Cookout Side Dishes

Planning a backyard celebration this summer? Make your party menu complete with a variety of cookout side dishes. The side dish at any cookout is almost as important as the main meal, so make sure you offer a wide variety so all guests are happy. Serve 3-4 side dishes, depending on the party size and include a balance of hot and cold items. Here are four fantastic cookout side dish ideas to help you complete your summer menu.

  • Fresh Tomato Salad: Serve this in place of an ordinary garden salad. It is refreshing and makes the perfect compliment to any grilled main dish.
    • Ingredients:
      • 1 pound heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges
      • ¼ cup white vinegar
      • 1 tsp. finely chopped jalapeno (exclude if you don’t like spice)
      • 1 cup thinly sliced white onion
      • 4 tbsp. aged balsamic vinaigrette
      • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large serving bowl, combine the vinegar, balsamic and jalapeno. Mix well until combined. Add the tomatoes and onion then toss to coat with the dressing. Season well with salt and pepper and serve.

Cookout Side Dishes

  • All-American Cole Slaw: This classic cookout side dish recipe is perfect for any backyard bash. It is easy to make in advance leaving you time to focus on the rest of your party planning.
    • Ingredients:
      • ¾ lb. red cabbage, shredded
      • ¾ green cabbage shredded
      • 2 carrots, grated
      • 1 onion, grated
      • 2/3 cup of mayonnaise
      • 3 tbsp. of malt vinegar
      • 1 tsp. salt
      • 1 tsp. pepper

In a large serving bowl, combine the cabbage with the vinegar, salt and pepper and toss. Add the carrot, onion, and mayonnaise then toss again to mix everything together. Cover the cole slaw with plastic wrap and let it sit for at least 2 hours before serving.

Cookout Side Dishes

  • Greek Pasta Salad: Pasta salad is one of the great side dishes for a cookout because it's filling, easy to make and can be served at room temperature. Whether you’re headed to a potluck or hosting your own backyard celebration, this side dish will be a crowd pleaser.
    • Ingredients:
      • 1 lb. cooked pasta (of your choice)
      • 2/3 cup sliced katamala olives
      • ½ feta cheese, crumbled
      • 2 cups sliced cherry tomatoes
      • 2/3 red onion, chopped
      • 2 cups green pepper, chopped
      • ¾ cup light Greek salad dressing
      • Salt & pepper to taste

In a large serving bowl, combine the pasta, olives, feta cheese, tomatoes, onion, green pepper and toss. Slowly add in the Greek dressing while tossing the salad to make sure it is mixed in evenly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours before serving.

Cookout Side Dishes: Spicy Grilled Corn

  • Spicy Grilled Corn: Turn up the volume on classic corn-on-the-cob with this side dish recipe for a cookout. The spicy/ sweet combination makes this dish the perfect addition to any cookout menu.
    • Ingredients:
      • 1 lb. shucked corn
      • 1 tsp. freshly cracked pepper
      • 1 tsp. salt
      • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
      • Olive Oil

Brush each ear of corn with a light layer of olive oil. Sprinkle pepper, salt and cayenne pepper evenly over each ear of corn. Place corn on a medium hot grill. Let the corn cook for about 12-15 minutes or until tender. Serve and enjoy!


  • Strawberry, Walnut, and Goat Cheese Salad: For a slightly more sophisticated summer side dish, make a composed salad. This elegant strawberry and goat cheese salad incorporates the delicious fresh flavors of early summer.
    • Ingredients:
      • A mix of fresh leafy greens (arugula and spinach are nice additions)
      • Strawberries, washed and sliced
      • Walnuts
      • Goat cheese rounds
      • Creamy balsamic dressing

Prepare the above side dishes for cookouts this summer and your barbeque is destined to be hit!

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