Don’t fill up on cheeseburgers and hot dogs, because this summer is all about the sides! From a vegetable-loaded pasta salad to grilled potatoes and buttered corn on the cob, these fun dishes can be made ahead, prepared on the grill or even assembled in minutes. Produce is at its peak right now and it’s the perfect time to experiment with a few new recipes. So, this time don’t settle for pickles and potato chips. Make these next-level sides and salads and wow the guests at your upcoming cook out.
Grill-Baked Potatoes with Chive Butter
Who says baked potatoes have to be done in the oven? Keep your kitchen cool and make these grill-baked potatoes from Food & Wine Magazine. To help with faster cooking, the potatoes are sliced Hasselback-style and then pats of a homemade chive and sour cream butter are wedged between the folds. The potatoes are wrapped in foil and grilled until tender and the butter has melted into each and every bite of the potato. This is a perfect side for summer, but I suspect you’ll soon be making it year-round.
Radicchio-Stone Fruit Salad
This is not your Grandma’s Cool Whip-slicked fruit salad. When stone fruits are sweet and dripping with juice, slice them and pair with a contrasting bitter green like radicchio. This simple salad from Bon Appetit Magazine is dressed with only lemon juice and olive oil, so it comes together very quickly.
Corn on the Cob with Parsley Butter and Parmesan
Dress up this summer’s corn with a homemade garlic-and-parsley butter and a generous flurry of finely grated parmesan cheese. This recipe from Food & Wine also offers a genius tip for effortlessly shucking corn: boil the corn whole and then the husk and silk strands will slip right off.
Eggplant and Walnut Pesto Pasta Salad
This grilled vegetable pasta salad from Smitten Kitchen can double as a side dish or a light summer dinner. Instead of a traditional mayo-based dressing, Deb Pearlman tosses the pasta in a toasty walnut pesto with bits of sundried tomatoes. The nooks and crannies of the pasta catch the sauce, making for a very flavorful bite. This recipe calls for grilled eggplant, but you can easily swap in grilled summer squash, zucchini, peppers or whatever you have on hand.
Grilled Vegetables with Herb Vinaigrette
One of the things I love about grilling is that sometimes you don’t even need a recipe. Consider this mixed-vegetable grill from Martha Stewart as more of a template, than a recipe. Head to the farmer’s market and pick up what vegetables look best. Slice them up, throw them on the grill and serve with a simple vinaigrette or sauce for serving. It’s summer cooking at its best.