Side dish ideas for summer cookouts

Every BBQ party comes with a fabulous selection of side dishes, it’s not just about the main course. Here are a few of my favorite sites.

For the most part I’m just briefly explaining how I put them together, you don’t need an exact recipe, it’s just a matter of throwing the components together and using as much as you want of each, and hopefully the photos will give you a good visual order to make it your own.

You can’t go wrong with a caprese salad, which I’m sure many of you have made. I placed the tomato and mozzarella on a bed of arugula, added some chopped avocado in the center and drizzled olive oil over everything. Balsamic glaze and plenty of chopped basil.

Tomato cucumber and mozzarella balls

This is another take on a caprese salad with sliced ​​colorful cherry tomatoes and small bocconcini balls, chopped cucumber, lots of basil, and a generous amount of olive oil with salt and pepper to taste.


A pasta salad is always welcome at a cookout, and since it doesn’t have a mayonnaise base, it sure can stay out for a while.

I also like alternating different pasta shapes, so feel free to use your favorite, just cook it ahead of time.

Pasta salad ingredients

My pasta salads are made with chopped cucumbers, red onions, some sort of colored bell pepper, sliced ​​cherry tomatoes, olives, and arugula.

Sometimes I add chopped Genoa salami and sometimes I don’t. I also like to add a spicy cheese like Provolone, Fontinella or Asiago which I dice.

Toss it all together with your pre-cooked pasta and use a homemade Italian dressing to bring it all together.

I like to whisk together 3 parts olive oil with 1 part white balsamic vinegar, add some granulated garlic, a squeeze of lemon, oregano, salt and pepper. If you want to thicken it up a bit, add a dollop of Dijon.

Pasta salad

Same pasta salad as above with dressing and all, minus the salami which I replaced with fresh corn on the cob.

fish salad

If you love cooking up seafood on the grill, this is a nice put-together salad. Here I used pre-cooked octopus which I sliced ​​up along with calamari and shrimp, all previously tossed in olive oil, lemon zest, oregano, salt and pepper, I would also add chopped parsley which I didn’t have that day. Place it on a grill pan and grill it together.

Arrange the seafood on a platter with arugula base, some tomato wedges, Kalamata olives and oregano with a fresh lemon olive oil dressing.


Italian potato salad

Here’s a no-mayo potato salad that can be made ahead of time, halve and roast the potatoes until golden, and blanch the green beans.

Then toss it all together with red onions, fresh parsley, oregano, slices of those tiny colorful peppers, a sprinkling of grated pecorino cheese with a fresh lemon and olive oil dressing.

Italian romaine lettuce

A tossed Italian salad with romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, radishes, olives, red onions, cucumber, provolone cheese and hot peppers, tossed with your choice of Italian vinaigrette, always a great side dish.

Grilled artichokes

Artichokes are a big passion in my family and grilled artichokes are a delicious side dish and a labor of love, here is the link.

grilled vegetables

Any combination of grilled vegetables is always welcome, so colourful, healthy and delicious!

Cantaloupe melon

Add some fruit to the mix, with balls of cantaloupe and bocconcini, drizzled with a light touch of olive oil, whisked with some fresh orange juice.

watermelon and feta

Watermelon wedges with feta, blueberries, and pistachios drizzled with a balsamic glaze are always fun, and who doesn’t like watermelon.

grape salad

And last but not least, the famous grape salad that was all the rage a few years ago. A combination of green and red grapes tossed in a creamy mix of half soft cream cheese and half sour cream, but I like to lighten mine up a bit with some Greek yogurt.

Sprinkle the top with some brown sugar and walnuts or pecans, always a hit at a party

Just like Thanksgiving, the pages are where it’s at, enjoy!


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