25 Colorful Summer Side Dishes to Make Right Now
When we think of summer food, burgers, ice cream, and fruity beverages are the first things that comes to mind. But side dishes are just as important and have the potential to be the stars of the show. Of course, macaroni salad, potato salad, and pasta salad are key players but so are vegetable-based sides that highlight the bounty of summer produce. If you want a fresh take on a classic, try the Dill, Potato, and Egg Salad seen here. Made with a tangy vinaigrette instead of mayo, it's a light, bright side you'll reach for all season long.
When it comes to what's new and now, we're talking zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, and corn on the cob. This Summer Squash Slaw is bright, sunny, and healthy, too. Green zucchini grabs the mic in recipes such as Zucchini Slaw, Zucchini Babaghanouj, and Zucchini-and-Squash Salad. Vibrant purple eggplant shines when grilled and glazed with hoisin sauce or pomegranate dressing.
We're also bending the rules a bit and thinking outside of the box in terms of what a grilled side dish can consist of. Grilled corn, of course, but what about Grilled Garlic Bread with Herb Butter? We also love the idea of making our Grilled Bread and Chiles with Burrata, which pairs our favorite creamy cheese with mixed chile peppers and crusty bread that soaks up a drizzle of rich olive oil. You could also try Grilled Peas with Toasted Coconut, which are a party popping appetizer similar to edamame. The combination of the two ingredients is a delicious surprise and quite simple to prepare.
Grilled Bread and Chiles with Burrata
Grilled Peas with Toasted Coconut
Tomato and Avocado Salad
If the vivid colors don't draw you in, then the summer flavors will. All you need for this magnificent salad is three ingredients plus seasonings, so it's the easiest, most irresistible salad around. Use heirloom tomatoes from a local farm (or your backyard) if you really want to wow.
Classic Creamed Corn
Test Kitchen's Favorite Potato Salad
Our food editors love a classic potato salad, one that isn't heavy on the mayonnaise allowing all the other ingredients to shine through. This recipe mixes whole-grain mustard and white vinegar together with the mayonnaise for a tangy, sharp bite. Make it a day ahead to cut down on day of prep and to let the flavors mingle.
Beans, zucchini, and corn star in this sunny salad version of the classic vegetable stew. The biggest part of the prep is waiting for salt to draw the moisture out of the zucchini. Cooking the beans and corn and tossing with the sliced zucchini, oil, herbs, and vinegar comes together fast.
Grilled Garlic Bread with Herb Butter
Mexican Grilled Corn
Grilled Radicchio, Summer Squashes, and Scallions
Seasoned Roasted-Corn Salad Cups
Grilled Eggplant in Pomegranate Dressing
Marinated-Artichoke and Green-Bean Pasta Salad
Grilled Corn with Chile-Lime Salt
Rice Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Feta
Rice salad can be a snooze, but not this lively version with plenty of fresh herbs (parsley and mint), cherry tomatoes, and cucumber, and punch feta cheese—it's a sure fire crowd pleaser.
Cherry Tomato, Corn, and Halloumi Salad
Sweet-Pickled Cucumber Chips
New Potato Salad with Red-Wine Vinaigrette
Summer Squash Slaw
Traditional Spanish rice mixes just a couple tablespoons of tomato paste in for a rich bite and slightly orange color. Here, we're amping up the flavor even more with a blend of spices including turmeric, mustard seeds, curry, cumin, and chile peppers. Keep a cool beverage nearby to mellow the heat!