Nobody wants to be the guest who brought the boring potato salad that’s left sitting barely eaten on the buffet table when the party’s over. Up your barbecue game with one of these unexpected side dishes that showcase summer’s best flavors. Prepare for lots of recipe requests — and a guaranteed invitation to next year’s cookout.
Juicy summer berries take center stage in this sweet and savory cornbread. Substitute whichever berries are in season for the freshest summer flavor. Get recipe from The Bojon Gourmet.
This light and refreshing salad is also filling, thanks to the shrimp and orzo. Don’t forget to add plenty of garden-fresh mint and parsley. Get recipe from iFOODreal.
If summer had an official flavor, it would be sweet and smoky corn on the cob. Take grilled corn to the next level by serving it elote style in a creamy sauce with cojita cheese, fresh cilantro, lime juice and spices. Get recipe from Live Eat Learn.
Pizza gets a serious summer upgrade when it’s topped with paper-thin shaved asparagus tendrils. Experiment with baking the pizza on the grill. Get recipe from Crumb.
There is perhaps no side dish more ubiquitous at the summer cookout than pasta salad. Give the tired staple a fresh (and low-carb!) update by swapping spiralized zucchini “noodles” for heavy pasta. Turkey sausage and pesto give this dish plenty of flavor. Get recipe from Kalyn’s Kitchen.
Lemongrass and mint give this chilled soup a bright flavor profile. It will impress fellow summer partygoers, but it’s a breeze to whip up in your food processor. Get recipe from The Fauxmartha.
Store-bought fruit salad won’t stand a chance on the buffet table next to this fresh and fun version that uses spicy jalapeño to draw out the sweet flavor of watermelon. Get recipe from Half Her Size.
It would be a crime to let summer pass you by without sinking your teeth into some ripe heirloom tomatoes — and we think this tart is the perfect way to enjoy them. We don’t see any reason why you couldn’t swap in some even more decadent burrata for the mozzarella. Get recipe from Oh, Sweet Basil.
Ripe avocados give this salad a creamy texture, while sliced cucumbers lend big crunch. Add juicy sun-dried tomatoes, and you’ve basically got summer in a bowl. Get recipe from Big Flavors From a Tiny Kitchen.
Health-conscious crowds will gobble up this paleo-friendly side dish. Crunchy snap peas flavored with cool mint and lemon will be a welcome light note on buffet tables otherwise laden with heavy, cheesy, mayonnaise-y sides. Get recipe from Further Food.
Meaty scallops make this salad substantial enough for a weeknight entrée. Or, double (or triple) the recipe and bring it as a side dish to you next summer potluck. Tart lime juice and sweet basil work together to create a simple and tasty dressing. Get recipe from Natural Kitchen Adventures.
Sticky barbecue ribs and other grilled meats will pair perfectly with this fresh take on coleslaw. Carrots, peppers and jicama pack plenty of crunch, and sliced mango gives the slaw a hint of tropical sweetness. Get recipe from Garnish With Lemon.
Go ahead and toss that basic (read: boring) potato salad recipe you’ve been making for years. This decadent version is bound to become your new go-to. Get recipe from Foodie Crush.
Sweet peaches are the perfect late-summer stand-in for tomatoes in this out-of-the-ordinary Caprese. Salty prosciutto and plenty of fresh basil add to the beauty and deliciousness of this salad. Get recipe from My Bottomless Ex-Boyfriends.
Elegant summer soirees call for upgraded nibbles. Instead of chips and salsa, bring this (admittedly more labor-intensive, but totally worth it) tuna tartare served with nori chips. Get recipe from A Beautiful Plate.
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