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As outdoor temperatures rise and rise, the last thing you want to do is spend an afternoon indoors melting in the kitchen. That’s why our favorite grilling recipes exist, after all. But then, there’s the matter of side dishes. Sure, you can grill some veggies and call it a day, but if you want something to balance out your burgers, grilled chicken and grilled salmon, then no-cook side dishes should be a staple of your go-to summer menu.
Whether you’re just whipping up an easy weeknight dinner or heading to a barbecue at a friend’s house or park, these no-cook summer side dish recipes taste fantastic and will keep your kitchen cool.
If you grilled some pineapple the night before and aren't sure what to do with it (beyond serving it with some leftover ham), turn that sweet, syrupy fruit into this refreshing, crunchy salad. If you don’t have grilled pineapple, canned pineapple chunks will work just fine.
One of the best foods to pack for a picnic, these easy caprese skewers are a fresh and easily snackable side for any outdoor gathering.
Sometimes, all you want is a simple side salad, and this one is basic without being basic. A super garlicky homemade dressing takes this romaine, cucumber and mushroom salad to another level. This salad pairs well with any grilled meat, but we like it best with a perfectly grilled steak.
Creamy, tangy and salty, goat cheese makes any salad better, including this simple kale salad. Top with a homemade vinaigrette of your choosing, serve with grilled fish or chicken and enjoy.
Hear us out – mayonnaise-based sides, like this creamy cabbage and carrot coleslaw, are technically among the worst foods to bring to a cookout. After all, sun and mayo do not mix. But if your barbecue is at a friend's house or you’re cooking at home, this classic dish is worth serving – as long as you keep it indoors.
Shrimp cocktail is one of those retro recipes that never goes out of style. In this twist on a classic, shrimp is served with avocado and lime in tall glasses for a party-ready appetizer or side. Although this recipe calls for you to cook shrimp, you can very easily use precooked shrimp.
Though they’re best known for being roasted, Brussels sprouts are a really good base for a salad. These tiny cabbages have a crunchy, slightly waxy texture that’s surprisingly satisfying. Shred those sprouts, toss them with some pear and pomegranate, and you’ll be good to go.
If you’re not a fan of creamed cucumbers, this simple cucumber salad uses a vinegar-based dressing, making it an ideal side dish to bring to outdoor barbecues held.
If your cherry tomato plant exploded this summer with tons of fresh fruit (yes, tomatoes are a fruit!), then let them shine in this easy tomato salad, which uses three cups of tomatoes.
One of the best recipes for cheese lovers, these spicy cheese cubes are mixed with olives and pistachios for an explosion of saltiness. Replace your tired ol' bowl of chips with this endlessly munchable snack.
After eating a big plate of ribs or barbecued chicken (that isn’t boring), a light, refreshing scoop of something is just what you need. This fruit salad, which has a hint of vanilla for a surprising element, is the best balance to those hefty, saucy foods.
One of the best salsas or dips for summer, this pineapple avocado salsa has just four ingredients. You can scoop it up with chips, but it also pairs wonderfully with similarly light entrees, like grilled fish or chicken.
Cucumber, tomatoes and carrots are crunchy, colorful vegetables, but they're not exactly known for being packed with flavor. This salad remedies that issue with a vibrant dressing made of lime, honey and red onion.
Inspired by some of our favorite Thai recipes, this coleslaw features a dressing made of rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and lemongrass puree. The cabbage is certifiably crisp, but peanuts and chow mein noodles add extra crunch.
Watermelon, cucumber and mint honestly may be some of the most refreshing ingredients on Earth, and this salad just so happens to use all three of them along with briny feta. Serve beside spicy summer dishes to balance out the heat.
Gazpacho is a bright refreshing Spanish soup perfect for fans of tomatoes. Serve with grilled bread as a great starter, and you’ll understand why this is one of the best cold recipes for hot summer days.
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