Looking for summer side dishes using the best produce of the season? We’ve got your back: here are all the recipes you need.
Summer is all about gathering: potlucks, cookouts, and simple relaxed patio parties. There’s a magic in the air when vibrant heirloom tomatoes and massive bags of corn on the cob appear in the farmers markets. So what to do with all this beautiful summer produce? When tomatoes, corn, blackberries, blueberries, eggplant, cucumbers, peppers and zucchini abound: make these summer side dishes!
Each of the recipes below are a tried and true recipe that Alex and I have made time and time again. And we’re not joking when we say: summer is the most exciting time to be in the kitchen! With so much produce to taste and try…what are you waiting for? Pair with grilled dinner ideas to make up a meal. Let’s get to these summer side dishes, shall we?
This corn salad recipe is all about fresh flavor: sweet bursts of corn, juicy tomatoes, and herbaceous basil pair with a tangy, light vinaigrette. Top with feta cheese crumbles if you like, or keep it as a plant based salad: it’s just as good either way. Here’s all about how to make it…including a tip on how to cut corn off the cob: without the mess! Also try:Grilled Corn Salad.
The most classic summer side dish? Cucumber salad! This creamy cucumber salad is so refreshing, it’s hard to stop eating! Adding a bit of sour cream to a tangy cucumber salad makes an irresistibly creamy sauce. The silky sauce also features dill and shallots. Use fresh dill if you have it onhand! Also try: Cucumber Salad with Vinegar
Here's the ideal summer side dish: broccoli slaw! And who knew it could be so crunchy and fresh? This recipe you can make with store-bought broccoli slaw bags or fresh broccoli and carrots. It’s got a creamy dressing that’s equal parts savory, tangy, and a little sweet. Try this stunner of a broccoli recipe…you won’t be disappointed!
Ahh, beautiful summery ripe tomatoes. Is there anything better? It doesn’t feel like summer until we’ve had a savory sweet bite of an heirloom tomato. This summer side dish is all about simplicity: just tomatoes and herbs, marinaded in balsamic and olive oil for 30 minutes. And once you taste it: it’s truly one of the best ways to use ripe tomatoes you’ll find.
Here’s a fresh spin on that classic Bean Salad! This American classic has been gracing tables for generations, and everyone has their own take on it. Here’s our spin on it, with a little less sugar and more freshness: featuring lots of beans, red onion and a hint of parsley. But don’t worry: it’s still an easy three bean salad that’s as easy as dump and stir.
Here’s a summer side recipe that’s ultra versatile for picnics, barbecues, and an easy lunch idea: Tortellini Salad! The tang of the artichoke, chewy pillowy pasta, zippy tomatoes, and peppery basil come together into a symphony of flavor! Even better, it stores up to 4 days in the fridge, making it a perfect easy lunch.
Is there anything more refreshing than a watermelon salad? This one features juicy watermelon, salty feta, fresh basil or mint, and lemon zest. This summer side dish is truly easy: it’s just matter of chopping a few ingredients and throwing them together on a platter. It’s a fantastic accessory for summer cookouts and potlucks!
Here’s a salad recipe that’s full of big Italian flavors: classic pasta salad! This combo between a pasta salad and Italian antipasti is loaded with zingy flavor: briny olives, crunchy veggies, gooey mozzarella and chewy pasta. Load it with fresh basil and there’s so much going on, you might not be able to stop eating it!
What makes Mexican grilled corn so irresistible is the contrasts of flavors and textures! There's sweet corn, charred to smoky perfection on the grill. It's slathered with creamy mayo and sour cream sauce, seasoned with chili powder, garlic powder and cumin. The crunch of the corn against the creamy, messy sauce is pretty much to die for!
What makes this the best zucchini bread recipe? Both applesauce and zucchini stand in for some of the oil. This makes the texture perfectly moist, but not too oily. With ¼ cup of oil for the whole loaf, that’s less than 1 teaspoon per slice!
Another one of our secrets is using turbinado sugar, which gives it an almost caramel-y flavor. And it’s seriously scented with cinnamon: it makes for just the right amount of spiced goodness.
What's more classic in a list of summer side dishes than a potato salad? And this one really is the best potato salad we’ve had. It tastes like your favorite deli counter potato salad, but more vibrant and delicious because it’s homemade. Some of our secrets? Yellow mustard and lots of pickles.
Ready for the best summer side dishes to hit your plate? Because man is this Grilled Caesar Salad tasty! It sounds a little strange, but grilling romaine lettuce infuses it with an incredible smoky flavor that is irresistible. Think about how good Caesar salad is, for a moment. OK, now imagine it GRILLED: it takes it to a whole new level! Top it off with our creamy homemade Caesar dressing, and it's a little bit of heaven. Also try: Perfect Caesar Salad
Though it looks a little like rice, orzo is actually a small pasta in the shape of rice! It’s often used in Mediterranean-style recipes like Italian and Greek cuisine.
This Greek orzo salad is one of our favorite summer side dishes that harnesses the flavors of Mediterranean. It's got salty feta cheese, Kalamata olives, and of course, powerhouse herbs like mint and dill!
