30 Simple Side Dishes To Beat The Heat This Summer

With the summer heat coming in quick, sometimes what to make for dinner is the last thing on your mind. You want something quick, simple and delicious.

These 25 side dishes are perfect for those summer nights or days to help you and the family beat the heat. 

30 Simple Side Dishes To Beat The Heat This Summer

Whether it’s at the family BBQ or the lakeside picnic. We’ve got the perfect dish for you. Take a look at these recipes and save them the next time you don’t know what to cook this summer. 

We ensure that they will be loved by the whole family!

1. Creamy Cucumber Salad 

Crunchy, creamy and refreshing. This cucumber salad checks every box on our summer side dish list.

Perfect for the friday night potluck, this is quick to make and requires 3 main ingredients, shallot, sour cream and of course cucumbers! 

If you want to make this salad last through the summer heat, store the sauce and cucumbers in separate containers and mix before serving. 

2. Fresh Tomato Salad

Tomatoes, fresh herbs and a balsamic vinegar marinade, this is sure to become a fan favorite. It has got to be heirloom tomatoes to give you that perfect savory sweet bite. 

Even though it is considered to be a side dish, this salad is sure to become the star of the show. Marinate your tomatoes in balsamic, herbs and olive oil for 30 minutes and taste. Delightful. 

3. Classic Potato Salad 

No picnic is complete without a stunning, creamy potato salad. It needs crunchy onions and pickles coated in mayo and mustard to give it that perfect tang. 

Of course, Grandma makes the best potato salad but we think this one might just get a few votes at the garden party. 

4. BBQ Grilled Cauliflower

Got the BBQ out for the burgers already? Make some room for these BBQ grilled cauliflower bites.  Make sure to toss in a sweet, tangy bbq sauce and serve as a side with your burgers, hotdogs and even steaks (see also ‘30 Amazing Side Dishes For Steak‘). 

Or serve as a main for your veggie guests! These bbq cauliflower bites can be served on a sandwich for a stunning summer lunch. 

5. Bruschetta Pasta Salad 

We all love tomatoes and garlic placed on a stunning slice of sourdough bread with a balsamic glaze. But, have you ever tried it as a salad?

Fresh, light and utterly delicious. This salad recipe is sure to keep everyone’s plates and bellies full throughout the summer heat. 

6. Homemade Slaw 

No summer picnic is complete with a massive bowl of homemade coleslaw. And we have the perfect recipe. 

It’s rather simple. Shred up your carrots, celery and some red onion. It is essential that you shred your veggies yourself. 

Add a healthy amount of mayonnaise, add some vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and  you have yourself a delicious slaw. Add a few dashes of hot sauce for an extra kick. 

7. Zucchini Tomato Bake 

Use up your leftover veggies with this delicious zucchini tomato bake. Serve with your summer favorite for some extra nutrition. 

This is best served as part of a buffet and let everyone dig in for themselves. 

8. Oven Fried Pickles 

Everyone loves a deep-fried pickle during the summer heat. Or at any time really. But eating them often is not the best for your health. 

These oven fried pickles are healthier, letting you eat as many pickles as your heart desires without worry. Not to mention that unmissable crunch. 

9. Sweet Potato Fries 

Regular fries are a great choice but sweet potato fries will take your meal to the next level. Yes, you can buy frozen sweet potato fries at the store but making them at home just elevates them even more. 

Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, what’s not to love? Serve with tangy BBQ sauce or a crowd favorite, ranch dressing. Either way this side dish is the perfect addition to any summer meal. 

10. BLT Stuffed Avocados 

Looking to take brunch to another level this summer? These BLT stuffed avocados are sure to have your brunches be the talk of the town. 

Stuff your hollowed out avocados with crispy bacon bits, your greek yogurt, tomato and romaine mixture and top with some pepper for seasoning. Perfection. 

11. Pineapple Salsa

Forget about any other dip recipes, this pineapple salsa is all you need this summer. The secret is to grill your pineapple before adding to the mixture. 

Spicy, tangy, smoky, this salsa has everything you want from a dip or you could simply grab a spoon and eat it. We won’t tell anyone! 

Add some peaches for an extra sweetness. And pair with some cooling sour cream for the perfect bite on your tortilla. 

