‘Tis the season to celebrate sunshine, sandals, and strawberries. Our 40 Best Summer Side Dishes may run the gamut from salsas and salads to dips and dressings, but they all boast fresh, seasonal ingredients and simple, no fuss preparation. Each of these easy side dishes for summer has been tested on picky eaters and picnic purists alike to much finger licking and lip smacking.
Need a reason to eat your veggies? We’ve got more than 40! These are our very best summer side dish recipes for picnics, backyard BBQs, easy weeknight dinners, and so much more.
Each recipe is a celebration of fresh summer produce at its peak, from ripe heirloom tomato salads to sweet grilled fruits and tender new potatoes.
These colorful and nutritious summer sides are a great way to round out tried-and-true warm weather proteins, like grilled steak or chicken. Looking for a crowd-pleaser for your next potluck? We’ve got tons of options that can be made in advance. Or, try a new dip or salsa for your next happy hour.
Summer is the BEST time of the year to try something new, so run, don’t walk, to farmer’s market and stock up on the best of what the season has to offer.
Classic Summer Vegetable Side Dishes
These are some of the best-of-the-best recipes that showcase summer vegetables at their peak. Simple preparation and simple seasoning go a long way with these fresh favorites. But then again, so do butter, bacon and cheese…
It doesn’t take much to make fresh asparagus shine – fresh lemon juice, minced garlic, and only 15 minutes in the oven. Sprinkle on some lemon zest after roasting for a bright, summery finish.
Forget casserole – fried onions ain’t got nothing on the crispy bits of garlic in this easy green bean recipe. You’ll be amazed how two tiny tricks can bring out massive flavor with minimal effort.
In less time than it takes to fire up your grill, this summertime favorite – with the perfect amount of skillet seared crust – can be on your plate. Fresh basil and garlic add depth to the buttery, rich flavor of this healthy vegetable side dish.
Put down the grill basket and skewers – roasted summer veggies are a showcase of flavorful favorites like cherry tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini, and bell peppers. This easy side dish recipe is loaded with tips to sidestep sogginess.
This super simple side dish is a celebration of late-summer flavor. With a little help from butter, garlic, fresh herbs and shaved parmesan, fresh zucchini and sweet corn get the end-of-season sendoff they deserve.
Comfort food is not just for cooler weather! This healthy riff on a classic makes the most of seasonal squash. Crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside, this baked side dish balances buttery creaminess with bright herbs for a summer supper sensation!
Sweet, salty, and seasonal. We love the surprising combination of blistered snap peas with smoky bacon and bright, fresh mint is ready in under 20 minutes. It’s super easy to learn how to cook this early-summer side dish in a “snap.”
Corn on the cob is hands-down one of summer’s hand-held edible treasures. It’s practically ready-to-eat, and requires little time and effort to yield pure sunshiney joy. Get picnic-perfect corn with any one of these six easy preparations.
Not Your Mama’s Fruit Salad
We couldn’t let veggies have all the fun! These fruit salads are sweet, savory and spectacular. Each of these vibrant no cook summer side dishes are great for solo summer snacking, but can easily scale up to serve a crowd.
Let me introduce you to nature’s perfect balance of creamy and crunchy, tart and sweet – all in one easy no-cook summer side dish. This combo of juicy mango, creamy avocado, crisp cucumber, and zesty red pepper is light enough to be refreshing and hearty enough to be filling.
A drizzle of balsamic glaze basically turns this strawberry cucumber salad with mint and basil into produce candy. Very low maintenance and highly cravable, I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t love this surprising summer side dish.
Summer side dish, salad, cheese course, and dessert all in one? Peaches, cherries, nectarines, and plums are tossed with heirloom tomatoes and basil, and served with fresh burrata cheese. Opens – or finishes – any meal with gusto!
While a sweet summer melon doesn’t really need enhancement, you can’t go wrong with the naturally delicious – and utterly refreshing – addition of crisp cukes, tart raspberries, and ribbons of fresh basil and mint to perfectly ripe cantaloupe. It’s “Aaaaahhhhh…” in salad form.