Here's a classic summer side dish: broccoli salad! You know, that classic American broccoli salad with raisins and a mayo-based dressing? This retro salad marinades the florets until they’re soft and savory sweet. It’s oddly satisfying and gives us all those nostalgic vibes. Here’s a new and improved version of to make it fresh and healthy: but it keeps all the character and deliciousness of the original. In fact: we think it’s even better.
This salad is classic and chic: ripe blackberries or blueberries, baby greens, soft goat cheese and smoked almonds bring a nuance of flavor that’s extraordinary for the amount of prep time required. Top it off with our famous creamy Best Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing. Alex and I dreamed up this salad, and upon first bite, both declared “Wow.” It's one of our favorite tasty and healthy summer side dishes.
Can there be a recipe that’s too simple to write down? We hope not, because this one might be one of the simplest summer side dishes there is. But though it’s easy to make, it’s truly one of the greatest taste treats known to man. The mozzarella tomato basil salad is a thing of glory, when the summer tomatoes are the juiciest and the summer basil is bushy and prolific. This salad from Capri, Italy is the dish of the season.
Are you cauliflower addicts like we are? These days there are so many creative ways to eat this tasty cruciferous vegetable. And as a summer side dish, might we recommend this grilled cauliflower recipe?
Have you ever tried a peach salsa? If not, you’re in for a treat! Not only is the blend of the sweet juicy peaches with the spicy red onions incredibly delicious, but it’s quite versatile. You could serve it with chips or crackers as an appetizer. It’s the perfect peach salsa for fish, or in a burrito or taco. With tortilla chips, it's one of our go-to's for summer side dishes!
Did you know the easiest way to cook is corn on the cob is in the oven? This one is a game changer. There's literally no prep time: you don't even need to husk it! Throw it on the oven grates to roast and it comes out beautifully moist. Said a recipe tester, "This is heaven! The corn was cooked perfectly." It's one of our most low maintenance summer side dishes.
Adding avocado always makes a salad recipe more filling and satisfying, and this one is no exception! This cucumber tomato avocado salad is all about fresh simplicity: ripe and juicy tomatoes, cool cucumbers, and creamy avocado. They’re mixed with lime juice and cilantro for a tangy pop that perfectly accentuates their flavors. It's great as a side dish for tacos or any meal with Latin flavors. Also try: Cucumber Tomato Onion Salad
This Creamy Coleslaw recipe is perfectly balanced in sweet and savory flavors, and it has a healthy spin. The tasty dressing has no refined sugar and less mayo than most coleslaw recipes. We found ourselves going back to the fridge for seconds and thirds with this one. It's one of those classic summer side dishes you never want to end.
When it’s the season, you’ve got to seize it: make all the peach recipes! Here’s the recipe we run to often: this fresh Peach Salad! This one is a standout, pairing juicy ripe peaches with a sweet balsamic vinaigrette, punches of creamy goat cheese and nutty toasted almonds. Add pops of sweet corn and savory red onion slivers and it’s a total treat!
Looking for a fun summer side dish? Try Fruit Skewers! Everything tastes better on a stick, right? This is a simple concept that’s more like an idea than a recipe: but it makes everyone go crazy for pure, fresh fruit. Use whatever fruits you like and if desired, serve with our favorite 3 ingredient fruit dip!
Here’s our go-to when it comes to summer side dishes: this Greek Pasta Salad! This one pairs Mediterranean-style flavors with chewy bowtie pasta for a zingy, fresh combination that can’t be beat. Juicy cherry tomatoes contrast cool cucumber, salty olives, and savory feta cheese, with generous handfuls of parsley, dill, and a Greek-style vinaigrette dressing.
What’s more quintessential summer than the crunch of biting into a green bean? Here’s a summer side dish that captures that essence: this homey Green Bean Salad! Imagine: tender blanched green beans covered in a zingy dressing, paired with tomatoes, baby arugula and the salty pop of feta crumbles. This one is ideal for pairing with a grilled meal, a trio of salads or dish for a summer potluck or pitch-in.
½ cup feta cheese crumbles, for garnish (optional)
Cook the corn: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. (This takes about 15 to 20 minutes, so plan accordingly.) Shuck the corn, removing the silk. When the water is boiling, place the corn cobs in the pot. Boil covered for 4 minutes, until bright yellow. Run under cool water until cool enough to touch. (Alternate method: Roast the corn in the oven or use canned corn.)
Cut the corn: Find a bundt pan, or large rimmed baking sheet or pan. Place the corn into the hole in the bundt pan or hold the corn vertically inside the baking sheet, then use a chef’s knife to slice down and remove the corn from the cob (the sides of the pan catch the kernels that fly when cutting; more details here.)
Chop the vegetables: Meanwhile, dice the cherry tomatoes. Finely chop the red onion. Chop the basil.
Mix in the dressing: In a large bowl, mix together all vegetables with the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, garlic powder, chili powder, salt, fresh ground black pepper to taste, and optional feta crumbles. Stores refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Keywords: Summer side dishes
Need more summer side dishes?
In case these didn’t strike your fancy, here are a few more summer sides we love: