50 Side Dish Recipes For Your Summer Cookout

For those who love to cook, summer might be the best season of all. As farmers markets explode with delicious, fresh produce ranging from corn and tomatoes to berries and peaches, time spent in the kitchen seems to become tastier and more enjoyable as the temperature rises. But the best part of summertime cooking may be that it need not be done inside at all, with the wonderful world of grilling offering a fun, relaxed way to cook outside and maybe even spend some time with friends while doing so.

And when you're firing up the grill to char burgers, hot dogs, or steak, it's a great idea to consider which tasty salads and sides you plan to serve alongside them. Summer cookout food is some of the best out there, featuring all the bright, fresh flavors the season has to offer while perfectly complementing the bold smokiness of grilled meats and vegetables. From fruity bruschetta to tangy carrot slaw to Moroccan chickpea salad, here are 50 side dishes that will be a welcome addition to any summertime cookout.

French Potato Salad

If you love dishes that are versatile and easily adaptable, then potato salad is undoubtedly one of your staple recipes. Basically just spuds that are simmered until tender and then tossed with any number of flavorful dressings and seasonings, potato salad seems to have an infinite number of variations — among them this bright and bold French one.

Made with a Dijon mustard vinaigrette (that's right, no mayo here) the salad gets another French touch from Champagne vinegar and a burst of brightness and color in the form of chopped fresh parsley, dill, and scallions.

This recipe is perfect for picnics and backyard barbecues, as the lack of mayonnaise means it can last a bit longer at room temperature and will please the mayo haters in your midst.

Recipe: French Potato Salad

Lemon Garlic Green Beans

Described as "spring on a plate" by its developer, this recipe for lemon garlic green beans is dead simple, requiring just six ingredients in total: green beans, butter, fresh garlic, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper.

To make the dish, trimmed beans are blanched in salted water, then shocked in a bowl of ice to preserve that bright green color. Minced garlic is then sautéed in butter, and then the green beans are added and cooked for five minutes with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Served with lemon wedges, this fast, easy dish is a perfect accompaniment to a wide variety of cookout foods.

Recipe: Lemon Garlic Green Beans

Vegan Taco Salad

Taco salad is a classic cookout or picnic dish, a mix of typical taco ingredients such as seasoned ground beef, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, avocados, salsa, and whatever else you like — but served in a bowl instead of corn or flour tortillas. If you've missed out on taco salad in the past because you don't eat meat, then look no further than this tasty vegan version which substitutes delicious chipotle-seasoned walnuts and lentils for the ground beef. Rounded out with chopped romaine lettuce, black beans, diced tomatoes, corn kernels, sliced avocados, and vegan sour cream, this hearty salad is the perfect addition to any summertime cookout.

The best part of this salad might just be its customizability: feel free to add or subtract your favorite taco ingredients to create the perfect bowl for you.

Recipe: Vegan Taco Salad

Baked Feta Dip

If you're a fan of one-pot or one-pan dishes, then this baked feta dip is for you. A simple arrangement of a block of feta cheese placed in a small baking dish along with tomatoes, red bell pepper, red onions, and garlic, the flavorful Mediterranean ingredients are baked in a hot oven before being removed and stirred together into a creamy dip.

Served right in the dish it was baked in, this dip is a wonderful appetizer for any cookout. Enjoy with wedges of pita bread, crudités, or crackers.

Recipe: Baked Feta Dip

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella

Summer is the perfect time to dust off all your favorite tomato recipes and really make the most of this hotly anticipated summer produce item, and this heirloom tomato panzanella is one of the most delicious ways to showcase the beautiful summer fruits. Heirloom tomatoes – which Bon Appétit explains are heritage breeds whose seeds have been carefully saved and passed down over time by tomato farmers — come in a stunning variety of flavors, colors, and textures, all of which take center stage in this Italian-style salad.

The recipe couldn't be much easier: toss chopped tomatoes with toasted ciabatta, cucumber, shallots, fresh dill and basil, and a simple oil and vinegar dressing.

Recipe: Heirloom Tomato Panzanella

Carrot Slaw

Is there any summertime side dish more classic than a slaw? While many likely think of cabbage coleslaw slicked with mayonnaise, the world of slaws is a wide one, and this bright carrot version is just as worthy of a prime spot on your summer cookout table.

