You’ve invited friends and family over for a lovely backyard barbecue and nearly everything is in place. Meat is marinating in the fridge, vegetable kebabs have been skewered, drinks are in the cooler, and plenty of ice has been made. The main dishes have all been taken care of — burger patties have been formed, hotdogs have been bought, and chicken wings are waiting to be cooked on the grill. Suddenly your mind turns to side dishes, and you begin to panic. Potato salad, baked beans, macaroni and cheese — suddenly it seems like you’ll have to be chained to the stove for the remainder of the day in order to host a successful cookout, and your heart sinks.
When the weather gets really hot, the last thing you want to do is spend an afternoon melting in the kitchen for the sake of sides. If you are planning a backyard barbecue, then all of the cooking should be done outside. That’s the whole point of a barbecue: to get out of the kitchen, take a break from the stove, breathe in fresh air, and have a nice cold drink.
If you think that claggy, mayonnaise-drenched coleslaw is the only no-cook side dish on offer, think again. Cool and crisp watermelon, seasonal sweet corn, and creamy avocado are among the many delicious ingredients featured in this list of no-cook side dishes. You may have to open a can or two, and if something needs toasting, well, why not use the grill? Read on to discover 22 delicious no-cook sides that won’t have you overheating in the kitchen.
This slaw uses an unusual but delicious prune purée to add sweetness. The sweet purée is coupled with white balsamic vinegar, giving this salad a lovely agrodolce flavor.
This light and refreshing salad is also full of protein. Though the recipe calls for warming up the dressing in a saucepan, this can easily be done either on the grill or not at all, depending on your preference.
Thai-inspired, this salad is full of great flavors from lime juice, fish sauce, and sweet mango. Since most jumbo lump crab meat comes already picked and in a can, you won’t need hot vats of boiling water for this dish!
This dip is a fantastic side to have at any barbecue. Bright and aromatic from the cilantro, this recipe is great to put on vegetables, burgers, bread, and anything else you want.
Panzanella is a great, filling vegetarian-friendly dish to have at any barbecue. If you don’t want to turn on your oven, simply grill some day-old, slightly stale bread on the grill!
This salad gets better as it sits, so you can dress it in the morning and enjoy your barbecue without having to worry about leaves getting soggy. This is another recipe that calls for warming the dressing, which you can do in a cast-iron pan over the grill or simply use cold if you prefer.
Fava beans, mint, lemon, and jamón serrano are excellent flavors to mix together in a tasty salad. Though the favas are slightly cooked — they are blanched quickly to remove the skins — this step is worth the few minutes it takes to do and can be done in the early hours of the day, when the sun is not quite as scorching.
A twist on the classic Tuscan salad, this panzanella uses cornbread for a sweet and summery flavor. Dry out the cornbread in a cast-iron pan over the grill outside so you don’t get too hot in the kitchen.
Mango and citrus complement the black beans well in this hearty salad that is perfect for any backyard barbecue.
Take traditional coleslaw and kick it up a notch by adding pickles to the mix. This slaw is delicious on its own and goes great on top of pulled pork sandwiches and burgers.
Change your slaw up a bit with this radicchio and carrot slaw recipe. Radicchio adds a lovely bitterness that contrasts with the natural sweetness of the carrots.
Nutty raw artichokes are paired with sweet sun-dried tomatoes and briny black olives for a simple salad that is crunchy and refreshing. Buy the best ingredients you can for this recipe, since there are so few components — the quality really counts!
This spicy salsa is full of raw corn, black beans, and chipotle peppers. If you prefer your salsa to have a little less heat, simply add less chipotle for a milder taste.
A simple, sweet, and crunchy salad, this recipe uses simple ingredients. The dressing is full of flavors from two kinds of vinegar, dried spices, and poppy seeds.
This slaw recipe uses coconut milk, rice vinegar, and maple syrup, as well as lime juice and spices for a non-traditional slaw that will wake up your taste buds.
Sweet corn and black beans are a great combination. This recipe uses crisp red peppers and bright cilantro with a simple rice vinegar dressing. If your corn is really fresh, use it raw to make this salad truly a no-cook dish.
This recipe from Aarón Sanchez is sweet and spicy. The dressing uses mango purée, lime juice, olive oil, and salt for a simple, unique, and totally tasty dish.
Make the most of ripe tomatoes in the summer with this tomato carpaccio. This dish is a stunning way to showcase the best of the season’s tomatoes.
Heirloom tomatoes with watermelon are a great match. Add some goat cheese and you have a winning combination with minimal effort; just make sure your tomatoes are ripe!
Make this truly luxurious slaw with fennel, apple, and celery simply dressed with mayonnaise that is flavored with truffle oil, mustard, and fresh herbs.
This bread salad is full of crunchy vegetables like cucumber, bell pepper, and celery. The dressing gets its delicious flavor from a few anchovy fillets, capers, red wine vinegar, and raw garlic.
This side dish is super-simple and comes together very quickly. Watermelon adds sweetness, and radishes add crunch and some pepperiness that is muted by fresh mint leaves in this lovely slaw recipe.
Make this tasty and refreshing salad by Lucy Buffet at your next barbecue and you won’t be disappointed. If you have never combined watermelon and feta, then do so immediately; it’s a fail-safe salad to make! This recipe is sure to compliment all of your favorite and essential backyard barbecue classics!
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