55 Healthy Summer Side Dishes
Welcome to summertime! It’s the most colorful season around, filled with everything from bright and vibrant clothing to a range of beautiful flowers. It’s not all about aesthetics, either. The bounty of fruits and vegetables available during the summertime makes it the best season for eating the rainbow.
Deliciously Healthy Side Dish Ideas for Summer or Any Occasion
From backyard barbecues to sunset parties, summer is filled with outdoor celebrations. No one likes to show up to a party empty-handed, but you don’t want to bring the same dish as someone else, either! We have over 50 ideas for healthy summer side dishes, so you’ll have more than enough inspiration all season long. They make for the perfect side dish for a bbq or cookout, but they also make great snacks. And, if you’re looking for a potluck dish, look no further.
So, throw on a colorful bathing suit and get ready to cool down with these healthy summer side dishes. Your friends and family will love their light but bold flavors.
1. Southwestern Brussels Sprout Coleslaw
As far as I’m concerned, Brussels sprouts never go out of season. They’re most abundant between August and March, so be on the lookout to make this healthy summer side dishes recipe for later summer parties. I love whipping up this healthier take on your typical coleslaw to put on the picnic table next to some of ourMediterranean Grilled Eggplant Burgers with Cheese!
Pasta salads are a huge part of the summer life, but not everyone is a fan. For example, my brother doesn’t really like the stuff, but he’s a huge fan of bacon. I made this recipe for our last family party, and he must have eaten half the bowl! That makes this Gluten-Free BLT take on pasta salad a winner in my book.
In the summer, anything that has the word “cold” in the name is a good thing. And, trust me, the fact that this Lexi’s Clean Kitchen recipe has the word “cold” in it is not the only reason it’s a good thing. It’s also so full of veggies, flavor, and, of course, color!
4.15-Minute Zucchini Noodle Tomato Salad with Balsamic Dressing
I love, love, love using zoodles in healthy summer side dishes! They’re great for both adults and kids because they give you that pasta texture that we all crave every now and again, while not giving you all of the carbs of that pasta. This easy-peasy zoodle recipe of ours. It’s super refreshing on a hot summer day!
If you’re as big of a fan of zucchini noodles as I am, don’t forget to check out ourZucchini Noodles with Pistachio Pestoand ourChicken Parmesan Over Zucchini Noodles.
These kale chips by Minimalist Baker are one of my favorite things to snack on at the beach! They don’t make me feel bloated, and they taste so good. It also helps when I eat them faster than the seagulls can try to steal them from me!
When Sugar-Free Mom creates a recipe for healthier pizza rolls, that means you’ll have a side dish that’s actually kid-friendly! I think we can all agree that pizza never goes out of season, both for kids and adults, but too often adults are worried about how pizza will affect bikini season. Luckily, these pizza rolls are swimsuit-approved – they’re low-carb and made with nutritious ingredients.
Talk about eating the rainbow: this SkinnyMs recipe places every color together in a bowl! Throw in some non-GMO, organic tortilla chips and you’ve got yourself a perfect summer BBQ side dish!
Toasted bread, chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, parmesan cheese…this recipe courtesy of Gimme Some Oven holds true to it’s name. It’s a true healthy summer side dish delight!
This is one of my favorite healthy summer side dishes to bring to a party. It’s not only full of flavor and a big hit, but I also get to say that I made “carrot cashew pate cucumber canapé!” I just feel so sophisticated and classy saying it. Shout out to Keepin It Kind for creating this tasty recipe.
10. Maple Baked Beans
Who doesn’t like eating baked beans at a backyard barbecue over the summer? I know I do. What I don’t like, though, is those store-bought baked beans that are full of unnecessary amounts of salt and sugar. Come to think of it, I also don’t like taking hours out of my day to make homemade baked beans, either.
You might be wondering what the happy medium is…well, it’s our Maple Baked Beans recipe (AKA your summer barbecue savior)!
This is one of those healthy summer side dishes that doesn’t have to be eaten by just vegetarians. The Big Man’s World created this veggie-friendly dish, but even carnivores will love it. In fact, when I made it for a family party at my boyfriend’s house, his sister didn’t even know it was made with tofu! The spicy barbecue flavors are all you’ll taste (in SUCH a good way).
Two Peas & Their Pod took the well-known Caprese salad and gave it an exciting, summery twist. Want to know what that twist is? You’ll have to try out the summer side dish recipe to find out! Okay, I will give you a hint: it’s just peachy!
13.Chickpea Mediterranean Rice
Chickpeas are the main ingredient in hummus and (last time I checked) nothing really beats hummus. The chickpeas in this recipe give this healthy hummus an extra crunch while also loading it with tons of nutritional value. Just some of the amazing health benefits of chickpeas include:
- Tons of fiber
- Good source of vitamin B6
- Can lower bad cholesterol
- Good source of vitamin C
- High in protein
- Good source of iron for vegetarians
This vegetable torte by A Family Feast is BEAUTIFUL. The first time I made it, no one was around to see it. So, I took a million pictures from every possible angle and sent them to all my friends. I needed to share the beauty (and, maybe, I was also a bit proud of myself for creating something so pretty).
When What’s Gabby Cooking says “with Feta”, she REALLY means with feta! As someone who loves cheese, I think it’s the perfect touch to a simple summer squash recipe. It makes this one of those incredibly tasty but healthy summer side dishes.
16.Loaded Southwest Corn and Zucchini Skillet
Zucchini and summer go together like two peas in a pod. If you’ve never tried growing your own zucchini, it’s a must! Last summer, I grew my own zucchini and they tasted so much fresher than the zucchini I bought at the supermarket.
As much as I am encouraging you to grow your own zucchini, using store-bought or farm stand zucchini will not take away too much from how DELICIOUS this recipe is! It’s the perfect way to switch up how you cook the summer veggie, and makes for an A+ summer side dish.
Cucumbers are my absolute go-to vegetable during the summer. They’re just so refreshing in the summertime, thanks to that high water content to ward off dehydration. Not only that, but their cold crunch is just unbeatable. You’ll enjoy all of that in this summer salad by Gimme Some Oven.
Mac and cheese is always a great addition to any meal. It’s even better when it’s healthy and no one at the party knows! I brought these Vegan Mac and Cheese Bites by A Virtual Vegan to a get-together with my friends, and everyone loved them…even my friend who swears that health food tastes bad!
19. 5-Ingredient Pesto Pasta Salad
Let me make it even easier for you to decide whether you should make this refreshing summer side dish. Let me tell you the five ingredients that this SkinnyMs recipe calls for:
- Whole wheat rotini pasta (chickpea pasta and quinoa pasta work great, too!)
- Roasted red peppers
- Low-fat provolone cheese
- Baby Spinach
Yup, that’s it! That’s how easy is that? It’s always my go-to when I have to bring something to a summer party.
Whenever I think of pasta salad, I can’t help but think of its cousin: potato salad. They’re both just such great healthy summer side dishes. This potato salad recipe by Sugar-Free Mom is low-carb, keto, gluten-free, sugar-free, grain-free, and nut-free. So, it’s perfect for so many types of diets!
You probably guessed that I would say this, but I’m going to say it anyway…Rainbow! All those colors makes this a perfect side dish for summertime. Minimalist Baker really outdid herself with this one and created an amazing Taco Tuesday side dish for summer.
Video: THE BEST COLESLAW RECIPE - Barbecue Side Dish
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