Featuring shredded carrots, green cabbage, and red onion tossed in a light mayo, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar dressing, this carrot slaw is just as tasty piled next to grilled meat as it is layered inside a sandwich made with cookout leftovers.

Recipe: Carrot Slaw

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

If you're looking for an alternative to the standard macaroni salad featuring celery, bell peppers, and mayo, then this Hawaiian version is a great choice.

The dish gets its special touch from a slightly sweet dressing made with mayo, milk, apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper, and also includes crunchy diced celery, shredded carrots, and grated onion for texture and added flavor. Often served alongside kalua pig at Hawaiian luaus, the salad makes a wonderful accompaniment to any type of grilled or smoked pork or any other type of meat.

Recipe: Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Classic Dill Pickles

What would a summertime cookout be without pickles? Traditionally a way to preserve a glut of seasonal produce, and a dill pickle brine is the perfect way to enjoy the many, many cucumbers that show up in farmers markets and home gardens come summer. Luckily for anyone a little short on time (or concerned with their canning skills), this recipe is for a quick pickle. Made with a vinegar base, you'll be able to crunch into crisp quarters of Kirby cucumbers, fragrant with coriander seeds, fresh dill, and garlic, within just 24 hours.

The hardest part of this recipe — which honestly is not very hard at all — is sterilizing the jars in boiling water. For safe pickling, simply follow the directions laid out by the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Recipe: Classic Dill Pickles

Corn Salad

When corn is in season, any meal can become a showcase for the sweet, emblematic summer vegetable. Of course, a fresh salad is one of the best ways to enjoy corn, and this one features other seasonal ingredients like tomatoes, red bell peppers, and basil to create a side that screams summer.

Tossed with a garlicky apple cider vinaigrette and topped with tangy crumbled feta, this is a summertime cookout side you'll want to have on repeat.

Recipe: Corn Salad

Strawberry Bruschetta

Bruschetta probably makes you think of Italian-style garlicky chopped tomatoes atop toasted rounds of bread, but did you know that you can prepare bruschetta using sweet, seasonal fruit?

This summery version features sliced strawberries, which crown crispy slices of baguette that have been spread with creamy, tangy goat cheese. The toasts are topped with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of fresh basil and are a great party snack for any summer cookout. The perfect balance of sweet and savory, this recipe could be served as an appetizer or dessert, depending on your preferences.

Recipe: Strawberry Bruschetta

Instant Pot Hummus

Hummus seems to be a ubiquitous party side, taking its place among cheese platters and heaps of crudités as people warm-up for the main event by crunching and munching. And as convenient as supermarket hummus can be, nothing compares to homemade versions using dried chickpeas — but those recipes can require a bit of foresight for soaking the garbanzos.

If you're heading to a BBQ and the craving for homemade hummus strikes, then this Instant Pot version could save the day, utilizing dried chickpeas but taking just an hour from start to finish thanks to the handy appliance's pressure cooking function.

Recipe: Instant Pot Hummus

Homemade Seaweed Salad

Seaweed salad is a dish many love to order when we're dining out at our favorite Japanese restaurant. The refreshing mix typically includes rehydrated dried seaweed and chopped scallions tossed in a toasted sesame oil and soy sauce dressing, per No Recipes. If that sounds easy enough to make at home that's because it is — and it makes a wonderful accompaniment not just to Japanese food, but to summertime cookout dishes, as well.

Our version utilizes wakame and arame seaweeds, plus shredded cucumber and carrot, and sliced avocado, all tossed with a plum vinegar and ginger dressing.

Recipe: Homemade Seaweed Salad

Cowboy Caviar

If you've never heard of cowboy caviar, it's basically a mild, chunky salsa or bean salad that goes wonderfully with tortilla chips. We think the dish makes a great relish for topping burgers or dogs at a cookout, too!

The dip typically consists of black beans, blackeyed peas, corn kernels, and other vegetables, all tossed in a tangy dressing. In our recipe, we use a simple lemon vinaigrette sweetened with honey and add avocado to give the dish a fresh, bright note.

Recipe: Cowboy Caviar

Chicken Macaroni Salad

Creamy, tangy macaroni salad is a cookout classic for a reason, uniting firm noodles with a luxurious dressing in a combination few people can resist. The dish is infinitely customizable, and we love this more substantial version that includes a protein — namely, chopped cooked chicken — as well as halved cherry tomatoes, chopped celery and olives, and minced shallots, dill, and parsley. Tossed in a creamy mayo-based dressing with mustard and red wine vinegar for the familiar macaroni salad flavor you're seeking, this macaroni salad makes a great addition to any BBQ or potluck.

