21 Easy Summer Side Dishes


Discover refreshing summer side dishes to complement your summer meals. From vibrant summer salads to bbq side dishes, explore a variety of summer recipes that will elevate your summer dining experience.

As the summer heat sets in and backyard gatherings become a regular affair, it’s time to level up your culinary game with sensational summer side dishes.

These flavorful accompaniments have the power to transform an ordinary meal into an extraordinary feast.

From zesty salads bursting with seasonal produce to grilled vegetable medleys infused with smoky goodness, summer side dishes bring a refreshing and vibrant touch to your outdoor dining experience.

In this blog, we’ll explore a diverse range of recipes that highlight the best of summer’s bounty, providing you with a repertoire of mouthwatering options to enhance your barbecues, picnics, and poolside parties.

Get ready to delight your taste buds and impress your guests with these sensational summer side dishes that capture the essence of the season.

easy summer side dishes for bbq parties

Benefits of Herbs and Spices

Before diving into the tips, let’s explore the benefits of incorporating herbs and spices into your summer side dishes.

Apart from adding flavor, herbs, and spices offer various health advantages.

Many herbs are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that promote overall well-being.

Spices, on the other hand, have anti-inflammatory properties and can aid digestion.

By incorporating herbs and spices into your meals, you can enhance both the taste and nutritional value of your dishes.

Tips For Incorporating Herbs & Spices Into Summer Side Dishes

Herbs and spices have been used for centuries to enhance the taste and aroma of food.

They can turn a simple dish into a culinary masterpiece, and summer side dishes are no exception.

By understanding the benefits of herbs and spices and learning how to use them effectively, you can take your summer cooking to a whole new level.

1. Choose Fresh Herbs and Spices

When it comes to herbs and spices, freshness is key.

Opt for fresh herbs from your garden or local farmer’s market, as they have a vibrant flavor and aroma.

Similarly, choose high-quality spices and ensure they are not expired.

Freshness guarantees the best taste and health benefits.

2. Experiment with Different Flavors

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and experiment with different herbs and spices.

Mix and match flavors to create unique combinations.

For example, try adding fresh basil to watermelon salad or sprinkling paprika on roasted corn for a smoky kick.

The possibilities are endless!

3. Use Herbs and Spices as Marinades

Marinating your summer side dishes in herbs and spices can infuse them with incredible flavors.

Create a marinade using olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, and a blend of your favorite herbs.

Let the dish sit for a few hours or overnight to allow the flavors to meld together.

4. Create Homemade Spice Blends

Making your own spice blends is a fantastic way to customize the flavors of your side dishes.

Combine complementary spices like cumin, coriander, and chili powder to create a versatile Mexican spice blend.

Store these blends in airtight containers for future use.

5. Enhance Salads with Herbs and Spices

Add a burst of freshness to your summer salads by incorporating herbs and spices.

Toss in some fresh dill, mint, or cilantro for an aromatic twist. Sprinkle a pinch of ground cumin or paprika to elevate the flavors.

Your salads will become vibrant and enticing.

6. Infuse Oils and Vinegar

Infusing oils and vinegar with herbs and spices is an excellent way to add complexity to your summer side dishes.

Fill a bottle with olive oil or vinegar, and add sprigs of rosemary, thyme, or chili flakes.

Allow the infusion to sit for a few days to infuse the flavors thoroughly.

7. Add Herbs and Spices to Grilled Vegetables

Grilled vegetables are a staple of summer cooking.

Take them to the next level by seasoning them with herbs and spices.

Sprinkle some oregano and garlic powder on zucchini and bell peppers before grilling.

The smoky char will marry perfectly with the herb-infused flavors.

8. Incorporate Herbs and Spices in Salsas

Salsas are a refreshing addition to any summer meal. Elevate their taste by adding herbs and spices.

Chop fresh tomatoes, onions, and cilantro, and season with cumin, lime juice, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Your salsa will be a burst of flavors that complements any dish.

9. Flavor Rice and Grains with Herbs and Spices

Rice and grains are versatile ingredients that can easily be infused with herbs and spices.

Cook your rice with a bay leaf and a sprig of thyme to impart subtle flavors.

Add turmeric and cardamom to your quinoa for a fragrant twist.