This sweet summer spin on classic caprese salad is ready in 15 minutes. Less if you’re skilled with a blade. Fresh mozzarella and even fresher basil with a hit of balsamic put you – and this dish – in rockstar territory.
Pot Luck Perfect
Wondering how you can show up and show out for a bevy of BBQs this season? These summer side dishes are perfect for picnics and potlucks. This collection of salads and slaws are designed to be prepped ahead of time and hold up beautifully over time.
This gorgeous summer pasta salad is bursting with so many fresh veggies, it looks like confetti. (Good thing, cause it’s great for parties!) The secret to getting this dish right is a superfine dice and a short, pre-serve marinade in our tangy homemade Lemon Honey Vinaigrette.
Mix fluffy quinoa with something crunchy, something sweet, something herby, a little citrus zest, and hit of acid, and the result is a crowd pleasing balance of sweet and savory, with a variety of punchy flavors and fun textures. This healthy summer side dish is naturally vegan and gluten-free.
Southwestern flavors shine in this healthy salad with quinoa and a tangy cumin-lime dressing. It’s packed with flavor and colorful vegetables for a vegan and gluten free lunch or side dish that tastes amazing and will make you feel the same.
Few recipes are quicker, easier, and more satisfying in the summertime than a simple bean salad. This healthy, vibrant version is ready in just 10 minutes, packed with protein and nutrients, and perfect to make ahead for weekly meal prep or a passing at a picnic.
If you’re also Team No-Mayo (especially sitting out in the summer sun) this healthy, flavorful (and resilient) side dish is calling your name. Sun-dried tomatoes and tangy basil vinaigrette add a burst of flavor, while baby spinach brings color and a kick of fiber.
For an impressive make-ahead dish with minimal effort, turn to this classic summer side. It’s intensely flavored with a lemony red wine vinaigrette and fresh herbs. It’s also naturally paleo, vegan, gluten free, and dairy free, so it’s sure to please the entire crowd at all your summering gatherings – even one with picky eaters.
Crispy, crunchy, smoky, and salty. Fresh, shredded veggies, crumbly bacon and a tangy vinegar and whole grain mustard dressing = side dish heaven. Goes great with (and on) both hot and cold meals. Plus, this healthy version happens to be keto and Whole30 compliant.
Colorful and crunchy kale slaw is super power food that’s packed with tasty, plant-based protein, vitamins, and antioxidants, plus it’s pretty darn easy on the eyes. This mayo-free salad (or slaw) is ready in just 20 minutes and stays crisp and crunchy.
Creamy and crunchy – with the perfect touch of tangy from healthy, homemade poppyseed dressing – this fiber-forward salad is a fresh accompaniment to any meal. While we love it in the summer because it holds up, it works year-round as a side dish or snackable salad.
If you’re firing up the grill, don’t stop at steaks and sausages. These fresh summer salads incorporate char-friendly summer fruits and veggies. Grilling adds a deeper layer of flavor while keeping easy summer side dishes light and bright.
If you could serve up “backyard in the summertime” on a plate, it would taste exactly like this Grilled Peach Salad. Fresh greens, aromatic herbs, and cool cucumber are the perfect foil for sweet, tangy grilled peaches.
This simple summer salad is an easy and delicious recipe you’ll find endless uses for all season long. Sweet grilled corn, crunchy bell peppers, tons of fresh basil, and a tangy lime dressing make a bright, fresh, and veggie-forward side dish in just 30 minutes.
A little sweet, a little smoky, a little crunchy – grilled zucchini with corn and marinated white beans is summer in a bowl. It’s substantial enough for lunch or dinner on its own, but also makes a great side dish for picnics, potlucks and parties.
Grilled Side Dishes
Summer vegetable side dishes for BBQ are the best way to embrace the full scope of seasonal cooking. Your veggies will never be fresher and your grill will never be more primed. Simple seasonings keep the flavor profiles clean and ready to pair with just about anything.
These choose-your-own summer vegetable kabobs always steal the proverbial meat-thunder at any cookout thanks to a super-quick, secret-weapon “I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-bottled” marinade. Just skewer, sizzle, and serve – they go from grate to plate in just 10 minutes!
