10+ Best Healthy Side Dishes for a Summer Cookout

super easy

When it comes to summer cookouts, it’s all about flavor! Whether you’re grilling up some burgers and hotdogs for the family or throwing a lavish backyard bash, one thing is certain – you need delicious side dishes that everyone will love. But don’t worry – creating healthy sides doesn’t have to be hard work. 

Here I’ve rounded up some of my favorite side dishes for a summer cookout that are just as flavorful and satisfying as traditional picnic fare but so much better for you! From zesty pasta salads to crisp, crunchy slaws, these creative recipes will bring a welcome dose of nutritious goodness even your pickiest eaters won’t turn down. 

So fire up the grill and get ready; with these fantastic sides in tow, your next barbecue is sure to be delicious and oh-so-good-for-you.

Best Healthy Side Dishes for a Summer Cookout

Summer cookouts and BBQs are the perfect occasions to showcase your favorite healthy side dishes. With a little creativity and some fresh produce, you can elevate even the most humble ingredients into something truly special. So why not take advantage of the summer bounty and impress your guests with some wholesome and delicious side dishes at your next cookout or BBQ?

1. Whole30 Potato Salad

healthy side dishes
PHOTO CREDIT: www.mommafitlyndsey.com

Healthy side dishes can be a challenge to find, especially when it comes to summer picnics and gatherings. However, with Momma Fit Lyndsey’s Whole30 potato salad recipe, you can have a delicious and nutritious side dish that everyone will love. This potato salad is made with whole, natural ingredients and is completely free of processed sugars and artificial flavors. Instead, it boasts fresh herbs and tangy mustard that really bring out the natural flavors of the potatoes. 

Plus, it’s incredibly easy to make, so you can whip up a big batch in no time. So next time you’re in need of a healthy side dish that won’t compromise on taste, give this Whole30 potato salad a try!

2. Healthy Macaroni Salad

healthy side dishes
PHOTO CREDIT: kathrynskitchenblog.com

Macaroni salad is a classic side dish that can complement any meal. However, traditional versions tend to be high in calories and unhealthy additives. Luckily, there are healthier options out there, such as the recipe provided on Kathryn’s Kitchen Blog. This healthy macaroni salad uses whole wheat pasta, crisp vegetables, and a Greek yogurt-based dressing to create a dish that is both satisfying and nutritious. 

By substituting ingredients and reducing the amount of mayonnaise typically found in macaroni salad, this recipe proves that healthy eating can still taste delicious.

3. Watermelon Salad

healthy side dishes
PHOTO CREDIT: amandascookin.com

Watermelon is a beloved fruit during the hot summer months, providing refreshing and sweet relief from the sweltering heat. However, did you know that watermelon can also be enjoyed in a savory dish? Enter the watermelon salad, a delightful and unexpected way to consume this juicy fruit. Amanda’s Cookin’s watermelon salad recipe incorporates basil, feta cheese, and balsamic glaze for a flavor profile that is both light and savory. 

This dish is perfect as a side for a summer barbecue or a light lunch on a hot day. Next time you’re craving watermelon, take a chance and try it in a salad – you won’t regret it!

4. Caprese Salad Skewers

side dishes for a summer cookout
PHOTO CREDIT: www.playpartyplan.com

Summer cookouts are the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with family and friends while enjoying delicious food and drinks. When it comes to side dishes, caprese salad skewers are a popular and refreshing choice that are sure to impress your guests. Made with fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and basil leaves, these skewers are easy to prepare and can be customized to suit your taste. 

The combination of sweet tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and fragrant basil is a heavenly one that is perfect for warm summer days. Whether you’re hosting a big party or a small gathering, caprese salad skewers are a crowd-pleaser that will surely delight your guests.

5. Marinated Italian Green Bean Salad

sides for a cookout
PHOTO CREDIT: www.therusticfoodie.com

This recipe for Marinated Italian Fresh Green Bean Salad is the perfect dish to serve alongside grilled chicken or burgers. The combination of crisp green beans, sweet cherry tomatoes, and tangy Italian dressing creates a flavor explosion that will have your taste buds singing. 

Plus, this dish is easy to make ahead of time, so you can spend more time soaking up the sun with your guests. Give this recipe a try and impress your friends and family with a new addition to your summer cookout spread.