Recipe: Chicken Macaroni Salad

Pineapple Salsa

It's a wide world of salsas, with the fresh, spicy condiment available in loads of varieties that go well beyond the well-known tomato-based salsa roja, salsa verde, or the chunky pico de gallo — including the category of fruit salsas.

Infinitely adaptable, this pineapple salsa is a great choice for those craving something sweet and juicy at their cookout. It combines chopped pineapple with onion, jalapeño, garlic, and cilantro, plus lime zest and juice to add plenty of zing. Great atop chips, the salsa also pairs nicely with grilled fish, pork, or chicken.

Recipe: Pineapple Salsa

Mediterranean Orzo

Pasta salad is a quintessential summertime dish, the perfect thing to tote along to a cookout, potluck, or picnic, and we love this version made with tiny, oblong orzo.

Typically served in Mediterranean cuisines, the orzo pasta in this dish is complemented by those local flavors in the form of roasted red peppers and sundried tomatoes, with some shredded kale added in for good measure. The tasty salad is finished with crumbled feta cheese (naturally), olive oil, and salt and pepper.

Recipe: Mediterranean Orzo

Best Broccoli Salad

Broccoli salad might sound old-fashioned, but we promise you that our version isn't anything like the heavy, mayonnaise-based versions you may have sampled in your youth. This recipe utilizes crisp, raw broccoli florets, which get tossed in a tangy Greek yogurt dressing and mixed with sautéed turkey bacon, earthy sunflower seeds, and sweet dried cranberries. After being chilled for a couple of hours, all the flavors come together in a delicious harmony that's the perfect accompaniment to a host of summertime dishes.

With the ability to be stored for up to four days in the fridge, this broccoli salad is a great option to whip up and have on hand for any last-minute potluck invites or impulse sunset picnics.

Recipe: Best Broccoli Salad

Green Chili Mac & Cheese

If you love mac & cheese (and honestly who doesn't?) then we humbly suggest this tasty southwest take on the classic, which features canned, chopped green chiles stirred into a rich stovetop preparation that goes heavy on pepper jack and cheddar cheeses.

Delicious all on its own, this green chili mac & cheese makes a terrific side dish for a number of cookout foods, from grilled chicken to ribs. It's also filling and vegetarian, which means it will be a welcome sight at many backyard BBQs.

Recipe: Green Chili Mac & Cheese

Korean Potato Salad

If you've never had Korean-style potato salad, you're seriously missing out. Known as gamja saelleodeu, Thrillist explains the creamy, flavorful side is a type of banchan (or little side dishes) that commonly accompany Korean barbecue. In our book, all Korean BBQ sides make an excellent addition to any cookout, and this one's pretty simple to make so it's perfect for those inexperienced with the cuisine.

Our Korean potato salad recipe is made by boiling potatoes, passing them through a ricer, and then adding boiled carrot coins, chopped cucumbers, chopped hard-boiled eggs, and minced red onion. Everything is mixed with apple cider vinegar and mayonnaise for a perfectly creamy, slightly tart side. For bonus presentation points, serve the potato salad with an ice cream scoop and top with a showering of grated hard-boiled egg yolk.

Recipe: Korean Potato Salad

Stuffed Cherry Peppers

If you're looking for a fun, poppable snack to bring along to a cookout, let us suggest this tasty antipasto of jarred cherry peppers stuffed with a creamy mixture of cream cheese and ricotta. Assembling the peppers couldn't be easier: Just stir the two cheeses together with garlic and onion powders, salt, and chopped fresh parsley, and then stuff a small amount into each drained pickled cherry pepper. The salty, flavorful peppers make a great addition to any platter of cured meats, cheeses, or crudités.

Recipe: Stuffed Cherry Peppers

Moroccan Chickpea Salad

An incredibly versatile legume, chickpeas bring a wholesome, nutty flavor to dishes ranging from classic hummus to Rome's spicy pasta e ceci. And of course, they often make themselves at home in a salad, where they add textural contrast and a hit of protein.

Our chickpea salad (which makes an excellent accompaniment to robust grilled dishes) draws upon Moroccan flavors. The chickpeas are joined by Mediterranean ingredients — including olives, apricots, and pistachios — and then tossed in a dressing featuring oregano and paprika. A sprinkle of fresh parsley finishes the dish with a hit of bright herbaceousness and an added touch of green.