12. Tuscan Tortellini Salad 

This easy tortellini is quick and simple with a stunning homemade vinaigrette. You can customize this recipe to meet what you currently have in the fridge or if you aren’t a fan of certain ingredients. 

Enjoy warmed straight from the pan or set aside to enjoy a cooling, creamy pasta salad. You keep this salad at room temperature for up to 2 hours before you have to store it in the fridge. 

13. Summer Panzanella 

If you have never tried it, you must add this summer panzanella to your recipe book. Toss together your favorite tomatoes, basil, some charred bread, zucchini and onion together in a bowl and enjoy. 

This dish is perfectly served with some grilled chicken and is topped with a tasty balsamic glaze to finish. Add some fresh garlic, cubed mozzarella  and red onion for a stunning combination of fresh flavors. 

14. Stuffed Peppers 

Ready in 20 minutes these stuffed peppers are the most delicious addition to your family cookout (see also ‘Stuffed Pepper Serving Suggestions: 20 Sensational Side Dishes‘). Stuff with your favorite fillings.

We’ve chosen corn, black beans and pepperjack for that classic taste of the south. 

Finish but grilling until there is a nice char on the peppers and serve with your favorite mains. These are warming, cheesy and down right tasty. 

Add some hot sauce for an extra kick of flavor, if you think you can handle it. Or serve with some ranch dressing to help cool off the chili powder. 

15. Grilled Cream Corn 

Classic cookout grilled cream corn (see also ‘Creamed Corn: Top 5 Substitutes‘) with a twist. Add some jalapenos (see also our favorite jalapeno recipes) for an added spice that takes this iconic side dish to a whole new level.

This is a dish that cannot be rushed. Let the milk, cream cheese and Monterey Jack cheese (see also ‘The 5 Closest Substitutes For Monterey Jack Cheese‘) slowly combine and give you all of the flavors they have to offer. 

This dish is best served slightly warm with a garnish of cilantro. 

16. Garlic Broccoli Rabe 

Looking for something simple and light to add to the table? This garlic broccoli rabe is the perfect way to finish your spread. 

Not to be confused with broccoli, broccoli rabe is slightly bitter and is completely edible. Quickly blanch the broccoli then saute in a pan of garlic and olive oil. 

Serve as a side to some creamy pasta with a squeeze of lemon juice. 

17. Fruit Skewers 

While fruit skewers are often considered to be a dessert, we believe that they can be the perfect sweet addition to your meal.

Skewer your favorite fruit on some kebab skewers and serve with some dipping chocolate. 

You can also keep it healthy by serving with some Greek yogurt instead. Either way this is a sure way to help the kids get in more fruits and veggies. 

This dish also allows kids to get more involved. Simply lay everything out and let them create their own fruit kebabs!

18. Parmesan- Rosemary Baked Zucchini Fries 

These fries go well with almost everything, from burgers to fish, as an appetizer when served with a dipping sauce like ranch dressing or marinara.

While you can deep fry your baked zucchini we recommend baking them in the air fryer if you have one. If you don’t, your oven will do the trick! 

These parmesan-rosemary baked zucchini fries are the perfect way to use up some veggies in your refrigerator and keep summer dinners exciting. 

19. Cherry Tomato & Strawberry Bruschetta 

This sweet bruschetta is the perfect balance between savory and salty. The use of ricotta salata makes this bruschetta saltier and easier to bite than using regular ricotta cheese. 

Season with salt, pepper and some extra garlic for a delicious bite every time. Not to mention the crunch of the whole-wheat sourdough bread. Utterly delectable. 

Serve as an appetizer or alongside your favorite summer fish recipe. 

20. Cantaloupe Salad With Lime, Pepitas & Cotija 

This salad is not only refreshing for a hot summer’s day, it is bright and cheerful. Tossed in a tangy lime juice and topped with crunchy pepitas, this salad satisfies every sensation your body craves. 

Serve with a stunning garlic pasta salad and enjoy a light but filling lunch. The saltiness of the cotija cheese is sure to have everyone coming back for seconds. 

You may want to make an extra batch. 

21. Grilled Snap Peas 

These grilled snap peas might not seem like much that they sure do pack a punch. Tossed in a stunning miso, chile-garlic sauce and vinegar gives these peas a strong, addictive flavor. 

