adding a dash of cayenne. Get our Molasses Crinkle Cookies recipe.
Herbal and spicy angostura bitters are a suitable addition for many cocktails. While horses really only crave sugar cubes, we crave the sugar cube’s potential. And that’s to be infused by angostura bitters and dropped into a glass of Champagne. Dream big, kids. Get the Angostura Sugar Cubes recipe.
Who knew that beet pulp was a common ingredient found in horse feed? Who knew that beets could be combined with horseradish and dill to create a sweet and hot dip? If your answer is “not I,” you’re certainly not alone. Celebrate this new wealth of knowledge by buying beets and making this new favorite app. Get our Beet Horseradish Dill Spread recipe.
Hay, there. You didn’t think we’d ask you to eat actual hay, right? These butterscotch and peanut butter haystacks are a much more delicious alternative. We wouldn’t steer you wrong. Get the Peanut Butter and Butterscotch Haystacks recipe.
Bonus: Mint Juleps
It’s not Derby Day without mint juleps, and it just so happens, fresh mint is actually really good for horses. Humans can add as much bourbon as they like, and sip out of an iconic julep cup (troughs are better left to the ponies). Get our Mint Julep recipe.
Related Reading: The Best Bourbons for Your Kentucky Derby Party