Perhaps the best part of all, this salad can be stored for up to five days in the fridge, meaning you can have leftovers for lunch or even prepare the side in advance if you're planning for a cookout later in the week.

Recipe: Moroccan Chickpea Salad

Classic Bruschetta

An iconic appetizer, bruschetta typically features rounds of crisp, toasted bread topped with a garlicky mixture of chopped tomatoes tossed with olive oil and strips of fresh basil. Our version is as classic as can be, with the slight adaptation of toasting horizontal halves of baguette and then slicing them, which is a neat time-saving trick.

With a nice sweet kick of balsamic vinegar stirred into the tomato topping, this bruschetta is a crowd-pleaser that makes the most of juicy summer tomatoes and would be right at home among other cookout appetizers such as chips, salsa, and guacamole.

Recipe: Classic Bruschetta

Grilled Watermelon Salad

You're going to want to reserve some space on the grill at your next cookout for watermelon, because searing the quintessential summertime fruit enhances its natural sweetness and adds a pleasing depth of flavor.

While wonderful eaten fresh off the grill, the fruit is the perfect way to take a variety of summer dishes to the next level. In this colorful salad, the grilled melon is nestled atop a bed of baby spinach, drizzled with balsamic reduction, and topped with mild, salty cotija cheese. Finally, slivered red onion and a handful of fresh mint and basil bring fragrance and tang to the dish before it's served.

Recipe: Grilled Watermelon Salad

Easy Fried Plantains

Some of the foods nature provides are so sweet that they're pretty much a dessert in their own right, and plantains are one of those foods.

Fried plantains are dead-simple and call for just three ingredients — plantains, cooking oil, and salt — and turn out deliciously sweet and dense. If you're not eating them as dessert, they make a wonderful accompaniment to cookout foods such as grilled chicken, fish, and pork. To make them, just heat oil in a pan, add thick slices of ripe plantain, fry until they're well browned on the outside and tender on the inside, and season with salt. Just make sure you're buying ripe plantains, otherwise you'll end up with tostones. While still delicious in their own right, tostones will not deliver that sweet flavor you're looking for at the end of your meal.

Recipe: Easy Fried Plantains

Refreshing Cucumber Kimchi Salad

If you love the bright, refreshing flavors of kimchi then you'll love this salad, which approximates those tastes using a quick overnight pickle.

While making kimchi is often fairly labor-intensive and can take anywhere from a few days to weeks to ferment, per Maangchi, this cucumber, cabbage, and salad mix is flavored with garlic, ginger, fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and gochugaru, then refrigerated for at least 12 hours. The resulting dish is cool, acidic, and a little bit spicy — the perfect side to stand up against the boldly flavored foods you're likely to find at a BBQ.

Recipe: Refreshing Cucumber Kimchi Salad

Charred Green Beans with Crispy Chickpeas & Curry Yogurt

The next time you light up your grill, save some space for — what else? — green beans.

If you've never grilled green beans, you'll be delighted by the deeply charred flavor the process imparts, and don't worry: A roasting or cooling rack placed over your grill grates will keep the vegetable from falling through. Once grilled (or broiled in the oven), the beans get tossed with crispy roasted chickpeas, curried yogurt, and plenty of fresh cilantro. It's a bright, fresh, and unexpected pairing to cookout foods that you and your guests will love.

Recipe: Charred Green Beans with Crispy Chickpeas & Curry Yogurt

Cauliflower Potato Salad

If you love potato salad but are looking for a change of pace, then this cauliflower potato salad might be just the ticket. Steamed cauliflower is actually fairly similar — in both taste and texture — to cooked potatoes, but has a lower carbohydrate content and is great for folks following special diets (via The Daily Meal).

Other than the veggie swap, this recipe is fairly classic, calling for a lemony, mustardy, chive-flecked mayonnaise dressing, plus chopped hard-boiled eggs and pickles.

Recipe: Cauliflower Potato Salad

Fresh Mango Guacamole

There are few sides as delicious as guacamole, the creamy avocado dip beloved all around the world.