Your side dishes will never be boring again.

10. Sprinkle Herbs and Spices on Fruits

Herbs and spices can also enhance the sweetness of fruits.

Sprinkle some cinnamon on grilled peaches or add a touch of fresh mint to watermelon slices.

The combination of flavors will tantalize your taste buds and provide a refreshing summer treat.

11. Make Herb-Infused Butter

Herb-infused butter is a fantastic way to elevate your grilled corn or dinner rolls.

Combine softened butter with finely chopped herbs like parsley, chives, or thyme.

Roll the mixture into a log using plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm. Slice and serve with your favorite summer dishes.

12. Use Herbs and Spices in Dressings and Sauces

Dressings and sauces are essential components of many summer side dishes.

Amp up their taste by incorporating herbs and spices.

Add chopped fresh basil or dill to your homemade ranch dressing.

Mix in some ground ginger or turmeric to create a tangy barbecue sauce. Your dishes will be bursting with flavor.

13. Incorporate Herbs and Spices in Desserts

Who said herbs and spices are only for savory dishes?

They can also be used to create unique and delicious desserts.

Infuse your summer fruit tarts with lavender or add a touch of cinnamon to your apple crumble.

The unexpected flavors will leave your guests impressed.

Delicious Summer Side Dishes

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25. German Potato Salad – from Five Heart Home

German Potato Salad Recipe 1200pxSquare


24. Cheesy Oven Roasted Tomatoes – from The Cookie Rookie

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23. Tomato Cucumber Feta Salad – from Lemon Tree Dwelling

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22. Broccoli Apple Salad – from Cooking Classy

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21. Pea Salad – from The Girl Who Ate Everything

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20. BBQ Ranch Pasta Salad – from Spicy Southern Kitchen

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19. Cowboy Pasta Salad – from Bellyfull

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18. Strawberry Caprese Pasta Salad – from Spend With Pennies

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17. Summer Berry Cheesecake Salad – from The Slow Roasted Italian

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16. Tropical Fruit Salad – from The Slow Roasted Italian

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15. Pina Colada Fluff – from Mom On Timeout

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14. Mojito Fruit Salad – from Iowa Girl Eats

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13. Creamsicle Fluff – from Pretty Providence

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12. Rainbow Veggie Skewers – from Gimme Some Oven

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11. Grilled Lemon Garlic Zucchini – from Damn Delicious

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10. Cheesy Bacon Ranch Bread – from Mom On Timeout

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9. Bacon Ranch Grilled Potatoes – from Gather For Bread

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8. Grilled Corn Fritters – from Well Plated

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7. Grilled Blooming Onion – from Diethood

Blooming Onion Recipe from Diethood


6. Grilled Summer Vegetable Salad – from A Family Feast

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5. Grilled Pineapple – from Simple Joy

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4. Grilled Sweet Potatoes – from Simply Recipes

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3. Baked Beans – from The Girl Who Ate Everything

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2. Crack Corn Salad – from Sweet And Savory Meals

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1. Hawaiian Cheesecake Salad – from Salty Side Dish

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Q. Can I use dried herbs and spices instead of fresh ones?

Yes, you can use dried herbs and spices if fresh ones are not available. Just remember to adjust the quantities as dried herbs and spices are more concentrated in flavor.

Q. Can I mix multiple herbs and spices together?

Absolutely! Mixing multiple herbs and spices can create exciting flavor profiles. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find combinations that suit your taste.

Q. How long can I store homemade spice blends?

Homemade spice blends can be stored for several months if kept in airtight containers and stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Q. Can I incorporate herbs and spices into cold side dishes?

Yes, herbs and spices can be used in cold side dishes like salads and salsas. They will add freshness and enhance the overall flavor.

Q. Are there any herbs or spices I should avoid using together?

While there are no hard and fast rules, it’s best to avoid combining strongly conflicting flavors. For example, mint and oregano might not pair well together. Trust your taste buds and experiment to find combinations that work for you.

Now comes the important question… Which summer side dishes do you like the most? Please let me know in the comments.

Few more summer recipes!!!

Want to save this for later? Post these Summer Side Dishes to the “Summer Recipes” OR “Summer Meals” Board!

easy summer side dishes for bbq parties
easy summer side dishes for bbq parties


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