Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Best BBQ sides

Wow the crowd at your next BBQ or cookout with these easy and delicious sides: choose from salads, appetizers and salsas.

Six easy and delicious sides for your next BBQ or cookout

With Independence Day just around the corner, I've been fixated lately on the summer BBQ.

Or cookout. Is this a regional thing? Growing up in New England, we called them cookouts. I had to learn to refer to them as "barbecues" when I moved down south.

Whatever the nomenclature, I love those parties held outside that involve grilled meat.

But, more than the meaty main course, I'm all about the sides: salads, dips, appetizers, chips. Those little unsung heroes are often what makes the meal. And while anyone can bring some ice cream or cookies or a flag cake made with berries and Cool Whip, I highly prefer the guest who brings an amazing side.

So here's a roundup of some of my favorite BBQ (or cookout) side dish recipes, all of which are easy to make, easy to transport and guaranteed to wow the crowd.

  1. Bloody Mary Tomato Salad: All that tangy flavor without the hangover
  2. Light Broccoli Slaw Pasta Salad: Combine two favorite sides into one
  3. Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Homemade Ranch Dressing: Not your grandma's boring old slaw
  4. Pimento Cheese Hummus: This one is highly addictive, so watch out!
  5. Strawberry Avocado Salsa: Fresh, light and seasonal
  6. No-Cook Raw Vegetable Salad: Did you see the "no-cook" part? 'Nuff said
  7. Lightened Blue Cheese Potato Salad: Tangy and awesome, yet lighter than most potato salads

Those are some of my faves: how about you? Leave a comment and tell me how you would complete this sentence:

A summer BBQ just isn't a BBQ without _____________ .

The Ninj wants to know.


  1. without....my Avocado Sweet Lime Black Bean Dip. How's that for arrogance. I've lived north and I've lived south. Yup, cookouts and BBQ's. Cookouts are better. JUST KIDDING! Your Bloody Mary Tomato Salad looks awesome!

    1. I still have to work hard to not call them "cookouts", so I agree, Allie! Give the Bloody Mary Tomato Salad a try -- it's seriously awesome with fresh summer tomatoes.

  2. It's not a BBQ or cookout without a pitcher of homemade iced tea infused with garden herbs....and paper plates! LOL. There are lots of things that I like to make for my summer parties, but homemade iced tea is always a hit. Wonderful choice of sides...I love the sound of that hummus. xo, Catherine

    1. Oh, YEAH, Catherine, that tea sounds amazing! You're welcome to bring it to my house any time. :-)

  3. The thought of that iced tea is making me thirsty!! We spend all our weekends at the lake during the summer, and rarely without friends, so it's non-stop BBQ for us. I'm all about the sides and love any kind of veggie salad. Or bean salad. Or potato salad. Or fruit salad. Or pasta salad. You get the point. I also always like to have watermelon, everyone likes that.

  4. I"ve been putting out a plate of 3 kinds of nuts in stripes. it's remarkably successful and couldn't be easier. Add chips-and-salsa/dip/whathaveyou +fruit or veggies a bit later, and pretty soon the group doesn't mind that the grill is only so big, and the crowd is SO big.

    1. SImple genius, Cricket! It's fun to have big crowds.