Basic guacamole is typically a simple mix of avocados, chopped onion and cilantro, lime juice, and salt, but the beauty of this spread is that it's infinitely customizable. We love this fresh version using juicy mango, as its sweetness compliments the rich flavor of the avocado: It's great with chips at the start of a cookout or piled next to main dishes such as pulled pork or barbecued chicken.

Recipe: Fresh Mango Guacamole

Creamy Kidney Bean Salad

Bean salads are a common feature of summertime barbecues, from the cowboy caviar featured in this roundup to the classic three-bean salad that typically includes green beans, kidney beans, and wax beans. If you're looking for another bean salad to add to your repertoire, look no further than this creamy kidney bean salad, which features the hearty legumes folded with shredded carrots, diced celery and red onion, and a garlicky mayonnaise dressing.

It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to seven days, so go ahead and make a double batch if you're planning on attending a picnic soon or even just a big fan of beans.

Recipe: Creamy Kidney Bean Salad

Moroccan Couscous

If you love hearty grain salads, then you're going to want to add this one to your list for your next cookout. Featuring fluffy couscous — which is actually a very tiny semolina pasta, according to the Food Network — folded with sautéed red pepper and onions, cooked chickpeas, sliced dried apricots, and plenty of fresh mint, the salad boasts a variety of flavors and textures that are sure to complement barbecue dishes such as grilled marinated chicken and steak.

This is another side that could easily double as a main for vegan and vegetarian party guests by simply swapping the chicken broth for vegetable.

Recipe: Moroccan Couscous

Shirazi Salad

Known as shirazi salad in Iran, this classic Middle Eastern dish of chopped cucumbers and tomatoes goes by various names throughout the region. (It is so ubiquitous in Israel, for example, that some call it Israeli salad, according to The Spruce Eats.)

Recipe developer Kristen Carli's version features sweet, naturally seedless Persian cucumbers; Roma or plum tomatoes; chopped red onion; fresh chopped mint; and a light dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Once chilled, it makes the perfect side dish for a variety of cookout foods ranging from whole grilled fish to marinated chicken kabobs.

Recipe: Shirazi Salad

Cheeseburger Dip

If you love cheeseburgers and you love dip, why not take the best of both dishes and combine them into one delicious Frankenfood?

This irresistible dip features sautéed ground beef and onions stirred together with cream cheese and shredded cheddar and baked in the oven until piping hot. The whole thing is then garnished with a drizzle of Thousand Island dressing and slices of dill pickle. True to its name, it tastes like a cheeseburger on a chip and is the perfect choice for wowing any burger fans gathered at a cookout — especially kids.

Recipe: Cheeseburger Dip

Fresh Tomato And Mozzarella Salad

Otherwise known as Caprese salad, Epicurious shares the simple but ever-popular combination of ripe summer tomatoes and milky fresh mozzarella cheese is believed to have originated on the Italian island of Capri, but has since traveled far and wide and is often featured on restaurant menus. Luckily it's also dead simple to make at home, consisting of alternating slices of summer tomatoes and either cow or buffalo milk mozzarella.

Our version features a drizzle of sweet balsamic glaze, fresh basil, and plenty of salt and pepper, and would be a welcome addition to any summertime cookout.

Recipe: Fresh Tomato And Mozzarella Salad

Vegan Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs are the perfect appetizer for any cookout — unless you or your guests are vegan, that is. For an eggless treat that hits all the same creamy, tangy notes, give this vegan deviled egg recipe a try.

In it, small potatoes are boiled until tender and then halved lengthwise to approximate hard-boiled eggs. A little scoop of potato gets taken out of each spud half, reserved, and then mashed in a bowl with typical deviled egg ingredients including mustard, mayonnaise, and vinegar, plus ground turmeric, which adds a yolk-yellow hue. The filling is piled back into the potato halves, making an adorably egg-free appetizer or snack. We topped ours with a classic mix of paprika and fresh dill, but feel free to use whatever (vegan) deviled egg toppings your heart desires.

Recipe: Vegan Deviled Eggs

Whipped Feta Dip

Who doesn't love dip? A standard feature of cookouts, barbecues, and potlucks, there are as many dip recipes out there as there are palates, and this one is suited to fans of Mediterranean flavors.

Featuring a hefty block of tangy feta cheese whipped with an equal amount of smooth cream cheese using a food processor, the creamy dip is flavored with bright lemon juice and herbaceous fresh parsley. Wonderful spread on pita, baguette, crunchy fresh veggies, or crackers, the dip comes together in just five minutes flat — perfect for those last-minute invitations or spur-of-the-moment plans.

