20 Summer Side Dishes You Need

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 side dishes

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?

Ready for our top summer side dishes?

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Cucumber salad with sour cream

Summer Cucumber Salad

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (7 votes, average: 4.86 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Here’s an ultra refreshing summer side dish: creamy cucumber salad! The silky sauce with dill and shallots brings an irresistible flavor.



  • 2 medium shallots
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill (or 2 tablespoons fresh)
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 large English cucumbers (2 pounds), or peeled standard cucumbers


  1. Thinly slice the shallots (separate them into rings with your fingers). In a small container, stir together the shallots with the sour cream, white vinegar, dried dill, grated garlic clove, kosher salt, and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, thinly slice cucumbers and place them in a colander (if using standard cucumber, peel them first; English cucumbers don’t need to be peeled). Toss the slices with several larger pinches of kosher salt and rest 45 minutes. Remove them from the colander and pat them dry.
  3. When ready to serve, gently stir together the cucumbers and dressing (don’t stir too vigorously or it will cause bubbles). Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 2 hours; it gets watery if you refrigerate for too long with the sauce. If you’d like to prepare it in advance, refrigerate the components separately until serving.

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: Salad

Need more summer side dishes?

In case these didn’t strike your fancy, here are a few more summer sides we love:

Drink up!

Here are a few summer fruit forward drink recipes to pair:

Last updated: June 2020

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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