The best barbecue sidekicks

May 1, 2014 at 9:52 p.m. ET

?Summer salads and sides from QVC’s resident foodie and best-selling cookbook author David Venable.

During the summer, there’s truly nothing I love more than lighting up the grill and preparing food outside in the beautiful weather. These meals can be made even better with some go-to sides to accompany whatever delicious dish is on the grill. Here are a few of my favorite re-imagined salads and sides that are bursting with flavor to make this summer’s barbecue the best yet.

Cabbage, kale and broccoli slaw

Cabbage, Kale and Broccoli Slaw Recipe

David’s insider tip: "There’s no such thing as a backyard barbecue without a side of slaw, but every once in a while you want something a little different. My recipe for cabbage, kale and broccoli slaw is light, tangy and jam-packed with nutrition. The dressing relies on briny flavor from pickle juice, the perfect match for a burger with everything. For a nice even shred, try using a food processor fitted with the shredding disc."



  • 4 cups finely shredded green cabbage
  • 4 cups finely chopped kale, stems removed
  • 1 cup julienned broccoli stalk
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dill pickles
  • 1 cup golden raisins


  • 2/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 2/3 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup dill pickle juice
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons honey


  1. Place the cabbage, kale, broccoli, dill pickles and golden raisins in a large salad or mixing bowl; set aside.
  2. Place the mayonnaise, sour cream, pickle juice, celery salt, black pepper and honey in a medium-size mixing bowl and whisk until completely combined.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until fully coated.

Honey lime barbecue grilled sweet potatoes

Honey Lime Barbecue Grilled Sweet Potatoes

David’s insider tip: "Grilling sweet potatoes brings out their sweet, sugary flavor. Add even more sweetness with honey, and balance it out with bright lime juice, and you’ve got yourself one flavorful potato. These spuds make an interesting and tasty alternative to your traditional potato salad. Try serving them over a bed of arugula to make it a salad."


  • 2-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil; add potatoes. Boil until the potatoes are just starting to soften, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow them to cool.
  2. In the meantime, combine the barbecue sauce, honey, lime zest, lime juice, chili powder and garlic powder in a small bowl; set aside.
  3. Preheat a barbecue or indoor grill to medium low.
  4. Brush the flat surface of each potato with oil. Place the potatoes, flesh-side-down, on the grill and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, turning once. When the sweet potatoes are soft through the middle and brown on the surface, they're ready. Brush with sauce before serving.

Grilled Vidalia onion and bacon salad

Grilled Vidalia Onion and Bacon Salad

David’s insider tip: “When set on a hot grill, a sweet Vidalia onion is transformed into a thing of beauty. Its flavor is quintessentially summer, and when piled on a salad with fresh beefsteak tomatoes and smoky bacon, you’ll be craving it all season long. To make it even heartier, top it with some grilled chicken.”



  • 2 large Vidalia onions, sliced 1/4 inch thick and separated into rings
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter, olive oil or a combination of both
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-4 slices bacon
  • 2 beefsteak tomatoes, sliced thickly
  • Bag of baby spring mix, or an assortment of your favorite greens
  • 2/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts (optional garnish)

Classic balsamic vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon scallions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup canola oil


  1. Beat the vinegar in a small bowl with the sugar, scallions, soy sauce and pepper until the sugar dissolves. Slowly, in a steady stream, whisk the canola oil into the vinegar mixture. Set aside.
  2. Preheat a barbecue or indoor grill to high.
  3. To prepare the salad, first grill the onions. Place the onion slices on a grill pan (if using a barbecue grill). Brush with oil and/or butter and season with salt and pepper. Cook the onions for approximately 10 minutes. Turn the slices and continue grilling for 5-7 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Place the bacon strips on the grill pan (if using) and cook until brown and crispy. Set aside.
Place a handful of baby greens on a salad plate. Top with the tomatoes, grilled onion rings and strips of bacon. Add the crumbled Gorgonzola cheese last, and drizzle with the balsamic vinaigrette. Top with toasted walnuts, if desired.