Recipe: Whipped Feta Dip

Butternut Squash Bruschetta

Bruschetta is a great appetizer to tote along to any type of cookout — and not just the traditional tomato-and-garlic type (which is super tasty in its own right).

Basically just rounds of bread topped with sweet or savory ingredients, and this butternut squash bruschetta straddles the line between those two flavor categories, calling upon naturally sweet roasted squash, honey, and creamy ricotta. Those ingredients top slices of soft baguette, along with musky chopped sage, and are sure to fly off the platter at your next gathering.

Recipe: Butternut Squash Bruschetta

Crispy Chickpeas

If you're looking for a nutritious, affordable snack you can whip up quickly at home, we'd like to suggest these skillet-roasted chickpeas, which transform canned chickpeas into crunchy little nuggets of goodness.

To make it, drained chickpeas are tossed in a hot skillet with olive oil, minced garlic, dried rosemary and thyme, and plenty of salt and pepper. In just 10 minutes, the legumes turn warm, nutty, and crispy, ready to be snacked on out of a bowl or used to top any number of salads, grain bowls, or side dishes.

Recipe: Crispy Chickpeas

Dill Pickle Hummus

Hummus is one of those classic recipes which — due to its simplicity — boasts infinite variations, from chipotle to basil pesto to roasted garlic. This fun dill pickle twist is one of our favorite takes, and it certainly doesn't hurt that it comes together in just five minutes.

To make it, canned chickpeas, fresh garlic, dill pickles, fresh dill, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, and salt are blitzed in a food processor until smooth, resulting in a thick, creamy, briny hummus that's perfect for spreading on crackers, vegetables, or a sandwich — and leftovers will keep a full seven days in the fridge.

Recipe: Dill Pickle Hummus

Southwest Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is a classic cookout food that seems to go with everything on the table, from burgers to dogs to grilled chicken. Customizable to a wide variety of tastes, the iconic side dish can feature everything from the Italian flavors of cured meats and mozzarella cheese to the Greek flair of feta cheese and black olives.

We love this inventive version created by recipe developer Hayley Maclean, which brings Southwest flavors to the party in the form of a creamy mayo-based dressing loaded with chipotle peppers and dried spices, as well as mix-ins including black beans, corn, diced bell peppers, and avocado.

Recipe: Southwest Pasta Salad

Pickled Watermelon Rind

If you're anything like us, your summertime intake of watermelon basically knows no limits. And we're willing to bet that all summer long, you just dump the rinds into the trash or compost — but this recipe for pickled watermelon rind just might change your habits.

A traditional pickle in the American South, pickled watermelon rind emerges from its brine crisp and refreshing, the perfect accompaniment to cookout foods such as burgers and sandwiches. This recipe features Southeast Asian flavors imparted by rice wine vinegar and makrut lime leaf, and might just become your favorite new summertime snack.

Recipe: Pickled Watermelon Rind

Grilled Summer Shrimp Salad

If you're a fan of surf and turf, then why not reserve some space for this shrimp salad the next time you fire up the grill for summertime steaks or pork chops?

In it, shrimp are marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and parsley before being quickly seared. Meanwhile, raw sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, and lettuce are tossed with a creamy, lemony dressing. To bring both parts together, the grilled shrimp are simply spooned over the cool salad. Once garnished with fresh parsley, the dish is ready to go.

Recipe: Grilled Summer Shrimp Salad

Butternut Squash Mac And Cheese

If you're serving kids at your cookout — or if you're simply trying to sneak a little extra nutrition into your own diet — then this butternut squash mac and cheese is just what you're looking for.

The sauce for it is made using soft, simmered butternut squash, which is blended with its cooking liquid to achieve a perfect velvety texture. The sauce is then enriched with milk, butter, and shredded cheddar, and used to coat cooked elbow macaroni. Rich and comforting, this mac and cheese is sure to please any palate.

Recipe: Butternut Squash Mac And Cheese

Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad

Who doesn't love a nice Caprese salad? A dead-simple mix of ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and plenty of fragrant fresh basil, this classic starter or side dish truly shines in the summertime, when tomatoes are in season and bursting with sweetness.

Our version is pretty classic but goes adorably mini, utilizing halved cherry tomatoes and little balls of fresh mozzarella, or bocconcini, that perfectly match the size of the tomatoes. The fresh salad makes a great addition to any cookout table.

