You’re not boring, so that side dish you set down on the grazing table once you arrive to the BBQ shouldn’t be either. Sure, some hosts will ask for specific dishes, making your life a little easier, but others will leave it wide open. And when left to your own devices, it can be tempting to grab a yawn-inducing vat of pasta salad at the grocery store around the corner. But we’re here to say: Please, for the love of god, do not.
It’s summer, and produce is at its peak. Take advantage of the fresh, robust flavors of the season and come up with a side dish people will actually want to eat. Even better? Lots of the tastiest recipes have only a copuple of ingredients, and take almost no effort to put together.
Ahead, we’ve gathered side dishes that may just upstage the main course at your next BBQ.
Summer Corn and Green Beans with Herb Butter
Sweet summer corn and tender green beans are a match made in heaven in this colorful bbq side. Then, choose the freshest herbs you can and turn them into an herb butter bursting with seasonal flavor.
Get the recipe from Coley Cooks.
Mango Cucumber Summer Slaw
Crunchy, juicy, sweet, and tangy, this mango cucumber slaw is delicious served alongside your favorite summer barbecue dishes, but it’s also a great topping for pulled pork sammies, fish tacos, and grilled chicken or pork.
Get the recipe from Reluctant Entertainer.
Grilled Garlic Herb Zucchini
This dish can be served as a side dish or an appetizer. Grilled garlicky zucchini rounds are paired with a zesty rosemary parsley sauce for dipping.
Get the recipe from Damn Delicious.
Cucumber Radish Salad
Sometimes the best sides are the simplest. When you’re feasting on something rich and robust, like bbq ribs, you need a fresh side that will re-invigorate your palate. Try this salad made from cool, crisp radishes and cucumbers paired with fresh dill and lemon.
Get the recipe from Downshiftology.
Fresh Corn & Bacon Side Dish
Summer is supposed to be fun and relaxing, so don’t get in over your head. This three-ingredient fresh corn and bacon side dish is totally company-worthy, even though it takes next to no time to put together. And who can resist the combination of sweet corn and salty bacon?
Get the recipe from Bunny’s Warm Oven.
Paired with grilled hot links, blackened salmon, or simple kabobs, this Cajun rice is bound to be a hit. It’s made with homemade Cajun seasoning for epic flavor, and Basmati rice gives it a fluffy texture.
Get the recipe from Amanda’s Cookin’.
Creamy German Cucumber Dill Salad
If you like your barbecue on the spicy side, then serving it with a creamy side dish to cool things down is a necessity. And this creamy German cucumber dill salad has a secret — it’s dairy free!
Get the recipe from Life and Lemons.
Grilled Corn On The Cob In Foil
Sometimes simplest is best. Roll up a few corn cobs in foil, let them do their thing on the grill, and you’ve got a summer side so tasty, it needs no explanation.
Get the recipe from Food Folks and Fun.
Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
For a light, good-for-you side dish that’ll impress with not only its concoction of classic Greek ingredients and flavors, but also its assortment of colors, spend less than one hour throwing together Salt & Lavender’s chickpea salad.
Get the recipe from Salt & Lavender.
Asparagus and Herb Salad
Summer is the time to feast on as many herbs as possible and this quick and easy asparagus and herb salad lets you do exactly that. You can whip it up in a few minutes and the herbs can be easily substituted if you have some extras in your fridge that you want to use up.
Get the recipe from Leite’s Culinaria.
Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro Chimichurri
Another dish so pretty, you won’t want to eat it — psych! Perfectly charred sweet potatoes drizzled with a bright, fresh cilantro chimichurri made with parsley, jalapeño, garlic, onion, red wine vinegar and lime juice seems simple but bursts with flavor.
Get the recipe from Recipe Runner.
Crispy Salt and Vinegar Potatoes
If you love the potato chip version of salt and vinegar potatoes, you’ll go crazy for this hot and fresh version that can be grilled outside in a cast iron skillet or made inside and brought out when it’s time to eat.
Get the recipe from 12 Tomatoes.
You’re probably going to have extra corn lying around all summer so might as well put it to good use. Corn fritters are super easy and you can make a bunch at once and freeze them and enjoy these crunchy sides all season.
Get the recipe from Eat Well 101.
Give plain, traditional coleslaw a fruity facelift with this easy, light pineapple coleslaw side dish that’ll take you just 15 minutes to make.
Get the recipe from Noble Pig.
In search of more summer recipes? Giada De Laurentiis has plenty:
Watch: How to Make Watermelon Mango Salsa
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