6. Summer Fruit Salad

side dishes for a summer cookout
PHOTO CREDIT: joyfoodsunshine.com

Joy Food’s Sunshine has a mouthwatering recipe for a summer fruit salad that is both refreshing and flavorful. This sweet and tangy salad features a variety of seasonal fruits, including juicy watermelon, ripe strawberries, and succulent grapes. It’s easy to make and serves as a great side to complement any cookout meal. 

Not to mention, it’s also a healthier choice compared to other cookout sides like chips or potato salad. Give this summer fruit salad a try at your next cookout, and watch as your guests go back for seconds (and even thirds!).

7. Instant Pot Vegetarian Baked Beans

sides for a cookout
PHOTO CREDIT: karalydon.com

When it comes to planning a perfect cookout, everyone knows that the sides can really elevate the meal. While coleslaw and potato salad are classic options, why not switch things up with a savory and filling dish of instant pot vegetarian baked beans? Not only does this recipe offer a protein-packed and meatless alternative for guests, but it also cooks quickly in the instant pot, leaving you with more time to socialize and enjoy the party. 

With hearty ingredients like navy beans, maple syrup, and garlic, these baked beans are sure to be a crowd-pleaser and a go-to recipe for your future cookouts.

8. Mediterranean Potato Salad

sides for a cookout
PHOTO CREDIT: veggiesociety.com

Mediterranean potato salad is a delicious and nutritious option. This potato salad recipe incorporates classic Mediterranean flavors, such as olives, feta cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes, to give it a tangy and flavorful taste. Additionally, it uses Greek yogurt as a healthy alternative to mayonnaise, making it a low-fat and protein-rich option. 

This salad not only tastes great but also provides numerous health benefits. Potatoes are a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, while olives and sun-dried tomatoes are packed with healthy fats and antioxidants. Incorporating this Mediterranean potato salad into your summer BBQ spread is a smart choice for your health and taste buds.

9. Ramen Noodle Salad

healthy bbq sides
PHOTO CREDIT: confessionsofafitfoodie.com

When it comes to barbeques and summer potlucks, it’s easy to get carried away with indulgent treats that may not necessarily align with our health goals. That’s why it’s important to have healthy and delicious sides like the Ramen Noodle Salad from Confessions of a Fit Foodie in your arsenal. This light and refreshing salad features crunchy veggies, tangy dressing, and surprisingly addictive ramen noodles that add just the right amount of texture to the dish. 

Plus, it’s a breeze to put together, making it the perfect option for busy summer nights. So, next time you’re tasked with bringing a side dish to a BBQ, consider whipping up this healthy and crowd-pleasing Ramen Noodle Salad.

10. Mediterranean Bean Salad

healthy bbq sides
PHOTO CREDIT: www.acedarspoon.com

Mediterranean Bean Salad is a refreshing and healthy dish that is packed with nutrients and flavor. This salad is a perfect combination of fresh vegetables, protein-packed beans, and tangy vinaigrette. Each bite of the Mediterranean Bean Salad is a burst of color and flavor, making it an excellent addition to any meal. 

What makes this salad unique is that it is easy to customize based on personal tastes and preferences. Add chopped herbs like parsley or cilantro or switch up the type of beans used for even more variety. With just a few simple ingredients and a little bit of preparation, you can have a delicious Mediterranean Bean Salad ready to enjoy!”

11. Quick and Easy Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Tangy Dressing

healthy side dishes
PHOTO CREDIT: drivemehungry.com

Vietnamese cuisine is known for its light and fresh flavors, and the Vietnamese noodle salad certainly lives up to this reputation. This salad is the perfect combination of cool, crisp vegetables, tender rice noodles, and zesty Vietnamese dressing. The beauty of this dish lies in its versatility – you can add any vegetables you have on hand, and the recipe can be easily adjusted to suit your taste preferences. 

The salad also makes for a hearty, healthy meal, and is a great way to explore the flavors of Vietnam from the comfort of your own kitchen. Whether you’re a fan of Southeast Asian cuisine or just looking for a refreshing summer meal, give this Vietnamese noodle salad a try – your taste buds will thank you.

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