Welcome to Summer Supper Superlatives – where Most Popular Vegetable meets Favorite Cooking Method. This fast and easy side dish goes with everything on your picnic table. Toss fresh florets with garlic, drizzle with fresh lemon juice, and char on the grill for a smoky, yet bright finish.
Perfectly grilled, lightly seasoned fresh asparagus during peak season is a thing of beauty. Take advantage of this time of year – learn how to pick the best stalks and when to pull your spears of the grate for a perfect finish.
Get ready for the ultimate umami experience. This summer grill recipe combines natural earthiness, fresh green herbs, and smoky charcoal to create a deep, savory flavor profile. Portobellos are great as a meatless main, but shine just as bright when added to veggies, pasta, or protein.
Summer Side Salads
Turn the spotlight on tomatoes with these easy summer side dishes. Your most important allies in these endeavors will be peak fresh veggies (not too hard, not too soft), a sharp knife, and even sharper knife skills. Oh, and bacon.
This textbook summer side screams “Hello Fresh!” The key to nailing this simple salad is perfectly peak-fresh veggies – crisp cucumber, juicy tomato, buttery avocado, and zesty red onion. It’s big on flavor, not on fuss.
Smokey bacon, sharp red onion, fresh basil leaves, ripe and juicy summer tomatoes make the healthy, bread-free BLT you never knew you were missing. This quick summer salad is a showstopper, and you’ll be begging for seconds – probably even maybe thirds!
Savor summer’s best flavors in every bite of this healthy side dish. Fresh sweet corn straight off the cob is combined with ripe juicy tomatoes, creamy avocado, crunchy cucumbers, and peppery basil, then tossed with tangy buttermilk dressing to create a perfect partner for grilled favorites.
Perfectly bright, with just a little bite! This “deconstructed” summer salad will satisfy your guac cravings with fresh, traditional flavors from ripe avocado, tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, and fiery jalapeno, buoyed by tart lime juice and smoky cumin. More flavor with less work.
We love a well-placed potato at a summer supper table. These summer side dishes rely on seasonal strategies to embrace this beloved starch – never heavy, never greasy, and definitely never masked by mayo. Even better? Super, duper kid (and picky adult) friendly.
Just because it’s summer, doesn’t mean you can’t have classic, cozy comfort food. Homemade oven fries with fresh basil butter are crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and bursting with summer flavor.
This easy side is great in the summer if you’re craving something homey and comforting without being heavy. Not only are these golden nuggets always a hit – even in summer – this recipe is a perfect potato primer, loaded with tricks for perfecting your year-round roasting skills.
Red, White, and Blue Ranch Potatoes will bring a patriotic (and nutritional) punch to your 4th of July table, no matter how you celebrate! Double seasoned with both herbs and ranch dressing, these tiny ‘taters are both addictive and insanely simple.
Fresh veggies aren’t just for sides and salads – summer snacking relies on dips, and these dips rely on produce at its peak. These healthy dips work with both carbs and crudité. Your summer side dish arsenal isn’t full until you’ve perfected a party-perfect dip for a summertime spread.
Every bite of this salsa is an epic mouthful of summer. Tender fresh corn kernels are pan roasted with poblano peppers, then tossed with tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro, and red onion and seasoned with lime juice – a simple but perfect balance of summer’s best bounty.
With as much protein as hummus, and just enough cream cheese to make it feel sinful, this healthy dip will enhance any crunchy snack craving – from fresh veggies to crispy chips. Greek yogurt and fresh spinach help keep it lighter and brighter for summer snacking.
When ripe and juicy berries are in season, stretch your dip game to include this Strawberry Avocado Salsa. It’s a sweet-not-spicy salsa packed with vibrant colors. This vegan salsa recipe is perfect for snacking, pot lucks, picnics, or as a topping for grilled chicken or fish.
Tart and refreshing from tons of fresh herbs, lemon juice, and a nice kick of garlic, this is a perfect dip for summer snacks. Read more to learn the trick to making this healthy white bean dip a creamy, luxurious spread fit for party platters.