Summer Side Dishes
Corn Cakes with Bacon and Turmeric Yogurt
Serve these sweet-savory cakes as a hearty side dish (they would be great with grilled shrimp) or as a lighter entrée with a side salad. Or turn them into an appetizer by making smaller cakes.
Cavatappi with Arugula Pesto and Cherry Tomatoes
This light salad mixes sweet tomatoes, peppery arugula, and salty Parmesan for a winning combination. It can be served as either a side to a larger meal or as a refreshingly light lunch entrèe.
Bulgur Salad with Figs and Preserved Lemon
A quick soak mellows the sometimes pungent shallots. Add preserved lemon rind to salad dressings, pasta salads, or baked chicken; if you can't find it, substitute 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind.
Smoked Potato Salad
This is the recipe you need for those potluck gatherings where you really want to impress but then find you’re supposed to bring … potato salad. This version will wow, from its beautiful indigo color to its rich, smoky flavor. A nice hit of cumin and chipotle chile powder amplifies the smokiness and makes for a deeply savory salad. If the purple potatoes (or other small, waxy potatoes if you can’t find purple ones) are larger than we specify, cut them in half so they’ll cook evenly and get tender.
Quick Summer Squash and Bell Pepper Gratin
You could also layer sliced tomatoes in between the onion mixture and the squash and bake a few minutes longer. We like the look of a baking dish, but you could use an ovenproof or cast-iron skillet: Sauté the peppers and build the gratin in the pan, and transfer to the oven.
Baby Carrots with Herb Dressing and Olives
Look for baby carrots with some of the green tops attached; reserve and chop for tossing with the steamed carrots. Carrots should be about the width of your thumb; halve larger ones so they cook evenly. Steaming is gentler than boiling and faster than roasting. And, because the carrots are less caramelized, the fresh herbs stand out more.
Golden Beet Salad with Avocado and Feta
Simple, bright, and balanced, this salad pairs perfectly with grilled fish or chicken. To cook the beets in the oven, wrap in foil and bake at 400° for 45 to 50 minutes.
Tomato Salad with Herbed Ricotta and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Sliced heirloom tomatoes are wow-worthy on their own with just a small sprinkling of salt and pepper, but a simple balsamic vinaigrette and dollops of rich basil-flecked ricotta take them over the top. Visit your local farmers’ market to get a variety of heirlooms for a plethora of tastes and colors. Serve with toasted baguette slices to sop up any tomato juices.
Indian-Spiced Grilled Baby Squash
These skewers bring lots of color to any summer meal. With only a 10-minute cook time, they are quick and easy to prepare, and keep the squash crisp and delicious while adding a smoky flavor, which mixes well with the South Asian flavors of coriander and cumin.
This colorful dish incorporates as much summer produce as we could fit in a pan: lima beans, sweet onion, bell pepper, corn, tomatoes, and cilantro. All their individual flavors are enhances with lemon and lots of garlic for a delicious and easy recipe. It's great for you, too―one 243-calorie serving contains less than three grams of fat and about half a day's fiber.
Southerners are well acquainted with the joys of okra, especially the crunchy-tender combination that results from deep-frying the pods. But anyone can enjoy this dish, which keeps all the crunch and dispenses with the grease.
Summer Tomato, Feta, and Basil Galette
Tangy feta, sweet summer onions, fragrant basil: a perfect tart. Pair this summery side with grilled flank steak, chicken, or salmon.
Fig, Tomato, and Sweet Onion Salad
The ingredient list for this recipe is full of fresh summer flavors that are perfect for a light, yet satisfying, salad. Use any fig variety you like or a combination of varieties.
Smoky Baked Beans with Chorizo
These savory baked beans are simply divine. Be sure to use firm, dry-cured Spanish chorizo and not soft, raw Mexican chorizo for this recipe.
Curried Potato Salad
Madras curry powder adds an extra degree of heat to this fun take on a classic side.
Grilled Corn on the Cob with Roasted Jalapeño Butter
Charring the pepper eases the heat, yielding a versatile, not-too-spicy butter.
Stuffed Zucchini with Cheesy Breadcrumbs
Serve these for an unexpected side that will surely impress everyone who is gathered around your table.
Golden Beet Salad with Wheat Berries and Pumpkinseed Vinaigrette
This colorful salad will be a bright addition to any table. It’s light and flavorful, making it perfect for an alfresco dinner on a warm summer day.
Shaved Summer Squash Salad with Prosciutto Crisps
A vegetable peeler turns squash into delicate ribbons, a foil for the salty ham. It's delicious raw when it’s shaved and marinated with a bit of salt.
Roasted Corn, Pepper, and Tomato Chowder
Next time you grill, throw on some extra bell pepper, corn, and tomato for this dish. The grilled vegetables are pureed, spreading smoky flavor and thick, creamy texture into every spoonful. A sprinkle of blue cheese on top adds even more layers of flavor. Tomato soup won't be just for cold, rainy afternoons anymore after this.
Spiced Marinated Tomatoes
This recipe highlights the fresh taste of cherry tomatoes, whether from your garden, a farmers' market, or the store. As a bonus, it lasts up to two days, so you can serve it at multiple meals. Great with burgers on the grill, or just as a snack on its own.
Sweet Corn and Parmesan Flans
Everyone loves fresh sweet corn, so it's fun to take it beyond basic. This dish adds elegance to corn's lovely sweetness. Impress company or just add color to a family dinner with this light and airy creation.