Recipe: Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad

Cuban Black Beans

Warm, flavorful black beans heaped over rice is a classic dish in so many countries, ranging from Mexico to Brazil to Costa Rica (via The Bean Institute). And it's not hard to understand why: This is a hearty, satisfying, and inexpensive dish that pleases a wide variety of palates.

Our simple Cuban take on black beans features the canned legumes quickly stewed with a flavor-intense sofrito of onions, green bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeño, and imbued with cumin, coriander, oregano, and smoked paprika. The result is a thick, luscious black bean stew that's perfect for spooning over fluffy white rice or folding into corn tortillas.

Recipe: Cuban Black Beans

Green Bean Potato Salad

If you've ever sunk a fork into a Niçoise salad, then you know that many versions contain cooked potatoes and green beans. The tasty combo shows up in plenty of other dishes as well, such as a Ligurian pesto pasta (via The Pasta Project). Similarly, this salad brings the two ingredients together in a super simple way: Halved new potatoes and green beans get boiled together right in the same pot until both are tender, then tossed while still warm with a flavorful whole grain mustard dressing. A fun, delicious touch comes at the end when the salad is sprinkled with a crunchy garnish of dried onions.

Recipe: Green Bean Potato Salad

Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elotes)

Even those who have never visited Mexico are likely familiar with elotes, the quintessential street food made of grilled corn on the cob slathered with mayo and rolled in grated cheese and chili powder before being spritzed with fresh lime.

The corn side pairs exceptionally with other cookout foods that are coming hot off the grill, and (if you couldn't tell from the description of the dish) is pretty simple to make. To do so, shucked corn cobs are brushed with oil before being cooked on the grill for about 10 minutes. Once well charred, the cobs are liberally coated with a mixture of cotija cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, chopped cilantro, lime zest, and chile powder, before being sprinkled with additional cotija and cilantro. Serve with a lime wedge and you'll have the perfect summer side — we recommend dining al fresco to really make the most of the season.

Recipe: Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elotes)

Napa Cabbage Salad

Napa cabbage is a wide-ribbed, frilly-leafed cabbage that is commonly featured in a variety of Asian dishes, boasting a mild flavor that can be enjoyed cooked or raw. This refreshing salad takes the latter approach, combining the crunchy crucifer with ribbons of carrot, chopped red bell pepper and scallions, and a flavorful dressing of soy sauce, garlic powder, honey, sesame oil, and rice vinegar. After being garnished with a sprinkle of crunchy sesame seeds, the salad is ready to be enjoyed heaped onto a sandwich or alongside any number of grilled dishes, adding a fresh pop of flavor to your meal.

Recipe: Napa Cabbage Salad

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Many cuisines feature recipes for stuffed vegetables, from Greek rice-stuffed peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant to Polish beef-stuffed cabbage rolls. These fun zucchini boats are a nod in that direction, utilizing par-cooked zucchini halves that then get topped with a texture-rich mixture of quinoa, canned chickpeas, sliced grape tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese, and chopped olives and parsley. The stuffed zucchini then takes a brief trip into a hot oven and is topped with plenty of chopped fresh basil before being served.

Recipe: Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Garlic Shrimp Mac And Cheese

It's a pretty tall order to improve upon rich, creamy, comforting mac and cheese, but this garlic shrimp variation does just that, incorporating buttery, garlicky sautéed shrimp into a down-home mac and cheese prepared with an authentic roux. Once stirred together in the sauce, the tender crustaceans and noodles are transferred to a baking dish, sprinkled with a buttery, cheesy panko breadcrumb topping, and baked until the breadcrumbs go golden and crispy.

We think the rich casserole would make the perfect accompaniment to a variety of cookout foods, from grilled chicken to pulled pork.

Recipe: Garlic Shrimp Mac And Cheese

Creamy Dill Potato Salad

Potato salad is a go-to grilling and BBQ side for a reason: it's quick and easy to make, pleases a variety of palates, and can be adapted seemingly endlessly. This classic version features a creamy mayonnaise base flavored with garlic, lemon juice, and lots of fresh dill, which brings a bright, springy flavor. The potato salad also contains Dijon mustard for bite and chopped onion for crunch. It's a perfect option for your next cookout or barbecue, whether you're serving steak or any other grilled protein.

Recipe: Creamy Dill Potato Salad