No matter how well you can grill a steak, or smoke a big piece of pork, in my opinion, the best part of every summer meal, are the side dishes!
Are you a backyard griller? Or do you do your best grilling work at the cottage or at the lake? I live in Toronto, and my backyard is a balcony, so I have to wait until we go to the cottage to grill anything. I dream of the day when I can grill anytime my heart desires!
With the hot and humid days of summer about to take hold, now is the time to get those family barbecues and potluck dinners planned. Summer is short, so waste not a moment of that precious time.
To help you through, I’ve assembled my favourite summer side dish recipes from Lord Byron’s Kitchen. I’ve made these recipes again and again and I never fail to enjoy the taste of them just as much as I did the first time around. Keep this list nearby, Dear Reader; there’s a side dish in this collection for every summer get together you can think of!
First, let’s start things off with a simple tomato dish. The Barefoot Contessa’s Herb and Garlic Tomatoes are the perfect recipe to use up that bounty of summer ripe tomatoes. A simple recipe with intense garlic and basil flavour! This is perfect as a simple side, or piled onto sliced, grilled baguette, or even tossed with cooked pasta!
Next, one of my favourite side dishes of all time. I think radishes are completely underutilized. This salad is light and refreshing, a simple combination of corn and radish, paired with a light oil and vinegar dressing and a burst of fresh lime juice, Corn and Radish Salad is a perfect summer side dish to any grilled main!
What screams summer more than fresh, local asparagus? Served cold or at room temperature, Asparagus and Egg Pasta Salad is a dish best served in late spring or early summer when fresh asparagus is readily available. Bring this dish to your next picnic or potluck and you’ll surely be the belle of the ball!
Do you ever need a side dish in a hurry? Of course you do! It happens to the most prepared person on occasion. This salad is the answer to last minute side dishes. It’s a quick, delicious, and hearty salad; perfect for any occasion! 5 Minute Bean and Chickpea Salad is a BBQ, picnic, and potluck favourite!
Speaking of easy and fast, let’s go back to asparagus for a minute. Asparagus doesn’t need to be complicated to be delicious. Lemon Butter Asparagus is as simple as it gets – gently sauteed asparagus in a little butter with lemon juice and zest. Bright and refreshing; a perfect spring and summer side!
Next, let’s talk coleslaw – seriously, I eat coleslaw all year round – I just love it! A great tasting Homestyle Creamy Coleslaw consists of simple ingredients, no fuss, and lots of crispy, crunchy vegetables. This coleslaw is the ultimate in summer family comfort food!
Even though all of these dishes are perfect picnic food as well, I have a salad that is dedicated to the returning popularity of picnics. After all, who doesn’t love picnic food!? Picnic Pasta Salad is the perfect pack-up-and-go dish; tasty, filling, and delicious. No worries about the summer heat; this pasta is sour cream and mayo free!
Summer time fun is no fun at all without Mom’s Classic Macaroni Salad – creamy and rich in flavour with bell peppers and a little cheddar cheese; it’s the fond memories you’ll make which helps to round out this old-fashioned favourite.
These are the bomb! I don’t make them too often, because I have no self control. A beautiful side dish, a great little appetizer, or eat them all and call it a main! Hasselback Baby Potatoes are fast and easy, budget-friendly, and oh, so delicious! I bet you can’t eat just one!
Like the 5 Minute Bean and Chickpea Salad above, this is another very quick side dish. A light, fresh taste with just a hint of sweet, this protein packed Kidney Bean Brown Rice Salad is vegetarian-friendly, and is a quick and easy side or main. 20 minutes from start to finish and you’re good to go!
Like asparagus, tomatoes are also a summer bounty. Buy locally grown tomatoes for the best results. A simple and easy side dish never looked this good! Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes are baked to perfection with just the right amount of parmesan, panko, and fresh herbs.