Thai Summer Slaw
The cornucopia of vegetables in this slaw give it a rainbow of colors and an array of textures and flavors, while the Asian-tinged dressing that brings it all together is bright and fresh with a kick of hot chile paste to keep things interesting. Pair with burgers or barbecue to tweak a traditional summer dinner.
Haricots Verts and Grape Tomato Salad
This salad transforms simple ingredients into something truly elegant. Green beans, basil, shallots, tomatoes, and pine nuts are tossed with a dressing that's simultaneously creamy and light for a versatile dish.
Potato Salad with Herbs and Grilled Summer Squash
With cornichons, tarragon, and a lemon-herb dressing, this is a South-of-France spin on an American classic. We promise you won't miss the mayonnaise. The briefly grilled yellow squash brings a bit of crunch and caramelized flavor to the salad, as well as summery color.
Spelt Salad with Fava Beans
Fresh favas are an early-summer treat that disappear pretty quickly. Take advantage with this hearty salad that packs in all sorts of nutritious elements―from the whole-grain power of spelt to vitamin-rich dried currants and tomatoes.
Fig and Lime Jam
We tested this recipe with not-too-sweet Brown Turkey figs; if using sweeter Black Mission figs, you may need to decrease the sugar. The mashed fig mixture can stand as long as overnight.
Cracked Wheat Salad with Nectarines, Parsley, and Pistachios
Great with grilled chicken, lamb, or salmon, this side-dish salad also packs well for a picnic. Almost any fruit would work well in place of nectarines–try apricots, peaches, or figs.
Romano Bean Salad
Also called Italian flat beans or runner beans, this snap bean variety looks like a wide, flat green bean. You can easily substitute an equal amount of regular green beans if you prefer.
Sweet Corn Relish
With our simple refrigerator relish recipe, you can preserve a bumper crop of corn for up to six weeks. Serve with any grilled meat or fish, or spoon over salad greens.
Cranberry Beans with Parsley Pesto
Fresh-from-the-pod cranberry beans are creamy and delicious, especially when adorned with a mixture of herbs, nuts, and cheese. Serve alongside grilled lamb or pork, or enjoy a larger serving as a vegetarian entrée.
Summer Peach and Tomato Salad
Simplicity has never looked so beautiful. A stunning combination of skin-on peaches and heirloom tomatoes of various colors, sizes, and shapes creates a sweet-savory salad that pairs well with grilled pork.
Eggplant, Zucchini, and Tomato Tian
Tian, a French word used throughout Provence, refers to both a shallow cooking vessel and the food cooked in it. An 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish works well for this recipe, but if you have a 2-quart tian or gratin dish, all the better.
Indian Spiced Okra
Even folks who usually don't like okra enjoy the taste and texture of this highly seasoned dish. We left the seeds in the chile for moderate spice. Serve with grilled chicken or lamb.
Bell Pepper, Tomato, Cucumber, and Grilled Bread Salad
Summer's freshest veggies combine in a colorful side-dish salad. Toss in grilled shrimp or chicken for an easy one-dish dinner.
Roasted Summer Squashes with Caper Gremolata
A traditional gremolata (garnish) features lemon rind, garlic, and parsley. We include briny capers in the mix to add excitement to this side.
Herbed Green and Wax Beans
Adding a bundle of herbs (bouquet garni) to the steaming liquid imparts subtle flavor and aroma to the vegetables.
Cabbage Slaw with Tangy Mustard Seed Dressing
Mustard seed, cilantro, and cumin give this coleslaw an Indian spin.
Snap Pea and Pea Shoot Stir-Fry with Gingery Orange Sauce
Asian flavorings elevate a summer veggie side dish. A splash of delicious Gingery Orange Sauce gives just the right amount of tang.
Chilled Butter Bean Soup with Basil-Corn Relish
You'll need about 1 1/2 pounds of butter bean pods to get 2 cups shelled beans. You can substitute fresh lima beans, if you prefer.
Roasted Beets with Jalapeño Cream
A creamy jalapeño dressing livens up earthy roasted beets. Seed the pepper for less heat.
Hot Pepper Vinegar
Chop and sprinkle these pickled peppers over salads or on sandwiches. Use the vinegar mixture to kick up salad dressing.
Grilled Eggplant with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
If you're working on a charcoal grill set up for indirect heat, mound the coals to one side of the grill.
Roasted Peppers and Tomatoes with Herbs and Capers
This dish is baked just long enough to bring out the juices of the tomatoes, then chilled. Serve it as a salad or a side dish. Keep the colors of the tomatoes and peppers the same, or vary them wildly. Campari tomatoes are commonly available at supermarkets; look for tomatoes that are smaller than the vine-ripened ones but larger than grape tomatoes (about 1½ inches wide).
Grilled Green Beans
Never considered grilling green beans? It's a fantastic approach, kissing the vegetables with a little smoky char. Be sure not to skip the step of covering and letting the mixture stand; all steams to perfect doneness in that time. If you don't have a grill basket, grill on a large piece of heavy-duty foil.
Grilled Summer Squash With Gremolata
This all-purpose, easy summer side goes great with just about any main dish. You can keep the cooking indoors by using a grill pan; because of the smaller surface area, you'll need to cook the squash in two batches.
Zucchini and Onion Gratin
You can serve this side dish hot, but it's also great at room temperature.