12 Best Summer Side Dishes

They're Also Easy to Make

Vegan Black Bean and Mango Salad

The Spruce / Emily Hawkes

Grilled mains and summer vegetables may get most of the attention during warm-weather months, but they all need supporting side dishes to become a full meal. Whether you dream of digging into creamy macaroni salad, the best-ever corn on the cob ideas, or summer slaws that sing with flavor, these delicious summer sides go well with grilled meats, fish, and vegetarian mains.

  • 01 of 12

    Coleslaw Salad With Purple Cabbage

    Coleslaw Salad With Purple Cabbage

     The Spruce

    A coleslaw with purple cabbage makes a great barbecue side dish. It's simple to make with shredded cabbage, carrots, and mayonnaise and can swap out regular mayonnaise for vegan mayonnaise for anyone on an egg-free or vegan diet.

  • 02 of 12

    Mexican Street Corn

    Elote (Mexican Street Corn)

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

    Mexican street corn is salty, sweet, crunchy, and creamy in every bite. After grilling ears of corn, roll them in garlicky lime crema, followed by crumbly queso fresco. Sprinkle on cilantro and a dash of chili powder for an unbelievably flavorful vegetable side.

  • 03 of 12

    Dilly Potatoes Grilled in a Packet

    Dilly Potatoes Grilled in a Packet

    ivanmareev / Getty Images

    Dilly potatoes grilled in packets go great with flame-cooked meats. Steaming them on the grill after a short marinade produces the perfect crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside texture. Serve warm or at room temperature.

  • 04 of 12

    Old-Fashioned Southern Spoon Bread

    Old-Fashioned Southern Spoon Bread

    The Spruce

    Warm Kentucky-style spoonbread is like a soft, custardy cornbread you scoop straight from the pan. Bake it in the oven, adding bacon crumbles or chopped green onions if you like, until it puffs up and turns golden brown. It's a wonderfully comforting side dish that goes great with barbecue chicken.

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  • 05 of 12

    Black Bean and Mango Salad

    Vegan Black Bean and Mango Salad

    The Spruce / Emily Hawkes

    Skip the mayo-drenched salads and offer guests something bright and flavorful. Black beans and mangoes combine with fresh bell pepper, fresh jalapeno peppers, and fresh cilantro in this colorful vegan, gluten-free summer medley that is loaded with protein and nutrition.

  • 06 of 12

    Spicy Kimchi Natto

    Spicy Kimchi Natto

    Judy Ung

    Spicy kimchi natto is a quick and easy Japanese fusion side dish made with fermented soy beans (available in Asian markets) and cabbage. It makes a delicious topping for pulled pork and burgers or a unique vegetarian taco filling.

  • 07 of 12

    Baked Zucchini Fries

    Baked Zucchini Fries

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese make these baked zucchini fries crispy and delicious. They are a great alternative to traditional French fries when you want to cut back on carbs and make use of a bounty of zucchini from your garden. Enjoy them with everything from burgers and sandwiches to sausages and grilled steaks.

  • 08 of 12

    Creamy Coleslaw With Pineapple

    Creamy Coleslaw With Pineapple

    Diana Rattray

    Juicy fresh pineapple adds sweetness and zing to this fruity, flavorful coleslaw that includes plump raisins and sunflower seeds for added crunch. For best results, make it a few hours in advance, and chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    Classic Fried Green Tomatoes

    Classic Fried Green Tomatoes

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

    Fried green tomatoes are an iconic Southern dish and a great way to use unripe tomatoes from your summer garden. They fry up in only 10 minutes on the stovetop, so they're a great last-minute side dish for burgers and hot dogs at summer parties.

  • 10 of 12

    Sweet Corn Fritters

    Sweet Corn Fritters

    Huw Jones / Photolibrary / Getty Images

    Sweet corn fritters are a great way to enjoy the goodness of fresh corn in summer. They take only 30 minutes to make in a skillet on the stovetop, and taste especially great alongside grilled pork tenderloin. Plan to make them immediately before serving, as they are best eaten when fresh and hot.

  • 11 of 12

    Crunchy Cabbage Ramen Salad

    Crunchy Cabbage Salad

    Westend61 / Getty Images

    Crunchy, nutty, and full of crisp vegetables, this irresistible ramen slaw is a great accompaniment to grilled steak, chicken, or fish. You don't even have to cook the ramen noodles, which go into the salad directly from the packet. Add the flavoring pouch to the dressing to add wonderful flavor.

  • 12 of 12

    Classic Macaroni Salad

    Classic Macaroni Salad

    The Spruce

    What would a summer barbecue be without macaroni salad? This creamy pasta salad combines chopped vegetables, noodles, and hard-cooked eggs in a mayonnaise dressing.