Serve as a side dish with your favorite stir fry recipes for an all round Asian inspired spread. We recommend this mandarin pork stir fry to truly let the grilled snap peas shine. 

You might even find this side dish becoming a weekly favorite. 

22. Garlic-Parmesan Hasselback Zucchini 

You;ve heard of the hasselback potato, well let us introduce you to the hasselback zucchini. Packed full of flavor, these hasselback zucchini may rival your main dish. 

We also recommend baking rather than grilling by placing them in the oven for 30 minutes or until tender. You want to stuff each cut of your zucchini with your garlic and parmesan mixture.

Finish off with a coating of melted butter and garlic. 

23. Ritzy Ranch Mac N Cheese

Searching for that perfect mac n cheese recipe? Look no further. This ritzy ranch mac n cheese is creamy, cheesy with that perfect crispy topping. 

This recipe is topped with lightly Ritz crackers that keep it buttery whilst adding that all important crunch.

Season with some salt and pepper to taste and if you want to add in a little extra flavor, you can add in some yellow mustard. 

24. Slow Cooker Baked Beans 

Want something simple that you can throw together and forget about? These slow cooker baked beans are simple and take 8-10 hours to cook. 

Put all of your ingredients in your slow cooker, turn it on low and let the flavors come together throughout the course of the day. Perfect if you need to work or run errands throughout the day. 

Serve at the family BBQ for a complete smoky flavor or with a baked potato as a filling main dish. These baked beans are so versatile that they will quickly become a family favorite. 

25. Green Salad With Roasted Carrots 

When feeding a large crowd you often want sides that you can make in bulk but that won’t have you in the kitchen for hours.

This green salad with roasted carrots and creamy tarragon dressing is the dish that does just that. 

Bake your thinly sliced carrots in the oven, make your creamy tarragon sauce, throw some greens in the bowl, toss and serve to the hungry party. This recipe is simple and dodges hours of clean up. 

26. Salt And Pepper Charred Green Beans 

Smothering our green beans in butter, garlic and other sauces seems like the only way to make them taste good. Wrong! This recipe makes your green beans delicious and healthy. 

Toss your green beans in a large skillet over high heat, drizzle with olive oil and add in a generous amount of salt and black pepper.

This dish takes less than 10 minutes as you just need to let the skillet do its thing and char your green beans and tender. 

27. Chorizo And Manchego Crostini 

You’re in charge of bringing the sides to the Friday night potluck and have no idea what to bring? We’ve got you covered. These chorizo and manchego crostinis are perfect as a side or as an appetizer. 

Spread your secret apricot jam on the crostini, top with manchego cheese (see also ‘9 Substitutes For Manchego Cheese‘) and a slice of chorizo. Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh parsley. 

Simple, fun and most importantly, mouthwateringly tasty. 

28. Whipped Ricotta And Grilled Bread 

This indulgent grilled cheese is the ultimate side pairing to any garden party or picnic. Cheesy, garlicky, crunchy, there is simply nothing to dislike about this dish. 

Serve your ricotta as a spread with your grilled sourdough and watch as every piece disappears and you are asked for the recipe time and time again. 

29. Spicy Peach And Avocado Salad 

Now, this one might not turn out perfect every time as you need your avocados to be ripe and creamy and your peaches to be tender and juicy. 

No one wants hard avocados and peaches during the summer heat. 

Cut your avocados and peaches into wedges, toss in your lemon juice, oil, honey, shallot and chile sauce. Top with pistachios for an added crunch, garnish with mint and you have the most stunning summer salad. 

30. Apricot Prosciutto Focaccia

Can’t decide between sweet or savory, this focaccia is the perfect blend of both. 

Serve with your favorite vinaigrette for dipping and let the flavors melt on your tongue.

Final Thoughts 

You now have 30 stunning, light, refreshing summer side dishes to help beat the heat.  Whether you prefer a light side salad or the crispy, tangy crunch of oven-fried pickles there is a recipe for you. 

You can now show up to the family cookout with an impressive, tasty side dish that you may find steals the show. 

Try them out for your family friends this summer!

30 Simple Side Dishes To Beat The Heat This Summer

30 Simple Side Dishes To Beat The Heat This Summer

Recipe by Jenna
Course: Side Dishes
5 from 1 vote
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