Creamy, garlicky, cheesy, and completely satisfying! Parmesan Garlic Potatoes and Peas is the perfect side dish to almost any main. Pair this simple, rustic dish with chicken, pork, or beef for a great weeknight dinner option. Or, since we’re talking about summer side dishes, serve this dish chilled with any grilled main!
I like to think that this salad is for the health-conscious among us. (Although, I think there’s no place for healthy eating at a barbecue!) Anyway, this is a light and refreshing, veggie-packed summer salad with the wholesome goodness of quinoa. Fast and easy to prepare, Vegetable Quinoa Salad is a great side or main dish!
The next 3 potato salads are the epitome of my childhood. Even though potato salads are considered a summer staple, in Newfoundland, they’re enjoyed all year round – especially during special occasions like Christmas and Thanksgiving. Newfoundlander’s make all three types of potato salads at the same time, but you can pick just one if you prefer.
First, there’s Pickled Beet Potato Salad which is a sweet and creamy side dish that can stand up to anything you want to pair it with; it’s great with roasted chicken or roast beef. Also, a perfect summer barbecue potluck take-along side dish!
Next, there’s my sister’s favourite. Mustard Potato Salad is very similar to a regular potato salad, but with a tangy, bitter side note from classic yellow mustard. Why not try something new with your potato salad this summer?
This final Newfoundland potato salad is my absolute favourite! A mixed vegetable medley, paired with chopped hard-boiled eggs, mashed potato, and green onions; Vegetable Potato Salad is creamy, comforting, and oh so delicious! Need a summer side dish? Look no further!
Just like asparagus and tomatoes, corn is also a summer favourite. This is my favourite way to eat corn. Wait. That’s not true. Every possible way to eat corn is my favourite! Transform the most simple ingredients into the most delicious side dish – Seasoned Creamy Cheesy Sweet Corn is just the thing you need to brighten up your main and your plate! Creamy, cheesy, sweet, and salty all in one!!
Baked beans – there’s not really much to say. I think everyone loves them! But, who says Homemade Baked Beans needs to have bacon? And who says they need to be baked? Stovetop Homemade Vegetarian Baked Beans are fast, cheap, and easy – and nobody will notice the missing pork product!
Summertime always brings about the produce that makes me happy. It wasn’t always so, but in recent years, I’ve developed a taste for fresh, local produce, and an eye for colourful, vibrant food. These heirloom tomatoes were just what I needed to make a Heirloom Tomato Feta Pasta Salad!
I had almost forgotten about zucchini! There’s plenty of zucchini available in the summer months. A vegetable side dish that has the capability to transform several meals from plain to pizzazz! Italian Roasted Zucchini and Tomatoes is easy, affordable, and absolutely delicious!
Here’s another corn side dish, but this time, the corn is paired with chopped apple. Another very common Newfoundland dish; one that is pretty much loved by everyone. With just a few ingredients, Apple and Corn Salad is one of those great tasting recipes that gives you lots of bang for your buck!
If you’re feeding a crowd, I would highly suggest you double or even triple this recipe, because these wedges will disappear very quickly! Roasted to perfection and perfectly seasoned, Paprika and Parmesan Potato Wedges are the perfect side dish – smoky, garlicky, onion-y, and cheesy – could these get any better?
Here’s another light and delicious salad recipe. Delightful and flavourful, Couscous Green Pea Salad with Almonds and Feta is tossed with a tangy and spicy vinaigrette and served cold – fresh and delicious meals couldn’t possibly get any better than this!
Lastly, another pasta salad, because pasta salads are a huge hit in the summer time. Roasted Asparagus Lemon Butter Pasta Salad is a simple butter roasted asparagus pasta salad, tossed with sun dried tomatoes, fresh lemon, and parmesan. A delightful cold pasta salad that everyone will love!
There you have it, Dear Reader! My top 24 picks for a summer side dish that will complete your summer time meal. These dishes are easy and simple, and will bring a smile to everyone’s face. I hope you enjoy each and every one of these as much as I did! Cheers!
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